education.govt.nz

An outpouring of support and solidarity

Issue: Volume 99, Number 3

Posted: 27 February 2020
Reference #: 1HA5vk

The staff and families of An Nur Child Education and Care Christchurch, a Muslim early learning centre, have experienced an outpouring of support since the tragic events of 15 March last year.

Children and teachers at An Nur Child Education and Care Christchurch have been touched by the kindness and support they have received.

Children and teachers at An Nur Child Education and Care Christchurch have been touched by the kindness and support they have received.

Following the Christchurch mosque shootings, An Nur Child Education and Care Christchurch, like other Muslim centres, received countless visitors bearing gifts, cards and flowers in an effort to convey their sympathy and support.  

“We had so many cards of aroha, even from overseas,” reflects centre manager and co-founder Dr Maysoon Salama.

Dr Salama, who is also national coordinator of the Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand, says the centre has worked hard with children and families to ensure they feel safe and valued, consulting with the Police, Ministry of Education and District Health Board for advice on how to deal with trauma.  

“We have modified the curriculum to cater for the new needs of our children including one who was seriously injured herself, those who lost loved ones, and those who have injured family members.” 

Police officers visited the centre regularly to reassure safety.

A child psychologist visits the centre to regularly monitor the children and offer support to staff and parents. In consultation with the psychologist, the centre has sourced and created new resources such as special personalised stories about loss.

The psychologist has also supported the centre to organise parent education sessions.

The centre, through its parents’ committee, organised a series of wellbeing sessions called ‘The healing journey’ with a life coach from the Muslim community. The success of this series prompted them to start a new series called ‘Live with a purpose’.  

Hornby cluster group worked with An Nur to initiate a special professional learning and development (PLD) workshop for primary and early childhood teachers supported by the Ministry of Education. Dr Salama says the centre is looking forward to discussing more ideas around cultural responsiveness at the next workshop.

Cultural responsiveness is important for the An Nur community. As Muslims come from all over the world, the centre is very multicultural.

“We always find ways to respect diversity and include every child no matter where they come from, what faith they belong to or what special needs they require.”

Feeling safe was also central to supporting An Nur to recover. To help them feel secure, the Ministry of Education financially supported and guided An Nur through a building project that improved their security, safety and learning environments.

In keeping with Muslim beliefs, the centre doesn’t intend to mark the anniversary.

“We haven’t planned anything in particular. In Islam once the Janazah prayer [funeral] is over there should be no memorial anniversary. Our lost loved ones will never be forgotten,” says Dr Salama.

“The teachers and children at An Nur Child Education and Care Christchurch want to say a big thank you for the aroha and kindness the community at large have shown us over the last few months. It is truly appreciated and has made a horrible situation easier knowing we are surrounded by so many caring people,” she says.

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BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 1:52 pm, 27 February 2020

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