The Integrated Education Fund will be staging a colourfully creative event during Culture Night Belfast on 22 September. We will be at Clements Coffee Shop on Rosemary Street from 1pm – 8pm offering art and craft activities and promoting the Integrate My School website. “Integrate My School” encourages and enables parents to register their support for their child’s school to become an integrated school.
While your children are busy transforming Clements and filling the space with their artwork, parents can relax, have a coffee, and chat about how a school can be transformed and become officially integrated.
The organisers of Culture Night say it is designed to “Celebrate the interconnectivity and diversity of our city…How together we can be MORE, through shared experience and understanding.”
Dawn Patterson, IEF Community Outreach Officer, says that Culture Night is the ideal platform to promote integrated education:
“Children in integrated schools are educated not about each other but together with each other. And this opportunity could be available to so many more children than are currently in integrated education. At www.integratemyschool.com parents can register their interest in seeing their child’s school become an integrated school. I hope plenty of people will stop by Clements Coffee on Rosemary Street, find out more about “Integrate My School”, and sign up. Our team will, with your children’s help, spend Culture Night transforming the cafe with artwork. This is symbolic of the transformation we want to see in our schools.”
In becoming formally integrated, your school will welcome children from Protestant and Catholic backgrounds, as well as those of other faiths and none. For many, the transition to integrated status is a natural step, as the school may well already attract children from different religious and cultural backgrounds. Integrated education can help your child to have more friends from different backgrounds, develop more positive social attitudes and provide new educational, social and cultural experiences.
Parents certainly want change: research has repeatedly shown widespread support for integrated education. In 2013, 79% of parents surveyed said they would back their own school becoming integrated. However, few knew this was possible. The good news is that nearly every school can do this because transformation to integrated status is supported by the Department of Education and is government policy in Northern Ireland.
Culture Night is Belfast’s largest, most exciting and inclusive cultural celebration. Now in its ninth year, Culture Night brings together over 250 free events across 100 locations in Belfast City Centre in a single day. The event attracts over 80,000 visitors from Belfast, Northern Ireland and beyond.
Among the many activities will be Outdoor Twister, Street Countdown, The Big Belfast Choir, Lithuanian Folk Dance, Argentine Tango, and Belfast Ukulele Jam, among other live events on every corner of the city centre.
All ages are welcome to join us at Clements Rosemary Street; little ones must be accompanied by an adult.
The Culture Night Belfast programme is available here.
A map of activities is available here.
Further information about Culture Night Belfast is available on their website here.
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