A new program has been set up by the TVDSB to help Syrian Refugees and their families get enrolled at school and settled in. The GENTLE Family Reception Centre is set up at White Oaks Public School to provide Syrian refugee families with the information and support they need to send their children to schools within the TVDSB.
GENTLE stands for Guiding Entry to New Teaching and Learning Experiences.
This week, the centre will welcome Syrian families to help them enroll their children in school. Each student is assessed on their literacy and numeracy skills in order to understand their needs in the classroom. Some students are ready to immediately begin in the classroom, where others may need additional support. The centre provides students with the support of aid workers and ESL teachers to help students transition into their chosen schools. Most high school students will be put into an ESL classroom. Currently, the TVDSB has 48 ESL teachers.
Students are also provided with backpacks, as seen below.
The centre opened on Monday, January 4th but welcomed its first family on Tuesday, January 5th. The coordinator of GENTLE Family Reception Centre, Sue Bruyns, says that the program was pulled together quickly with the support of the TVDSB and the community. She feels that it is important to provide refugee families with the support they need in order to adapt to life here in Canada. By providing this service for refugees, GENTLE allows students to quickly and easily integrate into the classroom.