260 military children from 40 primary schools across Wales took part in a free virtual workshop run by the charity Little Troopers.
The children, who all have parents currently serving in the British Armed Forces, logged in to the Little Troopers at School workshop where they used storytelling, imaginative play, drawing, movement and drama to explore some the unique challenges that forces life can bring such as having a parent deployed overseas and regularly having to move home and school.
A pupil from Ysgol y Tywyn in Caergybi commented:
“I really enjoyed the workshop; it was nice to know we are not alone. Knowing that there are others across the world that get these feelings was good to hear. I am glad that there are people in school that help us.”
Ian James, Headteacher at Pontprennau School in Cardiff, said:
“We were delighted to be part of the Little Troopers workshops. Service children have unique circumstances and having their needs recognised is important for their well-being and academic progress. Little Troopers have been able to shine a light on our Service Children and the children thoroughly enjoyed the activities. We are grateful for the work of these children’s parents, and therefore we want to make sure we are recognising this through strong support for their children when in our school. Little Troopers ably supported this.”
The workshop was funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Trust and delivered as part of Supporting Service Children in Education (SSCE) Cymru, which is run by the Welsh Local Government Association and aims to provide the best possible educational support for Service children in Wales. There are estimated to be more than 2,500 military children in schools across the country.
Louise Fetigan, founder and operations manager at Little Troopers, commented:
“We were delighted to be asked by the Welsh Government Association to deliver some of our Little Troopers at School resources to children in Wales through this virtual workshop. Our charity is committed to ensuring that all schools have a good understanding of the unique challenges that military life can bring and that all military children can access support at school if they need it. We hope that the children have had lots of fun today and enjoyed coming together to celebrate what it really means to be a ‘Little Trooper’.”
The workshop is part of a wider nationwide partnership between Little Troopers and SSCE Cymru which has also seen 400 primary schools in Wales received bilingual versions of Little Troopers storybooks for their school libraries and 100 schools given bilingual copies of the Little Troopers Primary Wellbeing Course template; a six-week course focusing on the themes of belonging, identity, mindfulness, managing change and coping with separation.
Millie Taylor, SSCE Cymru Programme Manager, added:
“It’s really important that all schools have a welcoming Armed Forces friendly environment and that service children feel acknowledged and supported. Our partnership with Little Troopers has really helped us to achieve this by providing fundamental resources, that are specifically catered towards supporting service children, to all schools in Wales. This week’s workshop has been a real celebration of service children and their experiences and we hope to build on the success of SSCE Cymru in 2022; continuing to provide all service children in Wales with the support they deserve.”
For more information, please visit: www.littletroopers.net and www.SSCECymru.co.uk.