Supporting Syrian Refugee Children To Thrive in School
Rana* is 7 years old and is the fourth of five children. She enjoys reading and helping her parents with household chores. Rana’s parents fled the war in Syria in March 2013 and are still recovering from the atrocities they witnessed. Despite the challenges of extreme poverty and lack of resources, Rana’s parents support their children’s learning and strive to minimize the war’s effect on their family.
Rana is in second grade and participates in the Caritas education program in Madaba, Jordan. At the beginning of the year, Rana’s teacher and school counselor noticed Rana did not interact with other students. She yelled when she felt uncomfortable and did not like to be alone. Rana’s mother confirmed that this behavior began a year earlier and occurred daily. Her parents were very concerned and requested support.
Rana attends class in a CRS supported classroom for Syrian refugee children. The project works with Syrian refugee students enrolled in Jordanian public schools who need additional support to succeed academically.
Photo by Caritas Jordan staff
The school counselor created a treatment plan for Rana that included five counseling sessions. She also recommended age-appropriate tasks to build Rana’s confidence and promote independence. With guidance from the counselor, her parents encouraged Rana to make personal decisions, such as looking after her clothes, toys and bed. They committed to spending quality time with Rana and to increasing her independence through positive dialogue and helping her make her own decisions.
The teacher encouraged Rana to do school tasks on her own—rewarding her every time Rana demonstrated independence—and gave her age-appropriate responsibilities in the classroom. The counselor also shared positive reinforcement methods with Rana’s parents, such as praise, applause and a pat on the back, to help support Rana more effectively.
Rana made tremendous accomplishments in a short period. The care and attention the school provided to her and her parents helped Rana overcome her anxieties. She is now self-confident and can do her tasks independently. She no longer fears being alone. Her academic performance has improved and she participates in class. She can express her needs and desires clearly and her attention-seeking behavior has decreased.
Children enjoy a laugh with their teacher in a CRS supported classroom for Syrian refugee children. The project works with Syrian refugee students enrolled in Jordanian public schools who need additional support to succeed academically.
Photo by Caritas Jordan staff
“I am so happy now,” Rana says. “I stopped crying and feeling afraid of teachers. I started doing things by myself.”
Rana’s parents say she has become more independent and has begun to express what she wants verbally rather than crying or yelling. She has also become more secure, doing things like getting dressed, eating and going to the bathroom on her own, as well as her schoolwork thanks to support from CRS and our partner Caritas Lebanon.
*Names changed for confidentiality.