Home » Updates and press » Make your new classmate feel welcome

Make your new classmate feel welcome

We asked children in Lewisham how they welcome new pupils from far off places into their school. Here’s what they told us.

Starting in a new school can be daunting for any child, especially when he or she is from a different country and may not speak the same language. Thankfully, we can lean on the advice of the experts – the pupils of four primary schools in Lewisham, South London…

Welcome them

When someone new starts at your school, introduce yourself, play games with them, and do things they want to do. Why not learn a word or two in their language to make them feel welcome? Treat them like they are special, like everyone in your school.

Lend a hand

Sitting in a new class can be confusing and overwhelming, especially when everyone else knows what to do. Introduce your new classmate to people and help them find friends. In the beginning, be their partner in lessons and help them with their homework. Better still, if you both speak the same first language, you could sit together and translate everything for them!

Tell them about your school

Your new classmate doesn’t know anything about the rules and values of the school, or even the fun facts about the place. All the stuff that is normal to you is new to them. So, tell them the names of the other children, teachers, and lessons. They might not know where their chair is, what to do every lunch time, or why the teacher calls out their name every morning. But it’s okay. You can make it easier for them.

It’s OK to show you care!

Ask them about their homeland. Say you’re sorry if they had to leave home, and ask them how they feel about it. Do they miss it? Talking helps. Let them know that you’ll help them improve their English, play with them, and make them feel at home.

Here to help

For this blog, we put together the thoughts and advice of the Lewisham schoolchildren. Many thanks to the students and staff who contributed. Thanks also to the community groups and members, Waitrose, Forest Hill Quaker Meeting and L&Q housing association for the funding that helped us run our first Reading Challenge. However, we couldn’t leave it there. Here are some more of the kind insights Lewisham students had to share…

“You don’t have to feel left out. If you want to play with someone, just ask.”

“Here at Rowan class we have two teachers, we have 28 pupils, and we are all kind.”

“If you follow the school rules, you will shine like the sun!”

– At LifeJackets, we help children understand issues such as the struggle of refugees through stories and poems. Support our work to develop a new reading challenge

– Want to find out more about LifeJackets does? Click here.