Education Programs and Events

COVID-19 UPDATE

While the FSWC classroom remains closed to in-person programs, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) is here for you. Whether you are looking for a virtual program on the Holocaust and other human rights topics, educational resources to support your own classroom lessons, or just need someone to talk to,  we are ready to help in any way that we can. FSWC’s Education Team has developed meaningful online programming to better serve the needs of students, educators and parents during this pandemic.  Let us assist you by providing curriculum-based workshops, resources, lesson plans, and activities to keep young learners engaged.   We are excited to share that our Equity and Diversity workshops are also now available online, meaning that FSWC educators will facilitate our one-hour programs remotely for small or larger groups of students.
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Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center's unique, innovative education programs provide meaningful, authentic learning opportunities that confront hatred and intolerance for elementary and high school students and build on lessons their teachers deliver every day in their own classrooms. Based on the Equity & Inclusivity Strategy, FSWC’s workshops address Ontario Ministry of Education expectations while generating meaningful discussions that challenge perspectives and offer further understanding of, often, difficult subject matter. The goal of the programming is to teach about historical events while making real-world, contemporary connections and empowering youth to create positive change in their homes, schools and communities.

Please contact education@fswc.ca for more information

Freedom Day

Even though the world may look a little different this year, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) is thrilled to be hosting Freedom Day in a FREE virtual program.

WELCOME TO FREEDOM DAY 2020!

Click on the image to download the Teacher's Guide & Transcription is also available HERE

Freedom Day, a one-day event at Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto, was created to: COMMEMORATE the life of Simon Wiesenthal and to carry on his legacy of diversity, inclusion, justice and human rights; to EDUCATE about violations of freedom both from historical and current perspectives; and to INSPIRE youth to be change-makers in their homes, schools and communities. Freedom Day has expanded into a highly anticipated, multicultural celebration of Canadian values for students from public, Catholic and private school boards from across the GTA and surrounding areas. Each year, we gather at Yonge-Dundas Square to actively participate in the festivities, and be inspired to take action in making Canada a more tolerant and inclusive society. 

This year's Freedom Day will be a 20-minute virtual program  available to schools across Canada at 11am EST on Thursday, September 24th, 2020. The video features a diverse group of young Canadians sharing their thoughts about the concept of freedom. These young people are also joined by Lieutenant-General (Ret'd) The Honourable Roméo Dallaire, who led the UN peacekeeping mission in Rwanda during the Rwandan genocide.

This virtual program will include an extensive teacher's guide to not only engage in content from the video, but to extend the lessons to connect with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Times of uncertainty and upheaval are challenging to us all, but this uncertainty also creates new opportunities for positive change. Our virtual Freedom Day program will help your students understand their fundamental rights and freedoms as Canadians and encourage them to think critically about how we can protect these rights in the future - not just for ourselves but for all Canadians!

Check out our photos below highlighting some of our favourite moments from Freedom Day 2019, where we were joined by over 2,000 students from across the GTA for an inspiring and impactful day dedicated to human rights.

Tour for Humanity

 The innovative, award-winning Tour for Humanity (T4H) project is an integral component of FSWC’s Educational Department.  T4H is a 30-seat, wheelchair accessible, mobile human rights education center designed to bring FSWC’s programming directly to students and educators across Ontario and beyond.

Specific programming developed for T4H aligns with current Ministry of Education curriculum expectations as they relate to Grades 6 – 12 Media Literacy, Language and Oral Communication; Grades 9 – 12 Canadian and World History; Grade 10 Civics and Grade 12 World Religions and International Law. The exemplary program has been recognized by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation with an Award of Excellence. 

 All T4H workshops are led by experienced FSWC facilitators, and teachers are provided access to educational materials in order to assist in preparing their students for T4H visits. T4H incorporates multimedia to provide students with a rich and interactive learning experience.  The T4H mobile classroom is equipped with HD projectors, a large video wall and HD surround sound to further encourage students’ interest and involvement. 

 Each T4H session is approximately 45 to 60 minutes in length. The mobile classroom can accommodate one class of 30 students at a time, allowing for six classes or 180 students over the span of a typical school day.

 Workshop Options:

·   The Canadian Experience In this workshop, students learn about a variety of difficult topics in Canadian history including the Indian Residential Schools System and the systemic internment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. Following a review of the past, current issues including cyber bullying and modern-day examples of intolerance are examined and discussed. Suitable for Grades 6-10.

. The Holocaust: Then and Now "The Holocaust is not just a Jewish story, but a human story." Explore the history of the Holocaust and the attitudes and social forces that enabled one of the darkest periods of human history to occur. Suitable for Grades 7-12.

·   The Global Experience This workshop begins with a screening of a three-part documentary series produced by FSWC entitled The Holocaust, Universal Genocide and Real World Heroes. The Ten Stages of Genocide are then discussed in relation to the Holocaust and other world genocides, including Rwanda, Cambodia and crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine and throughout Eastern Europe under Joseph Stalin’s reign. Student discussion is encouraged. Suitable for Grades 9-12.

·   Simon’s Story – Heroes Among Us Aimed at junior audiences, the goal of this workshop is to introduce elementary school students to the Holocaust in an age-appropriate manner. Students will learn techniques to deal with injustice and ideas for creating positive change. Stereotypes, racism and prejudice are defined and discussed in an age-appropriate manner. Suitable for Grades 3-6.

To date, T4H has visited over 750 schools across Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, reaching over 180,000 students.

There is a fee to bring the bus to your school. For more information please visit the Tour for Humanity website or contact tourforhumanity@fswc.ca

Education & Diversity Workshops

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center’s (FSWC) educational workshops usually operate out of the Tom & Anna Koffler Tolerance Training Centre located in the organization’s Toronto office. The Center is a state-of-the-art classroom equipped with interactive multimedia, including Turning Technologies voting tools, to help facilitate student participation.  On average, over 10,000 Ontario students visit the Center on an annual basis to take part in FSWC’s workshops, free of charge. FSWC staff are also available to bring these workshops to individual schools, typically to address groups larger than 50 students, for a fee. Because of COIVD-19, all of these programs have been shifted to a one-hour virtual format and are now available FREE OF CHARGE!

Contact education@fswc.ca to book this unique experience for your students today!

 ·  Lessons & Legacy of the Holocaust    

“The Holocaust is not just a Jewish story, but a human story.” Explore the history of the Holocaust and the attitudes and social forces that enabled one of the darkest periods of human history to occur. Students also have the opportunity to meet a Holocaust survivor, listen to his/her testimony, ask questions & gain a better understanding of the impact of the Holocaust at a personal level. Suitable for Grades 7 - 12; 3 hours

·   Roots of Hate & Intolerance

Canada, often described as a diverse cultural mosaic, is not free from hatred and intolerance. Racism, antisemitism and prejudice are examined, as well as how these issues impact students and their communities. Real historical and contemporary examples of hate are used as a means of creating awareness and promoting dialogue and positive action within the school and                                 community.  Suitable for Grades 7-12; 2 hours

 ·   Leadership 101 – Training for Student Leaders  

“Leadership is not a position or a title, it is action and example.” This interactive, hands-on workshop challenges existing perspectives on leadership and encourages students to explore their own diversity story. Students are introduced to tools they can use to promote respect and lead their school in affecting real, inclusive change.  Suitable for Grades 7 – 12; 3 hours

·   Genocide & the Power of Action

Genocide is defined and investigated through Gregory Stanton’s 10 Stages theoretical framework. Three case studies are applied to allow students to build an understanding of where theory intersects with reality. Students also have the opportunity to listen to testimony from, & interact with, a survivor.  Suitable for Grades 7–12; 3 hours

 ·   Simon’s Story: Heroes Among Us

What does it mean to be a hero? Characteristics such as integrity, courage and responsibility are investigated through real people who walked the talk. This course encourages an introspective look at personally defining characteristics of a hero and ways in which each of us has the power to effect positive change in our lives. Suitable for Grades 4–6; 2 hours

 ·   Digital Hate – How Connected Are You?       

The internet can function as a forum for progress and social change, but also as a vehicle to spread hate and intolerance. Issues such as cyberbullying, digital hate and the real life consequences of these increasingly dangerous and growing trends are investigated.  Suitable for Grades 4 – 12; 2 hours

 ·  Women’s Rights Are Human Rights

Despite significant developments over the course of the past century, gender inequities continue to persist. Consequences of this imbalance have an impact on all of humanity. Exploration of these issues, both at home and abroad, are explored. Students will leave informed, empowered & equipped with tools to effect real and positive change.  Suitable for Grades 5 – 12; 2 hours

 ·  Media Literacy, Propaganda & the Second World War  

Throughout the Holocaust and World War II, powerful forms of propaganda were used to persuade and coerce populations. A look through different imagery, media and styles of propaganda are used to discuss bias and misinformation both in the past as well as in deciphering messages in today’s media. Suitable for Grades 7 – 12; 2 hours

FSWC Has Expanded to Ottawa!

We are thrilled to announce that FSWC is now offering year-round human rights programming to students, educators and community groups in the Ottawa area. Although we have been able to provide occasional support through our annual Tour for Humanity trips to Eastern Ontario, we will now be able to reach a far greater number of students on a broader selection of topics, from the Holocaust and other genocides of recent history to racism in Canada, leadership, bullying, media literacy and more.

Ottawa-area workshops will be facilitated in schools and community centres by FSWC Educator Elena Kingsbury who has taught human rights workshops to thousands of students across Ontario over the past four years.

Contact Elena at ekingsbury@fswc.ca or 514-268-4531 to book a workshop or to learn more about how FSWC is serving the Ottawa community

Human Rights Story Corner

Join an FSWC Education Team member every two weeks for a new picture book story and activity to share with your students!

NEXT STORY RELEASE: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 28TH, 2020

Click HERE for an activity to extend the message of Julius Lester's book Let's Talk About Race.

In Conversation with Survivor Speakers

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies is proud to partner with the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights to present this bi-weekly virtual speaker series featuring survivors of genocide and other mass atrocities.

OCTOBER 21, 2020:  IN CONVERSATION WITH VERA SCHIFF

Professional Development for Law Enforcement

LESSONS IN HUMANITY

Members from police services across Ontario have attended FSWC’s law enforcement training programs to build their understanding of the increasingly complex and diverse environments in which they are working.  FSWC’s targeted programming works to break down the multi-layered and globalized world in which we live.  Workshops and speaker series aim to develop essential links between current events and the daily work of law enforcement officials on the ground in Canada.  The role of law enforcement in conflict, specifically the Holocaust, from a historical perspective is examined, followed by an analysis and discussion of prevailing modern-day issues such as antisemitism, the Middle East conflict, terror and Jewish targets, hate crimes and laws, campus and BDS/hate advocacy.

For more information please contact education@fswc.ca

Speakers Idol 2020

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, in 2020 FSWC was proud to host the first Virtual Speakers Idol finale. The top 10 students submitted their speeches, which were evaluated by a panel of judges and broadcast via zoom on Tuesday, May 12, 2020.

Students were asked to prepare a three-minute written speech on the following quote by Holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal:
"Freedom is not a gift from heaven, you must fight for it every day"

Congratulations to all the winners!

Professional Development for Educators

EQUITY & DIVERSITY SENSITIVITY TRAINING WORKSHOP

FSWC’s teacher equity workshop is targeted at educators who are seeking to learn more about how to incorporate anti-oppressive content and speak about human rights issues within their classrooms to promote equity. By looking at historical events, this workshop provides educators with an understanding of how the past has shaped the present and sets the groundwork for future actions. With an emphasis on teaching sensitive subjects and Holocaust education, this workshop provides educators with the tools to appropriately teach topics that may be difficult for students. By emphasizing the importance of historical inquiry and building safe classroom environments, this workshop considers the need for educators to encourage students to think about the past to better help them understand the present and make positive changes in their futures. This workshop is best suited for educators teaching grade 3 and above.

EDUCATION CERTIFICATE COURSES:

HISTORY OF THE HOLOCAUST: EDUCATOR CERTIFICATE COURSE

Educators participating in an activity

This intensive program teaches innovative and proven techniques to educate students about the Holocaust.  It also provides a forum for teachers to share their personal experiences teaching this sensitive subject matter in their classrooms.

TEACHING GENOCIDE CERTIFICATE PROGRAM FOR EDUCATORS

This intensive program looks at a variety of genocides from the 21st century and ways to integrate effective, meaningful lessons into the classroom setting. Using a variety of proven teaching tools and techniques, teachers will leave the program prepared to tackle this difficult history with their students.

From Compassion to Action

Each year, FSWC invites 30 influential Canadians on a remarkable educational journey to learn about the Holocaust, racism and intolerance. Our objective is to educate leaders about the past and to inspire and empower them to make the world a better place. Over 300 police chiefs, educators, mayors, provincial and federal parliamentarians, philanthropists and thought leaders have taken this intensive journey with us. In previous years we visited the ancient Jewish town of Krakow; saw the hallowed grounds of Auschwitz; witnessed original documents for the final solution in Berlin; visited Nazi sites in Nuremberg and learned about the trials of Nazi war criminals; walked the path of the ancients in Jerusalem and saw modern Israel in Tel Aviv – in all its glory – by the sea.

Past participants of Compassion to Action come from communities across Canada. They include Mark Saunders, Toronto Police Chief; Curtis Zablocki, Deputy Commissioner Alberta RCMP; Steve Clarke, Mayor of Orillia; Chief (ret’d) Bill Blair; Michael Bator, Executive Director Catholic Curriculum Corp.; Hon. Maurizio Bevilacqua, Mayor of Vaughan; Marina Nemat, Author.