NCFL, USC Shoah Foundation develop resources to support Holocaust education and social-emotional learning

The National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) and USC Shoah Foundation have partnered to develop resources that engage children and their families in literacy strategies while building empathy, resilience, and understanding for diverse perspectives and voices. The resources include facilitation guides for a workshop series grounded in the powerful Children of Willesden Lane story as well as several Wonders of the Day® on NCFL’s digital learning platform,

The Children of Willesden Lane books share the story of Lisa Jura, a young Austrian Jew who in 1938 escaped on the Kindertransport from Vienna to London, where she found safety and refuge at a hostel on Willesden Lane. The story, written by Lisa’s daughter and piano virtuoso, Mona Golabek, lovingly describes how Lisa never lost hope and went on to achieve her dream of becoming a concert pianist.

The Hold On to Your Music family workshop series is a multigenerational, educational program that brings together children (ages 6 to 11) and their families to explore historical narratives and audiovisual forms of text as they develop literacy skills and social-emotional capacities.

A close shot of two books Hold On to Your Music and Lisa of Willesden Lane along with a child's hands writing on a sticky note

During each session, children and families engage in learning activities and interactive experiences from USC Shoah Foundation and Hold On To Your Music Foundation’s partnership program, The Willesden Project. The Willesden Project, supported by the Koret Foundation, brings the power of music and story to reach young people globally and contribute to their development as empathetic, knowledgeable, and resilient individuals. One such resource for young children is The Willesden Project’s new animated short film, Music Dreams, that bridges historic and contemporary stories of separation and loss. Additionally, families participating in the workshop series engage with music and clips of testimony to deepen their understanding of the historical context surrounding the Holocaust as well as universal themes related to the broader human experience.

Two children work on a collage with their mother

Throughout the workshop series, family members strengthen relationships with each other through the sharing of stories, music, and texts that spark meaningful conversations and personal connections. 

To download the free facilitator’s guides to the workshop series, click here.

NCFL has also collaborated with USC Shoah Foundation to help introduce the Institute’s resources to our community of learners using NCFL’s digital learning platform, Wonderopolis®. The Institute offers multimedia learning opportunities based on the personal accounts of witnesses to genocide through its award-winning IWitness website. Take a look at these Wonders of the Day that feature testimony and activities provided by the initiative:

Using the Hold On to Your Music workshop series and, program staff can build community among facilitators, parents, caregivers, and other partners through shared experiences with learning, literature, and digital literacies.

Related: New Partnership with NCFL Producing Testimony-based Educational Offerings to Support Family Literacy Skills