The story of Zach and Zac


School Linking between North Cheshire Jewish School, Stockport and Armitage Church of England Primary School, Manchester  

Prior to meeting at Z-arts, a creative arts venue in Manchester, the two Year 3 classes had exchanged names of the class members as well as identity circles. From this sharing of information, the children noticed that they had different names and different interests and hobbies. However, there was much excitement and joy for two boys. They shared the same name and not only the same name but the same interest in card trading games. Who would have thought that two boys named Zac, from two different schools, one in Manchester and one in Stockport, from two schools of different faith, one Jewish and one Christian, from different cultural backgrounds could meet and have so much in common? The joy and laughter when they met each other, the shaking hands and shared ground of their interest in Pokemon made foundations of a new friendship.

After hellos and high fives the classes took part in warm up activities and games. One game involved moving around to music expressing themselves as a favourite animal. When the music stopped the children were to find a partner and share a fact about themselves or ask a question of their partner. Zac and Zach found each other time and time again.

The conversation between Zac and Zach was initiated by Zac who asked his partner to ask him about his Kippah. Zach: So why do you wear them? Zac: It’s our school uniform, we are Jewish and Jewish boys wear them. It reminds us that God is above us, watching us. Zach: Our school’s not Jewish it’s Church of England – we can wear our school uniform – but we don’t have a Kippah. Zac: Do you like them? Zac: They’re cool.

The conversation then moved on to which Pokemon they though had the best power and if they could be in the same group for art and drumming. Whilst the children were interacting with each other, many of the boys had chosen to put their Kippah in their pocket.  Children were asked to share they had talked about and as Zac and Zach retold their story hands went in to pockets and Kippahs were retrieved, smoothed out and proudly placed back on boys heads as all the listeners were reminded of the joys of seeing the similarities and celebrating the differences.

For the rest of the day Zach and Zac were inseparable. Drumming workshops, lunch and screen printing activities gave many opportunities for them to find out information like their favourite foods, favourite books, things that make them laugh, family habits as well as all the parts of their lives that are different through geography, opportunity, faith and culture.

One thing is for certain, Zac and Zach made friends. One Zac from a Jewish school in Stockport and another Zach from a Christian school in Manchester. They look forward to the next opportunities through the school year to meet when they can proudly and confidently show each other round their school. Zac and Zach will continue to find similarities and differences between themselves, their schools and their faith and culture through first hand experiences. There will also be some card trading taking place too, who knows Pokemon may be old school by then and a new craze may have gripped them both.  Laughter, fun, energy and joy will be in abundance as Zac and Zach continue to build on their new friendship.

Julie-Ann McCulloch, Local Linking facilitator (Stockport and Beyond and Manchester)