Childhood Interrupted

Childhood Interrupted is a three-part learning experience designed for Grade Six students that guides them through a cutting-edge new Holocaust museum in an age-appropriate way and connects directly to the new Ontario curriculum expectations.

Bring Holocaust education to your classroom

Special exhibit Special exhibit Workshop Workshop

Students engage through multimedia immersion it the story of a young German Jewish girl, Yael Spier Cohen who experienced the Holocaust and later shared here story as a Holocaust survivor in Canada. Teacher resources include pre and post visit materials and ready to use lessons that further engage students in the history of the Holocaust in an age-appropriate way that connects directly to the new Ontario curriculum expectations for Grade 6 Social Studies. For those who are not able to visit the Museum, teachers and students can access the online exhibition for Childhood Interrupted with rich testimony from Yael and primary source documents that inspire critical thinking. 

I am guided by the hope: The children will understand me. We have to learn from the past so that we can build a better future.

Yael Spier Cohen Holocaust Survivor & Educator

Are you an educator?

Learn more about how to use Childhood Interrupted in your classroom

The teacher resources for Childhood Interrupted include classroom ready lessons that both prepare students to learn about the Holocaust and extend their understanding of Yael’s experiences during the Holocaust. The first part includes previsit materials that engage students in an introductory lesson by building knowledge about the Holocaust and its connections to Canada. In the second part, students will visit the museum or explore the online exhibition for Childhood Interrupted. The museum visit features films, an interactive tablet tour, and a hands-on artifact activity. Post visit lessons are provided in the third part for use in the classroom where students will extend their learning by co-creating a timeline or co-curating a classroom museum. The Teacher Guide can be downloaded in both French and English for use with students. 

  • The classroom materials provided to engage students with Childhood Interrupted were created to introduce students in an age-appropriate way to the history of the Holocaust as outlined in the new learning in the grade 6 Social Studies curriculum.


    Below are tips for using the Childhood Interrupted resources with your students:


    • Create clear goals for engaging students in learning about the Holocaust. Review the Overall Learning Objectives outlined in our Teacher Resource Guide. Do you have additional goals for teaching about the Holocaust?
    • Review the grade 6 curriculum objectives with your students placing this learning in the context of Canadian experience and history, noting that you will be engaging with some topics about the Holocaust that are appropriate for grade 6 learners and more advanced topics will be covered when students are in high school.
    • Consider how your students may relate to the history. Some of your students may have a personal connection to the history of Holocaust, and for other students, this may be completely new learning. Approaching the material with sensitivity and nuance for meeting your students where they are and at the different levels of knowledge, understanding and personal meaning is an important consideration.
    • Recognizing that this is challenging history to learn about, and that students will be engaged in ways that are safe and that require maturity and critical thinking.
    • Pre-visit lessons are designed to prepare students for learning about the Holocaust.
      • This includes a PowerPoint presentation as an orientation to the topic, including important terms and vocabulary words
      • The orientation lesson introduces Jewish communities in Canada including important events, and people relating to Jewish Canadian history antisemitism and immigration.
    • The learning about Yael Spier Cohen’s experience during the Holocaust takes place in either through a Museum visit, or by exploring the online exhibition with your students.
    • Post-visit lessons are designed to extend knowledge from learning about the Holocaust to exploring Canadian identity and Canada’s history of human rights that have changed over time.

Introductory Film

Watch Childhood Interrupted: A Young Girl During the Holocaust, a specially curated film introducing students to the experiences of Yael Spier Cohen.

Supported by

With Assistance from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany Sponsored by the Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future Supported by the German Federal Ministry of Finance.