22 to 26 June 2016
During our special week the whole school community took part in a range of workshops, visits to places of worship and celebrations to learn more about our own faith and other religions.
Our Feast Day Celebrations for our school patron St Thomas More on the 22nd June began with Mass in Church. Children and staff worked together to tell the story of St Thomas More's life. During the day, children focused on a different part of St Thomas More's life. Everyone enjoyed pizza and chips at lunchtime. During the day, the children had the opportunity to participate in a Magical Workshop. This was greatly enjoyed by both the children and staff.
Our focus was on:
During Global Dimension Week the children in Reception enjoyed learning about the Hindu Festivals of Diwali and Holi. They acted out the story of Rama and Sita, made Diva Lamps and enjoyed looking closely at Rangoli Patterns. Everyone had great fun!
The Year 1 children learnt all about Eid during Global Dimension Week. Eid is a celebration in the Muslim faith. The children listened to the story of how and why Muslim's celebrate Eid. Eid comes at the end of Ramadan and is a very joyful occasion.
We were lucky enough to have Hadiya answer some questions about her faith and how she celebrates Eid with her family. We learnt lots of facts that we were able to use in our work.
Visiting Saint Giles on 23rd June was an enjoyable experience because we learnt about the similarities and differences between the church of Saint Thomas More and Saint Giles.
Alex who is the vicar met us there and she showed us around the outside of the church. We saw a hole from a canon ball, grooves from spears and most interesting of all we saw a leper's window.
When we went into the church we were all given the opportunity to ring the bells and Alex shared lots of information about the inside of the church. What an interesting visit.
On Tuesday 21st June 2016, Year 3 visited the largest Hindu temple in Europe, the Shri Venkateswara (Balaji). It was stunning; a real "Little India" in the heart of the West Midlands.
We were very fortunate to be shown around by a very knowledgeable lady called Joyti. Joyti explained the important Hindu principle of dharma, showing love to all. She told us about all the deities and the Hindu belief that god can be thought of in many ways. Balaji (Brahma) being worshipped as the creator god who Hindus see present in all living things.
We visited several shrines, witnessed a fire ritual and shared in the Puja (Hindu worship). Joyti said she was extremely impressed with the reverence the children showed throughout the prayer ritual, a true example of our mission to foster toleration and understanding of other faiths.
After eating, we were allowed to play in the play area and climb up the seven faith hills, which surround the temple site. A perfect end to a perfect day. It was a fabulous day and a chance to increase or knowledge and understanding. This visit helped foster respect, and was the highlight of our work exploring our global responsibilities.
Every year, at St Thomas More School we take part in Global Dimension Week. This year, on 21st June, Year 4 had the amazing opportunity to visit a Jewish place of worship, Solihull Synagogue, which is near to Olton Friary.
The children were all very excited and they really enjoyed the experience of being able to explore the Jewish traditions and artefacts. Unfortunately Mr Vine, who was due to guide us through the Synagogue had been taken poorly so two members of the Synagogue kindly agreed to teach us.
Inside the synagogues we were all able to sit together, this would not happen during a service because men and women have to sit apart. Our first encounter with this spectacular place was the main meeting room, here we saw some of the traditional artefacts which we had been learning about in class during the term, these included the Ark and the Torah Scroll, this particular scroll has an amazing history, it had been rescued from Warsaw in Poland during the Holocaust.
We were able to see the eternal light, the tablets of Moses telling the 10 Commandments, the Tallit with the tassels depicting each corner of the world and the Kippur worn by all men in the synagogue. Later, we were joined by the Rabbi's wife who told us all about Jewish school and some of the Jewish festivals.
It was an incredibly informative morning , thoroughly enjoyed by all. Thank you to everyone who volunteered to help with the trip.
During Global Dimension week, Year 5 have been learning about the Sikh faith. In order to further our understanding of the Sikh faith, we had the opportunity to visit the Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Sparkhill, Birmingham.
During our visit, the children were very respectful, covering their hair and removing their shoes before entering the prayer room. They asked insightful questions and listened attentively as the speaker explained different elements of the Sikh faith. He was very impressed by the children's knowledge and understanding of Sikhism. We had a wonderful morning!
On Monday June 20th, Year six travelled to the Islamic Exhibition, as it was Global Dimension week and our class were learning about Islam. When we arrived we were greeted by Safeena who took us upstairs. We could see that there were lots of exciting exhibits for us to look at.
After a brief introduction, we watched an interesting video, that was packed with lots of information about what we would learn while we were there. Next we set off to our first learning station - Faith and History.
In the Faith and History section we learnt about their God (Allah), we also learnt about the prophet Muhammad and his journey to Mecca. Then we visited the Five Pillars section where we learnt about the five pillars of Islam. These are five basic duties for people to follow. They are meant to help human beings feel a lifelong piety and devotion to Allah. These five pillars are as follows: Shahadah (faith), Salah (five daily prayers), Zakah (charity), Sawm (fasting during Ramadam), Hajj (Pilgrimage to Makkah).
After this we went to visit the Family Life section where we learnt about what Muslims are not allowed to do such as drink alcohol and gamble. We also learnt how Muslims have to show respect for their family and their neighbours, they also must have 100% respect and love for the animals and the environment.
Another exhibition we went to see explained about Islam and Science. Here we learnt about the famous Muslim scientists and one man called Ibn Fyrn who was the fist person to ever fly successfully.
After that we completed activities and whilst doing this we had an opportunity to ask any questions about the Islamic faith, then Safeena came round and wrote all our names in Arabic. Finally we got to complete an activity paper where we did a word search and then we had to answer questions on what we learnt.
We all enjoyed this special trip and learned many new facts about the Islamic faith.
by Jack and Aiden