22 to 26 June 2015
Our special week started with our celebrations for our school feast day. During the rest of this 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 focus was on:
These are some of the comments of the children when they were asked what they enjoyed learning about different religions.
"I enjoyed Global Dimension Week because I can find out about other faiths and go to their places of worship."
"I like going on trips to their holy places."
"I enjoy learning about other religions because I can find out about what others believe in."
"I like visiting their places of prayer and learning new things."
"I enjoy learning about the festivals and traditions of other religions."
"Well, I enjoy finding out the rules that all faiths have to follow."
During Global Dimension Week we enjoyed learning about the Hindu Festival of Diwali. We acted out the story of Rama and Sita and made Diva Lamps. The children enjoyed looking closely at Rangoli Patterns and the designed their own using coloured sand. We talked about how to make them symmetrical. We had great fun!
The children in KS1 have been learning all about Hinduism and Judaism especially focusing on Holi and Hanukah. They made colourful paintings to celebrate the festival of Holi using bright colours and a splatter technique. The children role played the story of Rama and Sita, which is a Hindu story and made driedels and menorahs from the Jewish faith. They enjoyed visiting St Giles Church where they were able to compare the similarities and differences to our own.
On Friday 10th July 2015, 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 medical student called Rama. Rama demonstrated the important Hindu principle of dharma, showing love to all, by giving up his free time to explain aspects of Hindu faith and practice. He 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, shared in the Puja (Hindu worship) and finished with a meal, the prashad.
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 whilst fostering respect for those who practice other faiths. This was the highlight of our work exploring our part in the wider world.
This year, on 23rd June 2015, Year 4 had the amazing opportunity to visit a Jewish place of worship, Singers Hill Synagogue in Birmingham City Centre. The children were all very excited and they really enjoyed the experience of being able to explore the Jewish traditions and artefacts.
Inside the synagogues was truly breath-taking. Our first encounter with this spectacular place was the meeting room where we saw some of the traditional artefacts which we had been learning about in class during the term, these included the Ark, Torah and Mezuzah. This was followed by a tour of the temple where many of the children were able to try on some of the traditional Jewish clothing, such as the Tallit and the Kippur.
We were able to go up on the mezzanine balcony, this enabled us to have a full view of the Synagogue with it colourful windows, each one telling familiar stories. It was an incredible day, thoroughly enjoyed by all.
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 Wednesday 24th June 2015, Year 6 visited the Islamic Centre in Small Heath. Our trip was part of Global Dimension Week and we were learning more about the Islamic Faith.
First we were greeted by a friendly lady and she told us what we to expect during the visit. We watched a video about the centre and once the video was over, we were split into three groups.
We visited different sections where we learned something different about the Islamic Faith. In the Faith and History section, we recapped that Allah is their God, and we started learning about some of the main prophets. We were surprised to learn that many of there prophets were people common to our faith too – Moses, Abraham, Jesus and Noah. A necessary part of Islam is to believe in the prophets. Allah sent many prophets to remind people how to follow the right path. The Quran mentions 25 of these prophets. It was interesting to learn that every time a Muslim says a prophets name they say "Peace be upon him."
After this we moved on to the next section which told us all about Mosques. Mosques are buildings that are specially used for prayers which are held five times a day. We learned that the Prophet's Mosque at Madinah is one of the three most holy mosques. This mosque was originally built by the Prophet Muhammad during the 6th century. the other two most holy mosques are at Makkah and Jerusalem. We also got to see the model of Mecca, which is the most holy pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. In the centre there is a large black box, built by Abraham and it is the home of Allah. After this we found out about the five pillars of Islam. The names of them are: Shahadah, Salah, Zakah, Sawm and Hajj. Shahadah means that Allah is the One True God, and Muhammad is His messenger. Salah is to pray five times a day. Zakah is giving money to the poor and charity. You should give a way 2.5% of your earnings to make your money pure and you less guilty. Sawm is aimed at Ramadan. It means to fast in daylight hours. Finally Hajj means that if you can afford it, go to Mecca once in your lifetime. These all keep up your faith, like pillars support a building.
Next we visited the Family Life section where we were told about how important it is to look after your body and to avoid drugs, smoking cigarettes, consuming alcohol and gambling. We were given the chance to dress up in Islamic clothing which was great fun. The last section that we visited as a group was about their faith and science. Their faith connects strongly with science, as many Islam's created things like Algebra.
Finally we took part in the activities section. We were given a word search and some colouring to complete. We also had our names written in Arabic and we got to copy them. We got to ask questions about their faith although we didn't have too many because we had learned so much new information about their faith, all of which were answered. We returned to school with a certificate and some sweets that we were given. We were glad that we got the opportunity to visit the Islamic Exhibition as it helped us to know more about the Islamic faith.