St Thomas More Catholic

Primary School

Christ is the centre of our School community, where we live, love and learn together

Global Dimension Week

23 to 27 June 2014

During 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:

  • Knowing that other faith communities have significant celebrations and a variety of forms of prayer.
  • The Christian values which inform love of neighbour and oneself shows ways in which care for others is important for other faith communities.
  • That other faith communities have codes of behaviour based on their beliefs.
  • That other faith communities have writings which are sacred to them.

In Foundation and Key Stage 1 the focus was:

  • Reception and Year 1 – Exploring a Catholic Church – St Thomas More.
  • Year 2 – Exploring a Christian Place of Worship. The children went to St Giles Church and compared it to our own Church St Thomas More.

During this week the children in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 also learnt about festivals celebrated by other faith communities. Some of the festivals the children learnt about included: Divali, Holi and Hanukah.

In Key Stage 2 each year group focused on a different religion:

  • Year 3 - Hinduism – The children enjoyed their visit to the Shri Venkateswara Temple.
  • Year 4 - Judaism - The children enjoyed their visit to Singer's Hill Synagogue.
  • Year 5 - Sikhism – The children enjoyed their visit to Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Birmingham.
  • Year 6 - Islam – The children enjoyed their visit to the Islamic Experience Exhibition, Small Heath Birmingham.


Early Years Foundation Stage

During Global Dimension week we enjoyed learning about the Hindu festivals of Divali and Holi.

We enjoyed taking part in lots of fun activities from making their own divas, barfi sweets and Rangoli patterns to celebrate Divali. The children enjoyed the colourful activities to celebrate Holi from throwing powder paints, making colourful gloop and making lots of colourful pictures.

Everyone had lots of fun working together and sharing their ideas to celebrate these festivals.

Key Stage 1

The children in KS1 have been learning all about Hinduism and Judaism. We were especially focusing on celebrations from these religions. Holi and Hanukah are special celebrations from these faiths.

We 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. We made Diva lamps which are put in windows during Diwali. We collaged paper plates and made them bright and colourful using glitter. They looked fantastic!

Year 3

On Tuesday 24th June 2014, 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 shown around by a lovely Indian gentleman, who explained how he lived his life according to the rule of dharma, showing love to all. He told us about all the deities and the Hindu belief that god can be thought of in many ways. Brahma is the creator god who Hindus see in every living thing.

We visited several shrines, shared in the Puja (Hindu worship) and finished with a meal, the prashad. After eating we were allowed to play in the play area surrounded by the seven faith hills. A perfect end to a perfect day.

It was a lovely day and a chance to support our learning whilst developing respect for those who practice other faiths. This was the highlight of a great week exploring our global links.

Year 4

As part of Global Dimension week Year 4 had the wonderful opportunity on the 25th June to visit the Jewish place of worship, a synagogue. They were very excited and really enjoyed experiencing the some Jewish traditions.

Firstly Year 4 went into the meeting room where they could see some of the traditional artefacts they had been learning about such as the Ark, Torah and Mezuzah.

We then had a tour of the temple and even tried on some traditional Jewish clothing including the Tallit and the Kippur.

This was a very special day which was enjoyed by all who went.

Year 5

Year 5 have been learning about the Sikh faith as part of Global Dimension Week.

In order to further our understanding of the Sikh faith, we had the opportunity to visit the Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Birmingham on the 25th June. Whilst we were there, we were given a very warm welcome and learnt lots about the Sikh faith. We were also able to sample traditional Langar (Sikh food) - which was delicious!

The children were very respectful and enthusiastic, and we had a wonderful day.

Year 6

On Wednesday 25th June 2014, Year 6 visited the Islamic Centre in Small Heath.

We started off the day on the coach. We saw many sights, as well as people of different cultures, walking along on a normal day. But it wasn't for us! No, we were taking the coach to a place of religious education. The reason for this 'expedition' was because it was Global Dimension Week (meaning that we learn about another religion). As we reached the door, we were greeted by a kind lady who told us to sit down and watch a video about the centre. Once the video was over, we were split into two groups (Year 6M and Year 6MB).

We started off in the Faith and History section, where we recapped that Allah is their God, and we started learning about some of the main prophets. Many of them were people from our faith too– Moses, Abraham, Jesus and Noah. The prophets are very precious to their faith, as after they say a prophets name, they say, "Peace be upon them." But one of the prophets we were told about was Muhammad, a prophet which isn't mentioned in our faith. He is known to be the last prophet to come to Earth (except from Jesus, who they also believe will come at the end of time). He tried to get the people of Mecca (in Saudi Arabia) to stop worshipping idols and to remember that Allah is the One True God. He was very Holy and had a very big adventure to convert them back to God. He talked to God through the Archangel Gabriel. We also got to see the ninety-nine names of Allah.

Next we moved on to the Mosque section, where we got to see the pilgrimage known to belong to the prophets. 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. The following part was the section about the five pillars. 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.

Family Life followed. We were told that in their faith they need to protect their body and don't take drugs, smoke cigarettes, consume alcohol or gamble. We were told all about the rights people have in their faith and at the end, we got to dress up in Islamic clothing. The last section that we visited as a group was about their faith and science. Their faith agrees strongly with science, as many Islams created things like Algebra. We were also told how in the Holy book, the Quran informs us of how honey is good to put on cuts or bruises.

Last but not least was activities. We had our names written in Arabic and we got to copy them. Next we were given a booklet with a word search, which we loved filling in. We got to ask questions about their faith, all of which were answered. Then to finish off, we were given sweets! We all waved goodbye as we got back on the coach and headed home.

I loved this trip and would definitely go again. I would rate it 10/10 and advice everybody of all ages to go there. It was one of the best trips I've been on and we got very involved in finding out more about their religion.

by Luke