St Thomas More Catholic

Primary School

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

Global Dimension Week

21 to 25 June 2010

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 One the focus was:

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

During this week the children in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One 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 Two each year group focused on a different religion:

  • Year 3 - Hinduism – The children enjoyed their visit to the Shree Hindu 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.

Foundation Stage

As part of our Global Dimension Week we enjoyed learning all about the festivals of Divali and Holi. The children had the opportunity to take part in Bollywood dancing which they enjoyed. They also retold the story of Divali using puppets and artefacts.  When exploring the festival of Holi the children had the opportunity to experiment with lots of different colours by mixing  and painting. They produced some beautiful colourful work.  

Key Stage One

Key Stage One really enjoyed Global Dimension Week in St. Thomas More. As part of learning about other beliefs in Christianity, Year 2 visited St. Giles' Church, a local Church of England place of worship.

In school children celebrated Holi, painting pictures and tasting traditional foods from the Hindi festival of colour. Bollywood dance class was one of the main highlights of the week. All of the children had great fun dressing up and learning some new tricky dance moves!

A Year 2 child reflected on her experience of Bollywood dancing in her Literacy work below:

Bollywood Dance

Today I did Bollywood dancing. A lady taught our class fun Bollywood dancing moves. Bollywood is a famous type of musical film. They make a thousand films every year. They speak Hindi in the films.

These are the moves: Spread fingers, Close fingers, Tuck thumbs in,Twist hands inwards.

We wore scarves around our waist. It was really great doing Bollywood dancing!

By Holly (Year 2).


Year 3

During Global Dimension week Year 3 visited the Shree Laxmi Narayan Mandir ( a Hindu temple.) Mr Chauhan, a leader in the temple, explained that the duty of Hindus is to lead holy lives. He showed us statues of different forms of Om and demonstrated the form of chant, used in Hindu meditative prayer. We had the opportunity to share a service in which diva lamps were lit, incense burned and food was offered to the goddess Laxmi. It was a beautiful celebration.

To support our visit we had shared Hindu stories and researched and drawn Hindu symbols. We even had an Indian banquet, thanks to one of our parents.

We had a fabulous week sharing and learning about another culture.

Year 4 visit a Synagogue

As part of Global Dimension week year 4 are studying the Jewish faith. On Monday year 4 visited an orthodox Jewish synagogue in Birmingham city centre. We had the opportunity to look at the children's prayer room as well as the adult's prayer room and we discussed the different roles men, women and children have within the Jewish faith. We were amazed that the Jewish service is held on a Saturday and can last up to 4 hours.

We all had the opportunity to wear a Kippah and a Tallitt in the synagogue and we learnt about some of the 613 laws that Jewish people are asked to follow. During a Jewish service the Rabbi or another male member of the congregation read from the Torah Scrolls and these are kept in the Arc which is marked by the Everlasting Light.

The Torah scrolls are beautifully decorated with gold or silver breast plates and were much bigger than we expected. We all had a lovely day and enjoyed learning about the Jewish way of life and Jewish worship.

On Thursday a local Jewish man came in and told us all about his life as a Jewish man in our society in Birmingham – he told us lots of interesting information about the Jewish food laws including once a Jew has eaten a meat meal they then have to wait about 3 hours before eating any dairy produce. They also have separate cutlery for meat and non meat products.

We had to opportunity to try different Kosher food including unleavened bread and Kosher Haribos!

Year 5 learn about the Sikh Faith

We visited the Nishkam Sewak Jatha Gurdwara in Handsworth where we found out about the Sikh religion and experienced the generosity and hospitality of the Sikh faith. As a sign of respect, on our arrival we covered our heads and removed our shoes and then our guide shared lots of interesting facts and stories about the Sikh faith with us.

After, we entered the main prayer hall and listened to the word of the Guru Granth Sahib. At lunchtime we shared langar, which included a delicious vegetarian curry, chapatti and a drink.

During the week we also found out about how Guru Nanak started the religion, their beliefs, the five symbols of the Sikh faith and what they represent as well as their festivals.

Year 6

During Global Dimension Week, in Year 6 our learning focused on the Islamic faith. As well as using books and the internet to research the faith we were very fortunate to be visited by Year 6 pupils from Shaw Hill Primary School. The pupils gave a short presentation about their beliefs, celebrations and how their faith affects their everyday life.

Following the presentation, the Shaw Hill pupils answered some of our questions and then we shared some refreshments together. This gave us the opportunity to get to know one another and within a few minutes, pupils from both schools persuaded their teachers to allow an extra break so that the boys could play football together. The girls used to the time to continue their conversations - the end of year production and school trips proved to be popular topics of conversation.

It was such an enjoyable morning, that our visiting pupils wanted to stay. After a little persuasion it was agreed by staff from both schools that Shaw Hill pupils could stay until lunch time and help us with our work. Some of the work we completed together is now on display in our school.

Thank you Year 6 at Shaw Hill!

Later in the week, both Year 6 classes went on a visit to the Islamic Experience exhibition in Small Heath. We had a fantastic time learning about the Islamic faith and had the opportunity to:

  • Write our names in Arabic
  • Dress up in traditional Muslim clothing
  • Look at models of Mosques and how they were laid out

We learnt so much about the Islamic faith and the leaders at the exhibition complemented our teachers on our excellent behaviour and detailed knowledge and understanding. They were very impressed with us and some of the thoughtful questions we asked. The parents who accompanied us on this visit thought it was a fantastic opportunity for both the children and themselves since they had never had such opportunities to learn about other faiths when they were younger. One of parents stated 'This is great! I think all parents should experience this.'

During Global Dimension week, we have been able to participate in a variety of different experiences.

The photos below show us dressing up in traditional Muslim costume and learning about the Islamic Faith at the Islamic Experience Exhibition.