Interfaith Explorers is a free, UNESCO supported, online learning resource designed to support the delivery of RE, PSHE and citizenship education in school, alongside effective SMSC development.
It helps pupils explore cultural diversity, understand and respect differences and embrace similarities. The Learning Unit at the heart of the Interfaith Explorers is designed to give teachers everything they need to plan a comprehensive programme of learning. It fulfills the need for a trustworthy bank of resources for pupils to explore different faiths and cultures in the world around them.
It’s also linked to other subjects aligned to the National Curriculum 2014, such as English, mathematics, computing, history and geography. That means that the materials can be used in a variety of religious and non-religious contexts as part of your pupil’s journey of intrigue, wonder and discovery about the world around them.
There’s guidance for teachers on how it can be used to support the development of core social skills that can help your pupils become confident individuals, successful learners and responsible citizens. Interfaith Explorers also provides pupils with a set of universal skills – underpinned by an ethical and moral compass, which promotes dialogue and harmony. With these skills, they can then better understand the world around them and engage with other young people regardless of particular faiths and beliefs.
Initially designed for Key Stage 2 pupils (Years 5 & 6) at primary school, teachers can easily adapt the materials for other pupil groups, and it can also be used with pupils making the transition to Key Stage 3. Consequently, we encourage teachers to adapt and enrich it according to their particular school contexts.
What’s great about the Interfaith Explorers resource is that it can be approached in a variety of ways and there are a number of entry points that teachers can use to help their pupils start their journey of discovery. For instance:
Video clips on the Home Page provide teachers and pupils with a general introduction to the resource;
Three Interfaith Explorers robots – Ci, Sul and Rul – who exemplify the characteristics that pupils can develop when using the resource are there to encourage pupils in their challenge to becoming successful Interfaith Explorers themselves;
A number of supporting video resources, which pupils can use to discover the similarities and differences between the three Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Once your pupils have undertaken the challenges you set them they can download Certificates of Recognition on the website.
Young people navigate very different cultural terrains than those inhabited by their parents and as 21st century citizens, embracing cultural diversity is recognised as a valued attribute. Demonstrating the ability to explore, understand and respect differences with others is an important skill, as is the ability to recognise and embrace similarities that all young people share.
Interfaith Explorers is a project of the Maimonides Interfaith Foundation (www.maimonides-foundation.org), an international charity, supported by UNESCO, which brings people together through art, culture and education.
Founded by UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Professor Nasser David Khalili the Foundation recognises that tensions existing in the world today are the result of ignorance and lack of understanding. If ignorance is the problem, then education must be the answer.