“No child is born to hate. We are born as human beings first; religion is given to us at birth”
– Professor Sir Nasser D Khalili
Tensions existing in the world today are largely the result of ignorance and lack of understanding. If ignorance is the problem, then education must be the answer. With this premise, the Maimonides Interfaith Initiative launched Interfaith Explorers – a free, UNESCO supported, online learning resource designed to support the delivery of RE, PSHE and citizenship education in schools, alongside effective SMSC development.
The programme 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 is 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 is 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 dia- logue 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.
The Interfaith Explorers resource 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: