The beginning of this term was very busy. This year started with our Cultural Week. It was a big success and the children learnt a lot about different beliefs and values. On our trip to Exeter, we were welcomed first at Exeter Synagogue by Tony, who showed us into their worship space which was a small room with wooden benches. Rather than the service being held at the front, there was a raised area in the middle of the room where services are held. Jewish boys and men wear a small cap inside the synagogue (called a Yarmulke) and prayer shawl (called a tallit) to show respect. We were very lucky to be shown the Torah Scrolls which were very regal and impressive – they are hundreds of years old and hand written on goat skins in Hebrew.
Next, we visited to Belmont Chapel where they hold lots of activities open to anyone in the community. They showed us their very big worship room with a stage and baptism pool which looked like a mini swimming pool. They very kindly let us have our lunch there.
We went to the Mosque and we were met and welcomed by the Imam, Ahmed. He took us into the Mosque and we showed our respect by taking off our shoes. The girls covered their hair with a scarf. We were shown the wash rooms and men's prayer room. This was a very large room with an incredibly thick red carpet which was like velvet. The children loved the feel between their toes! We were allowed to watch the afternoon prayer session before the Imam gave us a talk.
On the Friday, we had a morning lesson from Ravi who came into school and spoke about Hinduism. He set up a shrine in the classroom and had all the children enraptured; even the reception children wanted to join in the dancing to traditional Punjabi music! All in all, we had a very informative week.