Laleham Gap School very much works on the ethos that learning should happen where it is most meaningful. So alongside classroom learning often the ‘classroom’ or learning environment can be outside, or offsite with school trips.
This week Mr Ursell and Mr Parkin, who teach Year 9 lessons called Learning to Learn, took a group of pupils to the Margate Mosque. It was all part of their SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, social and Cultural Education. As Mr Ursell explained “The great thing about offsite learning like this is seeing the connections the children make and listening to the great questions they were asking.”
The Imam showed the group around, covering all the fundamentals they would need to know. They got to see where Mosque goers could perform Wudu, their pre-prayer cleansing routine. When the Imam told them he had been in to prepare for first prayer at 2.45am (having been still finishing at the Mosque at 11.30pm the night before) they did begin to understand a lot more about prayer.
Mr. Parkin, who is 14+ Lead at the school, explained: “We teach them all they need to know in school, but coming here and seeing a Minbar, or seeing a Qu’ran being read from right to left, for instance, really compliments and consolidates that.”
The Imam made a point of complimenting the children not just on their great behaviour but also on the great questions they asked.
Mr Ursell, who has organised previous trips to the Mosque was very grateful for the hospitality the Mosque and the Imam had shown “as always.” When the pupils stopped for a break they immediately gave all the pupils a juice and even some chocolates. Alongside finding it a useful learning experience it was also fun for the pupils.
The trip to the Mosque is part of wider SMSC education, where the children discuss broadly religious, spiritual, moral and social practices and beliefs.