A group of Portland House pre-school children travelled on the local bus to visit a Mosque as part of their learning about others and how they worship.
On arrival, the children took off their shoes before entering the Mosque and looking at the room where children come weekly to have lessons and study the Holy Quran.
We were shown the steps on which the speaker stands on Fridays to lead the prayers. Some of the children climbed up the steps and in turn, told their friends about things we should do to be kind to each other e.g. sharing or hugging someone if they are upset.
As the children looked around the Mosque, they were shown the washroom where everyone washes hands and feet to make themselves clean before coming to pray.
We talked about the hats worn on the head by men which are considered as smart dress. Two of the girls demonstrated the head scarves worn by women with help from the guide. He told us that Muslims come to the Mosque to pray five times a day and demonstrated to the children how they kneel down, facing towards Mecca with their head touching the floor. All the children then had a go practising the position for prayers.
The children held sets of prayer beads, whilst the guide told them that they were used by counting the beads and touching each with their fingers whilst praying.
They were introduced to a special kind of toothbrush made out of natural wood from a special tree. This is used to clean teeth within the Mosque, all part of the “ablution”, washing and cleansing. The guide mentioned that local dentists have commented how beneficial for healthy teeth cleaning with the natural wood is in comparison with a traditional toothbrush.
Samples of prayer beads and natural wood teeth cleaners, along with a picture of Mecca to colour in with each child’s name written in Arabic, were given to the children as gifts to take home.
It was an interesting and educational experience for the children taking part in the visit. They were excited and eager to tell their parents all about it that evening.