The Muslim Council of Britain has produced for sale a large box call it a crate of resources for primary schools. The Islamic resource packs are designed to facilitate the teaching of Islam, to 511s, alongside the teaching of other world religions.
Resource packs are made up of books, artefacts, CDs, videos and tailor-made teaching aids for primary children. The resource packs cover basic Muslim beliefs and practices, through some engaging and interactive class and small group projects. Resources for secondary schools are also being prepared.
The books and other resources have been tested in several schools in Stockport and other Local Councils, where the local Muslim community provided funds to make the boxes available to primary schools.
Iqbal Sacranie, former Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: 'We believe education is the key to creating a vibrant and understanding society. These resources, developed by our team of educationalists, aim to overcome the barriers to the teaching of Islam experienced by so many of our teachers, by making available creative, engaging and child-friendly resources on Islam and Muslims.'
REtoday's review and evaluation of the resources showed that the project folders offer good quality and easily accessible background information for teachers. Some of the ideas in the folders show positive ways of using other items in the box. The folders show links to QCA model schemes of work. While there are more 'learning about' religion opportunities than 'learning from' religion opportunities in the pack, ideas in the folders could support part of many RE Agreed Syllabuses in Key Stage 2.
The box contains a selection of mainly good quality books which would be useful to have in the primary classroom. Some of them are particularly good such as `The Meat Eating Vegetarian', which sensitively deals with issues in a child-friendly way and The Colour of Home which shows the experiences of a child from Somalia. Other books in the pack are written in a way that would enable them to be used in literacy if more copies were purchased. A few of the books are less useful for primary classrooms, but teachers might benefit from, for example, `Islam: Beliefs and Teaching'.
The rest of the box is made up of a selection of artefacts, posters, model kits, a video and a CD. The artefacts are a useful selection, although many schools either have these already in their artefact boxes or could borrow the artefact collections from an RE or multicultural centre. The posters and model kits are informative but some posters are not really suitable for use in the primary classroom. The video is ideal to use in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. The CD is excellent and removes some of the stereotypes that are held about Muslim beliefs about music. The CD contains a series of recitations and Nasheeds (Islamic spiritual songs) which are referred to in the project folders.
We think the MCB is to be congratulated on making this comprehensive resource box available. At £250, it's expensive, but a school with that sum to spend on one religion would get an authentic insider's collection of materials, not always an easy thing to do. The challenge then would be to get the teaching team to use it confidently.
For further information regarding `Books for Schools', please call Farrukh Hassan on 020 7492 4984 or click the link provided.