Ramadan is the Arabic name for the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. It’s called Ramazan in Urdu. Ramadan is considered one of the holiest months for Muslims and is marked by 30 days of fasting by billions of Muslims around the world. Fasting is considered one of the five pillars of Islam. If you wish to share the joy and spirit of Ramadan, here are some tips and resources for sharing about Ramadan in school and/or your child’s classroom.
[Also on the blog: CELEBRATING EID IN THE CLASSROOM]
1. The Spirit of the Activity
The most important aspect of sharing about Ramadan in school or the classroom is to realize the spirit of the activity. Discuss with your child what your goals will be: raise positive awareness about Ramadan, foster a sense of community by highlighting similarities and celebrating pride in our Muslim identities.
If your school has a non-religious environment, talk more about the cultural aspects of Eid and keep religion out.
2. Scope of Celebrating Ramadan in School
Will you be sharing awareness about Ramadan in school at a school-wide level or just in your child’s classroom?
If you’re thinking school-wide, talk to the Principal at your child’s school. Communicate your objectives and work with them within their resources. Volunteer taking on the activity to make it easier for them. The school parent council is another great place to start.
Also talk to the Principal that older Muslim students might be fasting and it would be great if teachers are aware of this. I found the document below online, which is a great way to share about Ramadan:
3. RaMadan Corner
If you decided on a school-wide scope you can set up a Ramadan corner with information about the month to celebrate Ramadan in school. Below is what a few mothers did at Zeynab and Hussein’s school:
I love a countdown calendar. Make sure someone takes the responsibility of moving the countdown marker everyday. Linked here is a blog post with lots of resources to setup a Ramadan corner.
Make sure you add lots of informative worksheets and printouts for children to take home. Linking a blog post here with free Ramadan printables for children.
4. Planning a Classroom Session
If you decide to do a classroom session for Ramadan in school design a clear plan of what you will do and how long will it take of the classroom time. Here are some ideas:
- Wearing traditional Muslim/cultural clothes (both you and your child)
- Reading a Ramadan book
- An age-appropriate Ramadan craft/activity
- Maybe Ramadan treat bags for the children
3. Communication: Talking to the Teacher
Clear communication is a very important part for a successful celebration of Ramadan in school. After you have designed a plan, talk to your child’s teacher about your interest to have a Ramadan information session in the classroom. Be sure to talk about the benefits this activity will have for the classroom such as developing an understanding of different cultures, celebrate diversity and learn something new!
Don’t add to the teacher’s work load. Since this is a volunteer activity, take care of everything yourself.
Be respectful of school rules. Do not bring any food since most schools have a policy that special permission is required if any food is shared (that just increases workload for teachers, so skip it). No dates, no candy, no food at all!
Discuss a date and time that works for the teacher and be specific with how long the activity will take.
4. Books to Read
It’s a great idea to read a book about Ramadan so that the children can learn something new. Pick a book with colourful images and make sure you read in an engaging and interactive way. Make eye contact with the children and ask them questions.
Here are some of our favourite books: It’s Ramadan Curious George, Ilyas & Duck and the Fantastic Festival of Eid, Hamza and Aliya Share the Ramadan Cheer by Kisa Kids, and Ramadan The Holy Month of Fasting by Ausma Zehanat Khan among many more!
Be sure the book is age appropriate. Also check your local library to find great books about Ramadan for kids.
5. Activities for Ramadan in the Classroom
Choose an age-appropriate activity for children to capture the essence of Ramadan. Sharing some ideas here.
You can make paper lanterns that we adapted from the free download Ramadan activity book available on Homely Hammock (page 4 and 5). You will need black and white printouts of page 4 and 5, crayons, scissors, glue and a battery operated tealight for every child. This activity will take around 20 minutes. The children can adapt this based on their age-group and be as creative as they wish!
You can also make greeting cards that the children can give either on Eid or another festival they celebrate.
7. Ramadan Goodie Bags
Every celebration for children needs some goodie bags! Don’t put any food in the goodie bags including candy or dates. This is because schools have special permissions and policy about food for children. You can put little non-food treats in the bags including stickers, erasers, crayons, chalk etc.
8. Lessons from Ramadan
Do a recap of the lessons from Ramadan when you wrap up the activity including patience, empathy and self-discipline.
Hope you enjoyed these tips and have a great time celebrating Ramadan in school and in the classroom for your child!