The Feast is not often found working with primary school pupils, but we recently took part in an enrichment day at two Oasis Academies in Birmingham with children in Years 3-6. In both schools, we had a great time with some really nice kids.
One of The Feast’s Guidelines for Dialogue states that we will talk about our similarities as well as our differences, and that is exactly what we did. We played some games, we did some artwork and we practiced sharing our opinions with one another.
The best thing about talking about complicated issues with children is that, seen through their eyes, issues tend to crystallize into something much simpler and much more real. My favourite moment was the 8-year-old boy who answered my question about why we should talk about differences as well as similarities with: “Because otherwise we can’t be who we really are.” Adults could learn a lot by asking children to show them the way they view the world.
Besides complimenting them for their good work, one teacher complimented her class for their kindness to and acceptance of one another. In a school with pupils from many different faith backgrounds, this is important. It is a model for how to interact successfully with people of other faiths in the classroom, on the playground, in their homes and in their communities. The earlier we can engage children in discussing their differences, the more successful they’ll be.