Local Group News Board

Juliet Lyal led the NATRE local group meeting, in March, hosted by Jo Clifford at her Junior school in St Albans. The group enjoyed networking together, present on the day were, 14 teachers plus the St Albans Diocesan RE Adviser, Ryan Parker (who has himself just launched a new NATRE affiliated local group up in Bedford). The group also welcomed Insya Abdulhussein from the RE Today and NATRE office who is one of the team supporting NATRE affiliated groups. After 15 mins of looking at the NATRE website and the new local group area, ‘RE in your Region’, Juliet held a mini raffle; one lucky winner won a bag of RE goodies whilst another won a free assembly on Hinduism from another Hindu organisation*

For this meeting Juliet invited her Herts SACRE colleague, Tulsi Seva Dasi from Iskcon Educational Services based at the Bhaktivedanta manor, Bushey. Tulsi came to talk to the group about teaching Hinduism. The group found her thoughts, ideas and insights as a Hindu extremely interesting and helpful.

Tulsi explained diversity within Hinduism and how complicated it can appear to many people. The fact that there isn’t one answer to what people believe or what kind of traditions they follow, that there might not be a straightforward way to teach Hinduism was an important reminder to the teachers in the room. Tulsi offered many suggestions for different topics and how they can be taught. The topics she covered in the meeting included:

  • Hindu Gods – the variations in belief, the main deities, the Trimurti, the lesser or demi gods and the importance of the gods.
  • Worship - the different meanings and forms.
  • The different aspects of creation – this included giving a gift to each attendee which was a book called ‘Creation: A Story from Ancient India’ retold by Rasamandala Das.
  • Meditation – specifically silent meditation and how teachers might approach this in their RE teaching.
  • Music and dance – how it came about to spread stories of the Hindu gods.
  • Festivals – The many festivals Hindus can and do celebrate: Find out more via the Hindu Festival Calendar
  • Holy books and Sacred texts – the many Hindu sacred texts in particular the Bhagavad-gita

Iskcon Educational services organises and welcomes classroom visits to their temple as well as offering assemblies and workshops in schools on Hinduism. To find out more, please visit their website or email them.

The SARETT teachers have been invited to the temple for their final meeting of the school year on June 17, 4–6pm. Email Juliet Lyal if you’d like to join in.

*Hinduism Education Services

Next SARETT meeting: 30 April 2019

Focus: Christianity, a taster workshop from ‘Barnabas in Schools’

Ideas for your local group meeting:

  • Invite a faith visitor to speak to your group or visit a place of worship
  • Discuss a useful resource linked to your meeting focus
  • Try having a raffle – it’s a fun way to give away RE goodies!

Tulsi giving a presentation on Hinduism