We offer a wide selection of workshops at the Open Centre from a variety of different faiths and cultures. We firmly believe that one of the best ways to encourage understanding and diversity is through hands on experience.
All of our workshops are led by trained staff and have an emphasis on fun and interactivity whilst retaining the important message behind them.
We are happy to tailor any of the workshops to your needs and can deliver activities either at the Open Centre or at your own preferred venue. Many schools now are combining workshops to hold a ‘faith day’, if this is something you are interested in, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we can put together a recommended programme of events.
If there is a workshop you would like that is not listed below, please contact us and we may be able to arrange something to meet your criteria.
Here is a list of our current workshops;
|Islamic Based Workshops
• Islamic Prayer (KS2)
• Haj (KS2)
• Islamic Festivals
• Arabic Badge Making/Calligraphy
Judaism Based Workshops
• Jewish Festivals
• Synagogue Experience
• Tu B’shvat
• Jewish Marriage
• Hebrew Badge Making
• Jewish Story Telling
• Jewish Music
• Jewish Food Tasting
• Exploration of the Torah
• B’nei Mitzvah (KS2)
|Sikhi Based Workshops
• Sikh Experience
Hinduism Based Workshops
• Hindu Clay Divas
• Hindu Pilgrimage (KS2)
Buddhism Based Workshops
• Tibetan Prayer Flags
• Wesak Lanterns
Cultural Based Workshops
• Asian Marriage
• Asian Cookery
• Asian Food Tasting
• Cultural Dress
• African Block Printing
• Life After Death
• Tour of Normanton
Most of our workshops involve the children participating in at least three different activities. Many of these will have something that the children can take away with them (e.g. photo opportunities, personal experiences, henna tattoos etc). We also differentiate our workshops, depending on the group’s age or we can further tailor them to accommodate multiple age groups.
Below is a description and some photographs of what to expect with one of our fantastic workshops. Most workshops are around one hour long unless otherwise stated. Please also note the maximum number of children recommended for that workshop.
Islamic Prayer (up to 40 children)
With Salat/Salah (Prayer) being one of the five pillars of Islam, this workshop provides a fantastic opportunity to explore prayer within the faith. Children will have the opportunity to explore clothing used in prayer, prayer objects and artefacts. They will also explore the meaning and actions behind performing Wudu (ritual wash). Younger children will have the opportunity to design their own prayer mat whilst older children will explore reasons why people may pray and will find out more about the different Surahs in Islam.
Haj (up to 40 children)
The Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca (Haj) is an incredibly special journey for Muslims to embark upon. In our Haj workshop children learn about all the stages of the pilgrimage including, flights, food, prayer, artefacts and people. All of our staff that deliver the Haj workshop have in depth knowledge of the pilgrimage and many can give a first-hand experience of this life changing journey for Muslims around the world.
Islamic Festivals (up to 40 children)
Who doesn't love a celebration? In this exciting workshop children will have the opportunity to dress up in traditional clothing, taste some of the foods that may be served during these special times and create their own decorations that they could display in their classrooms. Younger children will learn more about Eid ul Fitr, Eid ul Adha and Ramadan, whilst older children will explore Eid, Ramadan and Muharram (New Year). Our staff will also be able to share their own experiences of these celebrations, giving the workshops that personal touch. *Food Allergy information required prior to the workshop.
Ramadan (up to 40 children)
A specifically designed workshop to explore the holiest month in the Islamic year. Children will learn all about fasting and hear first hand experiences from Muslims who fast. All children will have the chance to dress up in some traditional clothing. Children will also hear a story about Ramadan and reflect on its message. Younger children will practise their Arabic skills and create their own Ramadan cards, whilst older children will think about good deeds to make a 'good deed' calendar that can be used when back at school.
Arabic Calligraphy/Arabic Badge Making (up to 35 children)
This workshop immerses the children in the world of Arabic calligraphy. Prior to the children attending the workshop we will ask for a list of the children’s first names, then one of our workshop leaders will write on card in Arabic their name ready for the children to start. At the beginning of the workshop children will hear about calligraphy and talk about the different letters of the alphabet in Arabic. Afterwards children will be given the opportunity to practise writing their names, saying the alphabet in Arabic resulting in either them decorating a name card or name badge which they can take home with them.
Jewish festivals (up to 40 children)
This workshop provides an overview of Jewish festivals of your choice making it a good way to introduce a unit of learning. Learn about the Hebrew calendar and then move through a carousel of three activities focussing on festivals of your choice e.g., Passover, Hanukkah and Rosh Hashanah. *Food allergy information required prior to the workshop.
Synagogue Experience (up to 40 children) 1 hour 15 minutes minimum required
Bring a Synagogue to your school! A large classroom or hall will be laid out like a traditional synagogue, and children will begin by learning the key features of the building. Older children will look at both Orthodox and Progressive lay outs. The children will then move around a carousel of activities chosen from these options: Looking at a Torah scroll, tasting Challah and grape juice, trying on Tallit and Kippah, a continuum discussion (KS2), and Hebrew letter play dough activity (Younger children). *Food allergy information required prior to the workshop. This workshop needs three adult helpers in addition to our staff member.
Tu B’shvat (up to 40 children) - KS2
Explore the Jewish New Year for Trees. This early spring festival is celebrated with a Seder meal and helps Jews to reflect on environmental issues. Children will learn the story behind the festival, taste the tastes of the Seder, and reflect on environmental issues. *Food allergy information required prior to the workshop.
Jewish Marriage (up to 40 children)
Across all cultures, weddings are an important time for families to come together and celebrate. It is therefore unsurprising that the occasion is filled with tradition and custom. In the workshop we compare Jewish traditions with weddings that the children have been to, highlighting similarities and differences. Your children will get the chance to learn about food, clothes, guests, music, ceremony, whilst role-playing the marriage of two children. Children will get to look at different artefacts used with boys having the opportunity to wear Kippot (Jewish head covering). They will also get the chance to learn a typical song that would be sung during a Jewish marriage ceremony.
Hebrew Badge Making (up to 40 children)
Find out more about the fascinating language of Hebrew and its importance in Jewish tradition. As part of this unique experience, participants will rehearse the letter sounds and use different methods to practise writing in Hebrew. This workshop includes the opportunity to write and decorate your own name in Hebrew with support from one of our experts and finishes with the creation of your very own badge with your Hebrew name and design displayed for all to see.
Jewish Story Telling (up to 40 children)
Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of entertainment in the world, and is a great way of exploring the history, traditions, and customs of a different culture. Using simple drama techniques, we will help the children explore a story of your choice. We recommend festival stories such as those behind Purim and Hanukkah.
Explore different aspects of how music is used in Jewish life, including trying to blow the Shofar, learning a Hora (dance), and singing a simple Hebrew Shabbat song. Children and teachers love dancing the Hora, so this workshop needs lots of space, such as a hall.
Jewish Food Tasting (up to 35 children)
Children will learn the rules of Kashrut before tasting some of traditional Ashkenazi (Central and Eastern European) foods such as bagels, honey cake and falafel. Please check when booking if it will be suitable for children with particular food allergies as we can then amend the recipes.
Passover/Pesach (up to 35 children) - KS2
Our Passover workshop focusses on the Seder meal, which was designed by the Rabbis of old as the ultimate learning experience. Children learn the story of the Exodus, taste the tastes of the Seder meal including Matzah, Charoset and more, and will play a Seder game. This workshop works best with KS2 as their grasp of symbolism is better, however we can adapt this to be a sensory lesson for KS1 (Please check when booking if it will be suitable for children with particular food allergies as we can then amend the recipes) Early booking is recommended for this session so all food can be freshly prepared and unusual ingredients can be acquired in plenty of time.
Shabbat (up to 40 children)
Shabbat is the highlight of the Jewish week. This workshop focuses on the meaning of Shabbat, the artefacts used, and the tastes and smells of the day. Beginning with the story of creation, children learn about the Friday night meal, and conclude with Havdalah. *Food allergy information required prior to the workshop.
Jewish Cookery (Up to 30 children) - KS1
Children will be able to experience Jewish food by first tasting some of the traditional foods they have such as; bagels, honey cake and falafel. Children will then create a pastry item which relates to the festival of Purim to eat afterwards. *Food allergy information required prior to the workshop.
Exploration of the Torah (up to 30 children)
Explore the importance of the Torah in Jewish tradition. Students will learn how the Torah shapes Jewish life before examining a scroll up close, making Hebrew letters from play dough, playing Hebrew letter snap, and making their own mini scroll. The children will be writing their names in Hebrew so please send a list of the first names to the office well in advance so that they can be translated.
B’nei Mitzvah (KS2)
Explore the Jewish rite of passage of Bar and Bat Mizvah and Bat Chayil. Children will begin by finding out about the Bat Mitzvah’s celebrated by the Sacker family who feature in the Our Heritage mobile exhibition. Children will then progress through a carousel of activities looking at the Sefer Torah, Tallit and Kippah, and an investigative activity.
Vaisakhi (up to 40 children)
This exciting workshop explores one of the most well known Sikh festivals. In this session children will get to hear about the story of Vaisakhi, explore the 5 Ks, learn more about the purpose of the Nishan Sahib as well as making some beautiful decorations that could then be displayed at their own school.
Sikh Experience (up to 40 children) 1 hour 15 minutes minimum required
The Sikh Gurdwara is one of the central parts of a Sikh person's life. A visit to the Gurdwara is always popular with groups but when you can't visit the Gurdwara, we can bring the Gurdwara to you. In this fascinating workshop, learn all about the Gurdwara, brush up on your turban tying skills and taste the delicious home prepared curry - just like you were visiting the Langar Hall! *Food allergy information required prior to the workshop.
Hindu Clay Divas (Up to 30 children)
The Hindu festival of Diwali celebrates new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. One way in which many people across world choose to celebrate the festival is to decorate their homes with lamps and candles, often known as ‘divas’. Our workshop gives children the opportunity to make and decorate their own clay divas, as well as learn about this exciting and colourful festival.
Hindu Pilgrimage (up to 35 children) - KS2
In this session children will learn all about the special journeys many Hindu people aspire to make. What better way to learn about these journeys than from someone who has experienced them first hand?
Tibetan Prayer Flags (up to 30 children)
Tibetan Buddhists make beautiful sets of prayer flags that are caught on the wind, sending positive wishes throughout their communities. After looking at the symbolism of these unique artefacts, groups will produce their own string of flags containing positive wishes to be shared with your school community.
Wesak Lanterns (up to 30 children)
Explore the Buddhist festival of Wesak with a presentation and engaging craft activity. The children will make their own lanterns and explore Buddhist symbolism.
Meditation (up to 40 children)
This workshop introduces the Buddhist practice of meditation with some short secular mindfulness meditation, leading to producing some group art. Children will explore the well-being aspects of this practice and it contains no religious content.
Asian Marriage Workshops (Up to 40 children)
Across all cultures, weddings are an important time for families to come together and celebrate. It is therefore unsurprising that the occasion is filled with tradition and custom. In our marriage workshop we compare the (often) familiar traditions of a Western wedding, with that of an Asian wedding. Throughout the workshop, your children will get the chance to learn about food, clothes, guests, music and the ceremony, which culminates in the marriage of two children. During the ‘wedding’ ceremony all children will have the opportunity to try on a range of different outfits (Asian marriage workshops only).
Mehndi Patterns (Part of the Asian Marriage Workshop - Please obtain parental consent for this prior to visit)
For thousands of years mehndi, and the beautiful patterns it is used to create, has formed an important part of the cultural rituals and ceremonies throughout South Asia. Our mehndi activity offers a chance to learn about the significance of mehndi in South Asian culture, and to have a mehndi pattern of your own on your hands.
Asian Cookery (Up to 30 children)
Our cookery workshop is a great chance to try your hand at Asian cookery, making Puri (Fried Chapattis) with delicious chick pea curry (Contains: vegetable or sunflower oil, onions, tomatoes, chickpeas, spice mix, coriander and tomato puree). Our recipe has been passed down through the generations and bears little resemblance to any curry you might order at a takeaway restaurant! As well as hands on experience, there is also information provided about the different diets that South Asian communities have, and the special occasions when they might eat certain foods. (Please check when booking if it will be suitable for children with particular food allergies as we may be able to amend the recipe).
Asian Food Tasting (Up to 40 children)
For children who would like a taste of Asian cuisine then this workshop is for you. Children will get to try a variety of delicious, traditional foods such as; Bombay Mix, Mishree (Sugar Crystals), Makhaney (Sugar balls), Sakar Para (Sweet Pastry), Jeera Para (Salted pastry), Tea Rusk (Bread), Saunf (Sugar coated fennel) and Cake Rusk (Shortbread) as well as delicious fruit like Jackfruit, Lychees and Guava. In addition to this, children will learn all about the Asian diet. (Please check when booking if it will be suitable for children with particular food allergies as we may be able to amend the foods).
Cultural Dress (up to 40 children)
A fantastic opportunity to dress up in lots of different cultural clothing. Explore the bejewelled salwar kameezes, sarees and embroidered jubbahs that are part of traditional dress in the South lands of Asia. Along with the different head dresses people may wear including topis, hijabs and turbans. Learn about which religious communities may wear these items and why. This session provides a fantastic opportunity to take a group photo or selfie that can be shared with others after! After all who doesn't love dressing up?
African Block Printing (Up to 30 children)
This is a great ‘hands on’ and practical workshop, allowing all participants to express their creative side. As well as learning about how people in parts of Africa used to communicate through symbols and shapes there will be a chance to practise these symbols through using a range of methods. The final product will be a beautifully and brightly coloured piece of material decorated using a range of block printed shapes and symbols. Perfect for brightening up any room!
Exploring Questions about Life After Death (up to 30 children) - KS2
Questions about what happens after death are particularly challenging. This workshop, designed for upper KS2, explores the responses of Humanism, the Abrahamic faiths (with emphasis on Christianity and Islam), and Hindu traditions. Children will use silent debate, a discussion exercise, and Mokhsa Chitram, commonly known as ‘Snakes and Ladders’ these complex perspectives. Please let us know in advance if any children have experienced a loss and are grieving.
Tour of Normanton - Orienteering Activity (up to 40 children)
If your group have not visited all our places of worship during their time at the Open Centre or want to learn more about our local area - this activity is best for you! The children will be split into smaller groups and will each be given an Orienteering sheet. They will then be guided by one of our staff members around the area where children will have the opportunity to tick off things they have seen on the way, ask questions and see who has the keenest eye sight to spot everything on their sheet. *Please note we do not enter any place of worship during this activity so it is not a substitute for a faith trail.
Keep an eye on our workshop list, as we are constantly looking at ways in which we can extend the experiences children and our visitors have through the Open Centre.