Parents talking to their children's principals, teachers and classmates in
public schools about Ramadan are of immense importance. By doing so, Muslim
children feel less awkward identifying themselves as Muslims, since someone in
an authority position has discussed what they believe what they do. As a
result, the children often feel more confident and secure.
Well, Muslim children need to feel the importance of their own celebrations and
holidays, especially since we are living in a non-Muslim environment where kids
don't see fancy lights and decorations, commercial hoopla or consistent
reminders of the "holiday season" during Ramadan.
And of course, talking to your child's class about Ramadan is a great way to
make Dawa to non-Muslim kids and Muslim kids as well, in particular those who
may come from non-practicing Muslim families.
There are a couple of tips to keep in mind when approaching the school or your
child's teachers about presenting, as well as for how you present the
information to the child's class.
01. Start early
Calling your child's teacher in the middle of Ramadan asking to do a
presentation on the topic is too late. Now, less than a month before Ramadan is
the best time to bring up the issue, especially considering Christmas is coming
up and holidays are on the minds of most people, teachers and students
Starting early also helps you think about and gather the right materials to make
a good presentation.
02. Get permission from your child's teacher
While parents do have a lot of clout in the school system, this does not allow
them to show up unexpectedly one day at their son or daughter's class to do a
presentation on Ramadan.
Send a letter giving a general indication that you want something done about
Ramadan. Then wait for the teacher to call. If he or she does not do so within
a week, call them and tell them you are following up on the letter you sent
03. Select the right period in which to do the presentation
Does your child study Social Studies? Or does he or she have a period once a
week for Moral and Religious education? If so, suggest to the teacher that you
would like to do the presentation during these periods. Or, you can of course
ask the teacher if he or she has ideas about which time would be best to come
in and do the presentation.
04. Be polite but firm
Speaking nicely to people is part of our Deen, including non-Muslims. We should
remember that the purpose of this exercise is to not just educate the students,
but the teachers as well. Being polite and courteous will not detract from your
desire to present. It will serve to build bridges and communication, and could
lead to further contact to do presentations on other Islam-related topics and
more teacher-parent cooperation in the future, Insha Allah.
05. Ask the teacher what areas to cover and how long it should
This helps to adjust your presentation to the age level of the students, as well
as connect it to what they are already learning. This doesn't mean you can't
bring in other information, but knowing what to cover from the teacher helps
you put down what has to be covered and from there you can develop more points
on these or related topics. Asking how long the presentation should be can also
help you decide how much you can include in your presentation.
06. Read, prepare, read, prepare
Now that you've gotten the permission, you don't just sit back and wait for the
night before the presentation to put it together.
Remember, if you want to appeal to the students, especially younger ones, you
are going to need more than just a talk. Visuals are a great help. You can get
a Ramadan banner picture of Muslims fasting, show part of a video aimed at
children about Ramadan (see Adam's World's Ramadan Mubarak video . To get the right material, you will have to find
out where to get it from, and ordering it might take a couple of weeks.
Preparing is important, even though you may have fasted all of your life and
think you know all about Ramadan. Get a children's Islamic book and read what
it says about Ramadan. Or an article written by a teenager about Ramadan. This
will also help you understand what points to emphasize in your presentation.
Reading up will also clarify any incorrect cultural norms that may have seeped
into the practice of Ramadan which you may not have been aware of. Talk to a
knowledgeable Muslim for advice as well.
07. Talk to your son or daughter about the presentation
Who would know better the mind set of the kids in the class than your son or
daughter? Consult them about what to include, what the kids like, what kind of
things they are interested in. Not only will this improve your presentation,
Insha Allah, but it will also make Ameena or Saeed feel important and more
confident as individuals, and as Muslims.
08. A few days before the presentation
Call the teacher to check the date and time of the schedule. This will serve to
remind him or her about your visit and prepare the class accordingly. It will
also help you get the exact time and date.
09. Write presentation points on note cards
Reading off papers about Ramadan will not hold the interest of many people,
young or old. Instead, writing brief notes on note cards that you can look at
so you don't miss any topic will help you avoid straying from the subject while
allowing you to make eye contact with your audience and maintain a
conversational style of presentation.
10. Practice your presentation in front of your son/daughter
Practicing helps you identify what can be improved, changed or omitted.
Practicing in front of Ameena will give you the opportunity to present before
one of the kids in the class who can really give you the best advice.
It will also help you time your presentation, so you can make it shorter or
11. Dress for success
This does not mean pulling out the Armani suit or the most expensive dress you
have. It just means looking as a Muslim should-clean, respectable, professional
and Islamically covered. Clothes don't always "make the man" but they do affect
others' perception of you.
12. Be early
Teachers and students are busy people. They have a certain curriculum to cover.
The fact that they've squeezed in your presentation is somewhat of a privilege.
Don't take advantage of this by wasting their time by coming late. And anyways,
Muslims should be on time as a principle.
Coming early can also help you set up your audio visual material.
13. Make Dua...
Before your presentation. Ask Allah to help you convey this message sincerely,
properly and clearly. And say Bismillah.
14. Speak calmly and clearly
It's important not to race through the presentation, nor to talk too slowly. A
clear, conversational style, but emphasis on the major points or terms you want
the students to understand can help convey the message properly.
15. When answering questions
If you don't know something, say so. Then check up on it and get back to the
teacher. Ask him or her to convey the response.
16. Thank Allah...
For this opportunity He blessed you with and your ability to go through with it.
17. Send a thank you note to the teacher and class...
Thanking them for their time and attention, as well as their cooperation.
Adopted from soundvision.com with slight modifications.