A group of Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows School District English Language Learners (ELL) teachers and their students have put together a video explaining their personal experiences observing Ramadan and Eid.
Teachers Sukhdeep Birdi, Kawaldeep Ghuman, Moona Tyers, and Harjit Chauhan reached out to families to learn more about their traditions. Parents and guardians responded with stories and photos of traditional food, clothing, and festive decor, which students shared in a video project.
“By recognizing and discussing cultural diversity within our classrooms, students feel welcomed,” said Harjit Chauhan, a teacher at Fairview Elementary. “It fosters positive self-identify, and peers gain further understanding of each other.
Students from Albion, Harry Hooge, Hammond, and Fairview elementaries used the video project as an opportunity to share what Ramadan and Eid means to them. They explained the significance of the celebration in the hopes of building more awareness of diverse cultures within their school community.
“For millions of Muslims across the world, Ramadan is a very important time of the year,” said Aahil, a student at Albion Elementary. “[Ramadan] is celebrated in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It begins on the first sighting of the crescent moon.”
“Ramadan is a month of good deeds, a month of charity, a new beginning for almost all Muslims,” Bahar, another student added. “It is a time for reflection with your family and community.”
Sukhdeep Birdi, an ELL teacher at Albion Elementary, said many of the students celebrating Ramadan answered questions from their classmates in a school-wide assembly.
“There was a high level of engagement and curiosity from the students and staff and for many it was their first-time hearing about Ramadan and Eid,” she said.
Moona Tyers, a teacher from Hammond Elementary, said this is the first time she has shared some of her personal experiences of Ramadan with her students.
“It is my sincerest hope that my students also felt this, and judging from their engagement and excitement, I believe they did,” she said. “As educators, we want to create safe spaces, so students can be who they truly are. As a child, I was a minority and did not feel comfortable sharing about my culture with my school. It is gratifying to live in a time, and work in a field, where kids can not only share, but do so with great enthusiasm.”