Let’s cut to the chase, - Islamic weekend school is truly a necessity for the healthy development of Islamic self-identity for Muslim youth who do not live in Muslim majority population countries. Muslim youth need to equip themselves with Islamic knowledge that they can put into practice and strengthen their community connectedness so they don’t feel like the “other” in society.
Most weekend schools coincide with the academic school year and are typically in the Islamic center or Masjid. Some of these initiatives use a formal weekend school curriculum purchased from an organization, while others tailor a curriculum based on the knowledge and experience of the staff involved. It is always recommended that if a weekend school is near your home, that you take advantage of this service for your and our Muslim children.
Remember, even though Islamic weekend schools have a lot to offer, you have a lot “to give” as well. If you think about what you can give rather than just what you can get, the Islamic weekend school experience will be more enriching and beneficial for all.
If you are a Weekend School Administrator – give your best:
- Be clear on the objectives of the weekend school and acknowledge your capacity level.
- Budget and keep the costs reasonable so that the community has an opportunity to take advantage of this service. The weekend school is not a fundraiser for the Masjid/Islamic center.
- Choose a curriculum that is age- and grade-appropriate
- Choose and TRAIN teachers and volunteers that are “good with children” and understand the curriculum. Note: Drop-in volunteers disrupt the learning process and continuity of information.
- Respect the time of teachers, parents, and students.
- Be professional and inclusive – you should know the different races and ethnic groups that attend your school.
- Be open to suggestions.
- Consider multiple platforms for students to participate with.
If you are a Teacher – give your best:
- Seek professional development – get some training on how to teach, make lesson plans, understand pacing guides, control the classroom, provide discipline.
- Teach age-appropriate material and pace the information so it can be absorbed by the students.
- Teach – don’t expect students to know the material. Likewise, don’t kill the spirit of a knowledgeable student by holding them back or feeling that you need to correct or add to their input.
- Arrive on time and ready to teach.
- Commit your time – don’t volunteer to teach if you really don’t have the time or resources to give your all and be professional.
- Be fair with students - don't play favorites and respect that these are the children of your friends and Muslim brothers and sisters.
- Be flexible.
- Engage and include all of the Muslim students in your classroom, being careful to note shy students, new students, or students outside of your ethnic or national origin.
- Never offer disparaging remarks about students, parents, or staff.
If you are a Parent – give your best:
- Compensate the school for providing this service.
- Bring and pick up your children on time.
- Don't complain - instead volunteer to help where you notice a deficiency.
- If you have the resources, help clean, provide snacks, organize activities, etc.
- Never speak ill about the school or argue with the staff in front of your children.
- Don’t disrupt the learning process by hanging around the school socializing and making noise during class time.
- Be enthusiastic about the school in front of your children.
- Attend and support school functions and any parent teacher meetings.
- Respond with the best Adab (etiquette) and respect any teacher or administrator’s concerns about your child.
- Don’t use Islamic weekend school as a way to discipline or punish your children.
- Be an active part of the weekend school’s Muslim Parent Teacher association. If your school does not have one, start one.
- Recognize the teachers and administration for their efforts at the beginning, throughout, and at the end of the term.
If you are a student attendee – give and be your best self:
- Come with a good attitude and prepared to engage and be engaged – after all, the information taught reinforces and defines you as a Muslim.
- Respect the staff, students, and property of the school.
- Enjoy the camaraderie with other Muslim students and make new friends outside of your tribe, ethnic group, country, etc.
- Leave off bullying, backbiting, lying, fighting, gossiping or forming cliques. You are all Muslim students here – one Ummah.
- If you are a teen or maturing, respect the Adab (etiquette) of male and female interaction.
- If you feel you are too old to attend, then discuss with your parents and consider volunteering to help or transitioning over to an adult Halaqa (Islamic study circle) or Taleem (education).
- Clean up after yourself.
- Think and speak well of the school to your siblings and friends.
If you a member of the Muslim Community where there is an Islamic weekend school:
- Donate or volunteer to provide food or services.
- Respect the times allocated for school and do not make plans to use the area simultaneously.
- Recommend the school, especially to those not attending.
- Assist the administration with staffing if you have knowledge of someone who can provide professional development, janitorial services, or other services.
- Speak encouraging words to the students who attend the weekend school.
- Support weekend school fundraisers.
- Attend weekend school events – this nurtures our youth.
- Appreciate the efforts to teach Quran, Quranic Arabic, Islamic Fiqh (jurisprudence) and/or Islamic history to our youth.
And all of us should make Dua that Allah, in His Mercy, blesses the Islamic weekend school to be beneficial and successful.