6 days ago
We celebrate art at AFA! Last night's 3rd Annual Art Night featured: *Beautiful artwork from this year's preschool to 8th grade students *Interactive art worskshop stations *Yearly Texture Town which creates community with students and staff contributing a piece of the whole ("Hospital for All") *Interactive photo area inspired by "Obliteration Room" by the Yayoi Kusama exhibit (place a color dot on white canvas) *the highly anticipated AFA coloring book on sale (includes line drawing by each student in K-8)- get yours today! Students' original works ranged from studies of impressionist art by Monet to modern expressions in vibrant colors by Georgia O'Keefe. Van Gogh's sunflowers and detailed pointilism pieces excited and awed us all. Each art form helps build specific skills and appreciation. Through art we practice lessons in patience, perseverance, imagination, collaboration and observation while nurturing a love of creating beauty in the world around us. We are grateful for our Art Department lead Nadia Elkhatib for her vision and diligence in bringing all this together for students!
AFA Annual ART NIGHT is tomorrow! Look for the Secret Garden, interactive photo booth, 2018 Texture Town and an array of student created work. Coloring books are here with each KG-8th grade student's line drawing contribution - make sure you purchase your copy! 5-7:00 pm Saturday!
We're still compiling great shots from our annual Book Character Day... But here's a preview from "The Day the Crayons Quit!" to "Black Panther" and others in between! Some book lovers wrote their own books and dressed up as characters in those stories! AFA loves to read and tell stories!
Enjoy the snow day! And hear this perfect advice from our favorite parenting expert/cosmologist Neil Tyson deGrasse. Children don't make messes - they conduct experiments - so please let them be scientists at home! (and model for them excellence in cleaning up skills)
March Madness at AFA! Battle of the Books version! Brackets are filled by students for best written/illustrated books. One board for Elementary and one for Middle School and every book gets read before voting. We're building up towards Character Day this Thursday and Books Alive in April! Zooom in to see the diversity of literature represented in the battle!
Pi-Day is celebrated on March 14th (3/14) around the world every year! AFA's after-school Mathcount students celebrated over the weekend by playing interactive math games with their friends & families while enjoying pie, of course! Pi-Day celebration also marked the end of Mathcounts season for this academic year. Students were awarded certificates and special sweatshirts. In February, AFA Mathcount students competed in a chapter competition and did an excellent job in their mathematical performance. The highest scoring student from AFA was Ammar! Congratulations! Our school is blessed to have 2 volunteer dads who have dedicated many years to coaching our Mathcount students. Thank you Br. Rahiq and Br. Mirza for leading our future mathematicians.
AFA students walked out in solidarity with young people across the nation at 10am this morning. Silent walk and prayers for those affected by violence and for those working to make change. We proudly support and encourage our students taking initiative and calling everyone to action! PC Nadia El-Khatib
International Women's Day @AFA! 6th Grader Rahmah spoke to students about why we celebrate women in our lives and in the world and ended with "Men of quality believe in equality!" Students handcrafted purple ribbons for everyone to wear!
How to talk to your children about being Muslim
Muslim American parents face the frightening prospect of their children confronting harassment at school, or being questioned about their faith. Studies have found that Muslim youth face bullying at twice the rate of their peers. Last week, U.S. Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch encouraged parents to contact the Department of Education and the Department of Justice if their children are threatened. Below, Afeefa Syeed, an educator and parent based in the Washington, D.C., area, shares some guidelines she developed for her community.
It's toughest for the young ones who look at pictures of the bad guys and say, "But Mama, he looks like me."
Our American Muslim children are growing up in a world of warped lunacy that takes what they know about a beloved prophet or God and turns it into reasons for anguish. And the frustrations are even greater when young ones watch the news or are witness to confrontations that end with their asking, “Daddy, why does that man say I’m going to hell?”
As Muslim parents and teachers, we feel a heaviness in our hearts about the world and because of this hopelessness and helplessness, we are stripped of the superpowers usually assigned to us in those little eyes. Nevertheless, our children are an amana, a trust for us to keep safe while we have them in our care. Being present with them and understanding their feelings is the heart of parenting in this complex and difficult time.
In order to be conscientious and responsive parents, American Muslims might think of the following elements that are becoming part of our new normal:
Deal with our own emotions
As parents, we are sad, angry, confused, frustrated. It is important to acknowledge these emotions and empathize with one another so we can respond to the needs of our children. Even without knowing what we know, children pick up cues from our behavior and emotional state to then be in a state of disorientation themselves.
Actively listen to our children
Parents need to learn what their children know and feel. Some kids may have snippets of information, others are essentially clueless. Be present and be aware so your children feel connected when they do ask questions. Create opportunities for check-ins as a family to ask how they feel, what their day has been like with specific questions about friends, teachers and relationships.
Talk about what it is to be Muslim, and let them ask questions
Instead of only focusing on “that’s not who we are,” use this as an opportunity to reinforce and reclaim who we are as Muslims. Whether it’s in the family or a Muslim school like ours, we need to create environments where they feel comfortable asking questions, and sharing doubts and concerns. It’s really a series of teachable moments -- “Let’s talk about what [prophet Muhammad] did when he had disagreements.” “How does the Koran tell us we are supposed to treat each other?”
It comes down to taking tools from the faith to counter how it is being misused. We can use the power of prayer and fasting, knowing that God is the source of peace, protection and love to counter the hate, violence and insecurity swarming around us. When children see parents model their faith as a way to be stronger than what surrounds them, their sense of belonging to something greater than themselves reassures them.
Find the positive, be the change
These are trying times to be sure, but we have to point out to our children where there is goodness in the world, regardless of nationality, religion or background. Parents can model random acts of kindness for children to bolster how we can contribute goodness to the world. Get to know neighbors, clean up streets, participate in interfaith activities to truly exemplify the undeniable identity we share as Americans who are integral threads in the fabric of our country.
Afeefa Syeed, a cultural anthropologist, is founder and head of school of Al Fatih Academy, a school with a curriculum based on peace and civic education and integrated learning. She has served as a senior advisor at the U.S. Agency for International Development and as a scholar consultant for the Carter Center, as a research associate with Cambridge University’s Institute on Religion and International Studies, and as a senior fellow and an advisory council member for the Institute for Global Engagement’s Center for Women, Faith & Leadership. Additional tips on talking with American Muslim children about current events can be found here.
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