2 days ago
Is your child missing a jacket or sweater? There are several items in the Lost & Found. Please stop by the office if your child is missing any items. On Friday, December 15th we will have all the Lost & Found items displayed in the Main Floor Multipurpose Room. Parents are welcome to come into the school building to look for lost items. All unclaimed items will be donated over the winter break.
3 days ago
AIKIDO FOR ADULTS with Sensei Yousuf Mehter Join us this Sunday, December 10th from 9:30 - 10:30 for a FREE Introductory Class @ AFA RSVP by emailing email@example.com Regular classes will begin in January! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opel6-49NTc
Yesterday we hosted a joint leadership meeting for DMV area Muslim schools to discuss how to create and maintain support services for our students and families. This is the start of a regional platform to share best practices, resources and ideas to benefit all our children. Stay on the lookout for more collaborations and activities across our schools and communities!
On Friday, AFA Preschool and PreK program hosted our first ever *STEM Ready Family Night*! Last school year, AFA Early Childhood Program Teachers participated in an intensive 9-week certification program focused on getting teachers and students “STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Ready” in the classroom. Because of our teachers' exceptional participation in the STEM Ready Certificate Program, and our continued work with Fairfax Office for Children, AFA Early Childhood Program was one of only 5 centers in Fairfax chosen to host a STEM night - sponsored by Fairfax Futures and Cox Charities - to showcase how our teachers inspire curiosity and explore STEM using hands on activities and scaffolded, open ended questions. Each student was gifted with a backpack full of exploration tools to take home to keep that curiosity growing! We've got makers and builders at AFA!
5th Graders hosted a Grand Tea for their grandparents on Friday! As part of their unit on personal narratives/storytelling, and practicing manners of hosting and respecting elders, students welcomed grandparents and heard about moments from their lives- some of which had never been told before! One grandfather shared about his first time on an escalator and how he didn't want to get off. Another about what it felt like to be called grandmother for the first time. And a grandmother told the story of how she followed her intuition and helped someone lost find her way. They shared advice including how they learned to not be self centered, how to try your best even when it's very hard, and what it's like to be somewhere very new and far from people you know. We are grateful this month to learn from our elders and grow with their love for us.
We kicked off this month of practicing shukr/gratefulness with 3rd graders making 120 sandwiches today for Reston Embry Rucker shelter! Students hosted a market day to raise funds to purchase supplies and then assemble bagged lunches for our neighbors at the shelter. We are grateful that we can give to others! Alhamd wa shukr Allah!
Thursday, November 2nd will be an AFA Day sponsored by the Al Fatih Academy Student Government Association (SGA)! The theme for the AFA Day is “Autumn Colors/Celebrating Fall”! Students may dress in fall colors or in AFA spirit 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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