The Children of Abraham

The Children of Abraham
for religious and cultural co-existence

We prepare educational programmes for all school-levels in close collaboration with libraries, schools and preschools. The present programmes are Common Roots (Comparative Religion), From Alfie Atkins to Fiodor Dostojevskij (implements the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child), KiM (Integration Project for the 21st Century) and Friends (an Empathy Programme for Pre-School Children).

The IE-Method
(Identification Leads to Empathy)

The method has originally been developed from theories within Social Psychology and Psychology of Religion. The students assume roles and enter the stories from the Bible, from Jewish and Islamic legends and from other literature. The IE-Method opens up the common cultural heritage to students from different cultural backgrounds. They acquire knowledge about themselves as well as others. This helps to enhance mutual respect. At the same time the students develop their linguistic skills and their ability to find words for subtle feelings. Their vocabulary is enriched and diversified. This is as valid for students born in Sweden as for those born in other countries.

It is essential that the work yields lasting results. The students write and draw. The teachers take photos and help to compile the students’ work. Photos of students working are important! The students love to study and admire the result of their work.

 
Common Roots

Abraham/Ibrahim is a figurehead in three religions. According to tradition he lived before Judaism, Christianity and Islam. His and his family’s adventures convey intense narrative zest to students on all levels. The love story between his son Isaac and the young girl Rebecca – a girl from the old country – still moves our hearts. Abraham’s grandson Joseph is a central figure in Biblical tradition. He also has a surah of his own in the Koran.

Mose/Musa is another common figurehead in the three religions. So are the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon.

Jesus – the centre of Christianity – is an important prophet in Islam and is mentioned several times in the Koran.

From Alfie Atkins to Fiodor Dostojevskij –
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child through literature

Teachers and librarians compile a selection of books, one way or the other related to the most important articles in The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The students are then encouraged to enter the minds of the characters and continue the story. Imaginary diaries and letters are popular genres.

Everybody – regardless of age and maturity level – starts with Gunilla Bergström’s books about Alfie Atkins. In these books you will find many basic questions concerning human conditions.

From Alfie Atkins the students go on to other literary experiences. All of us do not end up with Dostojevskij, but there are many other books, where young readers can find answers to their questions – and not the least important – the actual questions. The key to success in this work is to deal with the characters in the books as real people. (The adults involved must abandon their literary spectacles.) Experience shows that apparently simple texts serve as an excellent basis for profound discussions about existential problems.


KiM – Integration Programme for the 21st Century
(Tailor-made on request)

KiM is a complement to already existing joint ventures between museums and schools. The aim is to create models for students to learn about the many different cultures existing side by side in today’s Europe. Every student – no matter how young – is a contributor to the future of mankind. Since people of different ethnic and social origin now live together in a way they never did before, it is important to create a common cultural forum.

One way of creating a base for mutual understanding is to let young people share a common knowledge of history and art. The keyword is identification. Through identification students as well as teachers reach insights far beyond their original frame of reference. Identification exercises – in writing, drawing and drama – are also excellent in enabling the students to remember facts.


Linguistic Development and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Friends

This programme is especially prepared for the youngest students and children with special needs. A family of Friends consists of a number of toy animals, and a few dolls of different ethnic origins. The aim of the programme is to make even very young children aware of their own identity and help them build selfconfidence. Each child is given special attention in an interview about his/her relationship with the Special Friend.

The Clever Fox

This reading project forms the basis for working with our CRC-programmes later on. The keywords are Read, Write, Paint and Dramatize.

Already in first grade the children go to the library once a month and listen to book presentations. On these occasions the librarians help them to choose books suited for their individual reading skills. These books will be acted out in front of the librarians at the next visit to the library. The children also write about their reading experiences and thoughts, sometimes together and sometimes individually.

The Abraham Book Collection

is part of the Rinkeby Library. It contains literature in Swedish, English and French about the world religions. The books can be borrowed free of charge from all Swedish libraries.

The Abraham Collection of Artefacts

contains religious artefacts from six world religions. Boxes with these items and their field of application can be borrowed by teachers who want to make their education more concrete.

The Global Village Lecture

The Global Village Lecture – given once a year in Stockholm – has conflict solving as a comprehensive theme.

For further information please contact:

Elisabet Mattizon Armgard
Project Manager
The Children of Abraham
Sigtunastiftelsen

Manfred Björkquists allé 4
Box 57
S – 193 22 Sigtuna
Sweden

Phone: +46 (0)8-592 589 98
E-mail: elisabet.mattizon-armgard@sigtunastiftelsen.se