Seventh graders across Bloomfield Hills Schools study ancient history from the beginning of time to around the year 0 CE in their Social Studies curriculum. Throughout this global history, many major world religions were developed. Being able to understand key concepts in major religions of the world helps our student body to become more broadly developed citizens and helps them foster multiple IB learner profile traits, including being open-minded, reflective, balanced, and principled thinkers.
Students learn about the three Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), as well as several Eastern religions (Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism). Thanks to the diverse community in which we live, the seventh grade students in all three middle schools experience two full-day field trips in the spring to learn about world religions firsthand at Kirk in the Hills, Temple Israel, Sikh Gurdwara, and the Muslim Unity Center. Students experience being inside these places of worship and learning from their leaders. The seventh grade Social Studies teachers across BHS coordinate these valuable field trips for our student body.
Among the many reflective comments shared by students, here are a few examples of how seventh graders felt about their learning from the world religion visits:
- “It’s good to know what to say in a conversation with someone with different beliefs than your own. You get to learn what other people do in their place of worship,” says Zeke McGlinchey.
- “It helps you be open minded about other people,” offers Sophia Stearns.
- “It gives you a chance to learn about religions you might not learn about outside of school,” explains Abbi Herskovic.
- “You can learn more about what your friends believe in, which helps you understand and support them,” says Hana Hatab.
- “You can learn what type of holidays they celebrate and support them on those celebrations,” comments Italo Johnson.
- “You learn about their lifestyle. For instance, I didn’t know Muslims pray five times a day,” says Christian Santangelo.
Studying religion invites students to think in a more interdisciplinary way about their world and their place in it. The students enjoy learning about each other’s religious backgrounds and realize the commonalities and differences among world religions.