Children in your class may belong to any one of several major or minor religions, or they may espouse none. "Understanding" and "respect" are the key words for any visit to areligious or spiritual site. Here are Ted Wragg's tips for a harmonious visit.
* Know your own environment first. Do children recognise the religious buildings in their own religion - church, synagogue, mosque, temple - or do they just walk by them, unaware of their significance?
* Ensure, in advance, that children understand the nature of the religion they are studying: the history, beliefs, prophets, events, music, taboos, conventions, style of worship, festivals, celebrations. Discuss the basis of the belies and how they show themselves (buildings, books, calendar events, celebrations and festivals).
* Use a world map to see where people of different religions actually live. So why is the religious site located where it is: Close to a community? Committed benefactor? Historical reasons?
* Get the class to prepare intelligent questions. They should impress local guides with their knowledge, not offend them with their ignorance.
* Children must show respect (for example behave well, dress accordingly, follow conventions).
* After the visit compare the beliefs encountered with those of other religious and spiritual groups. What are the similarities and differences?