Last year more than 1,800 children came to the Synagogue in a total of 67 school or educational visits.
Through the work of the School Visits Team, our Synagogue fulfils the role of an educational resource to the outside world. It does this by playing host to children and their teachers drawn from all over South London and the southern Home Counties providing them with a basic understanding of Jewish religious worship.
Although we are called the School Visits team we also host visits by scout and guide groups, university students and adult groups such as police personnel and members of other faith groups.
In a typical year more than 1,800 children and around 200 teachers and parents and other adults come to the Synagogue in a total of more than 60 school or other visits. Members of the team also visit several schools each year to support RE teaching about Judaism.
Each visit lasts about an hour and a half. A typical visit would almost always include a general introduction to the synagogue and to Jewish belief and practice, undressing and dressing a Sefer Torah (Torah scroll), and a demonstration of how Shabbat is celebrated in a Jewish home. We encourage visitors to engage in activities, such as helping to undress and redress a scroll, as well as to ask questions.
The team try to match the visit to the age and expectations of the visitors. We host visits for children from educational Key Stage 2 (ie from age 7) to 6th form and beyond (please note – we only start at year 3 as it really doesn’t work well with children from year 2 and under) and adapt the content and presentation of each visit to suit the age requirements of the group.
The School Visits Team and the Council feel these visits to the Synagogue are amongst the most important work the community does. They introduce children and accompanying adults to “living Judaism”, helping to break down fear and prejudice by fostering understanding and good relations with that part of the non-Jewish world the Synagogue can reach.
To support this work, we have created a Teachers’ Resources page which can be found on the side menu of the Schools visit page
If you are already planning a visit please review our Pre-Visit Information for Schools sheet. You can download a PDF copy by clicking here (School visits) and saving it to your computer or device.