The cornerstone of the education for students at New Horizon School Westside is the formation of their Islamic faith. The focus of the Religious Studies curriculum is to familiarize the students with the Islamic beliefs and practices, and to enhance their understanding of the practical dimension of their faith. The approach we use is designed to kindle a love for God and an appreciation of the Prophetic example. To accomplish this, students get daily instruction in three basic areas: Islamic Studies, Qur’anic Studies and the Arabic Language. The curriculum is provided by the Bureau of Islamic and Arabic Education (BIAE).
The (BIAE) has developed a textbook series for elementary Islamic Studies. The curriculum is built around a series of value-based themes, and incorporates age-appropriate learning materials and activities. As students progress from one grade level to the other, they learn how to practice the basic rituals of worship, Ibadat, and the Articles of Faith. They learn important parts of the life of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) and recognize his significance to Muslims and the world. They learn about the lives of other prophets and analyze their stories for important lessons. Students are also introduced to Islamic History and Civilization, and learn about Muslims in the contemporary world. The Qur’anic studies program consists of the study, memorization, recitation, and reading of the Qur’an, and emphasizes the understanding of the Qur’an which will serve as guidance in the lives of students.
VALUE-BASED CHARACTER EDUCATION
New Horizon School Westside bases its teachings on the universal, moral values of Islam. Our basic Islamic values are emphasized across our curriculum, in Religious Studies classes, and during school assemblies and events. There are ten monthly values that make up the core of our character education program. Our students are encouraged to apply these values in the classroom, on the playground, in sports competitions, on field trips and in the community.
An important part of student life at New Horizon Westside is community outreach and real-life applications of faith. Our students are actively involved in annual events such as Feeding the Homeless, Big Sunday on campus, and Ramadan Food and Toy Drive. Every Friday, Kindergarten through Fifth grade students have the opportunity to participate in Jum’a prayer and listen to a sermon by an invited guest (Khatib). Periodically, the school organizes a field trip to the local mosque so the students can participate in group prayers and stay in touch with the community.
Each year, near the time of Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca), students at New Horizon School Westside participate in a Hajj Simulation event. Our campus is set up with props to simulate and resemble a Hajj experience and all students from Preschool through Fifth grade partake in the event.
The Hajj Simulation occurs as a culmination of an intensive, grade-level relative, study of the Hajj. Students complete the various rituals of Hajj, in the equalizing white garments of the Ihram, often in solidarity with the few-million pilgrims in Mecca at the time. From the instruction and event experience, students learn about the critical values demonstrated in the pilgrimage: sacrifice, commitment and perseverance.
New Horizon School Westside teaches Arabic as a foreign language. The program covers the four modalities of language: listening, speaking, reading, and writing in a progressive manner. The program also integrates Islamic culture in a way that further encourages the student’s interest in the Arabic language.