Medeia Cohan from Hats of Faith discusses her motivations behind the project, and how it is helping to educate and prepare young children and their parents for our culturally diverse modern world.
The world feels more complicated and challenging to navigate than ever before in our lifetime. As parents and educators, we have a growing responsibility to arm our children with accurate and objective information early in their lives to help them develop the tools to navigate the world around them.
When I set out to write Hats of Faith, it wasn’t because I’m a passionate follower of a particular faith (I’m not), nor do I cover my head. Neither was I looking to evangelise this practice. I was looking to give my son an early familiarity with different faith-based customs and a vocabulary to help him understand the things he sees in his everyday life. I wanted to do what I could to ensure that he would grow to become an open-minded, global citizen.
The truth is that I’m not really a children’s author. I have a day job and a family to care for. But when I couldn’t find a single book that tackled this subject in a focused, accessible, mainstream and most of all factually accurate way, I made it my duty to rectify the situation.
We live in a world where faith and race groups are being persecuted and targeted at an alarming rate. I believe that this behaviour is indicative of people who are fearful because they have a limited understanding of groups and practices that are not their own.
My aim with Hats of Faith was to create an educational tool for parents and educators alike to use to start an important dialogue about interfaith issues with the curious minds in their lives. I wanted to help young people gain an early familiarity with people who cover their heads because of their commitment to their faith, in the hope that they will grow into adults who have respect for people of different beliefs.
Everything from the words to the depictions in this book was approved by experts from each faith. We consulted with faith leaders, professors of theology and curators of religious dress from around the world to ensure that the information we included was as accurate as possible. We included phonetic pronunciations to help readers overcome challenging words and get the terminology right. And when that was all done, we set to work on building fun, helpful support materials to form the basis of our FREE downloadable interfaith education kit (available on our website hatsoffaith.com). The kit includes additional information, as well as fun educational activities to make it easy to include Hats of Faith in classroom or homeschool plans.
This year we’ve been lucky enough to receive grant funding from the amazing people at the Penny Appeal to develop a UK wide FREE workshop tour delivering our brand new Hats of Faith educational workshops in classrooms across the country.
We also continue to work with educators across the globe to collect and develop lesson plans built around the book in hopes that they’ll inspire other educators to use them, build on them or make their own.
Bringing this book to life and developing the adjoining teaching tools has become a passion project for myself and the team at Hats of Faith. We are driven by the amazing stories we hear from parents and the brilliant conversations we engage in with wonderfully open-minded young people all around the world.
We know that it’s a great responsibility to disperse knowledge to future generations, so we are working hard to provide you with easy to use, accurate tools to make your job a little bit easier. I hope you enjoy them too.
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