School team honoured for their care for Sikh pupils in Bedford

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Staff from Little Pilgrims, part of Pilgrims Pre Prep School in Bedford, have been given special acknowledgment for their care and effort in honouring and respecting their Sikh pupils’ faith.

The team of Rachel Perrin, Hayley Barton, Mrs Rushdie, Sophie Sinclair and Beth Smith were invited to Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Queens Park, where they were each given a token of appreciation by the congregation on Sunday, July 22.

The staff have shown their ingenuity by proactively learning how the Kesh (long hair) is tied up in a Jura (bun) and how the Sikh Patka (head cover) is tied.

Kesh is one of the five core tenants of a practicing Sikh and given utmost respect. Sikh pupils’ Patkas and Kesh will often become loose when they are playing at school and the teachers decided to learn how to retie the hair and Patka.

Dalvir Singh Panesar, general secretary of Guru Nanak Gurdwara, said: “The parents of children at the school and more widely the Bedford Sikh community are greatly appreciative of the Little Pilgrims’ staff and hope other schools will follow this example to assist Sikh pupils in their classes by learning how to tie their patka which can be done done by asking parents or watching Youtube videos.

The Pilgrims team said: “The staff in kindergarten were overwhelmed by the generosity shown by the Guru Nanak Gurdwara and its community. We ensure each individual child’s needs are met in order to make them feel safe, secure and, most importantly, happy. One of our school values is ‘respect’ and we encourage the children and staff to acknowledge the feelings, interests and beliefs of others. We greatly appreciate the honour given to us today.”

Dalvir added: “It is an honour to acknowledge the teachers for their support to the Sikh pupils. Sometimes Sikh parents with children who have uncut hair are worried about leaving their children at school. However, these teachers have eradicated their worries. I hope other school teachers will follow the example set by Pilgrim School. We live in a multicultural society and it is important to understand the religious beliefs and ethos of Sikhism. I invite anyone who wishes to learn more about the Sikh religious to email gngbedford@live.co.uk”