New Muslim pre-school in Queen’s Park will give parents Koran lessons

L-R Dilruba Khatun, Hasina Khatun, Manager Nazmin Siddiqui, Secretary Shahela Begum, Rahela Begum, S

L-R Dilruba Khatun, Hasina Khatun, Manager Nazmin Siddiqui, Secretary Shahela Begum, Rahela Begum, Sabina Khatun, Parul Begum, at opening of New Islamic Pre-School Centre, W10. Photo by Adam Tiernan Thomas - Credit: Archant

A group of Muslim women have launched a pre-school in Queens Park which will also offer parents lessons in the Koran.

The new pre-school in the North Westminster Muslim Cultural Association in Lancefield Street was launched yesterday by Rahanara Siddique founder of 1smile4charity following demand from other mothers.

The not-for-profit fee paying school is run entirely by volunteers and when it officially opens in April will accept up to 20 children under five four mornings-a-week for three-hours-a-day.

Mrs Siddique said: “North Westminster Muslim Cultural Association is a registered charity and through them we are doing this project.

“It will be under a preschool but we will also provide religious and cultural studies. I’m determined to push it forward a little bit more and register it with Ofsted.

“Currently we don’t need to be but there are many advantages for us to register with them.”

Places are booked for £91 for each 13-week term, which Mrs Siddique said is poured back into the centre for resources.

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The mother-of-six, whose children range from seven months to 10, said the women had been actively fundraising to open the pre-school by doing cake sales at the Islamia School in Salusbury Road.

She added: “Some of the parents we know have gone through domestic violence or tragic experiences and have children under that age so they can leave their children with us while they have a break.”

The group of volunteers will also offer a crèche for two hours in one of the mosque’s reading rooms.

She said: “Some parents don’t know how to read and write. Some have been deprived from certain things but that comes down to our culture.

“They want to do religious studies but cannot read. We do have some teachers who are qualified enough to teach them the Koran so we can support them in learning to read.

She added: “We want to be a school who can support the community at the same time.

Personally I think women should get that education and I do intend to get in touch with Westminster to ask if we can offer ESOL but that is a long term plan.

“As people get to know us we will look to provide different courses, childcare, arts and crafts, whatever we can do.”

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