Religious education enables children to investigate and reflect on some of the most fundamental questions asked by people. At Pear Tree Mead Primary and Nursery School we develop the children’s knowledge and understanding of the major world faiths, and we address fundamental questions concerning, for example, the meaning of life and the existence of a divine spirit. We enable children to develop a sound knowledge not only of Christianity but also of other world religions, especially those that are the main faiths of children within our school. Children reflect on what it means to have a faith and to develop their own spiritual knowledge and understanding. We help the children learn from religions as well as about religions.
The objectives of teaching religious education in our school are to help children:
• develop an awareness of spiritual and moral issues arising in their lives;
• develop knowledge and understanding of Christianity and other major world religions and value systems found in Britain;
• develop an understanding of what it means to be committed to a religious tradition;
• be able to reflect on their own experiences and to develop a personal response to the fundamental questions of life;
• develop an understanding of religious traditions and to appreciate the cultural differences in Britain today;
• develop investigative and research skills, and make reasoned judgements about religious issues;
• have respect for other people’s views, and celebrate the diversity in society.
Teaching and Learning Styles
We base our teaching and learning style in RE on the key principle that good teaching in RE allows children both to learn about religious traditions and to reflect on what the religious ideas and concepts mean to them. Our teaching enables children to extend their own sense of values, and promotes their spiritual growth and development. We encourage children to think about their own views and values in relation to the themes and topics studied in the RE curriculum.
Our teaching and learning styles in RE enable children to build on their own experiences and to extend their knowledge and understanding of religious traditions. We use their experiences at religious festivals such as Easter, Diwali, Passover etc. to develop their religious thinking. We organise visits to local places of worship, and invite representatives of local religious groups to come into school and talk to the children.
Children carry out research into religious topics. They study particular religious faiths and also compare the religious views of different faith groups on topics such as rites of passage or festivals. Children investigate religious and moral issues either individually or in groups.
We recognise the fact that all classes in our school have children of widely differing abilities, so we provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child. We achieve this in a variety of ways, for example, by:
• setting tasks which are open-ended and can have a variety of responses;
• setting tasks of increasing difficulty (we do not expect all children to complete all tasks);
• grouping the children by ability in the room, and setting different tasks for each ability group;
• providing resources of different complexity, adapted to the ability of the child;
• using classroom assistants to support the work of individuals or groups of children.
The Foundation Stage
We teach religious education to all children in the school, including those in the reception class.
In reception classes, religious education is an integral part of the topic work covered during the year. As the reception class is part of the Foundation Stage of the National Curriculum, we relate the religious education aspects of the children’s work to the objectives set out in the Early Learning Goals which underpin the curriculum planning for children aged three to five.
Help from Home
Much can be done at home by parents in order to help children further develop the skills needed to be successful in this area of the curriculum. Encouraging children to be reflective on events that happen in their lives as well as think about special places/people they encounter will help children to start to develop some sort of spiritual understanding. Modelling tolerance of others and respect for the views of others will also have a hugely positive effect on the spiritual and social development of children.