In RE our principal aim is to enable children to gain some understanding of the nature of religious beliefs and practices and the importance of these in the lives of believers. The content of the curriculum (which follows the Agreed Syllabus of the LEA) draws material from Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Sikhism and Humanism. We are concerned with helping children to become aware of experiences and concepts basic to all religions, to investigate the features of the major religions and to develop a sympathetic appreciation of values of the world's major faiths and belief systems.
The contribution of religious education to the school curriculum
RE at Norwood Green actively promotes the values of truth, justice, respect for all and care of the environment. It places specific emphasis on:
■ pupils valuing themselves and others
■ the role of family and the community in religious belief and activity
■ the celebration of diversity in society through understanding similarities and differences
■ sustainable development of the earth.
The foundation stage (ages 3–5)
The early learning goals set out what most children should achieve by the end of the foundation stage. Religious education makes an active contribution to all these areas but has a particularly important contribution to:
■ Personal, social and emotional development
Children use stories from religious traditions as a stimulus to reflect on their own feelings and experiences and explore them in various ways. Stories also enable children to reflect on the words and actions of characters and decide what they would have done in a similar situation thus enabling children to talk about some of the ways that people show love and concern for others and why this is important.
■ Communication, language and literacy
Through artefacts, stories and music, children learn about important religious celebrations thus enabling them to have opportunities to respond creatively, imaginatively and meaningfully to memorable experiences. Using religious celebrations as stimuli, children are encouraged to talk about the special events associated with these celebrations.
■ Knowledge and understanding of the world
Children ask and answer questions about religion and culture, as they occur naturally within their everyday experiences. In the context of learning about ‘Special People’ and ‘All About Me’, opportunities to talk about places of worship, celebrations and culture are provided and encouraged.
■ Creative development
Using stories, artefacts and clothing, children are encouraged to role play and act out scenes whilst being supported in sharing their own experiences and feelings, and those of others. Examples of this would be the Nativity and Diwali stories. Children are further extended by facilitating the expression of these through various art forms such as firework paintings, stained glass window art and the making and distributing of food to drives such as the harvest festival.
Key stage 1
Knowledge, skills and understanding identify the key aspects of learning in religious education. These are described as ‘learning about religion’ and ‘learning from religion’
Learning about religion includes enquiry into, and investigation of, the nature of religion, its beliefs, teachings and ways of life, sources, practices and forms of expression. It includes the skills of interpretation, analysis and explanation. Children learn to communicate their knowledge and understanding using specialist vocabulary. It also includes identifying and developing an understanding of ultimate questions and ethical issues. Learning about religion gives children knowledge and understanding of individual religions and how they relate to each other as well as the study of the nature and characteristics of religion.
Learning from religion develops pupils’ reflection on and response to their own and others’ experiences in the light of their learning about religion. Children develop skills of application, interpretation and evaluation of what they learn about religion. They learn to develop and communicate their own ideas, particularly in relation to questions of identity and belonging, meaning, purpose and truth, and values and commitments.
Religious Education is an essential component of a broad and balanced education, respect and tolerance is key to this. These values cannot be taught only in the classroom, they have to permeate the life of our school and community, if they are to be learned. Nonetheless, there is a place in the classroom where they should be taught and thought about and Religious Education in Norwood Green Infant and Nursery School provides that space. We love, laugh and learn together by nurturing positive home, school and community relations and promote tolerance and respect for all people and the world we live in.