Religious education builds children’s sense of identity and belonging within the world in which they live. At New Milton Infant School we aim to encourage deep thought and personal reflection on big questions and ideas. We want children to share their own thoughts but be open-minded to the views of others. Children are encouraged to ask questions about the world and to reflect on their own beliefs, values and experiences.
Our aim is to develop children’s respectful attitudes towards others including people with different faiths and beliefs. We want to foster an understanding of diversity within the school, local community and wider area.
At New Milton Infant School we follow the ‘Living Difference IV’ syllabus which is the agreed syllabus for religious education in Hampshire. Religious education is taught each half term in a ‘block’ to allow for consistency of learning. We follow the recommended time allocation of 36 hours for RE per year.
For the majority of sessions, children will study the Christianity religion. As well as this, children will explore the Judaism religion in some units and compare this to Christianity. They will also touch upon other Abrahamic and Dharmic religions through taught RE and story time. Teachers will use a range of resources such as stories from sacred texts, artefacts, visitors, ICT, art and sacred music to ensure the learning is accessible for all students.
All children at New Milton Infant School will learn through an enquiry based process which is driven by concepts. The children will refer to these as ‘big ideas’. Group A concepts are common to all people, for example celebration, thankfulness and remembering, which Year R and Year One will focus on. Concepts will progress throughout the school, with Year 2 studying some group B concepts, such as ‘Angels’ and ‘Commands’. These concepts are common to most religions. Children will also experience ‘Golden Thread’ concepts (love, belonging, community and special) throughout all year groups.
Children will explore the concepts through a cycle of five skills: communicate, apply, enquire, contextualise and evaluate. This cycle allows children to think about their own experience of a particular concept before thinking about a religious way of living.
This is the process of the cycle and what each skill involves:
-Communicate- Children will discuss and explore their own experience of a concept. During this children might draw/paint pictures or make something to show their ideas or thinking.
-Apply- Children continue to think about the concept based around their own experiences but apply this to different situations. This maybe through discussion or role play.
-Enquire- Children will think deeply about the concept and the definition of it. For example, what do we mean by remembering?
-Contextualise – This is when children explore the concept in relation to either Christianity or Judaism. This maybe through a religious story, talk from a visitor or observation of artefacts.
Evaluate- Children consider why the concept is important to Christians or Jews. Finally, children will evaluate the importance of the concept to themselves.
In Early Years Foundation Stage children develop their sense of self and others as they explore these concepts through their Early Years curriculum. Their learning and exploration compliments the ‘Understanding the World’ and ‘Personal, Social and Emotional Development’ elements of the curriculum:
- Understand that some places are special to members of their community.
- Recognise that people have different beliefs and celebrate special times in different ways.
- See themselves as a valuable individual.
- Think about the perspectives of others
The children at New Milton Infant School enjoy learning about ‘big ideas’ in relation to themselves, others and people who follow the Christianity and Jewish religion. Through their R.E. learning, children are challenged to make links between their own lives and those of others in their community and in the wider world. Our children are developing an understanding of other people’s cultures and ways of life, which they are then able to communicate to the wider community. Pupils’ progress in R.E. is assessed throughout each unit and these combined assessments contribute to an overall view of how well children are achieving in R.E. This assessment is communicated to parents each year in the mid-year report.
R.E. offers our children the means by which to understand how other people choose to live and to understand why they choose to live in that way. As such, R.E. is invaluable in an ever-changing world.