At Royal Rise Primary School all children, including SEN and Disadvantaged, learn the following concepts and themes through studying different religions and worldviews throughout the school
Our approach allows children’s critical thinking skills to be developed, and their knowledge and understanding of, and empathy with people and their beliefs, religious or otherwise, to be enhanced. In turn this promotes children’s understanding of the principles of’ the Rule of Law’, ‘Individual Liberty’ and ‘Mutual Respect and Tolerance of those with different faiths or beliefs.’
This approach takes very seriously the philosophy that children are free to make their own choices and decisions concerning religion and belief. RE does not try to persuade but rather to inform and develop the skills with which evaluation can take place.
- Compare and contrast: Children learn to compare and contrast the beliefs of different religious groups to promote their own understanding and tolerance of others.
- Reflection: Children learn to reflect on their own life experiences and beliefs to promote their own spiritual and moral development.
- Tolerance and compassion: Children learn to empathise with the feelings and experiences of others to further promote attitudes of tolerance and compassion within the wider world community.
- Investigation: Children learn to consider how personal beliefs and a community’s culture effect individual life choices and behaviour
- Expression: Children learn to show equal respect to people of different religious and non-religious groups.
- Evaluation: Children learn to explore ‘Big Questions’ about life in a safe and non-judgemental environment, understanding that there are no right answers.
- Teachers and Leaders
- Signs and Symbols
- Rites of Passage
- Special Books
- Worship and Community
- Life after Death
- Telling Stories (parables)
- Themes are explored in the contexts of Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism and Buddhism as well as non-religious contexts within the local and wider community.
Our R.E. curriculum is designed to help children understand some of the different cultures and beliefs that make up multicultural, modern Britain and the wider world. As well as exploring individual religions in increasing depth, children are given frequent opportunities to compare and contrast different religious beliefs, rituals and traditions as well as ideas about faith and community.
Children’s introduction to different faiths and beliefs explores celebrations that are familiar to members of the cohort through their family beliefs and practices. This is supplemented with other well known celebrations such as Christmas, Divali and Chinese New Year. Teachers ensure that the range of celebrations represents the diversity of modern British society. Exploration of these celebrations allows children an immersive experience of elements of these celebrations such as food tasting, decoration making and sharing the stories associated with that celebration.
We start by looking at a topic which is familiar to them: ‘Our Wonderful World’. Children are asked to think about the features, sights and sounds that make our world special, the importance of plants and why we should look after our world. This also links with their geography topic. They also think about what makes them special. Children then explore the creation stories of Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Hinduism. They learn about different explanations for the creation of plants and animals.
In term 2, we begin to learn about the Christian celebration of Christmas (which will be familiar to most children) and ask ‘Why do Christians give gifts at Christmas?’. Their learning focuses on the three wise men and why giving gifts is important to some Christians. They begin to consider why Christians consider Jesus to be God’s gift to the world. Children also explore their own feelings about giving and receiving presents and that some gifts are invisible such as friendship, kindness and love.
In term 3, we introduce the concept of ‘Special Books’ and children consider why books are important and which books are special to them. They are introduced the to Bible, the Quran and the Torah and compare the story of Adam and Eve in each of these special books. Children begin to understand the idea of treating these special books with respect and that some religions have rules about how they are treated.
In term 4, we begin to learn ‘What did Jesus teach?’. Children explore some of the stories that Jesus told such as the Good Samaritan and how different people might react to different situations. They also consider people in their own lives who have taught them special things.
In terms 5 & 6, we start to learn about celebrations and rites of passage in Hinduism and Islam. They begin to learn about some of the key beliefs and figures of these religions. Children make links between the religious celebration and their own experiences of celebrations such as weddings and birthdays. Through learning about the Hajj, children begin to consider what it means to be part of a community.
We start to learn about ‘Teachers and Leaders’. Children begin by considering leaders in the familiar context of school and thinking about the qualities and responsibilities associated with leadership. They reflect on their own experiences of leadership and what they might enjoy or dislike about being a leader. We also find out about some global religious leaders (The Pope, The Dalai Lama and Guru Gobind Singh Jr) as well as starting to compare and contrast the local religious leaders from Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
In term 2, we build on our learning in Year 1 about Christmas and learn the Nativity story. Children explore the different ways that Christmas is celebrated both by Christians and Non-Christians. They also consider the different ways that Christians around the world celebrate Christmas and the influence of individual cultures on localised traditions.
In term 3, we begin to explore a variety of themes in the context of Buddhism. Children discover the origins of Buddhism and start to recognise some of the signs and symbols. They begin to understand some key concepts and vocabulary associated with Buddhism including the practice of meditation, places of worship and principles that guide the behaviour and actions of Buddhists. Children continue to explore the similarities and differences between religions by comparing the celebration of Vesak with other celebrations they know about.
In term 4, we build on the introduction to ‘Special Books’ in Year 1 by asking ‘Why is the Torah special?’ Children learn about key individuals in Judaism such as Abraham and Moses. They are introduced to the laws of Judaism including the Ten Commandments and Kosher laws. Children relate this to their own experience by considering rules they have to follow in their own lives.
In term 5, we continue to learn about Rites of Passage (started in Year 1) by exploring the Christian practices of Baptism, Holy Communion, Weddings and Funerals. Children begin to explore their own beliefs about death and what happens when we die. They also begin to identify the difference between major and insignificant events in life and how these can change a person.
In term 6, we ask ‘What do Sikhs believe?’ Children learn about the beginnings of Sikhism and some basic beliefs. We explore the core Sikh beliefs of equality, hard work, living honestly and sharing, and how this affects the way Sikhs behave. Children then consider how these beliefs are important in our lives and communities as well as the link between rights and responsibilities. We look further at the practice of meditation and reflect on why it is important to give our brains quiet time for thinking.
We continue to develop our understanding of the importance of signs and symbols in religions begun in Year 2. Children explore these in the contexts of Christianity and Judaism. We consider the difference between literal and non-literal metaphors and how these leave signs and symbols open to interpretation. We begin to make connections between the children’s own experience and those of people in a religious context. Children consider what God means to different people.
In term 2, we continue to develop our knowledge and understanding of celebrations by returning to the Hindu celebration of Diwali which was first studied in EYFS. Children will learn about the story behind the celebration and some of the key practices. We will continue to develop our ability to compare and contrast by identifying similarities and differences with celebrations in other religions. We will also consider the symbolism of light and how it is used in different religions.
In term 3, we ask ‘What do we know about Jesus?’ Children begin to explore the idea of Jesus as both a religious and a historical figure. We will consider how culture influences representations of people in images, what we can learn about people’s beliefs from these images and what the Gospels tell us about different opinions of Jesus. Children are encouraged to draw their own conclusions and give their opinion as to what Jesus may have been like.
In term 4, we will build on our understanding of key beliefs about Judaism learnt in Year 2 and identify the significance of and symbolism within the celebration of Passover. We continue to develop our understanding of celebrations by looking at a variety of Jewish celebrations including the Day of Atonement. Children will reflect on times in their lives when they have done wrong and who they might want to ask for forgiveness from.
In term 5, we further develop our knowledge and understanding of ‘special books’ begun in Years 1 and 2, by asking ‘What is the Bible and why is it important for Christians?’ We will consider how the Bible is used by Christians both in Church and at home. Children will explore the different genres of writing in the Bible and how these demonstrate different aspects of God. Additionally children will consider what is of value in their own lives and discuss books and writings that are special to them.
In term 6, we continue our study of Rites of Passage, from Year 2, by exploring some of the same rites in the context of Islam. We will additionally consider the rite of pilgrimage. Children will compare and contrast the celebration of these rites in different religions and consider why it is important to have a ceremony when people get married.
We immediately continue to develop our understanding of Rites of Passage, this time in the context of Sikhism. In addition to baptism, marriage and funerals, we compare naming ceremonies of different religions and explore Sikh beliefs about reincarnation. Children are able to compare this with their own developing beliefs about what happens when people die.
In term 2, we return to the Christian Christmas story which we explored in Years 1 and 2. This time we use it as a context to further explore ideas about journeys and pilgrimage, symbolism in religious stories and expression of religious ideas in art and music. Children will be encouraged to empathise with the feelings of characters in the story and to relate the experiences of historical characters to those of modern day refugees.
In term 3, we explore worship and community in the context of Hinduism. We consider what worship looks like both at home and at the Mandir. Children will compare and contrast worship in Hinduism with other religious groups and think about how symbols are used to represent God. We will explore the children’s personal beliefs about God and their experiences of special places.
In term 4, we return to the theme of celebrations and investigate ‘Why is Easter important to Christians?’ Children are asked to empathise with Jesus’ feelings throughout the story of Holy Week. They will learn and be able to explain key vocabulary such as ‘Messiah’ and ‘Eucharist’.
In term 5, we continue to explore celebrations within the context of Buddhism. By looking at a number of different festivals we are able to compare and contrast Buddhist practices with those of other religions. Children will consider the difference between paying respect and worshipping. They will also compare their own experiences of celebrating New Year to those of people in modern day Thailand.
In term 6, we look at ‘Belonging and Identity’. During the term children will explore what identity is and factors which shape both their own identities and those of others. We learn what diversity and minorities mean within the wider population and how we can show tolerance and understanding to different groups. We look at what it means to be part of the global community and a global citizen, including our responsibilities, We also explore ways we can help those who are forced to leave their homes or who are less well off.
We return to the theme of ‘special books’ and investigate ‘Where did the Christian Bible come from?’ We will build on learning in Year 3 to deepen our understanding of this special book. Children will learn about the evolution of the bible over many historical time periods and how many events were recorded after they happened. We consider the impact of different translations of the bible on Christians today and we will also consider the difference between literal and figurative truth.
In term 2, we continue to develop our understanding of Teachers and Leaders as we investigate ‘Why Is Muhammad important to Muslims?’ Building on work from Year 3, we consider Muhammad is a historical figure and his impact on the world. We consider how Muhammad influences the day to day life and morals of modern Muslims. Children relate the influence of Muhammad to their own experiences of role-models and influences in daily life.
In term 3, we develop our understanding of community and worship in the context of Judaism. We explore key elements of Jewish worship and prayer. Additionally we consider how being part of a faith community influences your actions and behaviour.
In term 4, we use the context of Buddhism to further explore the themes of worship and life after death. Linking to earlier work on key figures such as Jesus and Muhammad, we investigate why Buddah is an important figure for Buddhists and how he influences their behaviour. Children are able to look at their own process for deciding right from wrong and give their opinions about life after death.
In term 5, we look at ‘Stories of Christianity’ and discover more about significant figures in the Bible. Building on work from earlier in the year, children will reflect on how these stories are interlinked and may relate to the experience of Christians today e.g. those who are persecuted. We also look at how biblical events are related to current Christian practices.
In term 6, we return to the theme of community and consider how belonging to a religious community can benefit people. Children look at our local area to identify both religious and non-religious communities as well as identifying shared beliefs in our school community. We look at the positive aspects of belonging to a community group and the difficulties that might be faced by religious members of non-religious communities. We also look at how some inspirational figures have been influenced by their beliefs.
We explore the ideas of success, punishment, forgiveness and truth through stories of Hinduism. Children will consider their own thoughts on these ideas. We will also think about how we learn through stories and how these were used to answer people’s ‘Big Questions’.
In term 2, we return to ‘Places of Worship’ and ask What is a church? We will consider the historical origins of the church and look beyond the physical building to the idea of the church as a community of people. We will explore how the church helps Christians to worship and also to follow Jesus’ teachings by serving the wider local community.
In term 3, we continue our study of ‘Special Books’ and ask ‘What is the Qur’an and why is it important for Muslims?’ We will consider what the Qur’an tells us about God and how it influences Muslims behaviour. Children will relate this to their own experience and reflect on books and texts that can influence a wide variety of people. We will look at what is important in our own lives and the hopes that adults in our lives might have for us.
In term 4, we return to expression of faith through art, begun in Year 3, and look at how colour, music, art and drama can be a form of religious and non-religious expression. Children will also compare and contrast the use of art in Islam and Christianity.
In term 5, we continue to explore Worship and community in the context of Sikhism. We will look at how children are welcomed into the community and how Sikh beliefs promote tolerance and equality through the tradition of the ‘Langar’.
In term 6, we draw together learning from across the years and ask the question ‘What happens when we die?’ Building on work from previous years, children will explore the idea of loss and sadness as a shared human experience. We will compare and contrast different funeral traditions and how these can offer comfort at times of bereavement. Children will also consider practical ways to support people and the importance of expressing your emotions.