It has been a very busy year for the RE leader. She has attended courses on the the new syllabus and has led three training sessions, within staff meetings, to share the new curriculum and its content with other teachers. She has developed a new two year rolling program of units using 'Big Questions' for children to answer.and these units have begun to be trailed across school. Units of work and children's outcomes are being monitored by the RE subject leader and she is giving support to staff when and where required. New RE displays are in place in all classrooms and these are being used as a tool to help children understand the Bible big story and their current unit of work.
Our RE aim is to ensure our children can hold balanced and informed conversations about religion and belief, that is appropriate to their age and stage of learning.We want our children to understand that Christianity is a living faith around the world and to understand how it and other world religions influence and impact on today's society and cultures.
At St James we follow the Dioceses of Leeds and York syllabus. We follow their recommendation and use the Understanding Christianity resource to deliver Christianity units. Our RE work is broken down into three parts, understanding the text/religion, understanding the impact and then children making connections for themselves. Across school we learn about a range of different religions to develop our understanding of diversity, so each Key Stage studies Christianity and one other religion in depth. This helps develop our understanding of mutual respect and tolerance of other faiths and beliefs. As a school we have chosen to learn about Islam and Hinduism in greater depth to enhance our understanding of our local community.
A spirited art club takes place each year, giving the children the opportunity to look at Christian values through artwork. They have the opportunity to study existing artwork and then to create their own which captures a value that is particularly important to them and to their beliefs. A reflection trail is opening in Summer Term 2018 for use at lunchtimes. Similar to the reflection upon worship areas indoors, the children are given the opportunity to respond to prompts and thoughts about a range of stories from the bible or themes that may have covered within worship. The children undertake a trail and as they finish the trail, with a friend, they then complete a task upon arriving at their journeys end in the pavilion.
Children use the puppets Tom and Tessa to help them learn about Christianity. Tom and Tessa have a special box, which they fill with artefacts for the children to learn from. Tom and Tessa often invite their puppet friends from other religions to school to help children understand the world around them.
So far this year, Foundation Stage have learned about special books and stories. They found out about the Christian special book, the Bible and listened to stories from the old and new testaments. With the help of Tom and Tessa, the children thought about the messages of peace and respect within the stories of Noah’s Ark and The Good Samaritan. Children have also found out about the Jewish special book, the Torah and the Islam special book, the Qur'an. Children learned about the rules different religions have when looking after and caring for their special books.
Currently, the children are looking at the question 'Why do Christians put a cross in the Easter garden?' Tom and Tessa will bring in props to help children understand the story of Palm Sunday. They will also bring in hot cross buns to help children learn about the importance of the cross for Christians and Easter eggs to help children understand how Christians celebrate their believe that Jesus rose from the dead. The children will think about how Christians are thankful for this special time of year.
KS1 have been looking at the question ' What Good News do Christians believe Jesus brought?' They have used texts from different Gospels to help them understand the 'Good News' Christians believe Jesus brought. Children have learned that Christians believe that Jesus brought peace, forgiveness and friendship to everyone, even those other people may not like. This work has helped children understand the importance of tolerance. towards others and the importance of helping others. To support their work on helping others and friendliness children also learned about about the important work happening at St George's crypt for homeless people. Children have carried out their RE in a range of ways such as drama, art, group discussions and written work.
• This year, LSK2 have looked at the question 'What is it like to follow God?' They used the story of Noah to learn about covenants. Children went on to think about the covenants people make today and how they help people live their lives through trust and respect. Children looked at Christian weddings and other promises people make to each other. Then the children thought about the importance of forgiveness when someone may break a promise. Children learned in a range of ways including group work, discussions and written work.
Currently, children in LKS2 are thinking about the question ' Why do Christians call the day Jesus died, Good Friday?' They are learning about what different crosses represent and the importance they hold for Christians around the world. They are also learning about the people Christians believe were present during the Easter story. Children will sensitively think about how these people may have felt during the different stages of the story and then create emotion graphs to show the emotions. Children will also use drama to help them understand the despair, hope and forgiveness people may have felt and different stages of the story.
Children in UKS2 have looked at the question ' What does it mean if God is Holy and Loving?' Children have looked at texts from both the old and new testaments to examine evidence about how Christians believe God is both Holy and Loving. This work showed children how Christians follow rules, the consequences they may face when breaking rules but also are also act of forgiveness. This work developed children’s religious literacy through exposing them to new words such as omnipotent, omniscient and eternal. Children have creatively demonstrated their new knowledge through the creation of some amazing stain glass windows.
Currently, children are looking at the question, 'What did Jesus do to save human beings?' Children will look closely at the word sacrifice and what Christians believe it meant within the Easter story. Children will think about how Christians are thankful for God’s sacrifice and will learn about how sacrifice is seen in the world today. Children will use a range of scenarios to develop their understanding of what the impact of peoples sacrifices may be on others and how thankful they may be.