Religious Education (RE) Curriculum Aims
At Elmsleigh Infant and Nursery School, we want our children to make sense of what they have learnt in RE and gain an understanding of different cultures and religions through shared experiences, reasoning and reflection. Our intent is for our children to understand differences and live among our diverse communities as considerate and responsible individuals.
The aim of our RE teaching is to deepen children’s critical thinking skills through greater subject knowledge and also to allow their own spiritual development. Our belief is that, using an enquiry-based model well, children’s critical thinking skills can be developed, their motivation to learn increased, and their knowledge and understanding of, and empathy with people and their beliefs, religious or otherwise, will be enhanced. This approach takes very seriously the philosophy that children are free to make their own choices and decisions concerning religion and belief.
At Elmsleigh Infant and Nursery School, we use ‘Discovery RE’ and our RE curriculum is built around an enquiry-based approach. Each unit begins with a big enquiry question which the children can instantly engage with, regardless of their own beliefs and world views. Each enquiry question is explored with a 4-step process:
- Engagement – How can I relate to the underpinning concept in my own world?
- Investigation – What do I need to learn about the religion in order to answer the big question?
- Evaluation – How well can I apply this knowledge to the big question using critical thinking/evaluation skills
- Expression – Can I express what difference this enquiry has made to me, my thinking and my starting point
Each RE lesson will provide an opportunity to explore, build knowledge and understanding, and encourage children to reflect on the subject of the enquiry. By the end of the unit, each child reflects on what they have learned throughout the enquiry to reach their own conclusion. Children are taught to respect each other’s views and opinions.
SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural) development
We recognise that a good quality RE curriculum can be a key contributor to providing opportunities children’s SMSC development. Within the ‘Discovery RE’ scheme, SMSC opportunities are identified in each enquiry and are mapped on the overview grid for each year group.
Religious Education is a key player in engendering knowledge and understanding, which can lead to tolerance and respect for others and their beliefs. It encourages evaluation and critical thinking, equipping our children to take time to consider the belief positions they encounter. Discovery RE contributes significantly to the British Values agenda and the mapping documents clearly show the British Values links across the year groups. British Values include: Democracy, Rule of Law, Individual Liberty, Mutual Respect and Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs.
Other ways in which we promote a broad religious education for all is by reading stories from a range of cultures and religions, using real life examples that are in the news and bringing children’s attention to celebrations and traditions. This will ensure that all children develop a good understanding of respect and tolerance for all.