The provision of religious education is statutory for children in reception classes. Religious education is not compulsory for nursery children but schools may provide suitable activities and practitioners may choose to make use of the material from the diocesan syllabus.
RE can make some contribution to all these areas, but has particularly strong links with 'personal, social and emotional development' and 'knowledge and understanding of the world'. It should also contribute significantly to pupils’ creative development and to communication, language and literacy.
The basic principle is to start with the children and their families represented in the group or setting.
Religious Education teaching will, therefore:
Most children will have celebrated birthdays, festivals and family events, and many will have experience of other special times that include family gatherings, food, clothes, cards, presents, stories, music or other features. There is no suggestion that all festivals should be recognised, nor that all celebrations are religious, but practitioners will need to plan what is most appropriate for the children concerned. All children need to feel that their experiences are valued and have opportunities to participate.
Young children do not demonstrate progress by asking increasingly complex questions but they do need to feel absolutely comfortable about asking.
This requires practitioners to:
Creative and physical development are particularly important here, as is the opportunity to link in the science aspect of ‘knowledge and understanding of the world’.
We need to affirm children's religious and cultural identities, working with parents to promote children's confidence and self-esteem, and include the community and local environment as a source of learning.
Useful resources for the Foundation Stage