Religious Education at Portway Infant School
At Portway Infant School we encourage the children to learn about different religions and what it means to be religious. They are actively encouraged to enquire, communicate and evaluate concepts found within different religions and religious beliefs. Our children at Portway learn about the religions of Christianity and Hinduism.
We believe that Religious Education helps children to develop mutual respect for one another in a safe and caring environment. Children are supported in being sensitive to the views and opinions of others. Religious Education offers opportunities to develop the children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (SMSC).
Religious Education at Portway Infant School is statutory, this means that all children in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One (except those withdrawn for faith and belief reasons) follow the Hampshire Agreed Syllabus, Living Difference IV. We teach our RE in blocks and devote approximately 36 hours per year to the subject.
Religious Education requires the children to engage with a simple concept or key idea, for example, belief, messages and symbols. In the Foundation Stage and Year One, the children have the opportunity to respond to concepts which are common to all people e.g. specialness, celebrations, story etc. In Year Two, the children begin to respond to some concepts which are shared by many religions e.g. God. The concepts chosen are relevant to our children and their own experiences.
In Reception and Year One the concepts are based on identity, beliefs and values then in Year Two the concepts start to branch out and are the building blocks for their future learning. The concepts we cover are language rich and help to increase the children’s vocabulary and understanding of the wider world.
At Portway we endeavour to make the teaching of Religious Education as cross-curricular as possible. The children in Reception hatch ducklings during their unit of work on ‘Celebrating New Life at Easter’. They also have a birthday party to celebrate the birth of Jesus when they learn about Jesus’ birthday. The children in Year One undertake Diwali dancing every November to support their learning of the ‘Candlelight at Diwali and Advent’ unit of work. They also make Diva lamps using clay which they then take home and give as a present. During the topic of Raksha bandhan, the children make rakhi bracelets which they take home and give to another family member to celebrate the love between a brother and sister. The children in Year Two build Lego models to represent what Christians and Hindus believe happened in the creation stories.
The learning journey at Early Years and Foundation Stage
RE curriculum planning for the Foundation Stage supports continuity and progression in children’s learning as they move into Key stage 1. Each unit of work is an enquiry into the children’s experience of a concept and links strongly to the new EYFS characteristics of learning. The new EYFS framework has a specific reference to RE in the goal ‘Understanding the World: People, Culture and Communities’ which states that children should “know some similarities and differences between different religious and cultural communities in this country, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class.”
During the Autumn term, the children begin learning about special people and link this carefully to getting to know new adults and children at school. They then consider who is special to Christians. Towards the end of the term, they learn about Jesus’ birth and draw on their own experiences of birthdays.
During the Spring term, the children share their love of favourite stories before hearing different religious ones. They then explore the concept of ‘specialness’ where they focus on their own favourite clothes before discussing clothes which are special to Christians and Hindus.
During the summer term, the children explore ‘New Life’ and talk about their own experiences of celebrating at Easter time before finding out how Christians celebrate Easter. They finish the year with the concept of ‘remembering’ and focus on Krishna’s birthday and why it is important for Hindus to remember this special event. This unit of work further builds on their understanding of birthdays which they covered earlier on in the year.
Jesus - Special People
Learning from Stories
Jesus as a Story Teller
Celebrating/New Life Celebrating New life at Easter
Remembering (someone special) – Janmashtami Krishna’s Birthday A concept
We also share different religious stories with the children throughout the year. These stories link in with different festivals as close to the date as possible and stories from the bible (both testaments). We also share each religions symbol and images/artefacts of people from the faith around the world.
There are also opportunities to explore concepts further during child-initiated learning.
Planning ensures inclusion of units relating to a Christian context (Jesus – special people, Jesus’ birth, Jesus as a story teller, Special clothes, Celebrating new life at Easter) and units which focus on Hinduism (Special clothes, Janmashtami).
Religious education in Key Stage 1
Children in Key Stage 1 continue to explore and reflect on their own way of life and feelings about this and also continue developing an understanding of religious and non-religious ways of living. They continue to be encouraged to ask questions and recognise that different people may respond in different ways to their questions. The children are encouraged to explore and share their own experiences of the concepts studied.
At this key stage the enquiry into what it means to live a religious and non-religious life will be focused on concepts common to all people, where children will apply their own experience. These concepts are also evident in religious ways of life. Towards the end of the key stage children begin to explore concepts that are shared across many faith narratives.
Autumn in Year One sees the children explore the concept of ‘precious’ through water. We discuss the key questions: ‘How do Christians use water in a way that shows that it is precious?’ and ‘Is the River Ganges precious to Hindus?’ Whilst ‘Candlelight as a symbol’ introduces the children to the Hindu story of Rama and Sita and allows the children to explore the time of Advent where Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
During the Spring term we explore places that are special to us and make links to a church being a special place for Christians and a Mandir Temple being a special place for Hindus. Towards Easter we look at the concept of ‘changing emotions – happy and sad’ and relate the Christian Easter story to the children’s own experiences of feeling happy and sad. We encourage the children to think about how their sadness may have changed to happiness over time because of what somebody did or something that happened.
In the Summer term the children build on their previous learning of stories and continue sharing the concept of ‘story’ within Christianity and Hinduism. We finish the year with the Hindu summer festival of Raksha Bandhan and enjoy celebrating the bond and love between a brother and sister.
In Year Two the children start by considering the reasons why Christians celebrate Harvest. We then look at the importance of angels in the Christmas story and the different messages which they brought.
They then learn about the Hindu festival of Holi, also known as the "Festival of Love", the "Festival of Colours" and the "Festival of Spring". The festival celebrates spring, love and new life. They then build on their previous learning of the Easter story and focus this time on the concept of ‘belief’.
During the summer term the children learn about the similarities and differences of the Christian and Hindu creation stories. They finish the year by creating displays of Hindu deities and explore that Hindus believe that there is one God with many images and talents.
Concept Group A – concepts common to all people
Concept Group B – concepts shared by many religions
Candlelight as a symbol Candlelight at Divali and Advent A concept
Changing emotions (Happy & Sad – Easter
Hindu and Christian
Angels at Christmas
Creation – Creation stories Christian and Hindu
Ideas about God
We hold an annual Harvest Festival where we encourage the children to bring in donations which support local charities. This year we supported the Andover Food Bank.
Click on the link below to be taken to ‘Living Difference IV’ The Agreed Syllabus for Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton (November 2021)