At the Abbey Catholic primary school our RE curriculum follows that of Archdiocese of Birmingham ‘Learning and Growing as People of God’.
As people of God, we are called to love thy neighbour; as global citizens we are called to show respect and tolerance to all people.
In the spring term, the children explore and delve deeper into the world religions through Big Questions focusing around the British Values of mutual respect and religious tolerance. Each year group has the opportunity to visit different places of worship, to explore religious traditions and customs and to explore the importance of understanding other faith traditions.
Reception – Sikhism
Children in Reception explore Sikhism through their Big Question ‘Is it OK for people to have different beliefs?’
The Reception classes explore both the Catholic faith tradition and the Sikh faith tradition through imagery, artefacts and comparison.
Children are amazed as they explain ‘boys and girls don’t sit together’. They are surprised to learn that you take your shoes off when entering the temple and that at the temple Sikh followers cook and share food and that ‘the special book (Granth Sahib) has its own bedroom’. Children learn that this is an action of respect towards the holy texts. Children can firmly answer their Big Question with a “Yes, because we don’t all like the same things”.
Creating Rangoli patterns
Year 1 – Hinduism
Children in Year 1 learn about the Hindu faith tradition through the Big Question ‘Is religious tolerance good for society?’
The year group visit the Shri Venkateswara Balaji Temple of the UK. Here they learn some of the customs, such as taking off their shoes when entering the temple, “We did this too because it is respectful and important to the Hindu religion.”
Children explore religious stories such as Rama and Sita and learn about the festival Diwali. Year 1 reflect on religious tolerance and the importance of multi-faith week. Children conclude it is important, “So we can respect others, so we learn more and know religions”.
Outside the Shri Venkateswara Balaji Temple
Creating Diva lamps
Year 2 – Buddhism
Children in Year 2 learn about the Buddhist traditions through their question ‘Is religious tolerance good for society?’
Children visit the Birmingham Vihara, Dhamma Talaka Peace Pagoda where they are able to come to a deeper understanding of the customs of Buddhist traditions. Children of Year 2 learn that Buddhist followers aim to ‘lead good and peaceful lives.’
Through their learning, pupils eloquently explain that “Respecting other religions is important so we can be kind to each other and understand what other faiths believe. It is important to respect others so we are all happy and don’t get angry.”
Listening attentively at Birmingham Vihara, Dhamma Talaka Peace Pagoda
Using art skills to create a lotus flower
Year 3 – Judaism
Pupils of Year 3 visit Singers Hill Synagogue. Here they are able to respectfully explore the Jewish faith tradition and Jewish rituals and customs. Children learn about the Torah and important religious figures.
Throughout their learning, children reflect upon their Big Question ‘Is there religious tolerance in the Middle East?’
Pupils of Year 3 are able to articulate that “We should show tolerance because we want it shown to us. If we’re not tolerant it leads to fighting and by being tolerant we can live peacefully.”
Listening attentively to our guide at Singers Hill Synagogue
Making Hamantaschen cookies
Year 4 – Islam
Year 4 Children spend time coming to a deeper understanding of the Islamic faith tradition through their Big Question, ‘Can religious tolerance be achieved in society?’
Children visit the Islamic Experience Centre where they are taught about the different customs and traditions within Islam. It is important to understand these traditions, such as what people can eat ‘so that we can support and don’t offend others.’
When reflecting on their Big Question, children of Year 4 said, “We wouldn’t be able to achieve religious tolerance in a one faith community because we would all be the same and have nothing to accept. It is important to learn about other religions so we can have tolerance and don’t offend others. If there wasn’t tolerance we wouldn’t get along, we would offend others and there could be conflict.”
Exploring the Islamic faith at the Islamic Exhibition Centre
Designing Islamic prayer mat
Year 5 – Orthodox
In Year 5 children learn about the Christian Orthodox religion and visit the local Orthodox Church, Holy Metropolis of Mercia and the British Isles. Children spend time learning about this Christian tradition as they explore their shared beliefs and values and, how we are different to the Catholic faith.
Childrens’ learning is centred around the question, ‘How can we achieve religious tolerance?’
Pupil’s reflect upon their learning and British Values, concluding “It’s important to learn about other religions so that we don’t disrespect others. We wouldn’t be showing religious tolerance if we didn’t have respect.”
Inside the Christian Orthodox Church
Learning how to do the sign of the cross within the Orthodox tradition
Year 6 – Catholicism
In Year 6, children have the opportunity to delve deeper into the Catholic faith, by studying the Vatican, as centre of the church. They learn more about the beginnings of the Church and the leadership roles as they explore the Vatican, Popes, Saints and places of Pilgrimage.
Throughout this learning, children reflect upon their Big Question, ‘Is religious tolerance good for society?’
Pupils come to the conclusion that, “Religious tolerance is good for society so that we do not shame people because of their faith, we need to accept others. We can ask questions about other religions but we shouldn’t be disrespectful. We have the right to our own religion but not the right to discriminate others because of their religions.”