Religious Studies at the Junior School
The teaching of Religious Education (RE) in the Junior School plays a central role in our daily learning and routines. Although curriculum content is taught by the class teachers, our girls learn about community, spirituality, Gospel values and the liturgical calendar in each encounter of kindness, empathy and support within our school family.
Every assembly includes moments of reflection, every school day begins and ends with a prayer, and the academic year is marked out by our whole-school worship such as the Christmas Carol Service, Holy Week reflections and End of Year Mass.
RE in the curriculum
Learning in RE can be separated into learning about religion and learning from religion. As teachers, we are privileged to watch as girls explore their learning about religion and celebrate their learning from religion. As a Catholic school, we focus on teaching all aspects of the Christian faith through stories; stories from the Bible, stories of the lives of saints and stories of people in our lives who live out their faith.
We have age-appropriate Bibles in every classroom and our Head’s Assembly every Monday morning will often focus on a Bible story. Children naturally respond to stories and this method of teaching helps engage them with complex theological ideas.
Alongside our weekly RE lessons, we also hold an annual World Religions Week where we learn about other world faiths such as Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism. From Year 2 to Year 6, girls focus on a different World Religion and explores all aspects of worship and faith. We find that this is an incredibly enriching experience, particularly where girls of these faiths can share their own beliefs and practices with their class.
Our extensive teaching of the Christian faith and other World Religions gives our girls an opportunity to explore deeply their own response and practice as they learn from religion. This is exemplified through their classwork as well as active participation in collective worship, fundraising events, and support of social justice issues. Alongside our Faith Council, girls also have an opportunity to live out their faith through the School Council’s charity events and Eco Council’s environmental activities.
Days of Reflection
Over the last year we have introduced Days of Reflection. Pre-prep classes have a day altogether that ends with an act of collective worship which they prepare themselves; each year group in the Prep has a day led by their class teachers, alongside visitors, where they time to focus on a chosen value. The response to the Days of Reflection from girls, their parents and teachers has been incredibly positive, and we look forward to developing this further over the coming years.
As the Junior School RE coordinator, I feel privileged to be able to witness the spiritual growth of all our girls, whether they are Christian, practise another faith or have no previous experience of religion. I am regularly reminded of values, such as compassion and community, that are universal to all religious practices and I see evidence that our RE teaching helps each girl develop her own experience and identity of faith and morality. The ‘work’ that we see in their RE books is just a small part of our girls’ RE learning; a better understanding can be gained by spending time with our Junior School girls and experiencing their passion for meaningful relationships and justice in the world.
As the Junior School RE coordinator, I feel privileged to be able to witness the spiritual growth of all our girls, whether they are Christian, practise another faith or have no previous experience of religion.
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