Trotts Hill Primary School and Nursery
At Trotts Hill Primary School, the intent of our Religious Education teaching is to:
help children acquire and develop knowledge and understanding of Christianity and the other principal religions represented in Great Britain
appreciate the way that religious beliefs shape life and our behaviour, develop the ability to make reasoned and informed judgements about religious and moral issues and enhance their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
Our R.E. curriculum allows children to discover and gain an insight into religions within the world that we live. We see the teaching of R.E. is vital for children to understand others beliefs and make connections between their own values. It is our role to ensure pupils are being inquisitive by asking questions about the world around them by allowing pupils to gain high quality experiences.
RE is taught in all year groups across the school, it is blocked into RE days and also taught as one hour lessons. Our RE learning is recorded in whole class big books which enable us to focus our teaching on high quality discussion, hands on experiences and investigative learning rather than an onerous focus on individual recording. We follow the Herts Agreed Syllabus 2017-2021 and our teaching follows the requirements of this syllabus. Our overall approach to teaching RE is based upon respect. To enhance children’s learning, we draw upon the children’s own experiences of religion. All religions and their communities are treated with respect and sensitivity and we value the links, which are, and can be made between home, school, and a faith community. We acknowledge that each religion studied can contribute to the education of all our pupils.
We ensure that all children are challenged, collaborative learning techniques are utilised and questioning is not only teacher led but also child led. The "Ultimate Questions" from the Hertfordshire Agreed Syllabus supports the use of big questions and open discussions. We provide children with the opportunity to visit local places of worship and all staff have access to a database of contact details for local places of worship/visitors from faiths.
A minimum of four religions are studied over the time children are at Trotts Hill. Christianity and at least three principal religions chosen from Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and Sikhism will be studied in depth. Pupils may also learn from other religions and worldviews in thematic units. All six principal religions will have been introduced or revisited by the end of the key stage 2. Christianity is the predominant religion in the school's pupil population. There are no presumptions made as to the religious backgrounds and beliefs and values of the children and the staff. We value the religious background of all members of the school community and hope that this will encourage individuals to share their own experiences with others freely.
The children at Trotts Hill Primary School enjoy learning about other religions and why people choose, or choose not to follow a religion. Through their R.E. learning, the children are able to make links between their own lives and those of others in their community and in the wider world. R.E. acts as a link between other aspects of learning. Through R.E. our children develop an understanding of other people’s cultures and ways of life, which they are then able to communicate to the wider community.
R.E. offers our children the means by which to understand how other people choose to live and to understand why they choose to live in that way. As such, R.E. is invaluable in an ever changing world.
In RE we follow the Herts agreed syllabus, which focuses on 8 key areas. We teach different religions in different year groups, as shown on our curriculum map. During each year group, children will experience each of the different strands of RE teaching and learning.
The 8 key areas of learning are:
Beliefs and practices
Sources of wisdom
Symbols and Actions
Prayer, Worship and Refection
Identity and Belonging
Human Responsibility and Values
Justice and Fairness
There has been lots of Easter excitement around school. Year 4 have been thinking about the Easter Story. Today, the children made a model of the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus was entombed. The children also made Easter baskets decorated with Easter symbols. They learnt that hollow eggs (real and chocolate) represent the empty tomb. Interesting.
The children have taken their gardens home and will water them (lightly!) to grow the grass.
Year 3 used Bibles to read the story of Easter. They then retold the story using symbols and explained the meaning behind the symbols. Year 3 considered why Easter is an important time for Christians.
What is Christmas at Primary School without a nativity (or two!), some tea towels, singing about reindeers and figgy puddings and lots and lots of glitter! 2022 did not disappoint. The Nursery Nativity was splendid, with the children performing beautifully in front of an audience. The performance followed up the learning in class where they heard and sequenced the Nativity Story. At the other end of the school (and considerably taller!), Year 6 also performed the Nativity. They wrote their own script and added their own twist on the familiar story. It was poignant and showed was amazing progress the children have made.
Of course the three wise men and shepherds visiting baby Jesus isn't the only part of the Christmas story as Year 4 found out. They learned about King Herod and his cunning plans to find and kill baby Jesus . The children role-played the main characters and completed thought bubbles about what they were thinking.
On Friday 9th December, year 2 visited St Hugh and St John's Church to learn about the Christmas journey. Volunteers led the session and ran four stations to help the children learn about the Christian Christmas story. The stations included meeting the shepherds, meeting Anna and Simeon, meeting the wise men and making crowns. Year 2 then watched Mary and Joseph perform on stage explaining their part in the Christmas story. We ended the morning by learning and singing a new song with actions. The children had a fantastic morning.
Although we look at religions individually, we also look at how some celebrations cross over religions and different cultures. For instance, Diwali is celebrated by both Sikhs and Hindus in similar ways, but for different reasons.
Year 4 looked at Advent and how it is celebrated around the world. They discovered that the theme of light seems to be important in all cultures. After looking at celebrations around the world, the children were then able to make advent symbols.
They made a Mexican star pinata, a Chinese lantern, a Danish bread wreath and a UK advent wreath.
Year 4 Diwali
Year 4 have finished the half term with a flourish by presenting their assembly on Diwali to the whole school and their families. The children told the story of Rama and Sita where light triumphed over darkness. The children spoke beautifully and recreated the story with excellent acting and just a little bit of fighting!
The children also got the opportunity to show the work from their recent RE lessons. They showed rangoli patterns made from coloured sand which entices the Goddess of Wealth into homes. They also showed their brightly coloured diyas moulded from modelling clay.
The assembly finished with a rendition of ‘A Night of a Thousand Lights’ which was performed with great enthusiasm.
Well done to Year 4. They were amazing!
LI: To know about the significance of Easter for Christians.
BIG QUESTION: What did Jesus do to save human beings?
Year 6 participated in a virtual Easter journey organised by Bridge Builders. The children learned about the life of Jesus and the events leading up to his crucifixion. The children discussed personal heroes and discussed the significance for Christians of Jesus as the Messiah.
Year 6 explored why Buddhists meditate. We learned that mediating is used to help focus the mind and to stop it rushing about in endless thoughts. Some Buddhists use meditation to reflect inwards and to spend the time to understand the self. We then all practised meditating to see if it helped us focus and relax our minds. We also created our own motivational messages in the style of Buddhist prayer flags, which we have hung in the classroom to remind us to be positive.
In November, Year 4 shared their learning about Divali with the rest of the school and their families. The children shared the story of Rama and Sita, their diva lamps and a traditional song. Mrs. Shergill spoke to us about her own family's celebrations for Divali which really brought the festival to life for us all.
This year it was wonderful to be able to hold two whole school celebrations of Harvest. Mrs. Magdeburg led an assembly which focused on the reasons for Harvest and the Christian festival. We discussed the importance of sharing with others and how Christians reflect at Harvest time of the gift of food from God and how we share what we have with others. We collected a significant amount of food to share with others via Food Shed, the Stevenage food bank.