FOUNDATION STAGE


Religious education is not a statutory requirement until children are in the Reception
Year but it can provide stimulating and relevant learning experiences for all young
children as well as laying firm foundations for work in key stage one. The following
activities are therefore provided as guidance for nursery teachers to support religious
education and to promote children's spiritual, moral, social and cultural development
(SMSC). Each area of learning has a range of activities to enable learning about and
learning from religions and religion (the two attainment targets of the Agreed
Syllabus), but the activities are transferable to other areas and teachers should use
this guidance flexibly and creatively to meet their own children's needs. There is a
statutory requirement for 36 hours of RE in the Reception Year and teachers should
plan learning from the activities given below, drawing examples from more than one
religion. When teachers report on children's progress to parents they should include
RE but no formal assessment is required in the Foundation Stage. Teachers might
find it useful to refer to the emergent performance descriptions.

Good RE and SMSC in the Foundation Stage will:
   Begin with children's own experiences and build on them
   Develop children's self-esteem and confidence
   Affirm all children's religious and cultural backgrounds
   Develop respect and sensitivity towards others and their beliefs and traditions
   Include opportunities for talking about right and wrong and the effects of words
    and actions on others
   Provide a wide range of learning experiences
   Give children opportunities for oral work and asking questions
   Involve active learning and play
   Use story, not just to read, but to talk about and to explore feelings, thoughts,
    situations and responses
   Use the creative and expressive arts to enable children to explore feelings,
    thoughts, ideas and concepts
   Provide opportunities for silence and reflection
   Be cross-curricular, with strong links to Personal, Social and Health Education
    (PSHE) and Citizenship.

Foundation Stage                                                                         1
Activities to promote learning in religious education

Area of learning           Learning about religions      Learning from religions
                           and religion (AT1)            and religion (AT2)
A) Personal, social and    i) Use religious artefacts    i) Use circle time to
emotional development      and visual images to raise    develop respect for self
                           questions and develop         and others.
                                                         ii) Have discussions about
                           ii) Read and talk about       kindness, consideration,
                           stories about children from   rules at nursery etc.
                           a variety of religious and
                           cultural backgrounds.         iii) Use periods of silence
                                                         to encourage reflection
                           iii) Explore children's       and awareness.
                           experiences of special

                           iv) Develop children's
                           interest in and awareness
                           of different religious

Area of learning           Learning about religions      Learning from religions
                           and religion (AT1)            and religion (AT2)
B) Communication,          i) Display common             i) Write words or simple
language and literacy      religious symbols (cross,     sentences to express their
                           fish, khanda, star and        feelings and responses to
                           crescent moon etc) and        stories, pictures, visits etc.
                           talk about them with the
                           children.                     ii) Give children time and
                                                         opportunity to frame their
                           ii) Display chart of key      own questions and
                           words about religion -e.g.    answers.
                           temple, church, mosque
                           etc.                          iii) In circle time talk about
                                                         feelings and thoughts.
                           iii) Read and discuss
                           stories about religious
                           teachers and leaders.

                           iv) Ask questions of a
                           person from a faith
                           community who visits the

                           v) Listen to music or

Foundation Stage                                                                       2
                       chanting from a religious

Area of learning       Learning about religions       Learning from religions
                       and religion (AT1)             and religion (AT2)
C) Mathematical        i) Use shapes to create        i) Give children time to
development            pictures or models of          reflect on the themes of
                       places of worship.             order and pattern - in
                                                      nature, the seasons etc.
                       ii) Create rangoli patterns
                       when looking at Diwali         ii) Talk with children about
                       celebrations.                  time, the passing of time
                                                      and how we should use
                       iii) Create mosaics from       our time.
                       shapes to form part of
                       display on Islam.

Area of learning       Learning about religions       Learning from religions
                       and religion (AT1)             and religion (AT2)
D) Knowledge and       i) Visit a local place of      i) Sit in silence in religious
understanding of the   worship and explore its        building then talk about
world                  features, purpose and          how they felt.
                                                      ii) Use stories to explore
                       ii) Use senses to explore      spiritual responses to the
                       places of worship.             natural world.

                       iii) Set up a shrine or        iii) Visit local park, wood,
                       display in the classroom       etc to explore variety and
                       for children to observe and    beauty in nature.
                                                      iv) Create a quiet area in
                       iv) Use festivals to explore   the classroom or in the
                       and experience the ways        grounds for children to
                       in which religions             use.
                       celebrate significant
                       people and events.             v) Read stories that raise
                       Include story, food, music,    awareness of endangered
                       symbols, rituals, clothing     species.
                       etc. Help the children to
                       see connections,
                       similarities and

                       v) Invite visitors to share
                       aspects of their religious
                       traditions and culture,

Foundation Stage                                                                     3
Area of learning            Learning about religions        Learning from religions
                            and religion (AT1)              and religion (AT2)
E) Physical development     i) Talk with children about     i) Use movement or dance
                            appropriate ways of             to develop bodily
                            moving and behaving in a        awareness, express
                            religious building.             feelings, re-tell stories, etc.

                            ii) Use visual images and       ii) Reflect on concept of
                            the children's own              well-being: physical,
                            experiences to discuss          emotional and spiritual etc.
                            symbolic religious actions
                            - e.g., kneeling, hands

                            iii) Give children
                            experience of different
                            sorts of foods.

                            iv) Use large materials to
                            construct models of
                            religious buildings

Area of learning            Learning about religions        Learning from religions
                            and religion (AT1)              and religion (AT2)
F) Creative development     i) Create displays with the     i) Give pupils time and
                            children to show the            opportunity to express
                            connections between             their feelings, beliefs and
                            religion and colour.            responses through a
                                                            variety of media, including
                            ii) Do paintings/ drawings      art, music, drama*, role
                            of religious places and         play* dance etc.
                                                            ii) Encourage imagination
                            iii) Create a home area in      by asking children to finish
                            the classroom for               off a story which you begin
                            children's play that reflects   with them.
                            religious or cultural

* Advice on using drama techniques to explore stories and values can be found in
Shared Stories, Shared Values, available from the Interfaith Education Centre.

Foundation Stage                                                                         4

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