At St John’s we follow Discovery RE.
Discovery RE is an enquiry-based scheme of work, covering the 6 principal world faiths in a progressive way from reception to Year 6. In the early years, the learning is closely matched to Development Matters to contribute meaningfully to your child’s holistic development. Throughout all the enquiries, the children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural education is carefully considered.
Each enquiry lasts for half a term and begins with a “big” question such as “What is the best way for a Christian/Jew/Muslim etc. to show commitment to God?” The children then start discussing the theme of the enquiry (in this case, commitment) from their own experience. What have they shown commitment to? Brownies? Cubs? Their sporting team? Playing an instrument?
Only when the children fully understand the concept they are considering, do they then move on to investigating what the people following the studied religion believe about it. They will spend approximately 3 lessons on this, learning in a variety of ways, so they can adapt their responses and come to a measured conclusion. In week 5 they will complete an activity which can assess their learning, by answering their “big” question. The assessment activities are child friendly and can be answered in a variety of ways, as long as the child can justify their view with the knowledge they have gained throughout the enquiry. This demonstrates the level of critical thinking that the children can apply – a valuable skill for them throughout the school curriculum.
The final week in every enquiry gives the children time to reflect on what they have learnt about the concept and apply to it their own lives, thus allowing them to form their own beliefs and identity. For example, learning that Sikhs share their food with all who attend has taught me ……… about sharing that I would like to take forward with me. These lessons are often very creative and children have opportunities to make items to express themselves in ways other than just writing.
Discovery RE gives schools a choice of which religions to teach in different year groups. At St John’s we have chosen the following options as we feel this best suits the needs of our children and creates a cohesive approach to our teaching.