Religious Education at Holy Cross Catholic Primary School
In Holy Cross School, Religious Education enables children to know of God’s love for them and to grow in the knowledge and understanding of the Catholic Faith focusing on their spiritual, moral, cultural and social development. It encourages awareness of and respect for people of other faiths.
Religious Education seeks to help children to integrate life’s experiences and their learning into a growing appreciation of faith in Jesus Christ, rooted in the gospel, and encourages a Christian way of life. It helps children to reflect on the ultimate questions of life, while presenting them with the same challenges and demands that they meet in other areas of the curriculum. It makes a distinctive contribution to the home, school and parish process of faith formation. This results in a life rooted in sacraments, prayer, liturgy, appropriate to age and development.
Teaching and Learning
The children are taught through the Religious Education programme ‘Come and See’, which encourages development of skills required for exploration, investigation, interpretation and communication. In addition, a Christian ethos is created by the example set by all adults in our community; this ethos permeates all aspects of the school and this provides a model for the children to follow.
Children learn through shared experience and make connections between life’s experiences and the gospel teachings.
Stages of development are taken into account resulting in a structured progression allowing children to learn according to their different abilities, backgrounds and experiences.
Background knowledge of people of other faiths is taught so that prejudice and misunderstanding can be overcome at an early age and to ensure that children are provided with opportunities to develop a global approach to citizenship.
Children are introduced to and encouraged to explore scripture; both relative to the work they are doing and also to their daily life.
Prayer and preparation for the sacraments is an integral part of the ‘Come and See’ programme.Specific preparation for Reconciliation, Confirmation and First Communion is co-ordinated through, school and parish catechesis.
Teaching methods stimulate activities resulting in a response from the ‘heart’ of the child, developing attitudes of respect and reverence and an understanding that following Jesus is a call to holiness and wholeness of life.
Children are taught in as creative a way as possible, using for example, role play, hot seating, drama, art, music, reflection; the children learn and live through experiencing living faith.
There is a balance of collaborative and independent learning activities used in the teaching of RE.
The use of independent learning and personal reflection is particularly pertinent in RE lessons.
We have a wide variety of books to support the teaching of RE which staff can access; these are situated in the resource cupboards outside the Rainbow Room. There are a variety of books for staff, giving ideas for creative prayer sessions and creative RE lessons. There is also a separate resource cupboard containing resources for the Major World Religions and also for the Sacraments of Initiation. ICT is used extensively to support the teaching of RE. God’s Story and Church’s Story are available in hard copies in the resource area and are also in Power Point format in each classroom. Each teacher has access to the ‘Come and See’ website which has a variety of interactive and printable resources.
Assessment in this subject can be categorized into two main areas:
Learning about Religion
(i) beliefs, teachings and sources
(ii) celebration and ritual
(iii) social and moral practices and way of life
Learning from Religion
(i) engagement with own and others’ beliefs and values
(ii) engagement with questions of meaning and purpose
Assessment of learning establishes what the children know and understand about the catholic faith. It does not in any way assess their faith or spiritual growth. It does involve the teacher and child evaluating various pieces of work during the academic year. Records of Attainment are used by each class teacher to assess each child. Assessment portfolios are collected and monitored by the RE Co-ordinator and samples of work are kept as evidence. In addition, all staff work collectively to monitor work each term.
Formal Assessments are carried out once a term on a specific topic and every other topic is assessed by the class teacher based on their own judgements of their children. All assessments are recorded as part of the Record of Attainment for each child.
At the end of the year, the RE Co-ordinator will create whole school and class assessment grids which will be used to group, plan for and track attainment of individuals and groups of children effectively.
The R.E. Programme
To fulfil our Aims and Objectives we use the ‘Come and See’ programme of Religious Education as recommended by the Archdiocese of Liverpool.
The aim of this programme is to explore the religious dimension of questions about life, dignity and purpose within Christianity and within that, the Catholic tradition. A great emphasis is placed on the Bible and links are made with the pupils own experiences and with universal experience. Links are also made with the experience of other faith traditions. The programme therefore is both ‘objective’ and ‘subjective’.
For all children the programme will raise questions and provide material for reflecting their own experience. It will help them to explore the belief, values and way of life of Christianity, the Catholic tradition and where appropriate of other Faith traditions.
For those from committed families, it will deepen and enrich their understanding and living of their faith.
Overview of Content
Each class follows their own programme of study, with opportunities for assessment provided for each year group at the end of the topic. There are nine topics per year group and three topics are taught each term.
During the Autumn term, every class participates in a Judaism week learning about the Jewish faith. Every year during the Summer Term, the children spend one week learning about either Islam, Sikhism or Hinduism.
Prayer And Liturgy
Prayer, worship and Liturgical Celebration are central to the Christian way of life and our Catholic Tradition and are essential parts of the religious experience at Holy Cross being offered as an integral part of school life.
Children are encouraged to develop an active participation in prayer through a gradual, nurturing process, which may begin at home. For some – children and adults – Holy CrossSchool provides the most important experience of faith community and we would endeavour to reach out to parents through children’s prayer. A sense of belonging – to the school as a worshipping community and to the church within the parish – is considered an essential foundation for prayer and is fostered throughout the child’s years at Holy Cross.
Opportunities for joining with the parish are created through regular events such as Class Masses at Holy Cross School, themed assemblies, the first sacramental/first communion programmes and through our Advent and Lenten celebrations.
At Holy Cross, we look to Jesus Christ for the basis of our existence and for his loving care of each individual, beginning with the respect for him living within each person. We gather together as God’s people to express and to celebrate our faith.
Liturgical celebrations may or may not be sacramental; through both forms we aim to encourage children to live as Christian people through adherence to the gospel values and to teach them about the Catholic faith through their own experiences. Liturgies may be formal or informal gatherings planned, perhaps, through ‘Come and See’, using our Collective Worship themes or spontaneous opportunities. Teachers and children are actively involved in the preparation of liturgies and all are invited to participate. The extent to which children share in the planning process will depend upon their age and experience of planning worship. Liturgies aim to reflect what is happening in children’s lives, giving opportunities for expressing needs, sharing experiences and learning from these, thus affecting values and attitudes to determine behaviour.
The Religious Education experience offered to children at Holy Cross recognises that each one of us is on a journey of faith that will continue throughout the whole of life. As a faith community, we contribute to children’s spiritual growth, knowledge and understanding of Jesus Christ and his love for us through living the Gospel Values.