Designing the curriculum for early years foundation stage
“Pupils should encounter religions and worldviews through special people, books, times, places and objects, and by visiting places of worship. They should listen to and talk about stories. Pupils can be introduced to subject-specific words and use all their senses to explore beliefs, practices and forms of expression.” (NCFRE p16)
Whilst no subject in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYSF) is usually taught discretely, religious education nonetheless has an important role to play, and is a legal requirement for all pupils on the school roll, including all those in the reception year.
Within the seven strands of the EYFS it is expected that educational programmes will provide activities and experiences which will “guide children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.” (Statutory Framework for Early Years Foundation Stage)
An RE curriculum for the Early Years should ensure that children have opportunities to find out about aspects of the following from Christianity and a range of different religions and worldviews:
- Stories, poems, prayers and songs
- Festivals and celebrations
- Artefacts and places of worship, visitors and videos
- Their own ideas and questions about religion, belief, truth and right and wrong.
As all of the strands of the EYFS are interwoven, children may share their thoughts, ideas and feelings “through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role play and design and technology. ” Effective RE will contribute to young children’s understanding of the world in which they live and help them to develop a positive sense of self.