Creativity and experience at the root of it all – Valerie Donaghey

I recently had the opportunity to travel from Copenhagen, Denmark to attend my first NATRE conference Strictly RE 2020.  I attended the conference with 2 other colleagues from the same school as myself.  Since we were all first time attendees, anticipation was high and curiosity about what to expect was niggling away at all of us.

At the conference I was lucky enough to attend seminars by Julia Diamond-Conway and Lat Blaylock.  It was such a refreshing experience given the quality and attention all of the presenters gave to their topics.  What caught me even more though was something I feel is so important in this day and age and that’s the focus on both creativity and providing an experience for our students.  This can be an experience either within or outside the classroom to broaden their thoughts and ideas on different subject areas of RE.  As we know in our own lives, this is what creates memories that we cherish and hold on to.  In these times where screen time tends to be the norm along with a ‘quick fix’ lesson it was nice to see excitement and thought given to providing a quality lesson without ‘taking the easy way out’.

When I left the sessions I participated in, I came out with a pack of ideas that could realistically be applied in the classroom within the framework of what we are actually doing.  This is so important because it doesn’t mean massive changes but simple practical ideas such as Julia Diamond-Conway’s Guided Visualizations or Lat Blaylock’s Creation Story with play dough.  I left the conference feeling armed and excited (about a subject that is often not given the priority it should be) and ready to guide our children towards being the informed Global Citizens we hope they will become.

As I am sure you can understand from what I have written I, for one, have found this particular experience a memorable one that I hope will also help to challenge my own creativity!

Valerie Donaghey

Rygaards International School, a British International School with a Catholic Ethos located in Copenhagen, Denmark.

I work as a support teacher in year 1 and also teach year 1 religion.