10 suggestions to help you plan RE for home learning.

  1. Find out the main religious festivals happening this Spring term and plan learning around these. The focus for many festivals is welcoming spring and new life. Learning about these will help children and young people look to the future and anticipate the return of Spring which is a much-needed emphasis in the grey days of January. RE Online has a fantastic overview of the key religious festivals, provided by the Shap Working Party. It is available here: https://www.reonline.org.uk/festival-calendar/

  2. Plan learning about religious and non-religious responses to the pandemic and celebrate what diverse communities have done to help their community in this time. Suggestions include the work of Khalsa aid https://www.khalsaaid.org/about-us; Islamic relief https://www.islamic-relief.org.uk/news/page/3/; the Salvation army https://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/about-us; the Trussell Trust https://www.trusselltrust.org/.

  3. Keep your focus simple and have one clear aim for the learning so that is straightforward for parents to pick up and understand. Keep the topic simple too so that parents and children can investigate it together.

  4. Provide the websites that children and young people can use to find out about RE and don’t suggest an open research project which will allow them to search the internet at home without restriction. Reliable websites include BBC bitesize, BBC my life, My religion, CBeebies, RE Quest for Christianity, RE Online teaching Resources, Humanists UK and NATRE.

  5. Ensure that the work set uses the language of all, many, most, some, a few and avoids the language of all unless it is for something that you know all would accept in a community. Using this in the work that you set is important to show that while communities may have many things in common, they will not always believe and practice their beliefs in the same way.

  6. Look for opportunities for children and young people to use their walks or gardens for thinking about their RE – for example, going on a spring walk to look at nature and consider different responses to the concept of creation and the environment, looking for signs of new life in nature to begin learning about how many Christians use this symbol at Easter time and planting/painting young plants when learning about some of the spring festivals.

  7. Use painting or drawing opportunities in RE where possible so that children and young people can consolidate their learning. For example, drawing/painting a Shabbat meal, a scene from the story of the Passover, a scene from the Easter story, considering art from around the world and in history and using watercolours to paint about Holi.

  8. Use your RE focus to provide cross-curricular writing opportunities. For example, asking children to write a diary entry from a disciple’s point of view when studying Easter, writing the story of the Passover highlighting the role of Moses and his importance to his people and explaining how the Khalsa was formed when learning about the festival of Vaisakhi.

  9. Use the benefit of children and young people being at home to make and eat some of the foods traditionally eaten at this time of year – such as hot cross buns and Simnel cake at Easter and sweets for Chinese New Year.

  10. Encourage children and young people to take part in a competition, such as the one for writing advertised on RE Online here which has a deadline of 31 March: https://www.reonline.org.uk/news/pupil-blog-competition/ 

Justine Ball – Primary RE Inspector and Advisor and the South East Regional Ambassador. @justineballRE

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