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The Stonar Way 13.10.23

Profile shot of Head of Prep
  • Whole School

Rob Cunningham, Head of Prep, reflects on the importance and relevance of his lesson to Year 4 on all religions being equal.

I taught a Religion and Worldview lesson to children in Year 4 this week. The focus of our series of lessons is considering whether all religions are equal. I started the lesson asking children to work with a partner where one child described an image to another and the child listening to the description had to try and replicate the drawing, based only on what they heard. We had discussed the sort of language that would support both the describer and the drawer prior to starting, and it was fascinating and rewarding to observe the children completing the task.

Following the activity, we discussed what had made the drawing more or less successful. The children noted the importance of clear and deliberate communication, emphasising the benefits of speaking slowly and clearly. The describers mentioned how it helpful it was when the drawers asked questions to clarify the descriptions. Both partners highlighted the positive impact of praise and patience, emphasising how these elements fostered effective collaboration.

We all then agreed that these principles, that made the drawing exercise successful, could also be very valuable as we learnt about religions and worldviews. By having clear explanations, patience and asking questions, there would be the opportunity to express our opinions, secure in the knowledge that we would be listened to as we engaged in our learning.

Using these agreed principles, we went on to discover the inter-connections between the major religions and worldviews. We discovered that, whilst there are inevitable differences, there are also many interlocking beliefs, customs and attitudes.

This lesson coincided with a week marked by violence erupting in the Middle East region. The children in my classroom were able to grasp the value of shared understanding, patience and tolerance; essential principles if peace is to prevail in Israel and Gaza and provide the children of this region with a safe and secure environment in which to grow up.

Amid the horrific news this week, one story in particular caught my eye - that of Vivian Silver. Vivian is a 74 year old Canadian-Israeli peace activist, who has spent her life campaigning for human rights for Palestinians. She helped to found ‘Women Wage Peace’ – a movement that has pushed for a negotiated settlement and which works alongside the Palestinian women’s peace movement. Every time there is a general election, they ask the simple question, “What are you doing to avoid war?”

Vivian is currently missing, following the attacks this week, and I couldn’t help wondering what she would be asking of people right now. I believe that she, alongside the citizens on both sides of this conflict, would find encouragement in knowing that our children talked about communication, understanding and acceptance in the classroom this week. The children listened actively to each other, asked questions and demonstrated tolerance. Well done Year 4!

 

Rob Cunningham

Head of Prep