Four to five year-olds begin to ask questions about themselves and others:
- What is important to me?
- Why do people do things differently? Why does my family/community celebrate events like this and your family/community celebrate events differently or not at all? Which is the ‘right’ way?
- What do I believe? Why do people have different opinions and views to me?
- What happens to people when they die?
- Where was I before I was born?
- What is right and what is wrong?
It is important to encourage children to ask questions and explore answers which can:
- support children to develop emotionally, spiritually and morally
- support their developing thinking skills, both abstract and imaginative
- help them find out about themselves, their family and community
- help them to develop a sense of place in their family and community, in the world and in the universe
- help them learn about similarities and differences between themselves and others, and among families, communities and traditions
RE can also contribute to children’s development of Characteristics of Effective Learning in particular with regard to:
- Making links and noticing patterns in their experience (Creating and Thinking Critically - Making links)
- Showing curiosity about objects, events and people (Playing and Exploring – Finding out and exploring)
- Using senses to explore the world around them (Playing and Exploring – Finding out and exploring)
- Representing their experiences in play (Playing and Exploring – Playing with what they know)
- Acting out experiences with other people (Playing and Exploring – Playing with what they know)
The processes of exploration and reflection are important for the child.
Learning from other views, cultures and beliefs supports children in developing their views and beliefs about themselves, their family and community.
Learning about other views, beliefs and cultures supports children in developing positive attitudes towards them.
The EYFS refers to spiritual wellbeing, acknowledging the fact that children have experiences beyond the purely emotional. Their spiritual wellbeing is enhanced by recognising that children develop spiritually by exploring answers to their questions, developing their sense of place in the world and beyond.
In finding out about others, young children start reflecting on belief, culture and practice and explore faith through:
- visuals - photos, pictures
- toys and puppets
- handling real artefacts
- creativity – dance, drama, art and design
- non-fiction books
- using ICT