The Foundation Stage has 7 puppets, one from each of the major faiths and one with no faith background. The children know the puppets well.
There are: Banita whose family come from the Sikh faith, Harish whose family have a Hindu background, Sarah whose family have a Jewish background, Faisal who is a Muslim, John who is Christian and Milly whose family have no particular faith.
One morning when the children come into Foundation Stage area, some of the puppets are sitting each with a photograph. The practitioner acts very surprised.
Practitioner: Oh look at this!
Child 1: Harish, Milly and John have some photos.
Practitioner: And look…
Child 2: A letter!!!!! (Grabs letter)
Practitioner: Is it for us?
Child 3 (reads): “To the ch_”
Child 4: It says ‘children’
Practitioner: Let’s take the puppets and sit down!
Child 1: Can I take Harish?
The children decide who will have which puppet. They sit down and the practitioner allows Child 1 to open the letter. The child shows the letter to the practitioner and the practitioner reads:
We have brought some photographs to show you – I wonder if you can guess what they are about?
Talk about it, write back and let us know.
From Harish, Milly and John xxx
Children (gasp): Wow!
Practitioner (excited): Well, what can we see here?
Child 5 (jumping up and down excitedly): It’s a christening - I have been to one for my Jack!
Practitioner: A christening?
Child 5: The man at the church put water on his head and made him cry!
Child 6: What do you mean?
Child 5: He was being christened.
Practitioner: I wonder what that means?
Child 5: You do it when you have a new baby.
Practitioner: Shall we write a letter later?
The children move onto child initiated activities and with careful adult intervention, a letter is written to the puppets saying:
It is a cws nin.
After lunch another letter arrives:
On John’s photo, his friend’s baby is being christened ‘Ryan’ in a church.
Here is a mystery box that you can open.
All: Open it!!!!
Practitioner opens the box which contains a christening gown, a picture of a cake, a card and a silver cup.
Child: That’s what my Jack wore!
Practitioner: Now this looks a little bit like a dress, but it is actually a gown for boys and girls to wear at their christening.
Child 2: And there is a card for the baby and a cup so it can drink milk.
Practitioner: I wonder what people write in cards?
Child 3: Happy ‘birth day’, baby.
Practitioner: Yes I suppose so, the baby has been born and people are saying ‘hurray!’
Over the next few days the children continue to write letters to the puppets.
They receive various boxes and letters, first from Harish explaining how they celebrated his baby and then a box containing a picture of fire, cleaning materials and a traditional Indian baby dress. Milly’s box contains an outfit, ‘it’s a girl’ and a silver cup. There is also a picture of the family celebrating in their home with balloons and party food.
The children are allowed to explore the items in the exploration and investigation tent. This leads to many other opportunities in RE and in EYFS. For example, setting up an area with a doll and getting it ready for a naming party – finding and creating resources that will be required, writing cards, designing and making celebration dishes, discussing feelings connected with the event, roleplaying the celebration, designing and making gifts, visiting the local church, bringing in own naming ceremony items from home and discussing – the links are endless!