A guide to getting started
Which Story should I choose?
Ideally the story you choose should connect across your curriculum.
You could choose a story that links to your current project or context; for example Noah’s Ark links to water or weather, The Ten Commandments links to rules and conflicts. The Creation account links to looking after our environment.
Or perhaps choose a story that has clear links to an area of the curriculum you’d like to explore; for example The Prodigal Son has strong links to thinking about saying sorry and offering forgiveness. Or David and Goliath has lots of potential for linking to STEM; building catapaults and measuring.
A quick read of the story web pages will give you ideas of links that can be made.
If there are no clear links choose a story that interests you, use it as a topic and link other areas of the curriculum to it.
Whatever story you choose we hope you enjoy exploring it with your class!
Getting the right atmosphere in your classroom is important. We want children to enjoy these lessons so they learn it is interesting to hear about what other people believe. We want children to feel able to share their beliefs and values even if they are different from their friends. We want children to develop the skills of listening and asking questions recognising this will help them understand the variety of beliefs in our world and how faith and belief affects the world we live in. If we can achieve these aims we will be helping our children develop respect for those around them and also to know their voice and opinions have value.
So how can we encourage this in our classrooms?
- Have fun! Enjoy the stories and the activities around them. Use funny props as you act out the stories, encourage over acting, laugh with each other. Allow the children to use their creativity as they create images from the story and make quizzes fun by making them active or awarding points in a creative way. (Ideas are all in the lesson outlines!)
- Frame the learning. Tell the children that they’re going to be learning about what Christians believe. Remind them that not everyone believes the same things but it’s important to understand other people’s beliefs. Explain that once we understand more about what Christians believe we’ll look at the values in the story and consider; whatever we believe what can we learn from this story? What values do we share? Remind them that we can still be friends with each other even if we believe different things.
- Encourage questions and ask open ended questions. Congratulate the children on asking questions even if they seem like tricky questions to answer! Encourage the children to do their best to answer each other’s questions.
- Provide ways for children to express their opinions. This may be in discussions or writing them down. With older children encourage them to see if they can provide a suggestion for two sides of a debate.
- Model respect. Be interested in the story and the learning yourself. Be enthusiastic about it. Encourage children to share their opinions and beliefs and thank them for doing so.
- Speak about respect. Congratulate the class when they have discussed and listened well. Explain to them that that is showing respect and you’re proud of them for their respectful behaviour.
Questions can be tricky!
Children enjoy asking questions and we find they ask big and deep questions as we deliver these lessons. Often we feel under qualified to answer their questions. Here are some tips to help you.
Firstly celebrate their questions. It’s great they’re asking questions. Tell them ‘that’s a great question!’
Ask the class what they think the answer is. Does anyone know? Or can they find the answer in the Bible story?
We have provided outlines of Christian belief for 4 key stories (the ones where we find the children ask really tricky questions!). We also provide answers for FAQs for the creation story and Noah’s Ark. Read through these before you deliver these lessons. Perhaps these will help you answer the children’s questions.
If you’re still not sure of the answer, don’t panic! That’s ok. Say you don’t know and wonder together how you could find out the answer. Could they research the question? Is there someone local you could invite in to help answer the questions? (A local minister or chaplain or Christian parent).
Write down their questions so you can explore them at a later time.
Keep encouraging them to ask questions and remind them that it’s through asking questions we can develop our understanding of other’s beliefs and so a greater understanding of our world.
Ideas and resources to develop learning across the curriculum
“The level of engagement was wonderful and the variety of responses proves that even children as young as they are, can be capable of individual thoughts they do not necessarily always follow the crowd.”
― Teacher, Middleton Park Primary School