Religious Education in the Early Years

Religious Education in the Early Years

Religious Education in the Early Years

Religious Education in the Early Years


This volume looks at the role of Religious Education in the curriculum for the Early Years child. This book attempts to:*Discuss how to incorporate a wide range ofreligions in the classroom;*Consider how these can be explored in exciting and imaginative ways;*Help readers clarify their thinking on the subject;*Looks at the development of new approaches to the teaching of RE.Through studying practical examples and discussing what should be aimed at when considering good practice in the classroom, she provides a text that manages to be both inspirational and useful. This is a great addition to the RoutledgeFalmer series of books on Teaching and Learning in the First Three Years of School.


For many in education, both teachers and students, Religious Education is a controversial subject. It is neither a core nor a foundation subject: it is described as being ‘part of the basic curriculum’, and until 1988 it was the only subject that was required to be taught to all.

In the opening section of this book, discussion is developed with the purpose of helping readers clarify their thinking on Religious Education. This involves examining a few of the popular thinking movements which have exerted immense influence over the way in which popular opinion perceives religion, especially the apparent ‘fact/belief’ division and the way in which it has caused Religious Education to develop, particularly during the past few decades of this century.

The following sections of the book advocate an entirely new approach to the subject, one called evaluative Religious Education. This approach, by recognising the richness of the wisdom which is enshrined within the scriptures of the great world religions, sees religious insights as invaluable in that they offer people a yardstick against which life’s experiences can be assessed and tested. It is shown, by means of many practical examples, how the ideas can be introduced to children in the early years of schooling.

The aim is not to condition children within any particular faith. The book sets out to examine conceptual development in Religious Education, and to show how closely religion is linked with language work and literacy, and the development of values.

As the book was in its final stages, the author read an account in a national newspaper of one of her former pupils. As a six year old, Michelle had loved History, Religious Education and English. However, she had never been motivated by Mathematics and the Sciences. As she progressed through primary school her early promise was not fulfilled, and she began to lose interest even in those subjects that had fascinated her at an early age. She did not co-operate in the secondary phase of schooling, as she came to believe that ‘school is a waste of time’. She never passed any examinations and by the age of sixteen she had become a drug addict.

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