Religious Education at Willow respects and promotes each child’s innate capacity for curiosity and spirituality. Throughout their journey in our school, pupils will acquire and develop the knowledge and understanding of the principal religions represented locally and in the wider world. Through Religious Education, our pupils develop their knowledge of the world faiths, their understanding and awareness of the beliefs, values and traditions of other individuals, societies, communities and cultures.
We believe R.E. encourages pupils to develop their sense of identity and belonging through self-awareness and reflection. Throughout school, we promote respect and open-mindedness towards others with different faiths and beliefs. Our curriculum is designed to encourage creativity, imagination, enquiry, debate, discussion and independence. Our principle aim is to engage our pupils with an enquiry based approach where they can develop an understanding and appreciation for the expression of beliefs and cultural practices. We encourage our pupils to ask questions about the world and to reflect on their own beliefs, values and experiences.
We believe that it is vital for all our pupils to learn about religion, so that they can understand the world around them. Our pupils will develop their knowledge and understanding of how religious and beliefs can shape life and behaviour. Religious Education is delivered so pupils will enhance their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development by making reasoned and informed judgements about religious and moral issues.
R.E. Curriculum at Willow
We aim to give every child a unique and engaging experience which will allow them to achieve their full potential. Our Whole School Religious Education is reflected in the attainment targets below.
- To be able to learn about region and belief.
- To be able to learn from religion and belief.
Religious Education is provided for all pupils in our school and is inclusive and broad minded. Our Curriculum is individually tailored to maximise our local links and fulfils of all the requirements of the local syllabus.
The following religions have been selected for study:
Each term, our whole school focuses on a specific skill (strand). The different strands allow our children to build upon their prior knowledge and develop their skills further. This approach enables the children to deepen their understanding through reflection and evaluation.
- Believing – Religious beliefs, teachings, sources, questions about meaning, purpose and truth.
- Expressing – Religious and spiritual forms of expression, questions about identify and diversity.
- Living – Religious practices and ways of living, questions about values and commitments.
Our teaching and learning explores big questions about life to find out what people believe and what difference this makes to how they live, so that pupils can make sense of religion, reflecting on their own ideas and ways of living. Our lesson provide creative opportunities and activities for pupils through an enquiry based approach.
Our Collective Worship Policy includes assemblies, class assemblies, mindfulness, debate and discussion. Our PSHCE lessons also contribute to the teaching of R.E. and we have many valued links in the local community that contribute greatly to R.E. lessons and acts of worship.
We have a close and valued link with St Francis Church in Bessacarr. Our annual Christmas celebration service sees St Francis filled with children, staff, parents/carers and relatives. We also work with the church members to collect a huge number of harvest gifts, very generously donated by families. The tinned and packaged goods and toiletries are given to Doncaster Food Bank, which supports local families in Doncaster.
We greatly value the regular visits of the 'Open the Book' group from our local Church. Stories from the Bible are brought to life through drama and discussion, in such an engaging way that captures the pupils' interest and supports their reflection.
Parents do have the right to withdraw pupils from RE. If parents wish to do this, they must make an appointment with the Headteacher. The school does not support selective withdrawal from RE and strongly advises against it as we believe all children benefit from having an understanding and respect for all faiths.
Our Religious Education Curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to demonstrate progression.
By the end of Primary School, our pupils should:
- Demonstrate a positive attitude towards people of any religion and show an understanding of cultural beliefs different to their own.
- Be able to make links between their own lives and those of others in their community and in the wider world, developing an understanding of other people’s cultures and ways of life.
- Demonstrate respectful behaviour to all - respect is transferable outside of school in the wider community and beyond.
- Know about important people from the past and the present who have been or are positive role models and who are of a different race or religion.
As part of the learning process, we provide children with the following:
- A knowledge organiser which outlines knowledge (including vocabulary).
- A cycle of lessons for each term linked to one of the three strands for R.E.
- Challenge questions for pupils to apply their learning in a philosophical/open manner.
- Enrichment days and visitors who enhance the learning experience
Whole School Enrichment Days
On Friday 25th October our children and staff at Willow Celebrated the Diwali Festival of Lights. To show our appreciation for this special and unique day, we created a whole school collaborative piece of art in a Rangoli Pattern. Every child in our school contributed to this magnificent masterpiece by adding small pieces of tissue paper. Our collaborative art project allowed our children to develop patience, respect and teamwork skills.
We were also very lucky to welcome Mr Singh, who is a talented musician, to our school. He played traditional Hindu drumming songs for us in the morning for a festive start to the day. Children and parents gathered to share this memorable experience.
Our children also enjoyed a carousel of activities which enabled them to think about this special festival of new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil.
Reception – Henna pattern skills using paint and piping bags
Y1 – Bollywood dance
Y2 – Clay diva lamps
Y3 – Maths coordinates related to Rhama and Sita story
Y4 – Design a Diwali outfit
Y5 – Writing - The retelling the story of Rhama and Sita
Y6 – Acrostic poetry
Please take a look at our picture gallery below.
Festive Coffee Morning!
On the morning of our Christmas Service, we were very fortunate to have The Doncaster Ladies Choir add to our festivity at Willow! The ladies sang some well-known and much loved traditional Christmas carols. This gave our pupils and parents the opportunity to enjoy and take part in our festive morning. Thank you to our ‘Wonderful Willow Staff’ who did an amazing job in setting up the festive teas, coffees and mince pies. A big thank you to Mrs James (CEO) who joined us at this event and service too, as always we really appreciate your support.
Christmas Church Service
As part of our RE and community learning, this year, we attended our local church for a Christmas service. This will took place at the St. Francis Church, in Bessacarr. This gave our pupils a great opportunity to experience a place of worship during the Christmas season. This taught the pupils the true meaning of Christmas and helped them respect and value religions and celebrations that are celebrated by many of people. This visit consisted of listening to the story of Christmas (where our younger pupils took part in acting out the very important parts of Mary, Joseph, the donkey, the inn keeper and the angels), a few hymns, some Bible readings by members of our pupil leadership team and a few members of our staff and a few words from the church Reverend.
Thank you to the Reverend and volunteers from the church for making this a very memorable experience for us at Willow! Also thank you to the parents who joined us at the church, we really appreciate your support. Finally thank you to our pupils who made us all very proud by showing and demonstrating all of our school ASPIRE values!
As well as learning about Christmas, we learnt about the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, which is celebrated towards the end of December. Hanukkah is a very important Jewish holiday that celebrates the time when the Jewish community were first granted religious freedom. Traditionally, families light candles for each of the 8 days Hanukkah is celebrated. We also lit 8 candles at school, a different member of the Willow team lit a candle each day. On this week the children also widened their knowledge about this festival in a special Hanukkah assembly.
Chinese New Year 2020…The year of the Rat!
This year according to the Chinese Zodiac Story, we celebrated the year of the rat. At Willow, we celebrated this festival in many different and fun ways.
- Non-uniform day. - The children came dressed in red, as this is known to be a Good Luck colour in China and for Chinese people.
- Chinese Dragon mascot – We had a Chinese dragon mascot in school! The mascot made an appearance on the morning and was around for the day to pop in and out of classes.
- Registration – All children said ‘Kung Hei Fat Choi’ when replying to the register at the start of the day, which is a greeting that is often used on Chinese New Year, the meaning of this is ‘I wish you earn more money this year.’ (Chinese New Year focuses on wealth, fortune, good luck and kindness for the coming New Year).
- Fortune cookie competition – All children had the opportunity to write a kindness message to be put inside their very own fortune cookie. This linked to our new rule of being kind. The activity linked to Chinese New Year because when we go to Chinese restaurants, we are often served a fortune cookie, which has a prosperous, and interesting message inside to make us happy which is one of the key things celebrated during Chinese New Year. The best kindness message won a special prize of a set meal for one, which was generously donated by our local Chinese takeaway.
At school, each year group successfully completed a task related to Chinese New Year.
- Reception – To make a Chinese dragon using shapes and Chinese related books and photos to be available in provision.
- Year 1 – To create Chinese lanterns.
- Year 2 – To design red money wallets.
- Year 3 – To write their names in Mandarin.
- Year 4 – To research Chinese New Year on Purple Mash.
- Year 5 – To use paint to create oriental blossom tree.
- Year 6 – To use Purple Mash to publish a newspaper article on Chinese New Year.
At the end of the day, all of the children listened to the famous Zodiac Story of The Great Race.
Thank you to all our staff and pupils for producing outstanding work of very high quality! Also a massive thank you to all our parents/carers who sent in money for the non-uniform day, this will be used for future RE events.
Congratulations to Libby in Kingfishers!
A huge thank you to everyone who entered the competition, we were overwhelmed with all the kind messages!
Continuing our RE learning/celebrations during LOCKDOWN!
Even though most of us are learning from home at this time, at Willow we want to continue with our RE learning and share information about festivals and celebrations our pupils would have been learning about at school.
Listen to the story of Easter, read by Rev. Richard from St. Francis Church.
We are asking our pupils to decorate an egg for Easter and we would like you to decorate your egg following the theme ‘Our Heroes.’ Due to the current situation of Covid-19, we are very lucky to have lots of brave, resilient people who are helping to look after patients all over the world that are currently suffering from this virus. To commemorate these very special people (‘Our Heroes’), we would like you to decorate your egg following this theme. This could be done on a boiled egg or you could draw the egg on paper/card. Your egg could be decorated as a doctor, nurse or even somebody you know who has helped us at this very difficult time. When you have completed this activity, please send photos of your egg to your year group home learning email address if you can. We would love to see them!
Vaisakhi (also known as Baisakhi, Vaisakhi, or Vaisakhi) is the harvest and New Year festival of the Punjab region. The day is celebrated on 13th or 14th April with bright new clothes, singing, dancing, and sometimes going to Vaisakhi funfairs.
Vaisakhi next falls on 13th April 2020.
Vaisakhi is particularly important to Sikhs. In 1699, the 10th Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh laid the foundation for the collective faith of Sikhism on Vaisakhi, when he established the Khalsa.
The Story of Vaisakhi
Hundreds of years ago, many Sikh people were together celebrating the harvest. A man called Guru Gobind Singh, who was a very important leader, wanted to make a special group of people called the Khalsa, which means ‘the pure ones’. The word ‘pure’ means very clean and good. At the celebration, there was a tent. Guru Gobind Singh came out of the tent with a sharp sword in his hand. “Who will give up their life for their faith?” he asked the crowd. Most people were very confused. Some were even frightened. One brave man stepped forward. He followed Guru Gobind Singh into the tent. Then Guru Gobind Singh came out. His sword was covered in blood and there was no sign of the other man! This happened another four times, until five men had gone into the tent and not returned. Finally, all five men walked out of the tent. They were all unharmed and were dressed in special robes and wearing turbans on their heads. It had been a test to help Guru Gobind Singh find the bravest people. Guru Gobind Singh called these men the Panj Pyare (the Five Beloved Ones). He also gave them new names to show how special they were.
How is Vaisakhi celebrated?
On Vaisakhi, Sikhs go to the Gurdwara in the morning for a service.
Afterwards, they have a procession through the streets with lots of singing, chanting and colourful clothes. The procession is called the Nagar Kirtan.
In the evening, Sikhs have a special meal with family and friends.
Learn to dance some Bhangra steps by following along with this video. Bhangra is traditional folk dancing from the Punjab region associated with the harvest.
Watch a dance, then learn the individual steps and try it yourselves! You will be clicking through to YouTube to watch the video.
Singh, the surname given to every Sikh man on Vaisakhi in 1699, means Lion.
Vaisakhi has traditionally been a time that children made their own kites and flew them. Why not have a go at making your own? Alternatively, if that it too much hard work, how about colouring in a kite? You might like to choose the colour orange for your kite, as saffron or orange play a large part in Vaisakhi celebrations.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Given the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar system; Ramadan begins on a different date each year. One reason why Ramadan is special is that the Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad in this month.
Who celebrates Ramadan?
Muslims all over the world celebrate Ramadan.
What do Muslims do during Ramadan?
During this month, Muslims fast. This means they do not eat or drink anything from dawn to dusk. Young children, pregnant women, and those not healthy enough to fast are not required to observe the fast. In addition, Muslims are encouraged to read the Qur’an, self-reflect, spend time with family and be more charitable.
Why do Muslims fast during Ramadan?
There are many reasons Muslims fast during Ramadan, some of these include:
1. To gain God’s pleasure.2. To strengthen one’s faith.
Helping our Community!
During this difficult time, we have tried to contribute in many different ways to our community to show solidarity, which will keep us all going, and smiling even though faced with tough times.
Request from our neighbours
We were asked by our local residence if our pupils could create a rainbow poster, which they could display in their window that would thank our NHS for the wonderful job that they were doing. Our pupils used their captain collaboration superpowers to create this wonderful poster. Well done kids!
Thanking our NHS
Our pupils wanted to thank our NHS by producing a collaborative piece of art that we could send to our local hospital. This piece of work was very much appreciated when received by Doncaster Royal Infirmary. Our frame was exhibited at the hospital for all to see and enjoy! It consisted of a rainbow and silhouettes of superheroes. One of our Year 5 pupils also adding a poem he had written as part of a home learning task. This was an absolute outstanding piece of writing that vibrated a very positive message!
We were thrilled when we found out from the hospital that our frame had been proudly displayed at the Jasmine Centre. It had also been selected to be in the hospital magazine as the photographer named it ‘Photo of the Week.’
Well done to our pupils for thinking of our community and following our school ASPIRE values! We are very proud of you all!