I love teaching Religious Studies and feel lucky that I am able to do so for both Years 1 and 2. The subject lends itself to great story-telling, some fascinating facts, interesting artefacts and (the best bit of all) developing questioning minds. The children are always encouraged to draw upon their own experiences to make the learning meaningful to them as well as to develop empathy and understanding of those who may have different beliefs and ideas. Although most of our curriculum focusses on Christianity, we also explore Judaism and also touch on Hinduism.
This half term Year 2 have been finding out about The Torah and have enjoyed learning about where it is kept, how it is treated and why it is so special to Jewish people. In Year 1 they learned about some of the beliefs and practices of Jewish people and so already have some knowledge about this religion. Currently we are reading some of the stories from the Torah (also found in The Old Testament) and thinking about what God wants people to learn from them. This week we began reading the story of ‘Joseph’ and explored the theme of ‘jealousy’. The lesson began (without explanation of why) with my allowing only the boys to sit on the chairs while the girls had to sit on the floor, which received some looks of ‘outrage’ from the girls although they were too polite to question my instruction. Their despondency was further exacerbated when the boy’s team won the ‘warm-up’ quiz!I asked the girls how they were feeling, to which they replied, “left out”, “sad”, and “cross”. I then let them in on the secret that I had hoped they would feel like this as when we roll all of those feelings into one we find that we are feeling ’jealous’ and I explained this was going to be the theme of today’s story from the Torah. (I am also pleased to report that when I asked if there might be any gentlemen in the room who may give up his chair for a lady, they all proved themselves worthy of the title. One boy, who didn’t need to give up his seat as there were more boys than girls, still did so for brotherly solidarity!)