This PDF unit provides teachers and learners with an enquiry-focused approach to learning from a visit to a sacred place. The emphasis is on learning outside the classroom, and exploring questions through a visit provides for learning about sacred places as spaces to worship God. Pupils are given an opportunity to discover, experience and reflect on the communities, features and artefacts found in sacred places and the importance of special or sacred places in their own lives and those of others.
Exploring religious phenomena: The unit models a particular way of learning in RE – enquiring into the phenomena of religion. By making careful observations of what happens in religion, and by describing these thoughtfully, the artefacts, buildings, shrines and worship of the tradition are revealed in increasing depth. Through this process, the learners gain knowledge and understanding of the ways of life of others, their beliefs, ideas and community life together.
Four religions: The unit is unusual in providing pupils with materials from four different religions in a single unit. This demands that teachers take care to avoid confusing children. The aim is to make space for good learning about religious diversity. Any teacher might plan this in ways that include a visit to perhaps two of the places of worship (and this could be a cathedral and a chapel), and a virtual tour of two others. The aim is clarity and with careful, clear teaching – this is not difficult.
Ages 7 – 11: It is also unusual that this unit is offered for adaptation into different year groups. Teachers might plan their visits with 8-year-olds or 11-year-olds. The unit seeks to enable well- planned and challenging work across the age range.
This unit builds on all prior learning and enables pupils to visualise the concept of a sacred place, what it means to them and to others. This unit explores virtual tours of sacred places; however, where possible it is suggested that children are given the opportunity to visit these sacred places for themselves, allowing them to engage all their senses through a first-hand experience. The unit provides an important way of enabling pupils to see religious diversity clearly: if it is well taught, then teaching will refer back to it in many future units of RE.
Suitable for Year Groups 4 – 7