RE IN THE STATUTORY EYFS FRAMEWORK 2021
The EYFS Framework 2021 may be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-foundation-stage-framework–2
The Early Year Foundation Stage Profile 2022 Handbook may be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-foundation-stage-profile-handbook
The Statutory guidance is a short document which places conventional RE learning most comfortably within the ‘Understanding the World’ strand.
Understanding the World
Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community. The frequency and range of children’s personal experiences increases their knowledge and sense of the world around them – from visiting parks, libraries and museums to meeting important members of society such as police officers, nurses and firefighters. In addition, listening to a broad selection of stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems will foster their understanding of our culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverse world. As well as building important knowledge, this extends their familiarity with words that support understanding across domains. Enriching and widening children’s vocabulary will support later reading comprehension.
Past and Present Children at the expected level of development will:
- Talk about the lives of the people around them and their roles in society; – Know some similarities and differences between things in the past and now, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class;
- Understand the past through settings, characters and events encountered in books read in class and storytelling.
RE example(s) :
Children may have met the local Vicar or someone from Church. They will be able to talk about the job that he/she does.
Children may be able to tell their key worker about how Baby Jesus was born a very long time ago
People, Culture and Communities Children at the expected level of development will:
- Describe their immediate environment using knowledge from observation, discussion, stories, non-fiction texts and maps;
- Know some similarities and differences between different religious and cultural communities in this country, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class;
- Explain some similarities and differences between life in this country and life in other countries, drawing on knowledge from stories, non-fiction texts and – when appropriate – maps.
RE example(s) :
Children may be able to talk about how much fun they had celebrating a range of different festivals throughout the year. “ All the children like to have parties and special food, we tried new sweets with Adam when it was Eid.”
Children may identify that the cap they saw in class was for a boy to wear on Friday.
Children may be able to demonstrate a new dance or a song that they have learnt and talk about how it is special.
The Natural World Children at the expected level of development will:
- Explore the natural world around them, making observations and drawing pictures of animals and plants;
- Know some similarities and differences between the natural world around them and contrasting environments, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class;
- Understand some important processes and changes in the natural world around them, including the seasons and changing states of matter.
Children may share exciting moments of wonder : finding a lady bird on a leaf, exploring the softness of a feather or smelling mint in the garden.
Children may talk about the weather changing as the seasons move on. “I need my coat on because Autumn is coming and its colder”.
The ELG’s, as listed above, provide huge reference to people, religions and the awe and wonder of the ever-changing natural world
This is the most straightforward way of translating the subject. If used effectively however, RE has the power to add value to the entire experience of EYFS.
“1.8 The ELGs should not be used as a curriculum or in any way to limit the wide variety of rich experiences that are crucial to child development, from being read to frequently to playing with friends.”
Early Reading is key to success in EYFS. Throughout the EYFS document, reference is made to stories and books that children have read or heard.
Free access to a wide range of texts about and from different world religions will add to the rich and varied reading environment.
Planned opportunities for children and adults to explore these texts together will ensure fair, quality access.
See appendix 1 below
Regular opportunities to hear RE texts incorporated into routine book sharing sessions will add to children’s depth of knowledge and understanding.
Exploring and celebrating festivals, sharing special books and finding out about the lives of others provides a wealth of opportunities for growth and development in all areas, particularly those which are considered ‘prime’.
RE also provides a purpose for writing and artistic response.
Children may write lists of animals for Noah or the colours of Josephs coat.
Children may play instruments to express gratitude or joy.
Children may learn a dance in celebration of Diwali.
It is clear that RE has an important role in our Early years classroom in enriching the experiences of the children and in enhancing a broad and balanced curriculum. Planned and purposeful opportunities in RE will fulfill and exceed requirements of early learning Goals and the Statutory framework.
Some ideas for texts to use in the Reception classroom:
Welcome to Our World: A Celebration of Children Everywhere! by Moira Butterfield
Celebrations Around the World: The Fabulous Celebrations you Won’t Want to Miss by Katy Halfor
This Is Why We Pray: Islamic Book for Kids: A Story about Islam, Salah, and Dua by Ameenah Muhammad-Diggins
Hats of Faith by Medeia Cohan-Petrolino
Ramadan (Celebrate the World) by Hannah Eliot
Diwali (Celebrate the World) by Hannah Eliot