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My 5 year old niece was told to go home and pray

(491 Posts)
freyjasauntie Thu 21-Jul-11 10:56:58

I am really upset that my 5 year old niece was told by her school teacher to go home and pray at bedtime. Although she goes to a C of E school, this is due to logistics of living in the country, and the school are aware that she is being raised atheist, (she was enrolled as such) with a view to letting her decide her own path when she is ready to understand what that entails.

If a Muslim teacher had told her girls to go home and wear hijab, there would be uproar, but it seems to be accepted that schools can promote Christian ideology. I have no problems with my niece being taught about Jesus, about being kind to each other, about truth telling and other so called Christian Values (which can be found in almost any religion) but I strongly object to her being told to give up something for Lent (she had no idea why she should do so), and to pray at bedtime.

Religious Education should be EDUCATION, as a qualified RE teacher, I have always presented all world religious as equally valuable, but there is a real difference between education and what I believe is insidious indoctrination.

itisnearlysummer Thu 21-Jul-11 10:58:56

Er a C of E school will promote a Christian ideology.

That's why the other parents have sent their children there!

Cocoflower Thu 21-Jul-11 11:00:03

Well it is a Christian school, not multifaith or 'secular' (yes, yes there are no secular schools but its the best word to sum it up)

Why act so surprised?

squeakytoy Thu 21-Jul-11 11:00:18

What does her mother think?

So long as the child is not distressed or upset by this, then it really wouldnt bother me anyway, as to an atheist it would be no different to your child writing a letter to Santa, or wishing the tooth fairy would arrive...

thisisyesterday Thu 21-Jul-11 11:00:45

yes, yabu
it's a church school, of course they are going to teach her to give things up for lent, and pray and stuff

your analogy doesn't work, because it isn't a non-denominational school with a christian teacher telling a child to do it.
if you sent a child to a muslim school you woudl not be surprised or in uproar if ythey were told to wear hijab, would you? you would expect it

how about your nieces parent's? do they care? or is it just you?

DogsBestFriend Thu 21-Jul-11 11:01:56

"Religious Education should be EDUCATION... there is a real difference between education and what I believe is insidious indoctrination."

And you are absolutely right.

It is not for the school to tell your neice to pray and if I were her mother I would be putting them straight on that in such a way that they wouldn't make the mistake again.

RMutt Thu 21-Jul-11 11:04:54

But it's a Church of England school. They've nailed their colours to the mast in the titleconfused Obviously they will promote Christianity, that's probably what most parents want them to do.

It's like turning up at McDonalds and getting upset cos people are saying 'try a cheeseburger'. You don't have to eat one, but they'll sure be promoting them.

squeakytoy Thu 21-Jul-11 11:05:19

I would disagree DBF, this is a church school, and as such the children will be involved in the different events in a religious calendar.

I wasnt from an overly religious family, but I was at a C of E school. I loved things like the harvest festival, but I didnt turn into a religious nutcase.

If a parent enrols their child into a church school, then they should accept that things like Lent will be mentioned, and that their child will come into contact with religious events.

spookshowangel Thu 21-Jul-11 11:06:13

its a faith school, ummmmmmmmmm what do you expect?

MrsKravitz Thu 21-Jul-11 11:06:31

Yes its like going to a hog roast and complaining because you are a vegetarian

DoMeDon Thu 21-Jul-11 11:08:03

Even as a faith school they should not say 'go home and pray' - yes they will promote religion but promotion is different to instruction

lesley33 Thu 21-Jul-11 11:08:07

YABU If you had sent your child to an Islamic School then it would be reasonable for a teacher to tell a tennage girl she should wear a hijab.

You sent your child to a Christian school so it is reasonable that teachers will push Christianity to your child.

pubquizhurtmybrain Thu 21-Jul-11 11:09:31

YABU it is a church school, that's what it is. Maybe the parents could explain at home what the faith is all about, but also present alternative views and beliefs, and allow the child to make up her own mind, in time when armed with all the 'facts'(for want of a better word).

GwendolineMaryLacey Thu 21-Jul-11 11:10:16

YABU. I can't believe this would get you really upset. If she doesn't want to do it then no one can force her. And if she does want to it it then, well, you have your answer.

In your op you're so keen on letting her decide when she understand what it entails. Who will be the judge of that?

AKMD Thu 21-Jul-11 11:10:35

YANBU and i say that as a practising Christian. I think there's a difference between children taking part in religious activities at a faith school (that's to be expected and shouldn't be moaned about) and being expected to observe that religion in private at home. I would have a quiet word.

lesley33 Thu 21-Jul-11 11:11:06

Religious education in my view is different. A teacher in a religious education shouldn't be promoting a particular religion but providing education about all the main religions.

But what this teacher said was presumably not in a religious education lesson, but is part of the school's promotion of their ethos e.g. Christianity.

So I think mentioing religious education lessons is a bit of a red herring.

And YABU. If you don't want this to happen to your child, don't send them to a Christian school.

cookcleanerchaufferetc Thu 21-Jul-11 11:11:28

YABU as a) it is a Christian school and b) it is not your business as she is your niece - the parents chose to send her to a c of e school aware that this would happen.

Plus she is 5 ..... Get a grip.

purplepidjincantatem Thu 21-Jul-11 11:11:36

It's a faith school, the majority of the pupils will be of that faith, why should your niece be excluded from communal activities like assembly?

The parents have chosen this school based on geography, good OfSted reports, and it suiting their daughter. Therefore yabu!

Kladdkaka Thu 21-Jul-11 11:12:21

A Christian school promoting Christianity shock

MrsKravitz Thu 21-Jul-11 11:12:27

Even if they have said "pray before bed", I dont see the big deal.

Its up to you to be involved and put your family slant or offer any discussion or alternative.

She can still do this but without a religious element.

Its good practice to encourage an evening reflection for kids....what she did in the day, how it went and what she wants to do tomorrow/what she would do to approach any problems or anxieties she has.

Doesnt have to have God involved.

MrsKravitz Thu 21-Jul-11 11:13:30

Sorry, her parents I meant

GiddyPickle Thu 21-Jul-11 11:13:50

Of course YABU - she goes to a religious school. The school should respect specific requests (eg being excused from religious assemblies etc) but they are not going to change the whole ethos of the school to suit your Niece.

Some CofE schools are very religious but some are very religious indeed (morning and afternoon prayers in class, vicar visiting weekly, prayers on display at reception and in every class room... that kind of thing) so some people are a bit surprised to encounter a very religious one if their local CofE school is less overtly religious. Either way, if you send your child to a religious school though you should expect it to be religious whether that's a Christian school a Jewish school a Muslim school or any other religious body.

breadandbutterfly Thu 21-Jul-11 11:13:58

YABU - if you don't espouse the religious values of the school you shouldn't send your child (or niece) there. There is no shortage of non-denominational schools for those who prefer that.

Personally, I choose to send my children to religios schools because we are members of that faith and wish them to learn it and experience it at school. I'd be pretty unimpressed if there was a parent at my kids' school demanding this be stopped because it's indoctrination. Of course it is - but it's one that the school advertises and there is no need to send your child there if you don't agree with it. And of course ultimately, all education is indoctrination - the idea that some schools are 'neutral' or that you are some kind of perfect, value-free zone is nonsense. You have your values too, they just happen to be different to tghose of your niece's school.

At the end of the day, I'm not really clear what business it is of yours anyway. It's your nice - presumably her parents made the decision, not you. Why should your opinion, as a mere aunt, be remotely relevant? I don't presume to have an opinion on how my nephew should be educated - none of my business. hmm

freyjasauntie Thu 21-Jul-11 11:14:50

I will paraphrase the school's position on Christian values, as I don't want it identified.

a child will develop skills of reasoning with regards to their own personal beliefs. they will also consider their own values, and attitudes. They will develop an understanding of Christianity, as well as developing respectful attitudes towards the beliefs of other member of faiths.

This, I believe is an excellent position to have; in my experience schools often overlook the development of personal beliefs, and to have this as part of the mission statement is an exciting approach to religious education. However, being told to give up something for lent is not developing an understanding of Christianity. Explaining to children WHY Christians give up something for lent is valuable, even asking them to imagine giving up chocolate for the whole period, so that the child develops an empathic understanding of why people behave in certain ways with regards to religion. Being TOLD - i.e. instructed to do so does nothing in the way of education. Likewise being told to pray.

One of the reasons I am so bothered by this is because she is being told things as FACT, when they are merely personal religious beliefs. Facts to do with religious studies are what people do and why they do it, not subjective rituals.

cookcleanerchaufferetc Thu 21-Jul-11 11:16:15

Sorry but you are digging yourself into a deeper hole of unreasonableness!!,

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