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Too much religion in Reception?

(194 Posts)
Trifle Wed 23-Feb-05 19:47:22

I am not religious and don't particularly believe in anything. To discuss Jesus/God or any such subject matter was not something I ever envisaged having to do age age 4. However, since Ds1 started Reception in September he is increasingly coming home with questions about Jesus. I think this stems from him having a particularly religious teacher who told Ds1 at Christmas that he had to say thank you to God. I'm not sure exactly what he was supposed to be thanking him for or what his understanding of God is. Since then he has talked about going to Heaven when you die, that Jesus was nailed to a cross and bled to death and who/what/why did this happen. As it is just a regular state school I cant see the point in them having any religious instruction and would far rather they concentrate on reading and writing. Exactly how much are schools obliged to tell them about religion at age 4 and are they going overboard. The father of one child in his class is a Vicar so came in one day to give a great talk about Jesus which will obviously be biased due to his own beliefs. It surely has to be confusing to a young mind to be seemingly bombarded with so much information. I've managed to brush most things off and dismiss it all as a fairy story but am getting annoyed that I am put in an awkward position by the school who are drip feeding him bits and pieces which he then wants me to explain.
Is he getting more than his fair share?

Tinker Wed 23-Feb-05 20:03:28

Oh, this make me all so weary as well. Sympathies. But Education Act does stipulate some sort of religious eduation/worship deosn't it (not got the details to hand) which can often just be restricted to assembly. Still way too much in my opinion but, until a government is brave enough to change the law we're, sadly, stick with it. Also, I think, does depened on the individual staff and head - my daughter's school (state) has a lot of links to local church. Pisses me off no end the brainwashing thing but am plugging away with the counter-arguments and hoping that a taste of god may put her off for life

Nome Wed 23-Feb-05 20:51:31

You can always withdraw your child from RE/assembly. Very few parents do though.

My dad withdrew me and db from RE in primary school - so nativity play, no Easter bunny, no Lord's prayer, no talks from the local minister (CofS). Then we moved to Germany and we did 'Ethics' with all the non-Christian kids. COuld have done a class with either the local catholic priest or pastor though.

It might be worth asking the school how they fulfill the daily act of Christian worship and what else they cover in RE. It may be built into the schemes of work. You'd know what they've been talking about at least then.

Trifle Wed 23-Feb-05 21:18:52

I don't want to withdraw him as this would give too much credence to something which I think has no credibility. I feel that as he has enough difficulty with reading and writing, to bombard him with religion at such a young age is confusing, irrelevant and unnecessary.

charleypops Wed 23-Feb-05 21:50:18

Wow - are there still religious assembley's in state schools?? I'm shocked. I suppose it's good to be aware of people's different beliefs as part of a sociology based lesson when kids are older and can discuss it in a classroom environment, but are children still expected to sing hymns? [shocked] Oh I hope it's phased out by the time my bump goes to school. I'd feel just the same as you Trifle.

lockets Wed 23-Feb-05 21:53:53

Message withdrawn

charleypops Wed 23-Feb-05 21:56:48

Who/what are kids required to worship?

lockets Wed 23-Feb-05 21:59:42

Message withdrawn

SleepyJess Wed 23-Feb-05 22:03:52

Personally, I really don't think it does them any harm.. I mean look at all the terrible things our little ones are subjected to on the news every day (eg), a least to some degree, even if we switch off quick!.. and bad language in the street.. and then as they get a little older, films with violence in.. computer games etc. It's very hard to keep children away from all of these things however hard you try. What I am trying to say is that, in comparison, a little religion, even if it is not in keeping with your beliefs (or lack thereof) surely can't be all that much of a problem. I understand questions about the crucifixion etc can be hard to answer (no easier if you a devout Christian I guess!).. but little children, with enquiring minds, want to know all about everything that captures their interest ata 4 year old (or whatever) point of view.. and with a little thought, I find I am able to answer these kind of questions in a way they can understand and that satisfies them (for the moment!) (And if I can, anyone can.. .. I'm not a parenting guru! )

The school curriculum is full of stuff which we might not choose.. or think is important.. for our children to be taught.. I feel that way about algebra, lol! And if you celebrate Christmas, then it's natural that school will teach little ones what it is all about.. which is the birth, and subsequent life of Christ. Can't be avoided really unless you want to stipulate otherwise.. which you obviously don't.. and I don't blame you. I think most of us celebrate Christmas don't we? Unless our particular faith does not..and you are not religious at all.

Your DS will no doubt choose his own path in life, re religion, whichever kind.. or perhaps no religion at all. Yes little ones are succeptible to early influences, but as he grows he will be taught about other faiths too.. probably is being already, I understand this to be on the infant/primary curriculum, and I was a school governor until recently. I wouldn't stress too much about this.

Hope I haven't offended.

SJ x

charleypops Wed 23-Feb-05 22:07:37

Oh that's a nice idea - I do believe reflection is important for kids, just feel uncomfortable with imposed worship of deities (sp?) in any form. thanks

lockets Wed 23-Feb-05 22:09:14

Message withdrawn

ionesmum Wed 23-Feb-05 23:40:18

Trifle, by learning now about Christianity your ds will know what it is he is rejecting, if ever he chooses to do so - that is, he will be in a position to make an informed choice.

I'm in the opposite position. The head of the school where our dds will go is an atheist who only pays lip service to any religious expression or education in the school. One comment of his is 'I don't have a lot of time for Christian people.' Replace Christian with 'jewish' or 'Muslim' and he'd be out of a job.

Tinker Wed 23-Feb-05 23:46:40

Ionesmum - there is a big difference in learning about Christianity and being taught that it is True. I have no objection to the former (as long as it is given equal weight with all other major religions) but I object very strongly to the latter. And I agree with Trifle's reasons why taking your child out of assembly is not so straightforward.

Gwenick Wed 23-Feb-05 23:47:07

"The father of one child in his class is a Vicar so came in one day to give a great talk about Jesus which will obviously be biased due to his own beliefs."

So it would be ok for a pagan, or a buddist, to come in and talk about their beliefs then???? or would that be unacceptable.

DS1 is still only at nursery but will start school (church one) in September. However they've recently had talks from a fireman and a policeman - DS thought that fireman was the nicer person and was more interesting so that's what he now takes more interest in - as he grows older he'll learn about other stuff - just like children will learn about other beliefs and religions as they grow older. Once he's an adult he'll then be able to make his own, informed, conclusions.

Fran1 Wed 23-Feb-05 23:50:21

This frustrates the hell out of me and dd is not even at school yet. But we used to suffer bible stories at our p&t group which we no longer go to.

ionesmum, i know where you are coming from to an extent. I don't practice a religion but travelled a lot with my family, learning about other cultures and religions and found it all so interesting i took r.e for GCSE. And i want dd to have the same opportunity, to learn about ALL religions 1) to have an understanding of those around us and 2) so she can make her own informed choice.

BUT it bothers me that you send your child to a state school (not attached to any church etc) and your child is told as though it is fact that jesus was nailed to a cross, that he will go to heaven and that he must thank GOD!!! as Trifles poor son has been informed. That is not teaching a child about various religions, that is making a child believe one.

At the mo my dd is only 2 and i feel like if i was in Trifles situation i would be making a complaint. But i realise when dd gets to school i won't want to have her singled out, I won't want to become the wingy Mother for her sake so it is very very difficult. I guess its something i need to be asking about when i go visiting the schools.

SleepyJess Wed 23-Feb-05 23:50:21

Yes, I agree Gwenick

Fran1 Wed 23-Feb-05 23:51:45

Sorry posts crossed, Tinker has said exactly what i was trying to say!

Gwenick Wed 23-Feb-05 23:53:39

But how many of you (christians and nonchristians) learnt about Christianity in the same way at school - and did it REALLY affect your beliefs???

It certainly didn't affect mine, I came from a Christian background anyhow. Friends of mine who I was at school with weren't affected by their 'religious' teaching at school either - they decided on their own, later in life what they wanted to believe and learn more about.

Gwenick Wed 23-Feb-05 23:56:12

but you know what I was told 'as fact' at School that the world was started from the 'big bang' - which I now know was being heavily disputed by scientists long before I was told it was absolute 'fact'!!! (as it happens I never really believed it anyhow, still maintain that even if there 'was' a big bang - something had to be there before the bang to make it happen .

Actually I learnt quite a lot 'facts' at school which I later discovered weren't always 100% correct, or 100% believed by everyone......many of them nothing to do with relgion!

lockets Wed 23-Feb-05 23:57:47

Message withdrawn

SleepyJess Wed 23-Feb-05 23:59:03

Me too. I came from a Christian background.. wasn't very interested in any of it.. eventually turned my back on it completely for years.. found my way back to it in my 20s (and I use the term loosely as I hadn't really 'been there' to any extent before)..and have recently extended my Christian knowledge to incorporate a lot more along spiritual lines. Certainly nothing I was taught as a young child influenced me long term. And the fact is, Jesus did live... if nothing else, He could be considered a ^historial figure^ and Christmas is all about Him!
SJ x

Gwenick Wed 23-Feb-05 23:59:34

that's very true lockets - but what we've also got to remember is that children of that age often still don't distinguish fully between 'beliefs' and 'fact' IKYWIM

lockets Thu 24-Feb-05 00:02:52

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Fran1 Thu 24-Feb-05 00:04:30

But SJ even though that is your belief, do you feel it necessary to force others to believe the same?

Gwenick Thu 24-Feb-05 00:06:02

and IMO does it really matter what they learn in RE? When my DS starts reception in Sept I'm going to be much more concerned about his 3 R's than whether or not he's being taught about any religion or not.

And besides, how many times in life will our children tell us something they have been led to believe as 'fact' (again not talking just about religion about ANYTHING) and we have to explain to them that

a) it's a belief that some people have,
b) they've been misinformed?? (not nessecarily by teachers, or even
c) they've misunderstood!!!

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