Religious Education at school is almost always the most boring lesson of them all and it’s normally because schools take the wrong approach by focusing on the wrong things and they also don’t tell the kids why it’s so important to learn about other religions and cultures. Learning about religions makes the world such a better place to be because it leads to tolerance and understanding of other people which equates to peace between neighbors. So how do we teach the children this in a way that they understand and have fun?
One of the best ways for kids to learn new things is to experience them themselves. Get out and explore the places of worship in your local area. Teach the children about the buildings and the practices that are done within. It’s also a massive help if you can find a church that looks old fashioned as they almost always resemble Hogwarts in some fashion. If you kid is struggling to learn anything, always loop it back to Harry Potter in some way and they’ll be eating out of the palm of your hand.
Indulge the Fantastical
If you play into your child’s sense of wonder and imagination, they will soon start really hearing about the stories of other cultures and religions and, you never know, they might actually start to learn something about themselves in the process. If you want to find out more about the importance of myths then watch Life of Pi, which is also relatively child friendly.
Show them Why
The most important thing you must do is teach your children why they need to bother to learn about other religions and cultures. I have stated why in the introduction, but it’s a good opportunity to also talk about religious extremism and the evils of generalizing an entire religion based off of the actions of a small group of misguided individuals. Let them see the ramifications on the world of persecution and teach them about the Holocaust as an example. Once they can place the myths and magic in reality, it will become easier for them to understand and allow it to impart on their own lives.
Arts and Crafts
By taking what they know and doing something fun with it, it helps them to internalize the lessons. Maybe try painting scenes from religious mythology or by writing a short story based around characters from the Bible, for example. Allow them to engage with what they’ve learnt on their own terms.
Fun is the key to making children learn, but it’s also important to treat children as equals when teaching. If they feel they’re being lectured to by an adult they will simply switch off and think about Spongebob … or whatever children watch nowadays. Each child is different, but a little fun will go a long way.