Welcome to the coloured glass classroom! We hope to provide you with lots of creative ideas and resource links to help you engage the young people in your religious and Christian education classes. This blog is sponsored by the Anglican Schools Commission of the Anglican Church Southern Queensland.

5 November 2012

Thinking about Religion with Young Children

Strand(s):  Philosophy of Religion

Year level:  Lower Primary

Phase: Orient

Time: n/a

Summary: Introducing philosophy of religion questions with young children

Thinking about religion (aka “philosophy of religion”) is an important part of a well-rounded religious education. Students should be encouraged to ask and explore questions that relate to the structure and thinking behind religious belief.

Important questions to explore might include – what is freedom and choice? What is truth? Where do morals come from? What does God mean? What reasons do people have for the existence of God? Concepts such as fairness, beauty, time, truth, good and right also might also be examined.

But how might these seemingly complex topics be explored with young children?

One approach is not to try and do philosophy like high school or university courses might, but to focus on helping children be aware of concepts and to be able to recognise where they are being used. In addition to this children might begin to understand some of the basics of good thinking including giving reasons, exploring evidence, comparing and, agreeing and disagreeing.

There are many starting points for engaging students with these questions and concepts. Here are two.

Children Books
Children’s books raise many questions that are pertinent to the philosophy of religion. An example is given at the following website using the book Yellow and Pink to explore questions around creation and existence.

Movies are a  great source for engaging in philosophical discussion. On e great example that connects with the area of thinking about religion is Horton Hears a Who. The critical question revolves around knowing something exists even if you can't see it. For a more complex discussion look at the following web page.

Natural Questions
Many events throughout a child day raises question relating to philosophy of religion. These can be good starting points for dialogue.
  • Is my pet a person?
  • Is it OK to kill some insects but not others?
  • Where did grandma go when she died?
  • How can anyone think insects are beautiful?
  • What does it mean to be a ‘best friend’?
  • Why does time move so quickly sometimes and so slowly other times?
  • Can anyone know everything?