In an Educate Together school, the daily period of time set aside for the patron’s religious education programme is used to deliver our Ethical Education Curriculum. This programme is called the “Learn Together” curriculum and is published by Education Together. It is subject to review and development by the Education Committee and decisions at Annual General Meetings of the organisation. A copy of the curriculum is available from the school or from Educate Together.
The programme is divided into four strands
- Moral and Spiritual Development
- Justice and Equality
- Belief Systems
- Ethics and the Environment
The curriculum specifically addresses the Educate Together ethos and it is here that the values that the school seeks to model in its ‘characteristic spirit’ are articulated and explained in greater depth.
In the strand called ‘Belief Systems’, the programme explains and explores the major belief systems win the world in an educational manner, teaching children about these faiths and beliefs without endorsing any particular one as religious truth. During the year, an Educate Together school may mark – in an age appropriate way – festivals such as Chinese New Year, Easter, Bealtaine, Hindu Festival of Lights (Diwali), Harvest Festivals, Samhain (Halloween), Ramadan and Eid, Hannuka and Christmas. The programme allows the school to explore the similarities and differences with the older celebrations that underlie many of these festivals. Examples would be the Celtic festivals and practices that underpin Easter of the solstice festivals that occur around Christmas.
It is normal that the treatment of these events becomes integrated into the whole school programme, involving drama, art, music, history and geography and also in many cases, parental and community participation. This may mean exploring wider cultural themes such as cuisine and family celebrations. The range of such activities is determined by the school.
The educational aim of this work is to model positive information about world faiths in a respectful atmosphere which highlights rights and responsibilities.