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LanguagesRE - Singing their praises

What it's all about

Religion can be hard for small children to grasp as it involves abstract ideas. So it helps to have an activity that allows you to discuss world religions in a way that children of all faiths and none can relate to, writes Catherine Paver.

Start by asking pupils what problems people all over the world have. Put these words on the board and teach them in the target language. For example, the German word for "poverty" or the Welsh word for "fear". Ask pupils how religion can help people with these problems. Now you may have the French word for "love" and the Spanish word for "soul". Broaden this to include languages spoken by children at home.

Nasheeds, traditionally unaccompanied Islamic songs, are another great resource. A YouTube video of The 99 Names of God is a rich source of ideas (bit. y99NamesOfGod).

They will now be ready for songs that contain abstract vocabulary such as "despair", "trust" and "hope".

Traditional folk songs tend to be strong and simple, such as La Guadalupana, a Mexican Catholic hymn to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Contemporary religious songs also tend to use simple words so that even young children can understand them.

Ask children to bring you the titles of religious songs that matter to them and find them on YouTube so the whole class can listen to them.

What else?

Try CatherinePaver's resource on Cada Dia, a modern Christian song in Spanish, bit.lyCadaDia. A German website helps children to find out about world faiths, bit.lyWorldFaithGerman. This French Catholic website is aimed at children aged 7-11: www.cathokid.fr. You can also help pupils to understand the Islamic call to prayer with this YouTube video, bit.lyUnderstandPrayer.

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