A Spiritual Journey
Using the popular ‘Windows, Mirrors, Doors’ strategy designed by Liz Mills to broaden and deepen understanding about spiritual learning, we will encourage children to think about inspirational experiences, challenge them to ask searching questions and prompt them to consider some possible opportunities for response.
Effective learning in itself is a spiritual experience. This is because learning involves engagement with and exploration of a new concept (windows), thinking deeply about it, trying to connect it to what we already know (mirrors). If we can successfully fit this new concept to our pre-existing web of understanding, this evokes a positive emotional response (we often describe this as: the penny drops!) With each new concept acquired, we transform ourselves (doors), moving forward in life a little altered, intrinsically motivated, fulfilled and inspired by the experience. Why is spiritual development important?
As a church school we believe that our role is to educate the whole child and that the spiritual growth of our children is as important as, and indeed is a vital contributor to, their academic development. The themes developed each week through our collective worship, our school vision, as well as opportunities woven throughout our curriculum underpin all we seek to develop in the lives of our children. Getting people to consider the world around them, reflecting and thinking for themselves, evoking positive emotional responses and pondering ultimate questions is the vital ingredient in our recipe for spiritual development. This will enable our children to take their place in society as fulfilled, responsible, spiritually aware and emotionally engaged individuals. Spiritual growth will involve reflecting on the significance of an experience for our lives. If there is no such reflection, a feeling remains just a feeling. Dave Smith: Making sense of spiritual development 1999
Our Window, Our Mirror & Our Door
Our Window, Mirror and Door allows us to:
become aware of new experiences
reflect on these and develop our own self-reflection
respond with thoughts and deeds in school and the wider world
Religious Education is a subject that looks at the spiritual experiences of others and how these change and shape their lives.
RE allows children to use what they find out about other people and their beliefs to reflect on their own experiences. Through this process, children can engage with ultimate questions of meaning and purpose and begin to shape their own beliefs. RE allows children to engage with the idea of mystery and questions with no clear answers. The wider curriculum also provides opportunities for spiritual development. The school’s planning format indicates where the children’s learning will provide opportunities for spiritual reflection.
In Physical Education: Being a team member. Pushing yourself to the limits. Extremes of skill, endurance and achievement. Emotion in sport such as those evoked through success and failure Personal limitation and acceptance that others may perform better Appreciation of perfection. Sportsmanship.
In Design and Technology: Discovering how something works. Appreciating ingenuity. Beauty in design. Perseverance to solve problems. Personal achievement. Learning from others and nature.
In Literacy: Empathy with authors and the characters in stories and plays. The appreciation of beauty in language. Emotions and sentiments in writing and speech. The values of great works. Heroes and heroines in literature. The reading and writing of poetry. Imagining oneself as someone else. Escaping into other worlds through literature. The element of wonder in literature. Pleasure derived from the creative process.
In Numeracy: Infinity and nothing. Pattern and order. Shape and regularity. Truth, certainty and likelihood. The universality of mathematics over time and space. The wonder of numbers, formulae and equations.
In Science: Wonder as the basis of science. Questions of beginning, creation and evolution. Discovering the limits of experimentation. Birth, life, death and renewal. The universe and beyond. Regularity and order in science. Beliefs in science and the faith of scientists. The impact of scientific achievements.
In ICT: The wonder of worldwide instant communication. The speed of the growth of knowledge. The accessibility of knowledge and contact with other people worldwide.
In the Creative Arts (Art, Music, Drama and Dance): The work of creative artists from a variety of times and places. Beauty, truth and goodness. Expressing, interpreting and exploring deep feelings and profound beliefs. Artistic creativity. The effects of the arts on emotions and senses. The arts as means of expressing mood. Skill in creation and performance, and particularly in personal reflection upon their own creativity using various art forms. Effects on the emotions and senses. Personal response and preference. Mood. Skill. Pattern. Formulae. The sense of fulfillment and transcendence through performance.
In Geography: Wonder at the diversity of environments and people. Questions about the care of the environment. The beliefs behind particular causes and campaigns. World (economic) development. Land formation. Empathy with people from other parts of the world.
In History: Being in touch with past people, things and ideas. Being part of history. Handling artefacts. Influential events and people. The commitment of significant people in history. War and peace. Interpretation in history. The nature and importance of invention and exploration. Empathy with people from other times in history