Is religion a kind of childlike idea
Over half of all day care centers in Germany are run by the catholic or evangelical church carried. The topics of religion, traditional customs and God are still relevant in German kindergartens. In an enlightened and multicultural age, religious education is about bringing children closer to the Christian faith and at the same time Beliefs and rituals of other world religions to introduce. But how can this be implemented in everyday daycare today?
Explaining religion to children - still relevant
Day care centers are faced with an increasing challenge. A large part of the German daycare centers is financed by church sponsors. At the same time, more and more Germans are leaving the church and henceforth becoming atheists or non-denominational. Immigration, migration and flight also have an impact on day-care centers: in addition to children of the Christian faith, educators now also look after children with Muslim, Buddhist or other religious backgrounds.
The topic "Religion in Kindergarten" has therefore still not lost its relevance. On the contrary! It is more relevant than ever to make religious education child-friendly and diverse. The goal of religious education is to make sense of one's own, as well other world religions to understand. Even in kindergarten, educators can set the course for respectful and tolerant interaction with one another.
Children learn tolerance towards other faiths
A child who started early in kindergarten with the christian faith comes into contact, gets to know an important building block of European culture and history. At the same time, it gains access to other views early on. The child forms the roots for understanding and accepting not only their own, but also other worldviews.
Religious Education aims to teach children at an early age that people around the world have different beliefs. But the differences between them are often not that great. Another important learning step is familiarization with foreign rituals: a child who understands early on why Muslim children do not eat pork learns on a small scale what respect for other cultures means and gets a feeling for cultural education.
Let children develop their own values
You don't have to be a religious scholar to get the Christian values from the Bible to read out. Because the Bible is one of the oldest human writings that morally regulates coexistence with other people. You shouldn't just focus on the ten commandments from the Old Testament to think. It is precisely the stories about the life of Jesus in the New Testament that convey moral values suitable for children.
One example is that "Feeding the 5,000"which is handed down in all four Gospels. Children just as little as adults understand how exactly Jesus feeds 5,000 people with a few fish and loaves of bread. However, they take an important lesson from history: it is good to share. An important value - not only against the background of religion!
Answer children's questions about meaning
Kindergarten children rarely ask directly about the meaning of life. However, belief in God can give children many other positive answers to similar questions. Parents and educators are equally distressed when children ask: What happens to people after they die?
Religion gives answers here where there are no other answers. Faith also helps children give comfort in the loss of a loved one. The children of the current generation live in the happiness of growing up without wars that directly affect them. Nevertheless, they hear a lot about the disasters in the world via radio, television and the media. Religion helps children from kindergarten age to process feelings and to see meaningful connections where there might be none without religion.
In the field of education and development goals, parents and educators are faced with the task of conveying faith in an interesting way without demanding blind faith. Regardless of one's own belief and knowledge, from atheists to theologians to believers, one thing is the focus of religious education: the understanding that different world religions bring with them different worldviews - but all must be accepted and respected.
How to explain Christianity to children?
The Christianity is a world religion and at the same time the Religion of the European cultural area. An understanding of Christianity is a prerequisite for later understanding large parts of the history of Germany and Europe as a student. Central to Christianity is belief in God, Jesus Christ, his Son, the Holy Spirit and the Christian Church. However, it makes little sense to convey such facts directly from religious studies to children in kindergarten as gray knowledge. With its stories, the Bible offers children opportunities to actively engage with Christianity.
Convey faith through role play
The Stories from Moses, Noah or David are very suitable for children to act on. Sometimes it makes sense to change stories with violent content so as not to make the children fear of a punishing God. Punitive narratives, such as the Flood in the Bible story of Noah and the Ark, can be instructive to adults.
For kids and students, you should nonviolent versions of the Bible stories prefer. Not only reading stories, but also acting out, encourages active engagement with the scriptures. In this way, the children can better understand the feelings of the characters that are being acted out than from the pure Bible text.
Encounter Christianity in the church calendar
The Church calendar holds numerous festivals ready, which offer an opportunity to deal with Christianity.
- What is Easter actually about?
- Is it just about the Easter bunny bringing the eggs?
- Who was actually there first, the Christ Child or Santa Claus?
Educators can answer such questions together with the children. The children discover them in a playful way Christian festivals and traditions.
Advent and Christmas: Jesus is born
Just that Advent and Christmas time is wonderfully suitable for introducing children to the life of Jesus Christ from the New Testament in a devout mood. Hardly any other story offers more potential than that Christmas story in their different versions according to Markus, Matthäus, Lukas and Johannes. In preparation for Christmas, especially in kindergarten, it is a good idea to prepare a nativity play. Even the youngest children can take part here. Unlike Mary and Joseph, ox and donkey do not have to learn a text by heart.
Theater performances in the daycare center at Christmas time
If not that Christmas story is re-enacted, there are still opportunities to promote Christian values such as Charity to convey. Numerous radio plays and children's plays are the right choice here. Handicraft projects or a visit to a nativity scene are also a real highlight for the children during the Advent season.
Easter: Jesus dies for us on the cross
In addition to Christmas, Easter is particularly relevant for the Christian faith. At Easter, Jesus dies on the cross. According to the Bible, the resurrection of Jesus takes place three days later, which is the basis of Christianity: the afterlife is a basis of faith for all Christians.
All of that can go through interactive church services already in kindergarten convey. Child-friendly role-playing games that deal with the passion and the resurrection are ideal for bringing the Easter story closer to the kids. The same applies to Thanksgiving, Pentecost and other Christian festivals.
Celebrate children's services together
In order to make the belief in God exciting in kindergarten, less knowledge from religious studies is required than experiences for the children. A children's church service lives from the participation of the children: at best, there should be space for playing, laughing, singing and being amazed.
Songs in the service can be accompanied by guitar, drums or a whole band. The text should be easy to understand and the melody catchy. Then children really like to sing along and feel the feeling of community that comes from choir singing. Songs like "Laudato si" or "Come, we praise God the Lord". There are many more suggestions for modern and fresh children's songs in the children's church service.
Children need exciting church services in order to be really interested in religion. So why the bread for one communal communion don't even bake with the kids yourself? An outdoor service near a vegetable field on Thanksgiving is also an option. It is important that children associate faith with exciting experiences at an early age, not with long sermons. Still, deliberate, traditional elements like this have in common "Speaking of the Our Father" also their justification in children's services.
How do you best explain other world religions to children?
In today's intercultural world, Tolerance of other religions increasingly important. It is a core value. Often children with a background from the Islam, the Judaism, the Buddhism, the Hinduism or other faiths together in a kindergarten. Educators who approach the children's parents openly can use this diversity for the better. If the child already knows something about their religion, they can explain something about it to the other children themselves. There are special occasions such as (for example in Islam) the sugar festival. You can integrate this area into the children's linguistic education through the use of foreign terms.
Explaining religion to children: Islam
In kindergarten, children are not yet trained to be theologians. What getting to know religions has in common with a theologian is the investigation of similarities and differences. in the Islam like Christians, people believe in only one God. You have a central font the Koran, in which the beliefs of Islam are recorded. Parts of the Old Testament, like the stories of Abraham, are very important to Muslims too. Devout Muslims pray several times a day and have their own rituals. A visit to a mosque is a good way to get to know the rituals of Muslims better.
Judaism: declared child-friendly
The Judaism is the oldest of all world religions. Followers of Judaism also trust in a God whose word is in the Torah is held. The Torah corresponds to the five books of Moses in the Old Testament. Many faiths arose from Judaism, as did Christianity. It makes sense to record how much in common Judaism and Christianity originally have. And that the differences lie mainly in the rituals. If the children are particularly interested in the topic, a visit to a synagogue is a real experience.
Explaining religion to children: Buddhism
The Buddhism is especially widespread in Asia. A globe or a map of the world is a good way of showing where in the world people are mainly followers of Buddhism. In Buddhism, people do not specifically believe in a god or an afterlife. Instead, Buddhism is about doing a lot of good in life above all else. In addition, the followers of Buddhism believe that after death they will be reborn in a different life. To bring Buddhism closer to the children in a practical way, there is one Meditation with the children at.
What are the characteristics of Hinduism?
The Hinduism is a religion by definition. However, it is often understood as an expression of the influences of several religions. Followers of Hinduism can be found mainly in South Asia, the center is India. The culture there is strongly influenced by the beliefs of Hinduism. An example of this is the caste system, whereby people are not promoted in their professions and only people from the same caste are allowed to marry. Hindus believe in several gods. In order to bring this world closer to the children, you can introduce the individual gods and explain a story about the god and his task.
Religion and culture go hand in hand
Religion should not be viewed in isolation in kindergarten. Regardless of whether it is a Catholic day-care center, a Protestant children's home or a multicultural day-care center: Anyone who already gives children access to and tolerance for other things is doing everything right. Children feed on stories and experiences. It is therefore all the more important that the children become active themselves or at least be allowed to listen.
Is there an exciting personality who can tell something about their religion? Perhaps there is also one ecumenical or interdenominational worship at. Role-playing games also have great potential to familiarize the kids with the different religions and to show that we are all different, but so similar!
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