Last Updated: Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Exploring special events in the past - early level

What is this?

Children at the early level are developing their awareness of how different events and times of the year are marked by celebrations and festivals across a range of religious and cultural groups. This experience encourages children to think about ways in which they have celebrated special events and how this compares to how others celebrate. Practitioners should be prepared to take account of the fact that special days may have been celebrated differently this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

You can use or adapt this experience for children in your setting or while they are learning at home. Consider the range of learners, prior knowledge and their individual circumstances in relation to this experience and adapt accordingly. This experience is based on early level experiences and outcomes.

‘Literacy can be attached to everyday learning experiences and opportunities’ (Realising the Ambition, page 72)

Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) experiences and outcomes: Early level

Social Studies

  • I can make a personal link to the past by exploring items
    or images connected with important individuals or special events in my life. (SOC 0-02a)

Religious and Moral Education

  • I am becoming aware of the importance of celebrations, festivals and customs in Christian people’s lives. (RME 0-03a)
  • I am becoming aware of the importance of celebrations, festivals and customs in religious people’s lives. (RME 0-06a)

Literacy and English

  • To help me understand stories and other texts, I ask questions and link what I am learning with what I already know. (LIT 0-07a / LIT 0-16a / ENG 0-17a)
  • Within real and imaginary situations, I share experiences and feelings, ideas and information in a way that communicates my message. (LIT 0-09a and LIT 0-26a)

Purpose of the activity

This experience will help children to develop an awareness of how different events throughout the year may be marked in different ways. Children will be supported to explore special events and celebrations in their own past and compare this with ways in which others might celebrate.

Learning activity

  • Ask children if they can remember any special events that have been important to them. This could be a celebration at a particular time of the year or a religious or cultural event. You can also watch some video clips here on how families celebrate different occasions: https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/shows/lets-celebrate. Further information on a range of celebrations that take place across religious and cultural groups can be found here: https://www.interfaith.org.uk/resources/religious-festivals
  • Invite children to share their experiences. You may find these questions useful to promote discussion:
    • What happened at this event?
    • Was there anything special that only happens at this kind of occasion?
    • Where did the event take place?
    • Were there any special visitors?
    • What kind of food did they eat?
    • Were there any gifts given?
    • Were there any special clothes worn?
  • Encourage children to ask questions of their peers, parents, carers or family friends to support learning and understanding.
  • Children can record their thoughts and ideas on celebrations through drawing and/or writing.

Extension activity

Children could be encouraged to ask their parents, carers and/or other family members if or how these events were celebrated when they were young. Parents may be able to share photographs or images electronically of celebrations in the past. Children could be encouraged to identify the similarities and differences between how they, and other generations have celebrated the same events.

National Benchmarks

Social Studies

  • Identifies at least two different types of evidence, which can provide information about the past, for example, pictures, family stories, artefacts.
  • Recalls past events from their own life or that of their family, for example learning to ride a bike, a special party.

Religious and Moral education

  • Shares thoughts and asks and answers questions to show and support understanding about at least one celebration, festival and custom in Christianity and at least one World Religion.

Literacy and English

  • Asks and answers questions about texts to show and support understanding.
  • Talks clearly to others in different contexts, sharing feelings, ideas and thoughts.
  • Recounts experiences, stories and events in a logical sequence for different purposes.
  • Writes to convey ideas, messages and information in different ways in play, imaginative and real contexts.
  • Writes to reflect own experiences and feelings using appropriate vocabulary to convey meaning.

Possible approach to assessing learning

  • To what extent are children able to recall their experiences in detail?
  • How well do children demonstrate an understanding of celebrations and events that are important to them?
  • How well do children ask and answer questions to support their understanding and learning on celebrations and events important to others?

When planning your approach to assessing learning, please take account of the latest guidance on assessment approaches.