Spirituality and spiritual development
Spirituality is part of what makes up the whole person and is vital as part of a child’s education. At a simple level, spirituality gives one a sense of otherness beyond what’s immediate and physical. Although in a Church school we would probably be thinking in terms of religious spirituality, there is so much more to it. It includes a sense of wonder and creativity, of awe and excitement and it is intrinsically linked to imagination and instinct. It is about appreciating and valuing what is good, truthful and beautiful and also experiencing generous and loving relationships.
For children in our school, we want children to feel cared for and valued as this will raise the spirit and enable them to learn, form positive relationships and develop high self-esteem. At St. John’s this is rooted in our Christian vision and the core Christian values and how they affect daily life in school and at home. The imagination needs opportunities to flourish through art, music, writing/literature, dance and drama. This might also be explored through extra-curricular activities. In a Church school, we strive to celebrate the wonder of God’s world through all aspects of the curriculum because children are learning to respond to the wonders around them: God’s gifts and the wonder of creation; the gift of friendship and family; the wonder of imagination and creativity in every aspect of human life and endeavour.
The importance of Christian values in every aspect of daily life support spiritual growth. The celebration of Christian festivals, the Eucharist, Experience Pentecost and focus days/weeks which set aside time specifically to hear about God and Jesus or faiths other than Christianity. These give rhythm to our daily lives, providing opportunities for contemplation as well as learning. Even if a child is coming from a non-faith background or is a member of a faith other than Christianity, the spiritual experiences our school provides will still be contributing to the whole person, enabling them to flourish and ‘live life in all its fullness’.
At St. John's, Christian, pastoral, and welfare support is the highest priority underpinned by our strong Christian values, demonstrated by the staff. High moral standards are expected and reinforced through acknowledgment of good behaviour in school. Our children have a clear understanding of what is right and what is wrong based on the love, example, and teaching of Jesus. Children know the school rules because they were instrumental in forming them. Staff continually reinforce these and are linked to our core Christian values of love, friendship, courage, trust, respect, compassion, and perseverance.
Our PSHE curriculum allows for the reinforcement of high moral standards. Pupils are always encouraged to reflect on their behaviour and the impact of their behaviour on others.
Our children are caring and have an immediate sense of responsibility for their school, community, and the wider world, shown in their responses and discussion: RE, worship, Picture News, PSHE. Collections for harvest, donations for Community Pantry (a local charity), Foodbank, and Ukraine refugees. The School Council works together to raise awareness of our responsibilities as responsible citizens taking care of each other and our environments, such as with their projects as clean aircrew and energy savers and helping with the playground markings. The Ethos Committee helps to find ways to promote our Christian vision and values across the school and work together to follow the teaching of Jesus to 'Love your neighbour as yourself' (Luke 10:27) by raising awareness of important issues and finding ways to help people in need.
At St. John’s, Christian, a high priority is placed on developing social skills from an early age, and as such, children are able to use their social skills in different contexts and work well together. Our sports coach trains year six playground leaders to support younger children on the playground. Our planned visits to other places, linked to the curriculum and encompassing a range of social activities, encourage awareness of good behaviour, manners, and consideration for others. We are committed to sustaining extensive opportunities for sporting participation through our Sports Premium funding. The school offers a range of extracurricular clubs where the children have different opportunities to learn and play harmoniously in different contexts with children from other classes in the school.
Nurture sessions effectively nurture children's social skills with additional emotional and behavioural needs. The school also provides friendship group sessions for those children who need support to develop skills and confidence to establish and maintain friendships.
At St John's, we support children to embrace society and the wider world community fully; other faiths are valued and treated with respect. Our school promotes the fundamental British value of respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
Our RE syllabus incorporates the teaching of other main world religions, with RE units beginning with an exploration of an aspect of Christianity before moving on to a similar element of a different faith. For example, when children in Year 1 learn about the Christian festival of Harvest, they also explore the Jewish festival of Sukkot. The RE curriculum also provides opportunities to explore global Christianity
Our children have opportunities to visit various places of worship: Liverpool Anglican Cathedral and visit a church, synagogue, and mosque during their journey at St. John's School. In addition, we engage with Liverpool Community Spirit Charity for faith encounters workshops to learn about non-Christian faiths and global Christianity.
Diversity was a key driver when selecting books when investing in a new school library. The Picture News Resource – weekly news resource in years 1 – 6 focuses on current news stories linked to British Values and democracy throughout the PHSE curriculum.
Our curriculum and enrichment opportunities enable children to experience, participate in and respond positively to artistic, sporting, and cultural opportunities.
All our children take part in an annual Christmas performance. Reception and KS 1 love taking part in their nativity in our school hall. Our Junior children enjoy performing in their Christmas carol concert at St. Faith's Church.
Across the school we supported Food Action Week. Every class looked at different themes across the week, such as Fairtrade, researching where our food comes from, food waste and how we can reduce our waste. Please look at some of the lovely things we did across the week.
For International Woman’s Day, each class had an inspirational woman to research. During the week, the children completed some lovely work.