CAFOD offers a huge amount of really helpful learning resources and St Thomas Aquinas School Bletchley have been using some of these in the ‘Come and See’ RE curriculum around the ‘Universal Church’ theme this term. Cathy Stormonth – CAFOD Education volunteer was invited to deliver some workshops and writes:
Year 6 The Work of the Worldwide Christian Family for the ‘Common Good’.
Pupils were asked ‘Is there a need for CAFOD?’ and given some shocking global statistics to help answer the question. It made pupils reflect on their own lives and one pupil said, ‘I will make sure I do my best at school because I am very lucky to get a great education when so many other children won’t get the same chance!’’
Year 6 pupils also noted that there are 7.6 billion people in the world and 1.27 billion of these are Catholics. This prompted pupils to deduce that with numbers on this scale it might be feasible for the Catholic church to help and support some of the poorest and most vulnerable people globally – and of course they are right.
Teaching Assistant Mrs McQueen commented, ‘The year 6 children really enjoyed the CAFOD session, learning the various statistics about poverty in our world really opened their eyes to the magnitude of the problem. They are thoughtful and caring children and their answers to different questions showed me how deeply they think about issues that not only affect themselves but also others.’
Year 5 Stewardship of the World
Year 5 pupils had just started their RE module on ‘care for our common home’ around the theme of ‘Stewardship’ and it is linked closely to Climate Change.
What is Net Zero? CAFOD are calling on the UK to reach net zero emissions by 2045 at the latest. This means only putting the same amount of emissions into the atmosphere as we take out.
When the world we live in is changing because of climate change we need to speak up now to look after our world. Cathy encouraged pupils to join the CAFOD campaign to look after the world by becoming a Zero Hero and to try to make the local MP join in and do the same.
Pupils writing to their MP about Climate Change
Pupils were impressed when shown some Zero Heroes from Peru and how they are transforming their school and local communities. They were made aware of the impact of global temperatures rising and were dismayed at how changes in weather patterns have caused both drought and flooding in different parts of the world.
Pupils finished their workshop by writing letters to Mr Iain Stewart the local Milton Keynes MP. These letters were posted to Mr Stewart with a covering letter from the school Eco-Committee inviting him to come to school and work with our school on the Green Flag award. So thirty Class 5L letters are on their way to Mr Stewart. We hope he responds soon. Mrs Jenna Greaves was very pleased how the workshop went as part of the school’s aim to be a greener and more eco-friendly.
Year 2 Focus on World Treasures – Water.
Pupils were asked to imagine what it would be like to live without easy access to clean water. They watched a short film about how young girls spent all day fetching and carrying water walking miles with bare feet to a muddy waterhole. This means that they can’t go to school or play. Pupils said that this wasn’t fair! and it made them feel sad. They were also concerned that the water hole had dirty water which might make people sick.
Pupils feeling the weight of water some young girls have to carry for miles in certain countries
We had a practical session where pupils felt the weight of a water bucket that girls had to carry great distances and pupils were horrified! Some of the pupils tried to lift up the larger adult water container that held about 20 litres of water and found it difficult to manage. It really made them treasure the fresh safe water they have to drink every day by simply turning on the tap.
Pupils heard how CAFOD had put a water tap with clean fresh water in a village in Uganda making such a difference to the whole community and many more children were able to go to school – especially the girls. Pupils cheered up when they heard that CAFOD was working with so many partner organisations worldwide to help local communities have access to deep wells which provide the fresh, clean and safe water families need to survive. Mrs Sue Mitten the class Teaching Assistant was pleased to see how interested pupils were in learning how important water is in all our lives.
Mrs Karen Hackett head of RE said ‘The children fully engaged with the videos and stories of real children from around the world and they are often surprised and concerned at how those children’s lives are so different to their own. The children were inspired to make a difference to the lives of their brothers and sisters in faraway places. Mrs Stormonth made it really clear as to how our small actions, kind deeds and loving prayers can make our wonderful world a much fairer place for all. Thank you’.
A big Thank you to St Thomas Aquinas for inviting CAFOD into your school and to Cathy Stormonth for delivering these wonderful workshops.
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