What places might a trail include?
The main focus may be to see the impact and presence of religious life in a particular community. This could be your school’s local community or one further afield. Seeing buildings, names of streets or other features for example, shops, halls and community facilities used by one or more religious group(s) can help young people develop greater understanding of the part played by religion in the area they are looking at.
There are probably opportunities for trails focused on Christianity in every town and village in the country. If the class is learning about Christian diversity, a trail through a local town can go past the churches and chapels of five or six different denominations. Even if you don’t take your group inside a single one of them, an examination of their notice boards and activities will reveal something about their spiritual and social life and how they provide for different members of their community. Rural locations can provide evidence of religious heritage in both distant and recent past, for instance a Quaker burial plot, a stone marking when John Wesley came to preach, a church or chapel used by a two or more faith communities and a village hall rebuilt to commemorate the Millennium (with its basis in the Christian calendar).
Another focus might be the study of another individual religious tradition, where the trail gives a chance to see something of social and community life as well as worship. The JTrails website, for example, provides a large number of Anglo-Jewish heritage trails which reveal the history of a number of early Jewish communities in this country. Many of these have long since dispersed but it would be an interesting enhancement of a study of Judaism today for schools to explore a historical connection in their area. If a class is learning about Islam, there may be a mosque to visit but also shops with advertisements in their windows for meetings, Hajj tours, Islamic study classes and social events, shops or restaurants which offer halal food, a charity shop such as a branch of Islamic Relief, a newsagent which stocks papers and magazines for people whose family roots are in Muslim majority countries and whose heritage language is Arabic, Urdu, Farsi, Turkish or Panjabi.
An area near your school, or one you could visit, may have places you could link together to construct a trail on a theme such as religion, belief and war and peace/the environment/death and remembrance.
If several religious traditions are represented within a walkable area, the trail might focus on a particular aspect of the places of worship e.g. art and pattern.
- How can I develop a trail?
- Planning: objectives and outcomes
- Planning: RE trails and the curriculum
- Recording the learning