Learning Focus 1

Introduction

This lesson planning page takes you through the lesson materials for EYFS, Branch 1, Learning Focus 1.

Before you begin, make sure you have watched the EYFS Branch 1 Overview videos, which introduce the key themes to draw out across all Learning Focuses within Branch 1.

If you have already seen these videos, feel free to skip on to the next section.

Key Information

Take a look at the following key information about Learning Focus 1, which includes all the links and documents you need to plan your session:

Branch 1
Creation and Covenant


Learning Focus 1
Catholics believe that…God made the world.


Teaching time
Approximately 2.5 hours


Downloads

Lesson Plan Template (access restricted)

EYFS | B1 | LF1

Assessment Framework (access restricted)

EYFS | B1

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You might like to use our Lesson Plan Template for EYFS Branch 1 Learning Focus 1 to make your own notes/plan as you go along. This template is pre-populated a list of titles of available lesson materials. The rest of the document is left blank for you to complete.

What is Learning Focus 1?

Catholics believe that…God made the world.

Some children will have grown up in Catholic families and attended Mass or Children’s Liturgy, so this learning might not feel wholly new to them. For other children however, these will be new concepts to explore.

For all children, the key feeling to cultivate is that of awe and wonder in response to the world Catholics believe God has created, and the love He has for us. This is important throughout Branch 1, but especially important to establish from the beginning of Learning Focus 1.

Wondering Questions and Assessment

The lesson material activities outlined below are designed to invite children into awe and wonder, to create, play and explore through active learning and to develop critical thinking skills. Alongside these activities, you might find the following ‘wondering questions’ to be useful. These are related to the RED Ways of Knowing, and aim to help support your professional assessment of individual pupil progress with the content in Learning Focus 1. The questions should also help you to tailor teaching according to the children in your class.

  • I wonder…can you tell me about the Bible?
  • I wonder…what is your favourite part of God’s Creation?
  • I wonder…can you think of something that God made beginning with…?
  • I wonder…can you tell me the story of Creation?
  • I wonder…what do you think about God’s Creation? Do you agree that it is ‘good’?
  • I wonder…what does the Sign of the Cross help us to remember?

 

This programme is designed to help children achieve the RED Ways of Knowing, but is also related to the EYFS Learning Goals. Download the Assessment Framework from the menu above, which displays the Ways of Knowing and Learning Goals. For each Learning Focus, every activity is mapped to the EYFS Learning Goals, to help guide your assessment.

Lesson Materials

There are 8 activities that you can use as building blocks to create your own sessions. These are explored within this section.

These activities have been planned to utilise the screen, but they all also rely on off-screen facilitation. Lots of ideas are offered throughout so you can choose the best options for your class.

‘The Bible’

‘The Bible’ falls within the Hear Knowledge Lens, and is a series of slides that help children to understand some key facts about the Bible. For example, the Bible is made up of 73 books, including stories, poems, letters and  writings about past events. It also introduces the first book of the Bible – Genesis – which is at the core of Branch 1 learning.

The key point to ensure children understand is that the Bible is a very important book that God has given us as a gift, and it tells the story of God and His love for us all.

You can use the slides, pictures and interactive features to share this information with children, but it will also be of paramount importance to use an actual Bible, to show this to children and allow them to explore it.

If you don’t wish to use the screen at all, you could gift wrap a Bible and invite children to guess what your special gift is. You might like to give them the key facts from the slides as clues as to what your special gift is. When they unwrap the Bible, allow children to explore it, for example the picture pages, the contents page where lots of different books are listed, and of course the book of Genesis.

This activity offers pupils the opportunity to explore, talk about and recognise.

‘When God Made the World’

‘When God Made the World’ is also within the Hear Knowledge Lens. This is where children will first hear the story of Creation. You can read the whole story from a Catholic children’s Bible (Genesis 1:1-2:3) if you wish, or just read Genesis 1:31 which says ‘And God saw everything He made, and behold, it was very good.’

As with all Hear activities, the reading of Scripture should be the foundation of the learning. Especially when that Scripture is encountered for the first time, it should be read directly from the Bible (not from a screen or handout), and the Bible should be treated with reverence and respect.

The activity on screen allows you to click to reveal some questions and suggestions:

  • Picking apart the verse and inviting children to think of different things that God has made
  • Going on an ‘I Spy’ walk, pointing out different things that God made. For example, “I spy with my little eye, something that God made beginning with…”

The next part of the activity involves watching the whole story of Creation from The Jesus Storybook Bible.

Please note that this video uses paraphrasing alongside some direct quotes from Scripture.

It could be good to mention this to pupils and explain that ‘paraphrase’ means to take the text of the Bible as a starting point and to bring in different words to make it easier to understand.

 

An example is when the Storybook Bible video mentions ‘Adam and Eve’ in narrating the story of Genesis 1. In fact, ‘Adam’ as a proper name is not introduced until Genesis 2, and Eve is only named in Genesis 3.

If you wish, you could explore more about the names of Adam and Eve here, which will be useful background for when pupils discuss their own names in Learning Focus 2 ‘He Knows Your Name’:

  • ‘Adam’ and ‘Eve’ come from Hebrew words. Hebrew is the language of the Old Testament.
  • Genesis 1 uses the Hebrew word ‘Adam’ in lots of different ways – to refer to human beings (mankind), to the difference between man (male) and woman (female) and also to refer to an individual male.
  • Only in Genesis 2 (Adam) and 3 (Eve) are we introduced to a particular named man and woman.
  • Hebrew names have a deeper meaning to them. The Hebrew word ‘Adam’ means ‘red’ or ‘son of the earth’ while ‘Eve’ means ‘to live’. Genesis 3:20 explains this ‘And Adam called the name of his wife Eve because she was the mother of all the living’.

This activity offers pupils the opportunity to read, share, explore and recall.

‘What Did God Make’

The next activity is within the Believe Knowledge Lens. ‘What Did God Make’ is an opportunity to embed what the pupils have learnt so far and retell the story of Genesis 1 together, in an interactive way that helps pupils understand the key learning point that  God made the whole wonderful world, and it is good.

The slides begin with a couple of quiz questions to consolidate learning, and then move on to show what God made each day. On each slide there is just one image representing what God made that day, for example fish and birds. You might like to invite children to name different fish and birds they know about, to make them with their hands or to try making sounds with their voices and bodies to represent the different things that God created.

The final slide offers a challenge – can children remember what God created each day?

If you don’t want to use the screen, make sure children understand that God made the whole wonderful world, and it is GOOD! Then go through each of the days of creation emphasising the gifts God has given us – you might like to use gift boxes to represent each day, containing pictures or small word objects to represent each day of creation.

This activity offers pupils the opportunity to recognise, name, recall, sequence, match and sort.

‘Creation Story Timeline’

This next activity is within the Live Knowledge Lens and invites pupils to respond artistically to the story of Creation.

In particular they should make a ‘Creation Story Timeline’, making one item to represent what was created each day, for example with paper plate art, washing line displays, lolly stick paddles, chalk on the playground, or whatever else you can think of.

This activity offers pupils the opportunity to sequence, label, retell, name, recall and talk about.

‘I Can Tell the Story!’

The next activity also falls within the Live Knowledge Lens. ‘I Can Tell the Story!’ invites pupils to retell the story using props.

Ideas for props could include small world animals, people, flowers, plants, and symbols of day and night. If you wish, you could store the items in seven separate boxes.

This activity offers pupils the opportunity to retell, recall, sequence and talk about.

‘It Is Good’

Also within the Live Knowledge Lens, ‘It Is Good’ begins with explaining that every single thing in God’s Creation has its own special kind of goodness which makes it different from other things.

Click on the images to reveal descriptions that ‘fish are fishy’, ‘wasps are waspy’, ‘leaves are leafy’ and ‘sticks are sticky’. You might like to invite pupils to describe these items further, identifying different distinct features such as wings, fins, tails, bark etc.

Further discussion questions invite pupils to appreciate the special kind of life and beauty of different items by comparing them, for example ‘what do trees have that rocks don’t have?’

The final part of the activity involves pupils responding to God’s wonderful creation by making different artworks or models, for example of fish, birds, butterflies, animals or people. You can use any materials for this model making activity, but might like to first go out collecting natural  materials such as sticks, pebbles and fallen leaves.

It’s important to note that the aim of this activity is to help children understand that God’s Creation is good. This activity should inspire awe and wonder, and be a celebration of the goodness of God’s creation, rather than an opportunity for children to comment – either positively or negatively – on the quality of their own creative expression.

This activity offers pupils the opportunity to talk about, label and express themselves.

‘My World’

‘My World’ is the last activity within the Live Knowledge Lens for Learning Focus 1.

In it, children are invited to make a model of God’s Creation. Give them access to a wide range of materials for this, for example lego, bricks, sand pit, cardboard and junk, small world etc. You might like to invite children to work on different tables focussed on different gifts that God has given us in Creation, for example water in an outside area, land and plants on one table, animals on another and so on.

As children create their models of God’s Creation, invite them to tell you about what they are doing, and what part of the story of Creation it refers to. You might like to ask children what they love about Creation. Or to be more specific, you could ask about their favourite animals or plants. Another way to phrase this question would be to ask about what, in all Creation, they are most grateful for.

This activity offers pupils the opportunity to label, sequence, recall, retell and talk about.

‘The Sign of the Cross’

Finally, ‘The Sign of the Cross’ is within the Celebrate Knowledge Lens.

In response to knowing that God loves us and made us, the video helps children to learn the words and actions of the Sign of the Cross.

Use the video as many times as you like to help children learn the Sign of the Cross, and, if you don’t already, begin to work this into your beginning and end of day classroom routines.

You might like to come up with other ways to help children remember and practise the Sign of the Cross – perhaps even devising a song!

The important thing to highlight is that Catholics make the Sign of the Cross to remember that God made us, we belong to Him and He loves us.

Please be aware that it won’t be appropriate for some children from other faith backgrounds to make or say the Sign of the Cross, so make sure you facilitate accordingly.

This activity offers pupils the opportunity to explore, talk about, recognise and respond.

A prayer as you plan and lead this Learning Focus

God Our Father,

Thank you for the opportunity to explore this content with the children in my care. 

By the power of your Holy Spirit, lead and guide me as I prepare this lesson. 

Bless me, and each and every child, with an open heart and mind to continue our journey of knowing you more clearly.

I ask this in the name of Jesus, Your Son and our Lord,

Amen

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