As a Church of England school, St Mary and St Giles (SMSG) welcomes children of all faiths and those of none. As a school community, our Christian vision and values are at the root of everything we do and this sits alongside the commitment to provide for the spiritual development and growth of our children.
At SMSG we define spirituality as:
Fostering the natural inquisitiveness to question our understanding of ourselves, our relationships with others in the school, our comprehension of the wider world and the beyond.
We work with the children to understand spirituality as:
- To ask questions about us, others, the world and the beyond.
- We aim for children to observe, be fascinated, reflect and acquire a deeper sense of themselves and their place and purpose in the world. We want our children to consider the questions Who am I? Where do I fit in? Why am I here?
- We give them opportunities to consider ‘the beyond’ and the Christian belief of God and Jesus by asking them to consider the question “What would Jesus do?”
Spirituality is particularly evident through our collective worships where we consider the schools values through the teachings of Jesus and consider the festivals and beliefs of other major world religions. Children are invited to pray or reflect daily on the stories and events shared which we plan to stimulate their thinking and foster spiritual growth.
Our Worship Leaders take a particularly active part in leading prayers and supporting the spiritual development of their peers.
Visitors, such as the clergy and Bridgebuilder Trust, also retell stories and pose relevant questions for us to develop:
- our sense of self and place in the world. Additionally, children and staff are invited
- to come to weekly reflection/prayer events for quiet opportunities of self-reflection.
Visits to our local Church have fostered a connection with the wider world.
Our choir and handbell ringers have both participated in Sunday services showcasing their talents to others. The Harvest festival, in which all the key stage two children participated at the Church, provided the opportunity for children consider the lives of people in the world who do not have much food and make a physical contribution to the local community.
Throughout our curriculum we create and embrace ‘pockets of spirituality’ which arise as planned or unplanned activities. We provide opportunities for children to express their views, reflect on views different from their own and as a result possibly reshape their understanding to progress and develop their individual spirituality. Spirituality can be seen in all subjects for example:
- in RE when children are in discussion groups considering questions such as
‘What makes a saint?’,
- in PSHE where children have ‘calm me time’ to reflect on their inner self and
consider their own internal feelings.
- in Geography when considering volcanic eruptions and the impact on people and their lives.
- in Science when exploring the natural world and the awe and wonder of
- planned trips such as the Year 6 Activity Week or the Year 3 visit to the Chiltern Open Air Museum also promote a sense of awe and wonder in the wider world.
Other opportunities are embraced as they arise such as listening to the church bells from the playground, observing the birds outside the playground collecting food or reflecting on current aspects of the local and national news.
In our wider curriculum, children have opportunities to be empowered to act on causes that they are passionate about such as charity fundraising. They can develop relationships through the school council to have a direct impact on the improvement of the school. Children can reach out to the wider world through working with Stony in Bloom or FOSSL (Friends of Stony Stratford Library) volunteers which fosters their development of relationships with others. Extra-curricular clubs such as recorders, running or film club, allow children to follow their passions and interests and reflect on their achievements.
At SMSG, we acknowledge that the children progress spiritually at different rates and we recognise that the pathway of spiritual development will be different for everyone.
We strive to provide the best and varied opportunities we can for all members of our school community so that spiritually everyone can flourish.