To hear the story of Jesus being baptised by John.
It is important that the children, although it may not be within their experience, grasp some understanding that people can be baptised at any age. Try to include a visit to the Church and look at the font, this would be the best place to re-enact the Baptism service. If that is not possible invite the vicar to your classroom and ask them to bring a portable font.
The aim of this unit is to: deepen children’s understanding of the concept of belonging through exploring the celebration of Baptism.
be able to suggest meanings for the symbols of baptism.
be able to talk about their experiences of belonging;
be able to ask and respond to questions about baptism and belonging.
Possible Level of Achievement
Begin this unit by showing the children several pictures of babies and adults being baptised.
What is happening in the pictures?
Do the children have any questions which they would like to ask about what is happening in the pictures? Record in your class RE Scrapbook
Have any of the children or members of their families been baptised? They could bring photos into school of their baptism day.
Create a display
The children may be more familiar with the occasion being referred to as a christening. Some children may have been dedicated.
It may be appropriate to include photos of children from other faiths and their special ‘joining’ ceremonies. Any children whose families have not taken part in any religious based ceremonies/traditions may like to bring photos of when they arrived at home for the first time or when they were introduced to older siblings for the first time, as significant moments in their lives.
Baptism is a rite of passage in the Christian church. Baptism is the beginning of a child’s or an adult’s Christian journey. It can be described in simple terms as the time when a person or a child’s family makes a commitment to belong to the church family.
Before further exploring Baptism talk about what it means to belong to something e.g. families, friendship groups, clubs or class etc.
Talk about how we join these groups. What are the rules, ceremonies, traditions or uniform, etc?
What does it mean to be in these groups and what do we share with the people in them?
Make badges to show how you belong to a special group or to your class.
Make your own blank jigsaw puzzle. Give each child a piece of puzzle on which to draw him/herself or on which to glue a digital photograph of themselves. Bring the pieces of the puzzle together and create the whole picture, emphasising that all are individuals yet belong to one class.
Why do we like to belong to groups.
How do we feel when we belong to something?
How do we feel when we are left out? How can we include people?
How can we join the Church?
One way is by Baptism.
Make a display of artefacts related to baptism eg. Special clothes, cards, Bibles, candle a service card.
What questions would the children like to ask?
Ask a member of the clergy to re-enact and explain Baptism using a doll – preferably in Church so that children can see the font. (Some Churches use a large pool, show pictures of this). Create a class book of this event. Make sure that the ’baby’ has parents and Godparents.
When you visit the church ask the vicar to show the children the Baptism register.
Don’t forget to take photos.
The clergy may also have baptised adults and could share a few stories with the children. They may also have stories about baptising children in hospital, a river or the sea.
It is important that they understand that you can be baptised at any age and that not all churches carry out baptism in the same way.
Discuss what you are going to call the baby (doll) and talk about how the children got their names and what they mean.
How are the parents feeling? (On the right of the picture)
Have you attended a Baptism service and how did it make you feel?
Stained Glass Window
Is this image a good representation of the story?
How is John feeling? Who is watching?
Why is there a light coming from the dove?
The full resources can be found on the Reflection and Response CD. Photographs suitable for this unit are in Early Years Unit R2 Baptism
We are all part of God’s family. As a challenge ask the children to make a collage of lots of people’s faces from all around the world
We all belong.
Follow this unit with…
Non-Christian Faith - Birth Rites - 2 Hours
Muslims have some very simple rites for welcoming a child. The Muslim call to prayer or adhaan ("God is great, there is no God but Allah. Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. Come to prayer.") are the first words a new-born Muslim baby should hear. They are whispered into the right ear of the child by his or her father.
I wonder what words you think should be the first that a baby hears? Record individually
The baby's first taste should be something sweet, so parents may chew a piece of date and rub the juice along the baby's gums. It was a practice carried out by the Prophet Muhammad.
I wonder what sweet tasting thing you would give to a baby? I wonder what was the first sweet thing you tasted ? Record individually
It is traditional, but not required, for parents to shave the hair of their newborn child on the seventh day after birth. This is to show that the child is the servant of Allah. The hair is weighed, and an equivalent amount in silver or gold is donated to the poor.
One of the very first duties that parents have toward a new child, besides physical care and love, is to give the child a meaningful Muslim name. It is reported that the Prophet Muhammad said: "On the Day of Resurrection, you will be called by your names and by your fathers' names, so give yourselves good names" (Hadith Abu Dawud). Muslim children are usually named within seven days of their birth.
If names have not yet been discussed then this is an opportunity to do so.
I wonder why names are so important? It is also traditional for the family on the seventh day after the baby’s arrival to host a meal that includes meat (slaughtered by the father but bought at the butchers in the UK) to celebrate the happy event.
BDBE Islam CD- in the curriculum materials folder you will find a unit called Muslim Family and Social Life.
Hindus celebrate the birth of a baby in several ways similar to Muslims.
Once the child enters the world, Jatakarma is performed to welcome the child into the family, the father of the child puts ghee and some honey into the child's mouth and whispers the name of God in the child's ear.
Give the children an opportunity to taste honey. Why is honey used and not sugar or chocolate?
After seven days the baby's head is shaved and if they have the opportunity some Hindus may take the baby's hair to India and scatter it in the holy river Ganges,
Ask the children if their parents have kept a small piece of their baby hair. Why have they done this?
Other rituals include a naming ceremony (Namakarna), the Nishkarmana (the child's first trip out) and the Annaprasana, (the child's first taste of solid food).
Where did the children go on their first trip out? What was their first taste of solid food? Do their parents have a book in which they wrote down these details? Why are these occasions special?
As in Islam it is the duty of every Hindu parent to give a meaningful name to the child, which reminds the child of some goal or objective in their life. After the naming ceremony sweets will be distributed to everyone there and a feast is arranged.
The ear-piercing ceremony (Karnavedha) and first haircut (Mundan) ceremonies are also considered highly significant
Sikhs follow the instructions for all ceremonies (birth, naming and marriage) as set out in the Sikh Rahit Maryada (Sikh code of conduct) and by following the holy book the Guru Granth Sahib.When the baby is born it is the first action of the mother to pray, the words of the Mool Mantar (a key prayer, composed by Guru Nanak) are whispered into the ears of the child and a drop of honey is placed inside the mouth.
As soon as it is possible it is customary for the family to visit the temple, (usually within forty days of the birth of the child). Once inside the Gurdwara the Guru Granth Sahib is randomly opened by the Granthi (priest) and a passage is read out aloud. The family will then choose a name by using the first letter of the hymn on the page opened. The baby's name is announced to the congregation, the Granthi will also add Singh (lion) as a surname if the baby is a boy, and Kaur (princess) if the child is a girl.
To celebrate, Karah Parshad, a sweet dish made from flour, semolina, butter and sugar, is distributed amongst the congregation.