Active learning: Bible, sports, action!

Published on: 11 March 2020

Headteacher Helen Watson describes how Lyng Church of England Primary School has been engaging in Active RE.

Our school heard about Active RE through one of our sports coaches, Tim Henery. Tim had previously taught pupils at our school as a member of the Community Sports Foundation (CSF).

He joined the Sports Factory and told us about their new programme, Active RE. This innovative programme aims to involve children in learning about Christian Bible stories and values, whilst being active. The children play games using typical equipment such as hoops and bean bags – so no specialist or expensive purchases are necessary!

Tim ran the programme during the Autumn Term with a mixed class of Year 1 and Year 2 children. The session combines story-telling interspersed with active games. For example, in the story of Moses and the Israelites escaping Egypt, the children play a game where they must cross from one side of “the sea” to other side without getting caught by the “Egyptians”. In the story of the Lost Sheep, one of the games is “hide and seek”.

A session will start with the opening of the story, and then there will be a game in which the children will take on roles from the story, and the activity will reflect what has happened in the story. The children then listen to the next part of the story, followed with a different game.

Our school asked Tim to focus on the Old Testament because it linked with our RE theme. This has enabled the children in the class to “connect their learning” as we are able to refer to the story and ideas from Mr Henery’s lesson in our RE teaching.

The children really enjoy the sessions. Oliver commented, “It’s fun and educational at the same time”, while George said “We’re learning about the Bible and having fun, I like to have the two things mixed. When we do Active RE, we find out about Moses, Jesus, Adam and Eve, God”.

Kitty felt it was “better than just listening to the story because it helps you remember” and Edward agreed “because you remember the games and then you remember the stories.”

Additionally, important messages are woven into the learning, for example in the story of the prodigal son, teams collect “treasure”. The children then have to talk about how they would spend it wisely, as well as be reminded that Jesus tells us that even though we get things wrong, God still loves us and wants us to follow him.

This combination of story and physical activity has had a positive impact on the children’s engagement with the stories and the Bible. In the library, the children will enthusiastically report they have “found a Bible” and look through it to find familiar stories and pictures. They relate the story and characters to a game they have played and this supports their retrieval of the Bible stories. The children really enjoy the games, which encourage activity, teamwork, collaboration and an element of fun.


For more information about Active RE contact Tim Henery on

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