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Sheffield Methodist Circuit
Dear God...
“Hate leads to fights, Fights lead to war, War leads to beautiful world no more”
Kieran Hunt

Rose Castle Foundation

The Story Tent

The Story Tent is a primary school intervention which brings together the principles of the Scriptural Reasoning (SR) approach to interfaith dialogue with Key Stage 2 religious education.

It provides children with the opportunity to explore different religions and worldviews through the lens of stories. The Story Tent creates a space where children can learn the skills to develop acceptance and understanding of others, whilst still honouring genuine differences, equipping them for an increasingly diverse world.


The Story Tent is based on three underlying principles.

Firstly, through learning and understanding about the “other” it aims to develop a deeper understanding of the “self”.

Secondly, the emphasis is on exploring difference and finding ways to disagree well.

Thirdly, at the heart of SR is the concept of the meeting place and shared hospitality where friendships can be built. The space is not owned or inhabited by one group over another; rather it is a space where participants are both host and guest at the same time and can show mutual hospitality, a “tent of meeting”. This “in-between” space becomes an interpretative space where all are welcome, and all voices can be heard.


The PhD thesis on which the Story Tent is based, explored the possibility of using SR principles to promote intercultural learning in primary schools. Ted Cantle (Cantle, 2012), argues that in order to be able to engage in a meaningful way as a global community, new “cultural navigation” skills will be needed.

The Story Tent PhD research has demonstrated the potential for developing these skills within the primary school curriculum. It used storytelling and interfaith dialogue to encourage pupils to exercise intercultural competences in classroom settings. The resulting Story Tent themed day built on the established work of Julia Ipgrave’s dialogic and Robert Jackson’s interpretative approach to religious education.

The Story Tent project aims to equip educators with the confidence they need to explore interfaith dialogue using stories from different faith traditions and worldviews. It aims to provide age-appropriate resources by which these educators can support children to develop as global citizens who have the confidence and skills to live well with difference in our increasingly interfaith and intercultural societies.

To provide a range of easily accessible resources based on SR principles to help teachers deliver their own school specific and age appropriate Story Tent Interventions.

To equip teachers with the skills and confidence to deliver lessons that help pupils to use SR principles to discover and understand faith from different perspectives.

To develop and strengthen relational links between schools and their local faith communities building bridges across difference.

To achieve these aims, the project will develop curriculum materials and create a website platform to host both the theoretical and practical teaching resources. This will consist of a ‘story bank’ and a weekly distribution email to share stories from different religious traditions, additional video resources and practical guidance materials. Once the resources have been prepared, we aim to disseminate the practice amongst classroom teachers and educators. We recognize the diverse nature of schools and want to provide a range of ways in which they can engage and apply the ideas within their own school context.

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