Big Ideas and Solarity

Mar 12, 2022 | Home Learning, Philosophy, Religion

Standing alongside the Big Ideas Project is a free resource for investigations in Philosophy and Religion called Solarity.

Solarity is an online resource developed by the Sea of Faith Network aiming to help children and young people THINK about and EXPLORE a variety of life’s questions in ways that go beyond the usual school curriculum. 

A small team of teachers and advisers have written more than 80 sessions for out-of-school-hours philosophy and religion clubs. 

The materials can be used by teachers and youth group leaders and may be of interest to parents/carers looking to supplement their children’s education at home.

There are different sessions for 5-7, 7-11 and 11-16 year olds, all designed to encourage them to develop their own ideas, values and identities. 

Amongst the questions being addressed are:

  • What makes a true friend?
  • What is a good society?
  • How can we cope with bereavement?
  • Is it good to be different?
  • What do we see in art?
  • Do you believe in human rights?
  • What is a religion and what is a cult?
  • How can we best think about thinking?
  • Can atheists learn anything from religion?
  • How spiritual are you?
  • What is the power of words?

Various big themes of life are also explored, such as:

  • Keeping people out of ‘bad lives’;
  • Great human goods or desires (decent length of life, bodily well-being, freedom and power, respect and self-respect, relationships, goods of culture);
  • Building mental / emotional / ‘spiritual’ health;
  • Learning from the wisdom and compassion of others;
  • Living with existential uncertainty;
  • Knowing what is of real value in the world;
  • Reverence for nature;
  • Celebrating the power of enoughness;
  • Going beyond what is ‘fair’ and being excessively generous;
  • Living without bitterness or ill-feeling.

These sorts of questions and themes are also explored further in the Big Ideas units of learning.

Solarity materials have been written and produced for the Sea of Faith Network by Dave Francis, Ed Pawson, David Allinson, Cathy Bushill, Caroline Smailes, Kate Penfold-Attride, Penny Mawdsley, Katie Snook and Jonny Lawson.