Today I read a story about a child who was traumatized by religious education in school. As a fairly new atheist, I never had to deal with that when raising my children. I can only imagine how awful the experience was for that child, & because we love our children so much, an awful experience for the parents as well.
I remember having a religious education class, staffed by volunteers from the time I started kindergarten until my family moved to a larger school district after I completed 3rd grade. Since I was already indoctrinated by the time I started to school, I never gave the religion class a second thought. Although, religious education was noticeably absent from my new school, when I began 4th grade. After that move, I remember only 1 incident of religious conflict between what my parents taught & what 1 of the teachers told my younger sister. She came home from second grade, telling my parents that her teacher had said that it's a sin to eat pork, I don't remember what kind of Christian the teacher was, but she was Christian. My parents explained that some people believe that it is a sin to eat pork, but that our family was not a part of that religion, so it was okay that we ate pork. I guess some would call that "cherry picking" but it worked well for us young children. We simply did not discuss our families religious beliefs at school. We were fine with that.
I think that if I were a parent of a young child today, now that I'm an atheist I would explain religion to my young child in someway similar to the following: "Look into the mirror sweetie, do you see yourself?" I assume he or she would reply yes. "Now look into the mirror & do you see me?" Again I'd expect him or her to reply yes. Then I would ask, "Look into the mirror, & do you see god?" I assume that he or she would say no. "Some people believe there is an invisible god, but we do not believe that. What we believe works for us, & we're happy with that. As you grow older, you'll hear about many different beliefs that we do not believe. What we believe, what you believe, is always okay for us. Sometimes, it's just better to talk about it together, you & I outside of school. Someday, you'll be old enough & have enough information to explain what you believe, & what your parents believe. Until then, we can talk about anything you want to talk about; & that will always be okay."
My sons are adults, & never had to deal with religious education in school. Once there was a coach that gave my eldest son a lot of trouble, trying to force him to wear his really short gym shorts instead of the longer shorts she wore at home. I went to school wearing a long dress & a veil; & by the time I left that big brave coach was terrified & in tears. No one on the planet loves your children more than you do. Your children depend on you to protect them from adults like that coach who think they can bully children because they're smaller & weaker. It's upto us parents, to handle those bullies & make certain our children experience no repercussions from our handling the adult who bullies our child at school.
This blog is not my instruction to you, as a parent, it's an example to help you come up with your own idea that fits for your child & you. I hope it helps, if you disagree with this approach, that's fine. It's only my idea. I wish you well.