Education in Faith
Religious Education overview
May we learn to listen to your word in the silence of our hearts
and rise to serve you in good works toward our brothers and sisters.
Lead us toward the Kingdom of God.
We ask for you to accompany us as we begin our important work
Of teaching in Your name.
Give us the courage to continue to learn from your example.
In the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
At Stella Maris, the Sacred Landscape is designed to support the pursuit of excellence in learning and teaching within the central vision of the school and parish.
Young people today are immersed in an Australian society that is increasingly pluralist and secular, one that is marked by rapid scientific and technological growth.
Our society is both blessed and challenged by a growing diversity of cultures and faiths. This way of life brings much richness and blessing, but also brings challenges that impact on religious learning and on maintaining a living Catholic identity. This allows for a process where the student and teacher are engaged in inquiry, deep learning, evaluation and response to the mysteries of life.
The challenge: How to engage students in making sense and meaning of this everyday life in the light of the teaching of the Catholic church and the traditions of the Catholic community?
Religious Education Curriculum
Religious Education Curriculum Framework:
The LearningCentredSchools, a Sacred Landscape: Learning and Teaching strategy provides a comprehensive response to the contemporary challenges of learning and teaching in the Catholic school. Drawing on a broad range of research, the Strategy describes the distinctive characteristics and challenges of contemporary learning and teaching environments, identifies emerging issues and priorities and details actions to support schools in successfully crafting their response.
In a Catholic school the curriculum expresses the educative vision of the school community and an authentic understanding of Christ and His teaching. The curriculum is designed to ensure that all students gain the knowledge, skills and habits of mind required for success in a globalised, 21st century society and economy. This includes not only the core disciplines of English, Mathematics and Science which are increasingly sought by employers globally and are a key source of technological innovation and growth, but also a range of skills that enable people to perform effectively in the workplace and contribute as members of their communities (e.g. innovation, collaboration, problem solving, self direction, and a capacity to relate to others in different cultural contexts and to manage change).
In the discipline of Religious Education students form religious knowledge and understandings and ways of thinking and responding.
In order for students to form deep understandings of key church beliefs and practices in the context of everyday life it is necessary to integrate the content strands in one unit or topic.
Inquiry topics, questions, understandings and key concepts in the classroom religious education program will integrate two or more of these content strands. In this way students make links between these significant areas of church life and teaching and use these to construct meaning around their relationship to God, self, others and their world.
Each level has a learning focus which broadly outlines the learning through which students progress in religious education to achieve the standards in the framework.
The learning focus also specifies the key practices and beliefs of the Catholic tradition that students need to engage with at each level. The learning focus does not provide a comprehensive summary of what students are to learn, but rather outlines what is essential for students in the Archdiocese to learn.
Pedagogy of Religious Education Curriculum Framework
The Religious Education curriculum framework is designed to assist schools in the further implementation of the series of religious education texts To Know, Worship & Love and the Good Shepherd Experience (F-2).
Religious Education Curriculum has been developed with a focus on the particular ways young children learn. The curriculum draws on the research and work of Sofia Cavalletti and Gianna Gobbi.
The Religious Education Curriculum, Foundation to Year2, lays the foundations for later learning and for life-long engagement with the mystery of God. A key part of laying the foundations is telling the stories of the Catholic Church: stories from Sacred Scripture and stories about how the Catholic community celebrates, prays and lives the Christian life.
Story is a key part of our faith tradition. The activity of God in the lives of people and in all creation as recorded in the scriptures has been handed on to us, firstly through the oral tradition and then in the written Word.
Young children particularly are able to learn and make meaning through story and symbol. Stories carry deep insights which young children are often unable to verbalise. However, these insights help them to relate to the mystery of God and so make sense of their experience of the world.
In the Good Shepherd Experience young children come to know Jesus Christ personally through stories in the Gospels. The style of biblical stories is particularly suited to young children because it uses only actions
and descriptions essential to the story. This engages the imagination and provides opportunity to experience the wonder, mystery and power of these stories.
The key elements of storytelling adopted in this curriculum are:
- Telling the Story
- Praying the Word
The Inquiry Approach and Religious Education
The learning and teaching approach in Years 3–6 is inquiry integrated based. In this approach students form understandings about God, themselves and their world through the ongoing exploration of religious truths and through the development of processes and skills that enable thinking, reflecting and acting as a result of this knowledge. In religious education inquiry learning is concerned with engaging with different perspectives of the Catholic tradition to form deep religious understandings. It is concerned with exploring how we can come to know the mystery of God in our lives, and how others in the past have come to know and express this mystery.
The learning process in Coming to Know, Worship and Love involves providing and encouraging students with opportunities to name and build upon the personal experience and knowledge they bring to a topic question through the implementation of the Religious Education Curriculum Frameworks. They are also given opportunities to wonder about, and name, some of their own questions.
Prayer and Liturgy
At Stella Maris we believe that formal & informal prayer is an integral part of our children’s education in faith. Prayer enables us to establish, build and express a relationship with God that is constant and ongoing.
Participation in official prayer of the Church (liturgy) is encouraged through attendance at masses and prayer services.
The Focus of Prayer in Junior Primary:
When Jesus taught his disciples the Lord’s Prayer, he gave us a model for prayer.
- God is with us in a special way in prayer.
- People celebrate and pray together at different times and in different ways.
- Jesus prayed both publicly and privately.
- By the end of their Junior Primary Years, the children should know the following formal prayers:
- Sign of the cross
- Our Father
- Hail Mary
- Responses such as:
- This is the word of the Lord,
- Thanks be to God
- Lord Hear Us, Lord Hear Our Prayer
The Focus of Prayer in Middle Primary:
- Prayer offers us the opportunity to listen and respond to God.
- We grow in a relationship with Jesus through prayer.
- Jesus often spent time in prayer to God:
- By the end of their middle primary years, the children should know the following formal prayers:
- The rosary
- Glory be to the Father
- Parts of the Mass
- Responses such as:
- I confess……
- Lord I am not worthy to receive you….
- The Body of Christ: Amen
The Focus of Prayer in Senior Primary:
Prayer is an expression of God’s relationship with us, and our response to this relationship.
The Church has a rich tradition of formal and informal methods of prayer.
- In our Church communities, we experience various kinds of prayer: thanksgiving, petition, praise, sorrow and adoration.
- Christians are called to pray both privately and in public.
- By the end of their senior primary years, the children should know the following formal prayers:
Hail Holy Queen
- Responses: All Mass responses
Meditations is encouraged at our school in its various forms:
- Silence/ Being still
- Visualisation etc
The Sacramental program is an important element of the Religious Education program at Stella Maris. Reconciliation is celebrated in Year 3, Eucharist in Year 4 and Confirmation in Year 6.
1st term: The children are initiated into the Rite of Reconciliation at an evening ceremony.
2nd term: A Sunday mass where the children receive the Eucharist for the first time.
3rd or 4th term: An evening mass where the children participate in the Rite of Confirmation.
Parental involvement in the Sacraments:
- Home activities with your child in preparing for the sacraments, such as making a stole with symbols and a home booklet with tasks to be completed with the family.
- Parent/ child workshops for all the sacraments.