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 Contemporary Contexts of School Religious Education

At Christ The King we recognise that modern day contexts offers opportunities and challenges  to delivering high quality Religious Education in faithful and authentically responsive ways.  

SOCIETAL CONTEXT

“In this way the Catholic school’s public role is clearly perceived. It has not come into being as a private initiative, but as an expression of the reality of the Church, having by its nature a public character. It fulfils a service of public usefulness...decidedly configured in the perspective of the Catholic faith.”
                              (The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium, 1997, n.16).​​
Christ the King Primary School celebrates the diverse social and cultural backgrounds our families bring to our community. We also are aware that parents enrol their children in Catholic Schools for a variety of reasons; while many parents want their children to experience Catholic Christian values and traditions, others have other reasons for choosing our school.  As a consequence, our school is challenged to engage families in Religious Education in ways that respond to the changing and diverse society we live in.

We respond to this in the following ways;
  • Celebrate important cultural, Church and community events as a whole school in ways that reflect a Catholic Christian worldview that integrates faith, life and culture.
  • ANZAC day with Catholic prayers and biblical readings as well as secular rituals such as wreath laying
  • Marking important indigenous events such as Sorry Day, Naidoc Week and the anniversary of the National Apology in culturally appropriate ways including exploring Christian Indigenous ways of praying and acknowledging spirituality.
  • Acknowledging the multicultural aspects of our community by encouraging the sharing of multicultural foods, stories and cultural traditions to mark special occasions (Harmony Day, Migrant and Refugee weeks) and incorporating Christian prayer.
  • Prayers at staff meetings, assemblies and board/P&F meetings that embrace and celebrate the fusion of our local culture with the Catholic Christian faith.
  • Discussions with students regarding different family traditions and cultural celebrations at home
  • Inviting families to share prayer experiences with the class.
Outreach to all aspects of our local and global community regardless of religious and societal backgrounds to breakdown stereo-types and widen the Catholic Christian viewpoint of our school community
 
  • ​​​​​​​Working with our local St Vincent De Paul Chapter to provide assistance for any who seek it in the local community
  • Meeting with, talking about, fundraising for and awareness raising of refugee and migrant issues.​
  • Enrolment policy that while highlighting the provision for Catholics and members of our local parish also welcomes all others who wish to experience Catholic Christian values. (see Enrolment policy)
  • Inclusive, non-presumptive language used in the learning and teaching as well as correspondence with parents and care-givers. (See newsletter articles, unit plans, invitations to school liturgical celebrations)
  • Discussion of children’s personal family and cultural heritage and family customs to build understanding of Catholic Christian traditions and practices.​

ECCLESIAL CONTEXT

 It is from its Catholic identity that the school derives its authenticity and form as a genuine place of real and specific pastoral ministry. The Catholic school participates in the evangelising mission of the Church and is a privileged environment in which Christian education is carried out 
                              (The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium, 1997, n.11).​
 
Christ the King is aware that, for many families we provide the introductory and developmental understanding and experience of Church for students and their families. For many in our community our school forms the bridge between the Church and home.  It is our aim to invite and draw people into a deeper experience of the Church and into conversation about faith and the Catholic Church.
We respond in the following ways; 
 
Offering the invitation to all to come and see, to participate and be part of our community 
  • Inviting the school community to attend school and class masses, liturgies and prayer assemblies, Mother’s Day and father’s Day Lunches.
  • Weekly prayer assemblies, focusing on social justice issues led by individual classes.
  • Staff and family participation in the Parish Sacramental Programs.
  • Promoting parish activities such as Pentecost Mass, Lenten Programs, Sacramental Programs and Refugee and Migrant Sunday.
  • School Masses and Liturgy of the word celebrated for significant events such as Ash Wednesday, Easter, ANZAC Day, Pentecost, Catholic Education Week, Christ the King Feast Day, and End of Year.
  • Every term, all classes are required to plan and present a prayer assembly that involves prayer and raising awareness of a social justice issue or learning in the classroom.
 
To offer an open, non-judgemental space where people can ask questions, learn about and experience elements of the Catholic Christian faith and their traditions
  • Classroom, school office, and the Church Sacred Spaces featuring evidence of the Liturgical year
  • Visible sacred icons and imagery throughout the school such as Pictures of religious Icons, A large wooden cross made by grade 6 students that represent the symbolism of Christ the King Feast Day and the Oblate Charism of St Eugene, a Mary Statue, Rainbow Painting, Refugee and Migrant Welcome Mural. 
  • Weekly Staff prayer.
  • Year level parish mass planned and lead by the class with student and when possible family participation and time with the priest to discuss and answer questions.
  • Year level liturgies during Holy Week (Ash Wednesday, Holy Thursday) where parents are invited to experience the liturgy with the students.
  • Visible Sacred icons and imagery throughout each classroom such as the Good Shepheard Crosses.
  • Classroom prayer  ​

EDUCATIONAL CONTEXT

In the Catholic school’s educational project there is no separation between time for learning and time for formation, between acquiring notions and growing in wisdom 
(The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium, 1997, n.14).​
 
Christ the King seeks to educate all to live the gospel of Jesus Christ by being empowered to shape and enrich our world, to challenge societal norms and become counter-cultural.  While the religious life of the school draws upon positive social values such as care for the environment, justice and peace, outreach to the poor and the marginalised and community service.  We also seek to ensure these practices are real and relevant in our own school community by upholding justice for students in the way we seek just and equitable ways to assess students in their learning, provide outreach to those who are marginalised and reminding students that we are all on this learning journey together and as such it is our job to support and assist each other with our learning in an academically rigorous way.

We respond in the following ways;
  • Sustainability focus; Students work in the garden to provide fresh food to the tuckshop and to St Vincent De Paul.
  • Students take their understanding of creation and stewardship and apply it by caring for the schools grounds and environment (weeding, nesting boxes, Clean up Australia Day)
  • Continuing professional development of classroom teachers including Catholic Social Teaching, Cosmology and Environmental Stewardship
  • Working with St Vincent De Paul to help them help our community directly.
  • Linking classroom teaching of Religion with the Religious Life of the School
  • Ensuring every student has equitable access to the curriculum with appropriate support where required
  • Quality assessment and reporting (multi- modal) to give all students the opportunity to succeed.​

DIGITAL CONTEXT​

These technologies are truly a gift to humanity and we must endeavour to ensure that the benefits they offer are put at the service of all human individuals and communities, especially those who are most disadvantaged and vulnerable
(Message for the 43rd World Communications Day, 2009)
Christ The King is responding to the ever-changing digital landscape within our community.  In this sense we truly recognise our mission to engage students in the critical, creative, and responsible use of digital tools and become morally responsible digital citizens.
 
We recognise that the definitions of “community” have changed to include not just a physical sense of community but also connections between people in digital communities. As our community grows in this area we have responded by seeking to create and reach out to our digital communities and thus share not only students learning but also share elements and experiences from the religious life of the school in rich and relevant ways and connect with individuals and communities in a global context.

We respond in the following ways;

Engaging our community where they are and moving forward with them as the digital landscape evolves in our community by providing the tools and the education to access the digital communities
  • Data projectors in each classroom which allow modelling and guiding of practices online
  • Providing hands-on training and assistance to parents in understanding digital technologies and environments such as the Parent Portal
  • Digital communities set up such as school Facebook pages and Twitter accounts administrated and moderated by staff and  parents, use of Class Dojo apps, Parent Portal and BCE Connect app to engage with our digital communities
  • Students and teachers learn to use software and programs such as Bible Gateway and other online Bible tools to enhance students understanding
  • Use of the LIFE LMS to create safe learning environments to engage in digital technologies in Religion
  • Access to ten laptops in each classroom and 7 iPads in each classroom to ensure equitable access
 
Ensuring our students are responsible digital citizens and understand the implications of the global digital society.
  • ICLT user policy completed by each student
  • Timetabled ICT time with specialist teacher to ensure correct procedures are taught and followed as students learn to engage on digital platforms
  • Students demonstrate learning by using digital technology