Religious Education Curriculum
The Religious Education Curriculum, Treasures New and Old (Matthew 13:52) responds to the contemporary context by having the following features:
- The content of the curriculum is based on the Sacred Scriptures, Tradition and the Church’s Magisterium (GDC, n.120), particularly as expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
- Its methodology is based on the Church’s documents on evangelisation in Catholic Education, Catechesis and Religious Education, a critical and creative use of the Shared Christian Praxis methodology and current research on learning and teaching approaches.
- The curriculum structure takes an outcomes-based approach as articulated in contemporary educational documents and reflected in current curriculum practice. The curriculum recognises the essential educational partnership of home, school, parish and Archdiocese, and sees classroom-based Religious Education as one significant component of a broader education in faith, provided by all these agencies and the life of the school beyond the classroom.
Treasures New and Old
And Jesus said to them, ‘Well then, every scribe who becomes a disciple of the kingdom of Heaven is like a householder who brings out from his storeroom new things as well as old.’
This document provides Parish Priests, Parish leaders, Principals, Religious Education Co-ordinators, teachers and parents with an overview of the Religious Education curriculum. It places the Religious Education curriculum in its religious, educational and social context and outlines the curriculum model that is followed. The original document was published and implemented in 2000. A supplementary document was developed in 2009 following ongoing evaluation.
Treasures New and Old organises the content and key values into four strands which incorporate Sacramental and liturgical content where appropriate. The content strands are as follows:
God and God’s Creation is concerned with how understandings of God and the created world shape Christian beliefs, Church teachings and Church practice. In this strand students have opportunities to explore and clarify personal and social values of respect, cooperation, responsibility and fairness.
Jesus and Discipleship is concerned with making meaning of Scriptural texts in order to understand what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. In this strand students have opportunities to explore and clarify personal and social values of compassion, service, and forgiveness.
Church in the World is concerned with how the mystery of God in the world has been understood and expressed by the Church and the implications it has for contemporary living. In this strand students have opportunities to explore and clarify personal and social values of truth, integrity and justice.
Prayer and Celebration is concerned with Sacraments of the Church, prayer, ritual and spirituality and how these are expressed in Church and other contexts. In this strand students have opportunities to develop wellbeing and to explore and clarify personal and social values of peace, freedom and tolerance.
Each of these strands makes an equivalent contribution to the key learning area of Religious Education.
At unit level the curriculum identifies what the students will learn about and what they will learn to do. Beginning in 2014 all the Units are being revised and rewritten to respond to contemporary curriculum and teaching and learning needs. These outlines are an organisational arrangement designed to assist the teaching of the curriculum framework. Each unit outline has a title, a focus, unit outcomes that serve level outcomes, doctrinal concepts, learning/teaching experiences, assessment tasks and references to Scripture and theology.
In our Archdiocese, Sacraments of Initiation are family-centred and parish-based. These are supported by the parish school and catechists.
In families, children:
- Learn who they are and that they are loved
- First experience celebration, forgiveness and prayer
- Share meals and talk together about happenings in their lives
- Learn to celebrate achievements and to support each other in difficult times
- Are introduced to the parish community
The focus for parents and family members is to show children, in practical ways, how to live good lives and bring them to the fullness of human and Christian maturity.
By participating in parish life, children:
- Experience a sense of belonging to the local parish and to the wider community of believers
- Experience a sense of the sacred and a sense of the wonder of God
- Are challenged to hear the Word of God, celebrate it and live it as Christians in the world
- Meet people who are enabled to live out the Gospel in a variety of pastoral ministries
The focus for the parish community is to invite all to share in the life of the Catholic community, and recognise there are times when a unique response is called for to support a child in their faith journey.
The Catholic School
The Catholic school is often the ‘face of the church’ for young people and their families. Children are educated about sacraments in a curriculum framework that:
- Is sequential and age appropriate
- Provides sound teaching and learning experiences that meets the needs of the individual learner.
- Is in keeping with archdiocesan policy
The focus for the school is not merely to provide a formal education in faith but to nurture young people in an environment that leads them to develop their personal relationship with God.