The Chairperson of the Board of Management, The Principal and staff have worked collaboratively in drawing up the following policy.
Our school has a Catholic ethos. This ethos will be maintained at all times with emphasis on religious practice and good living based on the fundamental principle of the love of God and the love of one’s neighbour. Church Choir, prayers and religious preparation of the Sacraments will be observed and we will comply fully with the priests of S.S Peters and Paul in attending and supporting religious events where possible. While observing the Catholic ethos of the school at all times we will not discriminate in any way against those who do not share our beliefs and every effort will be made to accommodate other religious persuasions. The ethos of the school ordains that equality is at all times maintained.
Religious Education in a Catholic school has two main dimensions: Religious Knowledge & Faith Development. The children are led to know about God and to know God.
Faith Development We carefully plan for the development of the inner life of the child through creativity, imagination, an appreciation of our world and a sense of wonder.
CONTENT OF THE POLICY
The Board of Management and the teachers have adopted the Alive-O Catechetical Programme approved and recommended by the Irish Hierarchy for use in Catholic Schools.
The programme assists our aims in an age-appropriate progression through the school.
There are eight separate programmes presented in a child’s book and a teacher’s manual for the classes from Junior Infants to Sixth class.
The programme incorporates the recommended approach to religious education for the reception of the sacraments of Penance, Holy Communion and Confirmation, which is undertaken by the school in close co-operation with parents and parish. The programme is studied each day for 20 minutes a day. A Catholic ethos, however, permeates the school day and the life of the school.
Whole School Dimension of Religious Education Programme
As well as the programme, which is taught in each class, there are many aspects of religion, which are undertaken by the whole school together.
The Management and Staff and sometimes the children decide on appropriate and meaningful icons to display throughout the school building. These speak of people, events and ideas with which children can identify or through which they can be led to some new understanding of God.
Prayer & Worship
The school community is given the opportunity to share prayerful reflection and a sense of awe and wonder at the presence of God in daily life. The major Catholic and local feasts are celebrated in this spirit. They are also marked with the aid of signs and symbols displayed throughout the school.
Advent – the Advent wreath
Christmas – tree and crib,
Feast of St Brigid – traditional crosses,
Feast of St Patrick – depiction of story & shamrock,
Lent – symbols of repentance and ashes,
Easter – symbols of the new life of resurrection, the empty tomb, stations of the cross
Liturgical celebrations are held as follows:
The closing of the school year;
Carol service at Christmas,
Blessing of Ashes,
Times of trauma or crisis,
Service of Reconciliation
Participation in Parish activities
And for other occasions which from time to time are considered
appropriate to celebrate or to mark. The school participates in and
supports justice and peace initiatives e.g. Fairtrade, Bóthar, Trocáire
We try to ensure that all children feel safe within the school community and feel that they belong; we also aim to ensure that all children understand that each one has the same right to have his/her opinions heard as any other. A sense of togetherness and solidarity among the school community is fostered through, e.g. assemblies being held by the Principal to mark Catholic Schools Week our Green Flag initiative
School Chaplain / Parish Sister address classes as part of Catholic Schools week
Grandparents visit school as part of Catholic Schools Week School Choir sing at 10.30 Mass every month. They also attend Easter ceremonies and other parish celebrations i.e. Holy Thursday, First Holy Communion and Confirmation celebrating achievements of the pupils
Religion in Relation to Admission Policy
Subject to the terms of the admission policy children of any faith or of no faith are welcome to this school. Each child is welcome to attend and benefit from the Catholic religious education programme. However, if parents have difficulty with this the Principal shall meet with them to see if an accommodation can be reached.
The school cannot, however, undertake to educate children of other
faiths in their own faith, nor can it provide supervision during the
religious education period apart from the class.
Where parents agree and see value in it, children who are not Catholic are welcome to participate in the Religious Education Programme and prayer life of the school.
Methodologies used to achieve aims –
Study of the Alive O Cathetical Programme Manual
Giving the children prayer experiences that are meaningful
Sacramental and non-sacramental liturgies
Success Criteria for the Programme
There is an acknowledged sense of God, Faith, Prayer and Worship within the school community;
There is an ordered community where respect for all is evident at all times;
There is an outward-looking care for the less fortunate in society;
Recognisable links between Parish/Home/School;
Children can speak confidently of their faith.
Responsibility for Implementing this Policy
The Board of Management in consultation with the Principal, all staff and our school chaplain are responsible for facilitating the smooth implementation of the policy. The teachers teach the programme appropriate to their class. All members of staff and all within the school community are expected to actively support the spirit and ethos of the school.
Roles within the General Responsibility
Parents co-operate and support the school in its efforts, especially at times of sacramental preparation and at other school events to which they are invited. They are also asked to help with religious education homework and to read the parts of the Alive-O Programme that are intended for them.
Principal Takes an active role in encouraging the whole school aspects of the programme and monitors progress throughout the school. The Principal facilitates the inclusion of Faith Development as a topic for staff and Board meetings
Liaises with the school chaplain in defining the role of the chaplaincy and the parish in the life of the school
Helps to facilitate supportive interaction of all parties in implementing the programme.
Timeframe for Implementation
This policy will be implemented as soon as it is approved by the Board of Management.
Timeframe for Evaluation/Review
It will be evaluated and reviewed one year after implementation and thereafter on a regular basis.
Responsibility for Review
The Board of Management will initiate the review of the policy.
Approval and Communication
The policy is approved by the Board of Management and forwarded to the Trustees. It is available for perusal by the parents.
Teaching the Programme
The content of the programme is set out in each teacher’s manual, which may also be viewed by consulting the Principal. The curriculum is spiral and aims at deepening both knowledge and faith development in each succeeding year. The aim of religious education is to foster and deepen the children’s faith.
Aims of the Programme as laid out in stages for each class group
Junior/ Senior Infants: Introduction to prayer and the story of Jesus
First/ Second Class: Building on Infant Programme & Sacramental preparation.
Third/Fourth Class: Exploring faith development & consolidation of previous work
Fifth/ Sixth Class: Sacramental preparation and looking at Catholic Religion in relation to other religions.
Daily Daily Formal Prayer:
The following formal prayers will be recited every day:
Morning/ Evening Prayers
Grace Before Meals (before lunch)
Copies of the Bible are available for use in the Senior Classes