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Contemporary Contexts of School Religious Education

Contemporary Contexts

At St Anthony’s, recognition is given to the four contexts identified as having significant impact on Religious Education in contemporary Catholic schools. They are the Societal Context, Ecclesial Context, Educational Context and Digital Context.

The St. Anthony’s RE program recognises and supports both dimensions of Religious Education, the classroom learning and teaching of Religion and the Religious Life of the school. The Vision for Religious Education is realised in a contemporary context where we strive to deliver quality education in Religion to all our students as we do for all other subjects.

The learning and the teaching of religion has its focus in the classroom religion program identified in St Anthonys’ RE Program Scope and Sequence: Focus Area. In the same way as other subject areas, it endorses a range of learning and teaching processes that include rich learning experiences and resources. Differentiated instruction and learning provides for the diversity of our students and offers different avenues for the acquiring of content and the demonstrating of that knowledge and skills.

Our school program has at its source of reference from the Archdiocesan Religion Curriculum P-12. Which describes core content that is organised into four strands, Sacred Texts, Beliefs, Church and Christian Life. This document also gives direction to the explicit teaching of Prayers from the Catholic Christian Tradition and Scriptural Texts from both the Old and New Testaments.

The Religious Life of the school is about teaching people to be religious in a particular way. The focus is on the spiritual formation of students and their faith development. The interrelated components of Religious Identity and Culture; Evangleisation; Faith Formation; Prayer and Worship; and Social Action and Justice; are identified in the St Anthony’s RE Program Scope and Sequence: Religious Life of the School.

St Anthony’s RE Program recognises that the Religious Education of a person has a broader context other than that of the school. The Parish of St Therese and St Anthony  (http://www.kedroncatholicparish.org.au/ ) is integral to the Religious Life of our school.

Our school recognises the diversity of our students both culturally and socio-economically. Contemporary students are exposed to a wide range of values through media. An increasing number of students and their families are less engaged with the formal life of the church. The school is a place where students and their families experience the mission and outreach of the Church.  Pastoral care link photo of Sacramental program label photos in relation to the previous idea. Our school is committed to being a relevant source of influence in a student’s life, integrating faith, life and culture.

The classroom learning and teaching of Religion is modelled on the best educative practice used in other subjects. The tools and skills needed to engage with electronic and digital Technology provides opportunities for students to express their learning in rich and relevant ways.

Societal Context

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St Anthony’s operates in a complex ever changing world.  Students come from a range of background andexperiences. One of the reasons parents choose to send their children to St Anthony’s is its connection to the Franciscan heritage and values. Families are drawn to the relationship that exists between the three schools St Anthony’s, Padua and Mt Alvernia. A high percentage of families in our community come from a Catholic Christian background, however our school is part of a broader Australian society and despite the fact that many of our students come from a Catholic background they are not literate in the Catholic Christian tradition. Religious Education at St Anthony’s seeks to reflect a Catholic Christian worldview that integrates faith, life and culture. At the same time it seeks to embrace an ecumenical perspective and reflect the multi-faith context and reality of a contemporary school.

Ecclesial Context

At St Anthony’s the Charism and Ethos of St Francis remains strong within our school community. The Franciscan Friars administer the Parish and Padua College across the road and the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception are still involved locally in the Parish, Mt Alvernia and St Anthony’s. The Parish Priest regularly visits the school and the children and is heavily involved in the daily life of St Anthony’s. Many of the retired local Franciscan Sisters visit and volunteer in the school. The Franciscan tradition enriches our school life a provides a spiritual direction for our school. Many families in our school are strongly connected to the local parish and St Anthony’s students are regularly involved in parish events including singing at weekend Masses and attending weekly Parish Masses.

Educational Context

St Anthony’s seeks the transformation of the whole person so that all in the school community are empowered to live the gospel of Jesus Christ in their everyday lives. As a Franciscan school we also walk in the tradition of St Francis. We seek to nurture and develop the faith of individuals in ways that are mindful of their cultural and religious identity. We recognise that the scope of education has become more complex and that students require new skills and capacities to address present and future challenges. As a Catholic school we have a strong evangelizing mission and need to meet the challenges and realities of this mission to live and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. We are called to be relevant; to read the signs of the times by integrating faith, life and culture.

Religious Education at St Anthony’s builds on best practice of the broader educational community. The classroom learning and teaching of religion reflects the philosophy, content, structure, academic rigour and assessment and reporting modes used in other learning areas. The religious life of the school forms and skills students to negotiate the tension of maintaining Christian integrity when confronted with the complexities of life in contemporary society.

Digital Context

St Anthony’s believes in being a technologies enriched learning environment to ensure the best possible educational use of all digital devices so that the students can collaborate and create in the digital space. We recognise the importance of using digital tools as means of communicating ideas and creating educational partnerships. The tools and skills needed to engage with electronic and digital Technology provides opportunities for students to express their learning in rich and relevant ways.