Religious Education is an essential component of the school curriculum. Although Religious Education is regarded as one of the school's Key Learning Areas, it is not simply a subject that is taught, it is an integral, living part of our daily lives at St Clare’s and beyond.
Religious Education is at the heart of who we are. Through our interactions with one another; our daily prayers; our loyalty to the traditions and doctrines of the Catholic Church and our genuine desire to be an organisation which reflects the values of Christ, as we educate children in their Faith.
Religious Education helps the students to develop their knowledge of their faith, and assists them in worship of the blessed Trinity.
The curriculum is set by the Bishop of Wollongong in conjunction with Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong and supported by religious educational content such as the To Know, Worship and Love resources.
The Religious Literacy Assessment Program provides information about the way children process and express their religious knowledge. Religious literacy refers to the way children use their literacy skills to communicate their understanding of the religious tradition to themselves, their peers, teachers and members of the wider faith community.
“By the end of their schooling students know the core teachings of our faith, our Scriptures, history and tradition and how these are to be lived in the world" — Catholic Schools at a Crossroad (2007)
The Religious Literacy Assessment involves all Year 4 students in Catholic schools in the Macarthur and across the diocese, and consists of a multiple choice and short answer paper, focusing on the students' knowledge and understanding of the key concepts that are taught throughout their Religious Education from Kindergarten to Year 4, and what this means for the way we live, as it is applied in society.
The tasks are developed around the Religious Literacy Framework of Knowing the Tradition, Working with the Tradition, Applying the Tradition and Valuing the Tradition, reflecting Stage 1 and Stage 2 outcomes of the RE curriculum.
The data gathered from the assessment is analysed to inform learning and teaching in schools, to focus on professional learning and to recognise and celebrate learning in the domain of Religious Education.
St Clare’s exists in one of the larger parishes within Australia. Each year the parish operates three sacramental programs for primary school aged children.
The purpose for enrolling children in the parish sacramental programs is to assist the child in establishing a loving relationship with God, through the person of Jesus Christ with the support of the Holy Spirit. This relationship needs to be nurtured through regular attendance at Mass. Seldom would an elite athlete stop training and competing after winning a gold medal, a person's spiritual life is no different in that it requires constant practise and nurturing.
During the Season of Advent, the young children moving on from Year 2 to Year 3 are eligible to register at Mass for the Sacrament of Reconciliation / Penance. The Reconciliation program operates over a four week period during the first school term each year. After registration, parents are required to attend 4 after school sessions with their children in preparation for the reception of the sacrament. The afternoon sessions are guided by a sacramental associate, whose role it is to ensure the delivery of the lessons and respond to any questions that may be asked.
As the students in Year 3 enter the second semester of school, they are eligible to register and enrol for the Sacrament of Eucharist / Holy Communion. This program operates in a similar format to the First Reconciliation program. At the conclusion of the program, the children join with the parish to receive the sacrament on the Feast of Christ the King, around the last weekend in November each year.
The Sacrament of Confirmation is available for the students of Year 6 who have received the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist. The Sacrament of Confirmation is administered annually by our Bishop at a series of Masses. This usually occurs in June each year, depending on the availability of our Bishop. The program follows precisely the format of the previous two sacraments, requiring parental support and involvement, and a commitment to attend all four sessions of the program, along with a practice session to allocate seating.
There is an expectation that children preparing for the sacraments attend weekend Mass along with their families each week during the preparation period. To encourage compliance, attendance is recorded over the course of the program.
Each year, Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong invites Catholic primary schools in the Macarthur and across the diocese to submit artworks from Year 5 and 6 students to enter in the CEDoW Christmas Story Art Competition. Approximately fifty entries that are deemed to best meet the criteria are chosen for an exhibition at the Wollongong City Art Gallery, which is open to the public, commonly around the last weeks of Term 3 and over the October school holiday period each year. Major awards are given at the opening of the exhibition, and approximately 12 finalists are selected for entry into the Sydney Archdiocese Christmas Story Art Competition and Exhibition.
Each year, Year 6 students from across the Diocese of Wollongong gather together to celebrate in an uplifting Mass with the Bishop of Wollongong. This occasion is an opportunity for students to encounter Christ through the Eucharist, through their fellow students gathered together and through the presence of Bishop Brian Mascord. The Year 6 Mass also aims to help students understand their place in the diocese, being part of the broader Church community and how they might embrace their Catholic faith as they take their next steps into secondary school.