Religious Education is a fundamental and compulsory part of the curriculum at St Edward’s. It is three dimensional, all interrelating with each other to develop a holistic approach to the students’ faith formation; from spirituality through to liturgies and retreats; Social Justice through to the Waterford Project; and Curriculum in the classroom. The Religious Education Curriculum has been developed to stimulate and challenge our students to think critically with moral reasoning. The Religious Education Curriculum gives students an opportunity to immerse themselves into the Catholic Tradition and learn about other religious traditions through Interfaith Dialogue.
At St Edward’s this year, the Religious Education department had 23 dedicated, enthusiastic staff, committed to the education and formation of the students in the light of the Gospel values and the EREA Touchstones. Our classroom Religious Education teachers are committed to exploring ways and means of nurturing a faith dimension in each of their students. It is a calling and a privilege our teachers take seriously, to educate the students of St Edward’s. For many reasons, the teaching of religion has become more challenging through the past decades. The level of commitment and professionalism from the teachers in the classroom, despite these challenges, are commendable. Our Religious education teachers successfully engage our students in creative and thought-provoking ways, so that effective learning can take place. It is a critical time in the lives of our students when patterns of thinking and behaviour are established. This year, the teachers introduced a new Catholic Social Teaching program into the Stage 5 Curriculum. It is a credit to the staff the way they critiqued and reflected on the many activities and assessments that were introduced.
In the Senior Catholic Studies course, the students are provided important opportunities for spiritual, personal and moral development as well as opportunities to be reflective of their own lives. The students are given opportunities to develop an understanding of different concepts and issues, reasoning in decision-making, exploring morals, ethics, values and to act in an informed manner. Their prayer service at the end of their Year 12 aptly gives the students the ability to demonstrate their own spiritual journey. Many students show reverence and respect throughout this time and produce very memorable reflections. They are fortunate to be led by such experienced and knowledgeable team of educators in the senior course.
In 2019, the students in Year 11 will begin with the new course; Studies of Catholic Thought, replacing what was known as Catholic Studies. The development of this course has enabled all Dioceses in NSW to have one course that they follow. The focus of this course is how faith and reason have come together in building the theology, practice and culture of the Catholic Church, with a focus on Catholicism. Studies in Catholic Thought is underpinned by a Catholic liberal Arts approach. This integrates the various disciplines of history, scripture and text, philosophy, art, music, science to lead into theology thereby developing in students a holistic understanding of the Catholic Church.
The staff have been attending Professional Development days in preparation for the introduction of this new Course and in the development of the new teaching programs from Year 7 -12, creative ways to teach RE , the RE symposium, dealing with ethical issues in our contemporary society and the encyclical, Laudato Si.
In the junior years, work has continued to develop the Year 7 to 10 programs and assessments to provide students with a variety of opportunities to explore and experience the Christian tradition through the person of Jesus Christ and other religious traditions. The assessments that the students are producing are very sophisticated and show thorough research. The quality of work from our students are so insightful.
Edmund Rice Education Beyond Borders (EREBB) is an International network of Catholic schools educating young people from many different faiths and cultures. In over 20 countries EREBB endeavor to promote global solidarity and offer a transformational education for justice and liberation. As a lead school, we have a committee of approximately 30 students who meet regularly to develop strategies and work together to form connections both locally, nationally and globally. The students have learnt a lot about students overseas and the challenges of communicating with those less fortunate. The EREBB committee will be welcomed by the students in Year 11 that attended the immersion to Kenya.