Catholic Special Character
Sacred Heart is a Catholic Community, enriching and empowering our students for life in the 21st century. Our school exists because of its special character and Religious Education is integral to the Special Character of our Catholic school. This is the basis of the philosophy of Catholic education that aims to shape the way students will live their lives. It is in Religious Education that students are supported in learning what it means to be Catholic and how they can take their place as members of the Catholic Church. At the heart of Religious Education is the fostering of the spiritual lives of students and the development of their relationship with God.
Religious Education is a particular approach that is used for teaching in our Catholic Schools in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Religious Education in Catholic schools is about teaching and learning what the Catholic Church believes and teaches. It enables students to understand and appreciate the ways the Catholic Church celebrates, lives and prays and teaches them how to respond freely to God according to their gift of faith. This is the basis of the philosophy of Catholic education that aims to shape the way students will live their lives.
It is the learning area that develops students’ knowledge, skills and attitudes in keeping with the gospel values of Jesus Christ. It is in Religious Education that students learn what it means to be Catholic and how they can take their place as members of the Catholic Church. At the heart of Religious Education is the fostering of the spiritual lives of students and the development of their relationship with God.
Over the course of the year, each class will work within six Learning Strands. These are designed to increase the children’s knowledge and skills in Religious Education and help them develop Christian attitudes. The six strands are: God, Jesus Christ, The Holy Spirit, Church, Sacrament and Communion of Saints. Each year the strands build on what has been learnt in previous years.
Also studied are three Learning Modules, each of which is an important area of essential knowledge. The modules are: The Liturgical Year, Prayer, and Sacramental Celebrations. The Programme also contains a handbook entitled Myself and Others, which gives teachers the Catholic Perspective on the Health Curriculum.
Students are also encouraged to learn and understand the Catholic Social Teaching Principles and these are integrated into learning across all curriculum areas. These principles are: Participation, Common Good, Distributive Justice, Preferential Option for the Poor and Vulnerable, Human Dignity, Stewardship, Solidarity, Promotion of Peace, Subsidiarity.
1.1 Fundamental to integration is the Special Character of the school.
1.2 This is defined in the Integration Agreement as follows: “The school is a Roman Catholic school in which the whole school community, through the general school programme and in its religious instructions and observances exercises the right to live and teach the values of Jesus Christ. These values are as expressed in the Scriptures and in the practices, worship and doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, as determined from time to time by the Roman Catholic Bishop of the diocese.”
1.3 In a Catholic school the Special Character is also known as the Catholic Character. This is not something simply “added on” to what would otherwise be a secular State school. Nor does it merely refer to Religious Education, ceremonies and observances. The Catholic Character actually provides the framework within which the whole school curriculum is delivered; it is, in fact, integral to everything that takes place in the school, or on behalf of the school, and its community. Properly observed and practised it also provides a climate of hope, inspiration and service for all members of the school community.