Religious Education at St Thomas’ consists of two distinct but complementary dimensions, namely an educational dimension and a faith formation dimension. The first dimension, most commonly referred to as the classroom teaching and learning of Religion is focused on Religious Education as an educational activity. The teachers embrace a range of teaching and learning processes and resources. On the other hand, Faith Formation is reflected in the religious life of the school, family and parish. The support of parents/caregivers is paramount in nurturing the practice of the faith within the family and Parish settings.
All young Catholics, throughout their years of schooling are provided with opportunities for religious education suited to their age, background and the changing world in which they live. (Religious Education Curriculum Guidelines for the Early Years, page 8)
The Religious Education Program at St Thomas’ follows the Religious Education Years 1 -10 Learning Outcomes Document which aims to “develop students’ religious literacy in the light of the Catholic Tradition”. It also encourages students to understand and appreciate difference and diversity, and to value and respect people with particular needs. It is important that students have opportunities to develop awareness of and sensitivity to students from different cultural, linguistic or religious backgrounds; students from low socioeconomic backgrounds; students with disabilities and students who are gifted and talented or who have particular learning needs. (Adapted from 1-10 Syllabuses of the Queensland Studies Authority)
The Sacramental formation of parents and children for the immediate preparation of the Sacraments of Penance, Confirmation and Eucharist is parish-based and parents are helped to be the primary faith educators of their children. The school supports the Parish through prayer and through the Religious Education Program.
Each week teachers gather for prayer and reflection and participate in ongoing professional and spiritual formation to meet accreditation requirements for eligibility to teach Religion in a Catholic School.
As a school community of St Thomas’ we celebrate our faith through class masses, liturgies, the celebrations of key points of the Church’s year – Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Advent and Christmas and commemorations of ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day. The value of daily prayer is witnessed through the class prayer circle. The promotion of social justice is tended through the support of Mission activities of Caritas, Project Compassion, Children’s Mission and food collection and fund raising for the Saint Vincent de Paul Society through their Winter and Christmas Appeals.
In conclusion, teaching and learning in Religious Education aligns with the Learning Framework for all Key Learning Areas, “empowering learners of all ages to shape and enrich our changing world, by living the gospel of Jesus Christ.”