Religious Education Policy
St. Fintan’s Primary School is an all boys Catholic primary school under the patronage of the Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin.
The school models and promotes a philosophy inspired by belief in God and traditional Catholic values.
The Board of Management and the teachers have adopted the Alive-O Catechetical Programme for use in this school. This programme is approved and recommended by the Irish Hierarchy for use in primary Catholic schools. Teachers are expected and required to teach the Alive-O programme on a daily basis. This programme incorporates the suggested approach to religious education for the reception of the Sacraments of Penance, Holy Communion and Confirmation.
The programme is studied each day for one half-hour session. A Christian ethos, permeates the school day and the general life of the school.
Subject to the terms of our school’s admission policy, we enrol pupils of other faiths and of no faith. In doing so, we respect their beliefs and practices. Consultation with parents/guardians of these pupils takes place on enrolment. Parents may view the religious programme used. Each and every pupil is welcome to attend and benefit from the Catholic education programme. If parents have difficulty with this, arrangements will be put in place to accommodate these pupils. Sensitivity will always be shown where pupils cannot participate in Religious education classes or other school liturgical services. When the whole school attends liturgical services, it will be the responsibility of parents of pupils of other faiths to make alternative arrangements for these pupils if they decide not to attend these services.
The school cannot, however, formally undertake to provide religious instruction for pupils of other faiths.
Whole School Dimension
In keeping with our Catholic ethos, meaningful pictures/icons and artworks are displayed throughout the whole school. (Crucifix, statues, pictures of the Pope etc.). All major Catholic feast days are celebrated and marked. These are celebrated at class level and school level through assemblies. The following are examples:
· Advent/Christmas: Tree and crib, advent wreaths, carol services, The Christmas Story.
· St. Brigid: Traditional crosses and story.
· St. Fintan: (Our local patron) local folklore stories, local sites named in his honour.
· St. Patrick: Depiction of story and shamrock. St. Patrick’s Day Card.
· Lent: Symbols of repentance and the ashes.
· Easter: Story of the death and resurrection of Jesus, art work and Easter cards. Work of Trocaire.
Liturgical services will be held during the school year. While most of these will be celebrated during the school day, some evening services are celebrated in preparation for the sacraments. The Board of Management acknowledges the role played by the class teachers in giving generously of their time. The local clergy will actively support these services. The following list of services occurs in a normal school year.
· School mass to mark ending of the school year (held in the school when possible).
· Attendance at mass for:
-Feast day masses that coincide with school days. (St. Fintan, St. Brigid).
· Blessing of the ashes.
· Sacramental services - First Communion & Penance annually, Confirmation biannually (every 2nd year)
· Grandparents Day mass.
· Sacramental preparation.
· Other services that support our parish.
· St. Fintan’s has always had a deep involvement with the sacraments of Penance, Eucharist and Confirmation. Our school has a deep commitment to and a long tradition in preparation of the Sacraments. The school sees the preparation of the sacraments as the strongest manifestation of our commitment to Religious life and education in the school. We see the sacraments as significant steps in the journey of the child’s growth in faith.
· All classes start and end their day with a class prayer.
· Lunch break starts with prayers of blessing and thanks.
· A school choir is in place to support liturgical services.
· Our Religious Education in the school is strongly supported by regular visits from Parish Priest and Curate.
The Catholic education programme delivered in this school is offered in collaboration with the children’s parents and the local parish. We see our role as being supportive of the role of the parish and the parents.
· Study of the Alive-O teacher’s guide.
· Interactive learning.
· Giving children prayer experiences that are meaningful.
· Sacramental and non-sacramental liturgies.
· Use of imagination in prayer.
· Drama and role play on the theme of Christian values
· Questions and answers helping pupils use their own words.
· Vocal prayer.
We will know this policy is working in our school if:
· An acknowledged sense of God, faith, prayer and worship within the school community.
· There is an ordered community where respect for all is evident at all times.
· There is an outward-looking care for the less fortunate in society.
· There are recognisable links between parish/home.
Responsibility for implementing this policy
The Board of Management in consultation with the principal, teachers and parents are responsible for the smooth implementation of this policy. The teachers teach the programme appropriate to their class level. Their responsibilities are as follows:
Teachers/other classroom staff:
· Inform themselves through careful study of the Alive-O teacher’s manual.
· Deliver and teach the Alive-O programme appropriate to their class level and integrate when possible to other subject areas.
· Co-operate with the assigned school chaplain and diocesan adviser.
· Avail of in-service support if provided.
· Liaise with other teachers for support and sharing of resources and experiences.
· Actively support the spirit and ethos of the school
· The teacher of First Communion class will co-operate with parents/clergy to ensure the smooth running of the “Do this in memory of me” programme.
· All teachers will support the school during times of sacramental preparation and co-operate with the school in the delivery of the R.Ed programme.
· The teacher of the Confirmation class will co-operate with parents/clergy to ensure the smooth running of the “Faith Friends” programme.
· To take an active role in encouraging and supporting the whole school dimension of the programme.
· To monitor the implementation of the programme throughout the school.
· Liaise with the assigned chaplain in defining the role of chaplaincy in the life of the school.
· To facilitate supportive interaction of all interested parties.
THIS SCHOOL POLICY ON RELIGIOUS EDUCATION HAS BEEN AGREED BY STAFF AND PRESENTED TO B.O.M. FOR APPROVAL. A COPY OF THE POLICY WILL BE AVAILABLE THROUGH B.O.M. REPRESENTATIVE AND WILL BE AVAILABLE IN DUE COURSE ON OUR WEBSITE.
Signed: ______________________________________ Date: ____________________
Chairman on Board of Management