In its broadest sense, Catholic education is a Religious Education. Every curriculum area or subject that is taught within a Catholic school has a religious dimension. However, in its narrower sense, Religious education is a particular learning area within the school curriculum.
The aims of Religious Education are to foster an understanding of our relationship with God, to know and understand the Catholic faith tradition; to enable participation in the liturgical celebrations of the Catholic community and to develop an understanding of our world.
Religious Education is a life long process. Parents are the first educators of children. The parents of students in our school and parish are part of the whole Catholic community. Parents form a partnership with the school and Parish to educate children in faith. Familiarisation with the Parish church and Parish community is strongly encouraged.
Parental involvement is integral in the Parish based sacramental program. Children are given the opportunity to receive the sacraments of Reconciliation, Confirmation and Eucharist during their primary schooling. Adult faith formation evenings support parents in the sacramental journey with their children.
At St Mary's, the Ballarat Diocesan Religious Education curriculum 'Awakenings' is our primary resource. The Religious Education program is supported by an excellent variety of resources e.g. CDs, picture story books, teacher reference, bibles, scripture.
Children attend Mass as a whole school at least once per term to celebrate special occasions and feasts. Each class celebrates a 'Class Mass' each term. Student participation is encouraged through Choir, Readings, Offertory Procession and Altar serving. Families are always encouraged to attend and participate in these liturgical celebrations.
Assessment and Reporting
At St Mary's School, assessment is the data gathered by teachers and is intended to be used for a variety of purposes including informing students, parents, teachers, and school authorities about students' demonstration of learning outcomes. It assists in making decisions about student needs, learning and teaching purposes and resource requirements.
Typical assessment techniques include: observation, anecdotal records, checklists, tests, reports, written work, group and individual presentations and conferences.
Individual testing in the areas of Mathematics and English occurs at the start and end of each year. The data collected informs the teacher about what children already know and what they need to learn.
One component of assessment, the National Assessment Plan Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) uses externally marked tests to determine the progress of the child. Tests are conducted with children in grade three and grade five.
At St Mary's School it is believed that reporting to the parents of our students should clearly communicate the achievements of the students and should also provide recommendations which will assist the students' future learning. Accurate and comprehensive reporting of school and student performance aids in establishing open communication, helps to improve student learning, assists in establishing future direction, and helps to identify areas of exemplary performance, as well as those in need of support and assistance.