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 Religious Education

Religious Education consists of two distinct but complementary dimensions, an educational dimension and a faith formation dimension. The first dimension is addressed in the classroom teaching and learning of religion. Within this context we aim, at St Columba’s, to promote the development of knowledge, skills and values which students need to participate as active lifelong learners within the church and community. Guided by the Religious Education Curriculum developed by Brisbane Catholic Education, and approved by the Archbishop, teachers involve students in constructing understandings of the Catholic tradition as well as acknowledging other religious traditions, the nature of religion and its place in life and Australian society. As in other Key Learning Areas, the teachers provide their students with opportunities to demonstrate what they know and what they can do with their acquired knowledge in terms of identified learning outcomes. This information together with assessment results in other Key Learning Areas is subsequently reported to parents.
The second dimension of Religious Education, faith formation, is reflected in the religious life of our school, the student’s family and the parish. At St Columba’s we endeavour to nurture this part of a student’s Religious Education in several ways. Firstly each class begins and concludes its day with a prayer. Secondly, the school community is given opportunities to celebrate Eucharist (Mass) and Prayer services. The whole school attends a weekly assembly that begins with a prayer liturgy presented by one of our classes. IA special day for our school community is our St Columba’s Day celebration held on a date near June 9. To assist our students’ participation in liturgical celebrations, all students and teachers gather in the church once a fortnight to learn and practise appropraite liturgical songs.
A warm invitation is extended to everyone in our school community to join us in any our Eucharistic and prayer celebrations.
 
Sacramental Program
Another part of the Faith Formation dimension is the Sacramental life of children. Parents are the first and most important educators of their children (Declaration on Christian Education, 1968, Vatican II) and it is within the faith development of family and home that children come to a deeper realisation and practice of their faith. The school, as an agency within the Parish, acts as a conduit to allow children to experience the Sacramental life of the Church.
The Sacramental Preparation Program is parish based with appropriate assistance, where necessary, from the school. 
In keeping with the current Sacramental Policy of the Brisbane Archdiocese (1997), towards the end of Year 2, children are given the opportunity to participate in a very simple form of First Reconciliation which is a necessary prerequisite for the reception of Confirmation and First Eucharist. The celebration of Confirmation and First Communion will occur in the year in which children encounter Year 3, with the dates being advised accordingly. The Sacramental Guidelines for the Archdiocese of Brisbane are currently being revised.
The immediate preparation for each of the three sacraments mentioned above will involve the parents guided by the Parish Sacramental Team. Parents who wish their children to receive (celebrate) the sacraments will be required to attend information sessions where there may be instruction from the priest/sacramental team on some aspect of the sacrament, an explanation to parents about how to use the support material provided in their child's period of preparation and details about the celebrations. Active participation by parents is seen as essential to the effectiveness of each child’s preparation.
Parents of a child in the years where one or other of these sacraments may be received will be asked to formally enrol their child to receive that sacrament in that year. This recognises the fact that parents are the first and foremost educators of their children in regard to faith formation and so would be in the best position to decide on the readiness of their children for the sacraments. The process of discernment may also include the parish priest who would be available to advise parents on direction.
 
In school, teaching pertaining to the sacraments, contained in the Religious Education Curriculum is part of every year's study, allowing children to develop a deeper understanding of the sacraments and their place in their lives.
 
Andrew Esposito
ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL - RELIGIOUS EDUCATION