Religious Education Policy

Introduction:

The Divine Word NS is a Catholic School under the Patronage of the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin. The school models and promotes a philosophy inspired by belief in God and traditional Catholic values. We promote religious education for the pupils of our school in accordance with the doctrines, practices and ethos of the Catholic Church.

This policy was formulated in 2010 by members of the BOM,Teachers and parents of the Divine Word NS.

The schedule for Catholic Schools is displayed in the school foyer as well as the school Mission Statement.

Aims of policy:

  • To foster and deepen the Faith of the children in the Divine Word NS and to develop this active Faith.
  • To enable the children in the Divine Word NS to be aware of the wonder and presence of God around them and to respond to this awareness.
  • To enable a sense of God,Worship and Prayer within the school community.
  • To help parents towards a deeper understanding of Religious Education and the Sacraments.
  • To develop a respect for all in the whole school community.

General Information:

Name of Diocese: Dublin
Name of Patron: Dr Diarmuid Martin.
Name of Director of Education: Ms Anne McDonagh.
Name of Diocesan Advisors: Sr Anne Neylon, Ms Fiona Crotty, Ms Cathy Burke, Ms Sonia Murray.
Name of Parish: Marley Grange.
Name of Parish Priest: Fr Colm McGlynn.
Name of Chairperson of Pastoral Council: Mr John Phelan.
Name of School: Divine Word NS
Name of Chaplain: Fr Colm Mc Glynn.
BOM members: Dr Daire Keogh(Chairperson), Mr John Williams, Mr David Gildea,Ms Deirdre Kennedy, Ms EmerColeman,Fr Colm McGlynn, Ms Kay White and Mr Declan O Hanlon.
Religious Education Rep: Sr Veronica Montgomery.
Number of Catholic children: 481
Number of Non Catholic children: 23.

School Procedures:

Every child is welcome into the Divine Word NS having satisfied the enrolment procedures, but the school cannot undertake to educate children of other faiths in their own faith.The BOM and teachers have adopted the Alive O Programme approved and recommended by the Irish Catholic Hierarchy for use in Catholic Schools.This programme is delivered each day for the recommended 30 minutes.The Programme is taught to each class. All catholic feasts are celebrated:

  • Christmas tree and crib, Christmas stories, Carol Services, Individual Class Plays, Charity work and donations.
  • Feast of St Brigid, making Traditional Cross, Foyer display.
  • Feast of St Patrick…depiction of story and shamrock, St Patricks DayCards, Foyer display.
  • Lent – Symbols of repentence, ashes, Stations of Cross.
  • Easter – EasterCards, story of death of Jesus, Stations of Cross, Artwork and displays.
  • May – month of Mary, May Altar, PrayerSrvices in church.
  • Observance of Holy Days of Obligation.
  • Celebration of beginning and end of school year.
  • Class masses and prayer services throughout the year – seniors to Friday mass in church.

Materials:

The Alive O Programme is the programme of use for religious education in the Divine Word NS.Each class is equipped with a kit containing teachers manual, CD, Powerpoint Presentations (where appropriate) and posters. Each child is provided with an Alive O textbook. To alleviate costs, copies of Alive O workbooks are used in the Junior end of the school with appropriate worksheets sent home at regular intervals.Each class is also equipped with a bible and all materials are monitored by the teacher with a post of responsibility for Religious Education.Additional Religious Resources e.g Trocaire work packs, Diocesan worksheets, are distributed by the teachers with a post of responsibility for Religious Education.

A number of symbols are displayed constantly and at different times during the school year. Crucifix, StBrigids Crosses and Sacred spaces are in evidence throughout the school environment and a holy water font is in place in the foyer of the school.During October and May a statue of Our Lady and an altar are in the sacred space in the corridor and during November our Sacred Space is dedicated to the deceased.In September we dedicate our Sacred Space to the harvest and before easter, to Lent and the Stations of the Cross.

Each Classroom also has its own Sacred Space which changes according to the Liturgal Year.

Sacramental Preparation:

During their period of Education in the Divine Word NS,the children are prepared for the following sacraments:

  • Reconciliation:
    • Children in 2nd class are prepared for the Sacrament of Reconciliation each year. The Book Alive O 4 is used by the teachers as a guide to the programme of religious education for this sacrament. Children are prepared in conjunction with the “Do This In Memory Of Me” Programme with assistance by the church, Parents and Teachers.
  • First Holy Communion:
    • Children in 2nd class are prepared for the Sacrament of First Holy Communion each year.The Book Alive O 4 is used by the teachers as a guide to the programme of religious education for Communion.
    • Communion ceremonies are prepared and organised by the First Holy Communion Team in collaboration with the priest(s) and parents.
    • The school youth choir normally sing at the First Communion Service.
    • Each Year the Do This In Memory Team organise meetings and workshops to introduce parents to specific aspects of the programme and to the new approaches in religious education.
  • Confirmation:
    • Children in 6th class are prepared each year for the Sacrament of Confirmation.The Alive O 8 book is used by teachers as a guide to the programme of religious education for confirmation.
    • Parents are encouraged to become involved in the religious education of their children.
    • M/s Rachael O Connor( Parishioner) is chairperson of the Confirmation Team in the Parish.
    • Each Year a meeting is organised where the Parish Confirmation Team introduce parents to specific aspects of the Programme.Where appropriate,volunteers are petitioned to become Faith Friends. All Faith Friends must be Garda Vetted.
    • Children in the 5th Classes sing in the choir for the Confirmation Ceremony.

Implementation of Religious Education throughout the Academic Year.

First and foremost it should be noted that Parents are the Primary Educators of their children and entrust their children to the Divine Word NS for 183 days of the year.

In accordance with Rules 69 from Rules for National Schools and composite Rules 54.1 and 54.2, religion is taught in the Divine Word National School from 12 noon to 12.30pm.

Religious Education and Ethos are integrated into all areas of the curriculum, especially in SPHE, through teachers short and long term planning.As far as possible, themes and faith areas are identified and integrated into these areas eg St Patrick and History(Romans).

The main prayers taught are: Morning Prayer, (TríGaeilgefreisin), Grace before Meals, Grace after Meals, Night Prayer, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father, Act of Sorrow, Angelus( Refer to Alive O Booklet compiled by Sr Veronica)Parents are encouraged to pray with their children and to work with the worksheets which are sent home by the class teacher.The school chaplain also visits the school on a regular basis and visits all classes in the school.

Children from 3rd to 6th classes attend Friday Mass on Fridays.

Children from 3rd to 6th class attend mass on feast days .

Each Year the two 6th classes attend retreat organised by the Confirmation Team. This is usually held in the Parish Centre.

Throughout the year events are organised for local and National Charities egTrocaire and Goal. The school also facilitates one Transition Year student in fundraising for charity work abroad.

Roles and Responsibilities:

Everyone involved in the development of the children in the school has an important role to play in their religious development. Parents are made aware of the Religious Education Policy through parents evenings/meetings and through the school website.The responsibility of reviewing and adhering to the policy will be the responsibility of the whole school community.

Review:

The Religious Education Policy will be reviewed every two years by the whole school staff.This will be done on a committee basis and then at a whole school staff meeting. The committee will consist of teachers, parents , parish and senior pupils.

Ratification:

This policy was ratified by the Board of Management at their meeting on September 27th 2010.