The Renewing RE project

The Renewing RE project.
The Renewing RE project.

The development of a new Religious Education (RE) curriculum for the Diocese of Parramatta is well under way following the recommendations handed down from 2014 the RE Review.

Recently in Blacktown and Rooty Hill, more than ninety participants including parents, students, priests, primary and secondary RE Coordinators and Principals, gathered over a series of four half-day meetings to have their first opportunity to contribute to the Renewing RE Project. 

Led by Catholic Education’s Project Leader for Renewing RE, Gerard Gaskin, participants were presented with the findings of the 2014 review and invited to examine and respond to a proposed model and seven broad objectives of the curriculum:

Intent -  that all participants (students, teachers, parents, staff) sustain a deep personal relationship with Christ;
An emphasis on the deep and complementary relationship that should exist between home, school and parish;
The proposed curriculum will draw deeply from the Liturgical Cycle - the cycle of seasons, feast and celebrations of the Church’s year;
The core content of the curriculum to be based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, providing a comprehensive framework of belief for every level of the school year;
Teachers encouraged to use best theory and practice to to engage students in their understanding to cater for the diverse learning needs of all students; 
In line with current curriculum theory, the RE program will have a spiral structure which re-visits, develops and deepens understanding of all the essential ideas over each year of schooling, ensuring that no central teaching of our faith is left out; and
It will all be easily accessible online, allowing seamless access for parents, teachers, students and clergy - a particular innovation for the curriculum and its resources.

The curriculum model builds upon the Second Vatican Council’s call for the integration of faith, culture and life in education. Learning and teaching elements of the curriculum will include:

Studying the Sunday Gospel; 
Content statements derived from the Catechism of the Catholic Church; 
Accessing the Church’s rich heritage of culture, architecture, art and music;
Understanding the distinctive language used by the Church;
The many applications of the Gospel’s life-changing message as a call to a deepening relationship with Christ; 
Drawing inspiration from the example of the lives of the saints and martyrs; and
Applying Christian ethics and morality to the challenges of contemporary society.

Gerard said the participants overwhelmingly supported the proposed curriculum and expressed enthusiasm for the Renewing RE project. 

“The acceptance and welcome given by the participants could not have been more encouraging,” Gerard said. “The curriculum’s success will depend on the degree of enthusiasm with which it is ultimately taken up in all schools and parishes of the diocese.”

“In the words of one secondary student, ‘I would like religion in schools to be more than a subject, but something students can look forward to in order to live out the Gospel,’”he said.

Projected milestones include trialling some proof-of-concept learning sequences in a number of schools in 2017, with a possible roll-out of teacher professional learning and a draft curriculum as early as 2018. 

About the RE Review
The RE Review was conducted for Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta in 2013-2014 by the University of Notre Dame Australia. In June 2014, then Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP formally adopted the 11 recommendations for the development of a new K-12 RE Curriculum.

Data was collected through a survey questionnaire, through interviews and by classroom observation. Eight distinct groups were consulted: school principals, parish priests, RECs, teachers, students in Years 5 and 6, 9 and 11, parents and alumni.
Posted By Natasha Borg at 10/08/2016 12:57:11 PM

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