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Social Studies

KINDERGARTEN
Religious Education in
Separate Schools

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What your child is learning

Religious education crosses all seven of the learning areas described in the Kindergarten Program Statement PDF. In God’s Image, the Kindergarten religion program, consists of 8 modules containing 33 themes that can be sequenced by the teacher to best respond to the particular needs and interests of each class.

The Me module celebrates the child through such topics as feelings, senses, capabilities, needs and family. The Earth Times module celebrates the wonder of Earth through activities related to the seasons. The Community module celebrates caring through discussion, making friends and helping. The Changes module invites children to experience support and comfort at such times as the birth of a sibling or moving to a new house. The Plants and Animals modules celebrate creation through activities with trees, flowers, bugs, pets and other animals. The Special Days module suggests activities for celebrating such events as birthdays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. The Church Times module is a sequential set of lessons that invite children to celebrate the Christian story as it unfolds through Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter. In God’s Image uses the existing special moments and experiences of young children and affirms their religious importance. Throughout the day, your child will be encouraged to see traces of God in all of their experiences.

In a Catholic school, the spiritual development of children is nourished, and children will likely meet the priest, pastoral assistants and other members of the parish. It is recognized that young children are each at a unique place in their spiritual development.

A young child’s way of being “religious” is to play, to be creative, to be curious and to express wonderment. Through these natural childhood activities, children explore traces of God, the “marks” of God present all around them as they grow, learn and experience life. The essence of children’s spirituality is their response to life.

In the uninhibited excitement that Kindergarten children feel toward nature, they are drawn toward a loving Creator. Their experiences of God are sensed through touching, smelling, tasting, seeing and hearing, rather than through intellectual explanations.

Young children come to know Jesus through their experiences of seeing people valued and celebrated. They recognize themselves first, and then their families, friends and classmates as made in God’s image. Later, they are able to experience Jesus as the perfect image and likeness of God.

In a Catholic school, the spiritual development of a child in Kindergarten occurs through activities that are affective, to support positive feelings toward themselves and others, and sensory, to relate directly to the good things that God has created.

The Kindergarten classroom will have a prayer centre where the Bible has a special place of honour. A cross, candles and a special cloth may also be present. The teacher will use this centre as a gathering area to commence religious activities and will allow the children to explore the Bible and other elements of the centre freely. In addition, the teacher may adjust the art, games and other centres in the classroom to reflect the current emphasis of the religion program.


How your child is assessed

Throughout the Kindergarten year, your child’s teacher will observe and record your child’s learning and progress in relation to the expectations for the seven learning areas included in the Kindergarten Program Statement. The teacher will keep notes and use checklists to record observations. They will look not only at your child’s work but also at the skills and strategies that your child uses. By observing your child many times in different situations, the teacher is better able to build a more complete assessment of your child’s learning.

Portfolios of your child’s work, selected by your child and the teacher, may be compiled over the year. A portfolio, containing such items as artwork, journals, samples of work, tape recordings or photographs, provides a meaningful picture of your child’s progress throughout the year.

Information that the teacher gathers about each child is used in several ways. This information helps the teacher plan the learning environment and match learning activities to learning needs. The teacher is able to provide ongoing feedback to children to help them recognize what they know and are able to do, and to focus their efforts on more challenging activities.

Through oral or written reports, parent evenings, classroom visits and conferences, you and your child’s teacher will exchange ideas and information, and you will learn more about your child’s progress and achievements. In some Kindergarten programs, children participate in conferences with parents and the teacher. This experience allows children to reflect on and celebrate their learning and set future goals.

Resources to help your child

Many Kindergarten programs have resources available for parents on a variety of topics, such as child development, discipline, parenting, health issues and community programs. The Kindergarten teacher and/or school principal may also suggest other places to look for information, such as libraries, local agencies or government offices.

You may wish to inquire, at your child’s Catholic school, about resources for encouraging the spiritual development of your child. The local parish is another good source for this type of information.

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