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Social Studies

Grade 3
Religious Education in
Separate Schools


What your child is learning

In 2012, a new Ontario Catholic Elementary Curriculum Policy Document was written and accepted by the Catholic Bishops of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Northwest Territories for Catholic education. To respond to the new Catholic Curriculum Policy Document, there is a new program and resource, Growing in Faith; Growing in Christ, which is being developed collaboratively by Catholic educators from across Canada and Pearson Education.

The religious education program is structured around the Church liturgical year, which is based on the life of Jesus Christ. This enables students to live and express faith in an integrated way at school, at home and in the parish community. The new religious education program reflects the contents of faith expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) and follows the rationale and methodology of The General Directory for Catechesis (GDC) where the Six Tasks of Catechesis are the basis of the curriculum (GDC 85–86).

Growing in Faith; Growing in Christ mirrors the GDC's Six Tasks of Catechesis:

  • Believing (Promoting the Knowledge of Faith)
  • Celebrating (Liturgical Education)
  • Living a Moral Life (Moral Formation)
  • Praying (Teaching to Pray)
  • Living in Communion (Education for Community Life)
  • Living in Solidarity (Missionary Initiation)

The religious education program is being updated over the next several years. The implementation schedule for the new program and its resource, Growing in Faith; Growing in Christ, is:

  • Grade 1: 2015–2016 school year
  • Grades 2 and 3: 2016–2017 school year
  • Grade 4: 2017–2018 school year
  • Grade 5: 2018–2019 school year
  • Grade 6: 2019–2020 school year
  • Grade 7: 2020–2021 school year
  • Grade 8: 2021–2022 school year

Plans are also in place for development of revised Grade 9 content.

Religious education is an essential and integral part of the life and culture of a Catholic school. Through religious education, students are invited to develop the knowledge, beliefs, skills, values and attitudes needed to build a relationship with God and community through the person of Jesus Christ. In Catholic schools, students participate in a religious education program that is authorized by the Bishop of the local diocese.

Religious education shares the same goals and objectives set forth for all good education; that is, the growth and development of the whole person in all his or her dimensions—physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual. (read more...) 

Religious education has four essential characteristics.

  • It is Trinitarian. It recognizes God as the creator of all things who gives us Jesus. It is Jesus who reveals God to us, and in turn reveals God’s Spirit, through whom we understand our faith.
  • It is based on Sacred Scripture through which we hear the mystery of God revealed, we hear the call to be in relationship with God and each other, and we learn how to pray.
  • It is based on the life experience of the students through which they are invited to discern signs of God in their daily lives.
  • It is presented within the tradition of the Catholic faith community which, based on Church teachings and sacramental and liturgical life, provides students with experiences of faith, prayer, love and justice.

With an awareness of the uniqueness of each student and a recognition that religious development takes place through a process of stages and within a community, it is expected that program presentation will vary from place to place to meet the diverse learning and religious formation needs of all students.

The school, working with the local parish, complements parents in their role as principal educators of their children. Home and family play a vitally important role in the faith development of children. Within the family, seeds of faith are planted. Family relationships and daily experiences are major factors in shaping a child’s values, attitudes and Catholic identity. Regular religious practice and the application of classroom learning to daily life are critical parts of religious formation.

Prayer is an integral part of the religious education program and of each school day since intimacy with God is the ultimate goal of catechesis. Respecting the individual differences of children and our changing human needs, prayer is experienced in many different ways: silent reflection, guided imagery, scriptural prayer, song and formal community prayer. As we enter into prayer, we give praise and thanks for God’s loving presence, and call upon the Spirit to guide, nourish and empower our lives through Jesus Christ.

Teaching the sacraments occurs within the religious education program. Sacraments celebrate the presence of Christ in our lives. They are effective signs that make God’s grace present to us in love, healing and the transformation of our lives. Eucharist and Reconciliation are an essential part of each child’s religious formation and a necessary grounding for a mature faith. As with many basic themes, Eucharist and Reconciliation are introduced in Grade 1 but continue to be deepened and intensified in each year thereafter. Children who have not yet celebrated First Communion or First Reconciliation are always welcome to contact their parish to begin their immediate preparation for the sacraments. The sacrament of Confirmation typically happens in Grade 6, and just like the other sacraments, preparation classes are provided through the parish.

All of what Catholics believe is stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC). In 1997, The General Directory for Catechesis (GDC) was written to guide Catholics in faith formation. Within The General Directory for Catechesis, the goals and aims for religious education are named: the definitive aim of catechesis is to put people in touch, in communion, and intimacy with Jesus Christ (GDC 80). The fundamental tasks of catechesis are 1) promotion of knowledge of the faith, 2) liturgical education, 3) moral formation, 4) teaching to pray, 5) education for community life, and 6) missionary initiation (GDC 85-86). Excerpts from both the CCC and the GDC are quoted for the teacher at the end of each lesson to help root the contents and activities of the theme in Church tradition. The religious education program resource interprets for students these six tasks in a manner appropriate to their age and development.

As said, the religious education program is structured around the Church liturgical year, which is based on the life of Jesus Christ. This enables students to live and express faith in an integrated way at school, at home and in the parish community.

Growing in Faith; Growing in Christ

The Grade 3 program, and its resource, Growing in Faith; Growing in Christ (2016), follows the liturgical year, respecting the different seasons with all the moods and colours found in them. Drawing on various stories from Scripture, children will learn the mood and meaning of all of the Church seasons. Each season has its own theological emphasis, guiding the children through the story of salvation to inform and form them. The Grade 3 program fits nicely within the Church’s evangelizing mission.

In Grade 3, your child will explore the six tasks of catechesis in an age-appropriate and engaging manner through five units that revolve around the liturgical year and a deeper understanding of the Holy Spirit:

Unit 1: Our Catholic Community
Unit 2: The Road to Bethlehem
Unit 3: Born of the Spirit
Unit 4: Our Journey Through Lent and Easter
Unit 5: The Promise of the Holy Spirit

For more about Grade 3 Religious Education, contact your child’s teacher.

The Ukrainian Catholic Religious Education courses, using the programs God With Us and Come Let Us Worship, encourage students to develop cross-curricular competencies through growth in knowledge and experience of their Ukrainian Catholic faith within the context of social justice and service. “A cross-curricular competency is an interrelated set of attitudes, skills and knowledge that are drawn upon and applied to a particular context for successful learning and living.”

It is essential to give a thorough and suitable introduction to religious education to young Christians. Religious education is a lifelong process through which the student seeks to come ever closer to God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Throughout their entire curricula, God With Us and Come Let Us Worship hold several fundamental principles as basic. Each year of the series comes to meet God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Mystery of the Trinity is the personal relationship that we have with God. Each year follows the liturgical year leading to its fullness—The Glorious Resurrection. This is the Paschal Mystery. Appropriate attention is given to the feasts, hymns, prayers and customs that come in these seasons. The task of presenting the beliefs of the Church comes with careful consideration given to the child’s capabilities. Nevertheless, certain truths are maintained throughout.

Grade 3 Ukrainian Catholic Religious Education


Students will:
1. Develop an Awareness of the People of God as the Church.
2. Develop an Awareness that the Church is Where We Meet the Lord.
3. Develop an Awareness that We Act as Church.
4. Develop an Awareness that the Church is called to be Faithful to God.
5. Develop an Awareness that Jesus Gives Us Life.
6. Develop an Awareness that Life Continues with God.

How your child is assessed

Religious educators distinguish four different aspects of learning: knowledge of material, critical thinking and interaction with the material, individual acceptance of the material as meaningful, and actual incorporation of the material into one’s personal life. Religion teachers strive to achieve all four outcomes, recognizing, however, that some lend themselves to evaluation and grading better than others. Teachers will clarify for themselves what it is that they are marking and how they arrive at the grades. They will clearly and explicitly inform your child how they will be graded. Your child will be reassured that their grades are not a function of their belief or disbelief, or of their agreement or disagreement with the teacher on controversial questions.

Resources to help your child

Teachers will make use of a variety of approved resource books to assist in the delivery of the program. Throughout the province, variation in student texts will occur. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a primary resource for teachers and is interpreted for students in a manner appropriate to their age and development. Not everything in the Catechism is incorporated because, as the Catechism itself points out, what is taught must be adapted to the “differences of culture, age, spiritual maturity, and social and ecclesial conditions among all those to whom it is addressed” (#24).

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