At St Mary’s School the teaching of Religious Education is aligned with the Diocese of Toowoomba approved Religious Education Curriculum. Religion is taught as a Key Learning Area in all classrooms. The content of the Religion Curriculum has been organised into four interrelated strands: Sacred Texts, Beliefs, Church and Christian Life. The School’s Religious Education Program provides a clear outline of the values, principles and processes involved in providing high quality learning opportunities in Religion.
St Mary’s School provides an engaging and relevant Religion program for all of our students. Religion units are well planned, age appropriate and pertinent to the needs of our community. At the same timet, as we acknowledge that parents are the first educators of their children in faith, we aim to work with parents in teaching our children to be religious in a particular way; having a deep knowledge of the Catholic faith which forms their actions and attitudes in an ever-changing world.
The Religious Life of the School comprises four interrelated components: Religious Identity and Culture; Evangelisation and Faith Formation; Prayer and Worship; and Social Action and Justice. Each of these components at St Mary’s School provides a significant focus on a distinctive aspect of the religious life of the school. The Religion Curriculum and the Religious Life of the School are interrelated; complementing and strengthening our school’s identity and culture.
As a Catholic school, we aim to effectively support our students in their faith development by providing opportunities for reflection, prayer and the celebration of liturgy. We acknowledge that the family is the first place where faith can be nurtured and strive to work in partnership with parents/legal guardians and our Parish.
St Mary’s School aspires to be an authentic Catholic community that builds quality relationships modelled on the vision and values of Jesus; a school community which supports the dignity of each person and practises hospitality, proclaiming its values through word and action. All around the school there are symbols, icons, names on building and sport houses that remind us of our founding body, The Sisters of Mercy and our values which have stemmed from our history.
St Mary’s School strives to be both an educating and evangelising community. Evangelisation gives a voice to our religious life enabling us to enact and live the words of a faith community. St Mary’s School evangelises through our unique culture, through the life witness of our school community, through the curriculum taught in the classroom and in every aspect of our school experience. Our school seeks to model a culture of hope and joy that provides a powerful expression of the good news of Jesus. St Mary’s School community creates experiences, which assist our students to live in healthy relationships, sensitive to the needs and gifts of others, based on the belief that to be human and to be Christian is to live as a community.
Prayer and worship are integral to the life of all Catholic schools and have the potential to nourish the spiritual growth of all members of the school community. Prayer and worship provide the opportunity for students to celebrate their life and identity as members of the school and to nurture their relationship in faith with God and with one another.
Students at St Mary’s School participate in daily prayer experiences to enhance their faith formation. We provide opportunities for students to have times of silence and stillness to prepare them to enter into and experience forms of meditative and contemplative prayer.
St Mary’s School draws on the richness of the Catholic tradition and the wider Christian tradition to nurture the prayer life of the school. It is in the coming together to celebrate that we build relationships with our God and each other.
Ritual is an essential component in any society and we ritualise all significant moments in various celebrations. These include our assemblies, Whole School Masses and class liturgies.
At St Mary’s School we are committed to following the example of Jesus and living out the good news that Jesus proclaimed. We do this in our day to day lives and by being committed to social justice initiatives. The Catholic Social Teachings are the pillars for the Church used to support social justice issues. They promotes a vision of a just society that is grounded in the Bible and in the wisdom gathered from experience by the Christian community as it has responded to social justice issues through history. As a school community we are involved in the following Service Learning activities:
St Mary’s Parish invites parents of children in their third year of schooling or upwards to participate in the Sacramental Program for Reconciliation and those in their fourth year of schooling or upwards in the Sacramental Program for Confirmation and First Communion. The program is facilitated by the Parish Sacramental Team.
The program follows the Toowoomba Diocesan Policy on 'Children and the Sacraments: Confirmation, Eucharist and Penance'. It is the parent’s right and responsibility to determine the readiness and maturity of their child for the reception of these Sacraments. Guidance is available from the Sacramental Team in making this decision. The programs are parish and family based, involving group sessions for the preparation of the sacraments.
At St Mary’s we foster a sense of belonging for all by embracing the beliefs, values, approaches, attitudes and perspectives of a range of cultures. We celebrate and acknowledge our First Nations people through NAIDOC Week, National Reconciliation Week and National Sorry Day. We also invite and learn from our local Bigambul people. National Harmony Day and World Refugee Day are also recognised and celebrated within our community.