Pictures of the diocesan launch of the New Curriculum in Religious Education for Primary Schools from Wednesday, November 11th in Tuam Primary School. Speakers included Mr. John McDonagh, Diocesan Primary School Religious Education Coordinator, Ms. Bríd Cosgrove, Principal of the Presentation Primary School and Archbishop Neary who performed the launch. The Children from the junior classes in the Presentation Primary School sang some of the hymns and songs from the new programme. Congratulations and well done to all involved.
New National Religious Education Curriculum and Programme for Primary Schools launched in Tuam
Wednesday, November 11th was a truly historic day for Catholic primary schools throughout the Archdiocese of Tuam as a new curriculum for Religious Education and a new programme called Grow in Love were both launched in the cathedral town. The venue was the Presentation Primary Girls School and the launched was performed by Archbishop Michael Neary.
It is difficult to realise that there has never been a curriculum for Catholic religious education in Ireland until now. Yes, we all remember our school days learning from the Children of God and the Alive-O books but these were just following a perscribed syllabus approved by the episcopal conference in Maynooth. Now, for the very first time, there is a national Catholic curriculum to cover all catholic primary schools in the island of Ireland. Approved by the authorities in Rome, this new document is based on the appropriate pedagogical development of our young people. Written by Anne Hession, a native of Claremorris, but now lecturing in St. Patrick’s Training College in Dublin, it will be the authority on all matters religious in primary schools for the foreseeable future.
Religious Education is now on a par with all the other curricular subjects such as Mathematics, English, Gaeilge, etc.
In his launch address, Archbishop Neary highlighted the facts that we have Catholic schools because parents want them and that it is our faith that make Catholic schools Catholic and what makes Catholic schools different. He praised the huge amount of work being done by principals, teachers and boards of managaement in all our schools across the archdiocese. He stressed the importance of a good foundation in any area of education but especially in the area of religious education.
The new programme, Grow in Love is now replacing the Alive-O series, which has been used in our schools for almost twenty years. This year marks its introduction into the Junior and Senior infant Classes, with the other classes to follow in subsequent years. Reaction from teachers, parents and pupils has been very positive and encouraging to date. There is a renewed emphasis on the role of the home in this new series, with a very specific section in each lesson for parents. As priest numbers decline, parents will need to become much more pro-active in handing on the faith to the next generation. There is also a renewed emphasis on religious literacy in this new programme and children will have a vocabulary to match their religious education progress similar to their learning a science or gography vocabulary.
Primary catechetics co-ordinator for the archdiocese, John McDonagh, thanked the Principal, Bríd Cosgrove, the staff, Board of Management and Parents’ Association of the Presentation school for hosting this important event and for providing the refreshments afterwards. He also thanked the priests and principals of the parish and of the neighbouring parishes for their presence and assured them of continuing co-operation with the local primary schools, giving a special mention to the wonderful teachers and children of the infant classes for their sweet singing of When Creation was Begun.
It seems that there are exciting, challenging and busy times ahead for the children in our primary schools.