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The content of the Religious Education curriculum for Years 1 and 2 is organised in three strands: Knowledge and Understanding, Inquiring and Communicating, and Discerning and Making Connections. The Knowledge and Understanding content descriptions are aligned to the core doctrinal concepts of the eight elements around which the curriculum is structured and which are: Jesus Christ, Prayer, God, Church, Sacraments, Christian Life, Religion, Culture and Society, and Scripture. These elements are interrelated as outlined in the Meaningful Structure and are taught in an integrated way appropriate to the specific local context and children’s stage of development. Through the Inquiring and Communicating, and Discerning and Making Connections strands students acquire, develop and apply skills that enable them to engage with the content in ways that, over time, help them to apply in their lives the understandings gained.
Students in Years 1 and 2 wonder about God as Mystery who gives all of life and are supported to recognise his presence in themselves, in other people and in all aspects of creation, seen as good and wondrous. They discover and celebrate the uniqueness, dignity and freedom of every person, investigating also the making of choices to act in life-giving ways. They are supported to respond to the Holy Spirit in their lives and to grow in relationship with God, the loving Father revealed by Jesus, who is the centre of their Christian faith. They experience prayer as an expression of relationship with God and develop a repertoire of supportive practices that nurture a reflective spirit. Recognising the Bible as a sacred book that tells of God’s love, they engage with the Scriptures as a source of and support for prayer, recognise its Old Testament–New Testament structure and explore some aspects of the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus. Through involvement with Gospel stories they explore some aspects of Jesus’ life, including his growing years in his Jewish family setting, and they investigate his later life, relationships, example and teachings. Recognising Jesus as friend and brother, they identify aspects of his life that reveal the way God wants us to live in relationship with him and in harmony with others and with the world he continues to create. They focus on the Church as a community of God’s people, recognising Baptism as a sacrament of initiation into oneness with Jesus and membership of the Church. They explore the words, symbols and ritual elements of the sacrament and consider how God’s action through this first of the sacraments enables growth in love for others and transforms Christians in their life journey.
- God is Mystery, a source of wonder, the giver of all life.
- All of life, made by God through love, is good and wondrous.
- God’s Spirit is present in all people and in the world around us.
- God’s plan is for us to live in harmony with him and with all he has created.
- God is love and invites us to respond in love.
God is the giver of all life. God’s Holy Spirit is experienced in the people and world around us. (TCREK009)Elaborations
Students will be encouraged to wonder about God as Mystery. They will learn that Christians believe that God is one: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Students will explore that God is the giver of all life. They will be supported to grow in appreciation that, coming from God, creation itself is good and wondrous. They will have the opportunity to experience the mystery of God’s Holy Spirit present in people and in the world around us. Students will reflect on our loving God, always present, and the invitation to respond in love and live in harmony with others and all of God’s creation.
- Jesus, Son of God, is a human being like us.
- He lived, grew and learned about himself, his people, the world and about his mission as Son of God.
- Jesus reveals God’s love for us.
- As our friend and brother, Jesus shows us how to live.
Jesus reveals God’s love for us. (TCREK010)Elaborations
Students will explore some aspects of Jesus’ life in his family in Nazareth, of his experience and development in prayer, and of his living within his Jewish community. They will consider how these aspects influenced Jesus’ understanding of his relationship with God and others. They will identify aspects of Jesus’ life that reveal the way God wants us to live with him and with others.
The Church is a community of people who:
- Believe in Jesus and listen and respond to his Good News.
- Through Baptism, we are one with Jesus and come together as God’s people.
- Are empowered by the Holy Spirit to welcome, celebrate, share, and serve.
The Church is a believing community that witnesses to Jesus’ life by welcoming, caring, serving and celebrating. (TCREK011)Elaborations
Students will focus upon the Church as the community of God’s people. They will be supported to recognise Baptism as a celebration of welcome into this community of people who believe in Jesus. They will explore how those who believe in Jesus are helped by his Spirit to live in his way and spread his word by welcoming, celebrating, caring and serving.
- The Bible is the sacred book that tells us about God’s love.
- The Old Testament in the Bible tells us about God’s love for his people in the time before the birth of Jesus.
- The New Testament in the Bible contains the Gospels, the Good News of Jesus.
- Through the Gospels we can learn about Jesus’ life, about the people who believed in him, and about how to live the way Jesus lived.
- We can use the Scriptures to help us to pray alone or together.
Stories from the Scriptures teach us about the love of God. (TCREK012)Elaborations
Students will learn that the Bible is a sacred book that tells us about God’s love. They will learn that the Bible consists of the Old Testament and the New Testament, which contains the Gospels and some letters. They will be introduced to the Gospels as the Good News of Jesus. They will explore God’s love for us through engaging with Gospel stories of Jesus. Through a focus on the parable of the Good Shepherd they will be led to appreciate that God always looks out for us and will encounter Jesus’ way of teaching through stories and parables. They will experience how the Scriptures help us in personal & communal prayer.
- God is present in people and the world around us.
- Sacraments are sacred actions and signs of the Church that celebrate God’s presence and action in our lives.
- Through the Sacraments, Jesus continues his actions of welcoming, healing and serving.
- Through Baptism, the first of the Sacraments of Initiation, we become one with Jesus and share his life as members of the Christian Church.
The loving presence of Jesus is celebrated in the sacraments. (TCREK013)Elaborations
Refer to specific content about essential elements, symbols, symbolic actions/words in teacher background on unit planner.
Signs of God’s loving presence i) in all of life ii) in the actions of Jesus
Students will be offered opportunities to grow in appreciation of people and the world around us as signs of the presence of God.
i) They will be supported to see how Jesus used words, actions and elements of the world (the natural world, children, gestures, water, oil and light) to communicate God’s loving presence)
ii) Students will explore how Jesus‘ actions of welcoming and uniting (e.g. in gathering and blessing) are present in the Sacrament of Baptism.
Sacramental aspects of God’s presence in and through the essential elements, symbols, symbolic actions/words.
i) Students will note the three groups of the seven Sacraments: Initiation, Healing, Communion for Service (Becoming one, Becoming healed, Together for others)
ii) They will explore the significance of water in human life and in the story of the Jewish people and will engage with the story of Jesus’ baptism, which is different from ours. From this account, the main focus will be on God’s words: “You are My beloved Son”
Students will explore the use of water and light as symbols of God’s life and love. They will explore God’s love and his call within a community celebration.
They will explore the essential elements, symbols, symbolic actions/words used in the celebration of the Sacrament of Baptism.
They will define Baptism as the name of Sacrament and Christening as its liturgical celebration and effect and be assisted to reflect on this Sacrament as the gateway to all the others.
The Spirit’s action in the Sacraments:
They will investigate Baptism as a Sacrament of Initiation, through which we become one with Jesus and share in his life as members of the Christian Church.
Being signs of God’s presence to others:
Students will consider the Sacrament of Baptism as the basis for Christian life. They will identify ways in which they can respond to its call to life in friendship with Jesus, with the world and with everyone, the people whom he loves.
- Prayer is about relationship with God, who is with us.
- We listen to God in prayer and are invited to respond in silence, in words, in action.
- Prayer nurtures our hearts and spirit and shapes our actions.
- Jesus prayed regularly and taught others how to pray.
- Jesus and Mary are models of prayers for us.
- Believers pray with the help of silence, words, music, action, breathing practices for stillness, images, symbols and nature.
Prayer is an expression of our relationship with God. (TCREK014)Elaborations
Students will have the opportunity to explore their relationship with God. They will gain knowledge of how to develop this relationship, and investigate ways in which they can creatively express it. They will examine the nature of prayer, looking to Jesus and Mary as models of praying people. They will be introduced to simple practices and supports that help us enter into prayer, for example, silence, breathing focus, posture, music, movement, actions/gestures, the natural environment. They will identify and contribute to spaces specially set aside for prayer as well as experience that we can pray in any place. They will consider and compose some basic forms of informal prayer, for example, thanks, praise, petition, sorrow and engage with the formal prayers of the Sign of the Cross, the Our Father and the Hail Mary.
- God gives life to every person.
- Every human person is unique and loved by God.
- All people and all of life deserve respect.
- Like Jesus we can show how to care, and show respect, for all of life.
- By our loving choices we follow Jesus’ example.
God invites me to love and care for myself and others. (TCREK015)Elaborations
Students will be invited to discover and celebrate that each of them is unique, precious and loved by God and to recognise that this is so also for every other person. They will explore God’s invitation to care for themselves and each other. Students will consider how God’s love is experienced and shared in times of happiness and of sadness. They will investigate decision making and explore how choices and actions affect others. Students will consider Jesus’ example in making loving choices that showed care and respect for all of life and will identify ways in which they can do the same.
- Many factors help shape what people believe and how they live.
- People who believe in and follow Jesus are called Christians.
- Christians belong to many Churches.
- The one Spirit of Jesus is active in all Christian Churches.
For Christians, Jesus Christ is the centre of their faith. (TCREK016)Elaborations
Students will explore how people develop beliefs and practices at the personal and communal level. They will be supported to develop awareness of a range of factors (including location, culture, family experiences) that influence outlook, beliefs and practices and to grow in respect for all. They will explore how Jesus was formed in his Jewish family, consider his call for others to follow him in helping him to change the world and engage with accounts of people responding to that call. Students will develop awareness of the development of Christian Churches and identify some central Christian symbols and practices. They will investigate that the Our Father is a prayer shared by all Christian Churches. They will be supported to recognise the action of the Holy Spirit in Christian people.
Responding to questions about religious ideas, events or rituals and recording our thoughts and feelings (TCREI004)Elaborations
- developing questions about the Mass, its meaning, structure and symbols
- at a class/parish Mass making a photo story of the parts of the Mass using information and communications technology (ICT), and sharing this with parishioners at a morning tea
- brainstorming questions about how to pray, and inviting people from the parish to tell us how they pray
- remembering that whenever we pray, Jesus is praying within us through his Holy Spirit uniting us with God the Father in love
- researching the story of our parish church: using a photo time line, make a noticeboard display for the front office to tell the story of our parish
- using the “Explain Everything” app or equivalent to devise a question for God and give an answer in images and text drawing on Scripture or church teaching
Listening to and viewing stories from the Scriptures, and discussing characters (TCREI005)Elaborations
- gathering Scripture quotations around a series of themes and making a class mural, story maps or a class big book
- using glossaries to learn the meaning of religious and theological terms
- choosing verses from the Psalms that inspire thanksgiving prayers
- exploring the first creation story (Genesis 1) as though it were a ritual (which it was!) and bringing out the symbolism in the numbers 3, 6 and 7 (first 3 days mirrored in the second 3 days; 6 days of creation; the 7th day, the Sabbath, as containing all time—past, present and future)
Expressing personal responses and ideas in various ways (TCREI006)Elaborations
- creating Godly play dolls
- sharing Godly play with other classes
- creating artworks that reflect spiritual ideas or religious questions
- ritualising biblical stories and noting how they are full of symbolism
Cultivating a spirit of reflective silence and stillness, and naming important ideas or questions (TCRED004)Elaborations
- using an icon or cross, inviting written prayers for the world on sticky labels and placing them under the cross or icon (to include in class prayer)
- asking hard questions and posting them on a “Mood Wall” in the classroom
- writing reflective responses to lines of Scripture (e.g., “be still and know that I am God”, “Speak Lord, I am listening”, “Come, follow me”, “ ‘I have called you by your name, you are mine’, says the Lord”)
- using Christian meditation to practise openness to God’s love
- expressing gratitude following meditation, e.g., by singing songs of thanks and praise
- learning to listen in silence and stillness to the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, minds and bodies, leading us to discover God’s loving purpose for us
Listening to and responding to others’ ideas and thoughts, and wondering and asking questions about ourselves and how we are connected to God and our world (TCRED005)Elaborations
- examining individually and in small groups questions and thoughts about God
- being open to the Holy Spirit by listening to each other share ideas, thoughts and feelings in circle time
- singing songs that give thanks to God and acknowledging the connectedness of all things in his Holy Spirit
- resting in silence, pondering how God loves us and wants us to know him embraced by his Holy Spirit
Sharing some ideas and helping design plans of action that might lead to making loving choices towards improving specific situations at school or beyond (TCRED006)Elaborations
- sharing and discussing how classroom rules and attitudes encourage, protect and guide everyone for the good of all
- constructing posters and signs to build a culture of gratitude in the classroom
- pondering how to be more loving, generous, forgiving, joyful, patient by relaxing into the loving embrace of the Holy Spirit
- creating affirmation paper bags / envelopes to affirm when others have made loving choices towards us as their response to God’s love for them
- exploring ways that the mystery of God’s love, the life-giving presence of the Holy Spirit, is revealed through the community of faith in the Church (e.g., by exploring, using the web, Pope Francis’ humility and kindness)
- creating a blessings meter or a gratitude box in the classroom to encourage kindness, positive attitudes and gratefulness
By the end of Year 2, students can identify God’s Holy Spirit as giver and sustainer of all life and recognise that his love for us is revealed in the Person of Jesus, the centre of faith for Christians. They can acknowledge that we experience God’s loving presence in prayer, in Scripture, in themselves and other people and in the world around us. They are aware that we are invited to grow in relationship with God and to care for ourselves, others and all of life. They can identify the Gospels as the Good News about Jesus, telling us about Jesus’ life and the people who believed in him. They can reflect on Jesus’ example in making loving choices that show care and respect for all life. They can describe the Church as a believing community that celebrates Jesus’ presence in the sacraments and witnesses to him by sharing his love. They can recognise the Sacrament of Baptism and identify its symbolic elements as the basis for the Christian life and as an invitation to live in friendship with Jesus.
Students can reflect on and respond to experiences of prayer, engagement with sacred texts and stories, their own experiences, people and the world around them and record observations, thoughts, feelings and ideas. In diverse ways they can express their emerging understanding of and engagement with religious events and rituals. They can practise stillness, reflect on their connection with God and their world and develop a response to apply at the personal level, within and beyond the school setting.