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The content of the Religious Education curriculum for Years 3 and 4 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 3 and 4 engage with the Scriptures, sacred art and music to explore stories and images that give insights into the mystery of the God of love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They recognise that human beings, created in God’s image, occupy a special place in God’s plan and recognise the loving gifts of life, body, mind, spirit, freedom and will. They consider their responsibility and capacity to value these gifts and use them to care for self and others and live in harmony with all of life as they grow in loving relationship with God, others and all of creation. They see the Decalogue, the example of Jesus and his teaching of the Great Commandment as reference points for conscience and as guides for Christian living. They explore the basic elements of liturgy and, at both the personal and the communal level, experience different kinds of prayer, including the Eucharist, the celebration at the heart of Christian prayer and life. They investigate the liturgical cycle of the seasons of the church year, a pattern linked to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. They explore how Mary is honoured through prayer, the Hail Mary in particular, and through the celebrations of feast days within the liturgical calendar. Recognising the Bible as a library of sacred books and Word of God, they grow in familiarity with its structure, form and content. They encounter God’s Word as part of prayer and worship and seek to listen deeply to uncover the messages it holds for their lives. Celebrating the Gospels as the Good News of Jesus, they explore how and what he taught through action, instruction and stories (parables). They name followers of Jesus as Christians, and recognise that Christianity is essentially linked with Judaism through history and tradition. They investigate how the early Christians continued to spread his message of compassion, healing and forgiveness. They recognise the Church as the community of believers called to celebrate and witness to Jesus (Emmanuel), Son of God. They explore how his actions of healing and forgiving are present in the Church’s sacraments of healing and how he is present in word, sign and reality in the Eucharist, the fullness of the Sacraments of Initiation. They explore how the Church celebrates Jesus’ life, death and resurrection through its liturgy, seasons and feasts and makes his ministry present through liturgy, witness and service. They recognise how the Holy Spirit empowered Mary and empowers them to celebrate God’s Word and to witness to unity and justice.
- God, source of life and love, is Mystery.
- Through Jesus we know what God is like.
- We share in God’s life and love.
- Our Creator God continues to give and renew all life.
- Created in God’s image, we occupy a unique place in God’s plan.
- In God’s image, we become fully human through the experience of community.
We are created in God’s image and called to belong to a loving community as modelled in the Trinity. (TCREK017)Elaborations
Students will engage with the Scriptures to explore stories and images that give us some insights about God as Mystery, for example, breath, light, rock/strength, love. They will examine Christian stories, sacred art and music that seek to present images of God. Students will explore that God is the giver of all life and that he continues to give us life. They will be supported to recognise that human beings, created in God’s image, occupy the special place in God’s plan. Students will explore that Jesus reveals God’s love and has taught us to relate to God as Father. They will be deepened in awareness of God, Trinity of Love, & will be supported to grow in relationship with God, self, each other, all of life.
- The early Christians gathered in community to celebrate the Eucharist, remembering Jesus, Son of God, and telling the story of his compassion and love.
- Jesus, Son of God, shows and teaches us the way God wants us to be healing, forgiving and reconciling people.
- Jesus (God-with-us) is present in the Church through his Holy Spirit, who continues to enliven and guide us to be healing, forgiving, reconciling people.
Jesus is God-with-us (Emmanuel). He shares his Spirit with us. (TCREK018)Elaborations
Students will investigate the way people gathered in communities after Jesus’ death and resurrection to remember him, especially through the Eucharist, and to tell the story of his compassion and love. They will be supported to grow in understanding that Jesus is the Son of God who shows us the way God wants us to live. They will explore ways in which Jesus’ life and teaching focus on compassion, healing and forgiveness and how the early Christian communities continued to spread that message. They will consider how Jesus (God-with-us) is present in the church community through his Holy Spirit, who continues to heal, enliven and guide us to be healing, forgiving, reconciling people.
- The Church is a community of believers that celebrate and make present Jesus and his work.
- The Church celebrates Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
- The Spirit empowers the Church to celebrate and continue Jesus’ work of worship, witness and service.
- God’s people look to Mary as a helper in times of need.
The Church is a community that celebrates and makes present Jesus and his work. (TCREK019)Elaborations
Students will consider the Church as a community of believers called to celebrate Jesus and continue his work. They will explore how the Church celebrates Jesus’ life, death and resurrection through the Eucharist and its liturgical seasons and feasts. Students will examine and reflect on how the Holy Spirit inspires the Church to make Jesus’ ministry present through worship, witness and service. They will explore examples of how God’s people look to Mary as a helper in times of need.
- Scripture is proclaimed in prayer and worship as the Word of God.
- Scripture teaches Christians how to live as followers of Jesus.
- In the Gospels we learn about Jesus, his actions, his instruction and his way of teaching.
- Sometimes Jesus taught using stories (parables).
Scripture is proclaimed in prayer and worship as the Word of God. Scripture teaches Christians how to live as followers of Jesus. (TCREK020)Elaborations
Students will be introduced to the Bible as the Word of God. They will be given the opportunity to become familiar with the structure, form and some content of the Bible. They will appreciate the Bible as a collection of sacred books. Students will celebrate the Gospels as the Good News of Jesus. They will explore the life and love of Jesus as recalled in the Gospels. Exploring the parables of the Good Samaritan and of the Sower and the Seeds, they will recognise and experience that Jesus taught using stories (parables). They will reflect upon life in the light of these parables. Students will experience listening to the Word of God as part of prayer and worship. They will explore the structure of the Liturgy of the Word. They will have opportunities to listen, think and reflect on their lives, using Scripture.
- We celebrate God’s presence in people and in the world around us.
- Sacraments are sacred gifts and signs of the Church that celebrate God’s presence and grace.
- Through the Sacraments, Jesus continues his actions of healing, forgiving, nourishing and transforming.
- Through the Sacraments of Healing and Eucharist, we are strengthened and nourished in the life of Christ.
Sacrament of Matrimony addressed in Yrs 5/ 6 'God'
Sacrament of Holy Orders addressed in Yrs 5/6 'Church'
The sacraments are celebrations of the presence of God in the lives of Christians. Through the sacraments, Christians are born into and nourished in the life of Christ. (TCREK021)Elaborations
Refer to specific content about essential elements, symbols, symbolic actions/words in teacher background on unit planner.
See GNFL P - 6 Sacraments Essential Elements, Symbols, Symbolic Actions/Words Resource Document
Signs of God’s loving presence i) in all of life ii) in the actions of Jesus
i) Students will be offered opportunities to deepen their understanding that people and the world around us are signs of the presence of God.
ii) They will be supported to see how Jesus used words, actions and the things of the world (voice, touch, anointing, food/meals) to communicate God’s loving presence.
They will examine Jesus’ teachings about & demonstrations of God’s love shown in forgiveness, reconciliation & healing (Parable of the Forgiving Father & the story of Zacchaeus will be key references).
They will reflect on examples of Jesus nourishing His friends through sharing life, meals and self. They will consider His gift of self at the Last Supper and on Calvary.
Students will explore how Jesus’ actions of uniting, nourishing, healing, forgiving & blessing are present in the sacraments of the Church through the Holy Spirit.
Students will reflect on God’s presence and action in the sacraments of Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick and the Eucharist.
Sacramental aspects of God’s presence in and through the essential elements, symbols, symbolic actions/words:
They will investigate the words and ritual elements of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
They will learn its key elements: confession, repentance, absolution, satisfaction.
They will consider examples of Jesus’ blessing and healing of the sick, and will investigate the words and ritual elements of the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. They will learn its key elements: priest using blessed oils to anoint hands and head with the Sign of the Cross, and prayer.
They will explore the essential elements, symbols, symbolic actions/words used in the celebration of the Sacrament of the Eucharist. They will identify the four-part structure of the Mass.
The Spirit’s action in the Sacraments:
They will be supported to discover that, through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, our relationship with God and with others is renewed through his loving forgiveness and healing.
In investigating Anointing of the Sick they will be supported to grow in awareness of respect for the human person and of God’s loving care throughout life. In considering the Eucharist, they will be supported to recognise their oneness with Jesus. They will be encouraged to realise that the Eucharist helps us grow in love for others.
Being signs of God’s presence to others:
Students will identify links between the sacraments and living with God and others. They will consider the sacraments of healing as our call to wholeness and our call to heal brokenness in our world and in others. They will identify ways to forgive, heal hurt, care for human life, support others in sorrow and grow in loving relationships. Students will reflect on examples of witnesses who express the Eucharist in their lives and actions and how it challenges and nourishes us for Christian living. Students will be supported to grow towards and in sacramental life.
- We pray in personal prayer and we gather for liturgical prayer.
- When we pray together we celebrate God’s presence.
- The Mass, which celebrates the Eucharist, is at the centre of the Catholic community.
- In celebrating the liturgy we use words, actions & signs to express our loving relationship with God.
- There are two great parts of the Mass: the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
- The Church’s liturgical calendar helps us throughout the year to focus on the person of Jesus and on the Paschal mystery (his life, death and resurrection).
- Mary is honoured through prayers and through feasts within the cycle of the liturgical year.
The liturgy of the Church expresses and celebrates in ritual our loving relationship with God and helps Christians to live like Jesus. (TCREK022)Elaborations
Students will be invited to deepen their relationship with God and with others through prayer, both personal and communal. As individuals and in community they will have opportunities to explore different kinds of prayer and to be involved in different prayer experiences. They will investigate the liturgical cycle of the seasons of the Church year, a pattern linked to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. They will explore the basic elements of liturgy and will be introduced to the Eucharist as the celebration at the heart of Christian prayer and life. They will explore how we honour Mary through prayers, the Hail Mary in particular, and through the celebration of feast days within the liturgical calendar.
- Through God’s love, every person has the gifts of life, body, mind, spirit, and free will.
- We respond to God’s love through our choices about caring for self, others, and for all of life.
- We have the capacity and responsibility to choose between right and wrong.
- The Decalogue and its fulfilment, Jesus’ New Commandment, guide our choices and actions.
- Jesus’ teaching and our consciences guide us in making good choices and acting with love.
- Followers of Jesus choose to live with love for God, self, others and for all of life.
Christians make choices that are informed by the loving example of Jesus. (TCREK023)Elaborations
Students will recognise the gifts given to them and to others through the love of God: the gifts of life, body, spirit and the gifts of freedom and will. They will consider how they value these gifts and use them to care for themselves and others. They will learn to discern the voice of conscience and life-giving choices in relation to self, others, the world, and they will engage with the examen as a supportive practice. Students will consider how Christian values provide a basis for life-giving choices and actions. They will explore examples of Jesus showing love in action and will examine how followers of Jesus make loving choices that are guided by the Decalogue and his Great Commandment.
- Because Jesus was born into and lived within Jewish society, our Christian faith has close links with Judaism.
- Jesus lived and learned in his Jewish family and culture.
- In his teachings & way of life he challenged the society in which he lived.
- His words and actions showed & taught us to live in relationship with God as loving Father.
Christianity is essentially linked to Judaism through history and tradition. (TCREK024)Elaborations
Students will explore aspects of the Jewish society in which Jesus grew, learned and lived. They will identify and reflect on ways in which Christian faith and practice reflect its Jewish roots. They will examine some ways in which Jesus challenged aspects of his society and consider their own outlook in today’s society. They will engage prayerfully with Jesus’ teaching about God as loving Father.
Developing questions for investigating religious ideas, events and rituals (TCREI007)Elaborations
- developing and posing questions about the Trinity as a community of loving Persons
- generating questions about the Mass and why Catholics say “it is what God does for us”
- asking “why are there different forms of writing in the Bible and why is it not all narrative?”
- questioning and reflecting on how Pope Francis is pope, just as St Peter was the first pope
- formulating questions about, and writing examples of, ways that the Spirit of Jesus lives in others and the church community
Being familiar with some of the most significant stories of the Old and New Testaments and discussing characters and meanings (TCREI008)Elaborations
- learning words from glossaries of significant words from the Old Testament and the sacraments, e.g., covenant, initiation, sin, reconciliation
- using a range of methods including digital technologies to plan and conduct an information search about the different genres in the Bible, including parables, proverbs, narratives, psalms, miracle stories, etc.
- defining and explaining the different genres of writing found in the Bible
Representing and communicating religious or spiritual ideas and information using diagrams, models and simple reports (TCREI009)Elaborations
- researching biblical lands and creating three-dimensional maps of geographical areas that relate to important Old Testament stories
- gathering Scripture quotations around a series of themes and making a class mural, story maps or a class big book
- writing student-derived examples of Scripture genres based on biblical texts (e.g., writing a letter to a friend who is far away, encouraging her or him to stay strong and keep going even though she or he is alone)
- retelling Scripture passages illustrating different genres and making shadow puppet plays
With guidance, identifying questions about religious ideas, events or rituals and recording ideas, thoughts and feelings (TCRED007)Elaborations
- developing searching questions about how the mystery of God helps us grow in wisdom and understanding
- reflecting individually or collectively using imaginative prayer and meditation, journalling, reflective writing
- inviting a guest speaker (e.g., the parish priest) to class to ask him questions, using a Q and A style format, about the Mass, God, the Church, or his vocation
- designing simple surveys to find out what students understand about questions such as “How is the Church animated by the Spirit?”
- using a range of methods including digital technologies to plan and conduct an information search about the teachings of Pope Francis and what he says about the Church today
Weighing up values and ideas to make connections. Sharing thoughts and suggestions with others. Reflecting, contributing to group dialogue, generating questions and drawing conclusions regarding principles for living responsibly, personally and in society (TCRED008)Elaborations
- examining individually and collectively the idea of covenant
- listening to the stories of the Old Testament prophets
- examining our own actions and decisions in the light of their example
- weighing up choices
- sharing thoughts and suggestions about how families can live more like a loving community
Responding at the personal level or, with others, designing, sharing and, where possible enacting, a simple action plan towards improving specific situations at school or beyond (TCRED009)Elaborations
- organising and leading an assembly prayer using Scripture, calling us to trust in God to find peace
- constructing visual representations or mosaics highlighting how the sacraments are celebrations of the presence of God in our lives
- journalling during Lent or Advent to invite Jesus into our choices, and living love by practising gratitude and acts of kindness
- creating a class or school prayer calendar using appropriate Scripture passages
By the end of Year 4, students can acknowledge that they and all human persons are created in the image of God, and that Jesus (God-with-us) reveals for us that God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—calls each one of us into a loving relationship with him and each other. They can recognise that Jesus’ loving example, as witnessed in the Gospels, informs the choices and guides the actions of those who follow him. They can recognise that, in the community of the Church, followers of Jesus celebrate God’s loving presence through the liturgy, and are nourished by the sacraments and by his Word in Scripture to live like Jesus. They can identify the Eucharist and describe its ritual elements as the celebration at the heart of Christian prayer and life. They can recognise that Jesus through his sharing of his Holy Spirit is present in the Church and its sacraments, and they can describe how the Spirit enlivens and guides us to be healing, forgiving and reconciling people. They can identify the way we celebrate God’s healing and forgiveness, and describe their ritual elements through the sacraments of Penance and of the Anointing of the Sick.
Students can explore, pose questions about and respond in a variety of ways to religious experiences, texts and stories. They can reflect on living responsibly and can develop, share and enact a response at the personal level and/or a simple plan of action at the school or local level.