Religion and Family Life
About Religious Education
Religious education is about much more than prayer in schools and sharing stories from the Gospels. Niagara Catholic students begin learning about God’s love from their first day of school, and it continues throughout their formal education until graduation.
We believe we are all called to be the hands, face and feet of Jesus.
At the elementary level, faith-based education guides students as they develop knowledge and self-regulation skills. It also fosters attitudes and values consistent with our Catholic faith. Students begin participating in social justice activities in their first years of school. Using the Catholic Social Teachings and Catholic Graduate Expectations as guideposts, students learn to think beyond themselves and respond to the world around them.
Religious education also addresses how students view themselves and other in their social and religious contexts. Religious education help students become self-motivated problem-solvers, equipped with the skills and knowledge that will enable them to navigate, with confidence, a rapidly changing and increasingly secular world.
Elementary Family Life Education
Family life education for elementary students also falls under Religious education.
The family life curriculum promotes important educational values and goals that support the development of Catholic character. These include recognizing each person as a gift of God’s love, respecting the uniqueness of each person, the importance of consciously making moral decisions, participating in building a just society, and being responsible guardians of the gifts of creation.
The Ministry of Education released a revised Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8, Health and Physical Education, 2019 for implementation beginning in September, 2019.
Ontario Catholic schools address the Human Development and Sexual Health expectations of the elementary Health and Physical Education curriculum as part of the Family Life education using the Fully Alive program. The program complements the efforts of families and is intended to support lessons learned at home. The entire program, from Grade 1 through Grade 8, is designed to encourage children to become the people God wants them to be – to be fully alive. Fully Alive is sponsored by the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario (ACBO).
Additional information can be found on the Institute for Catholic Education's Health and Physical Education Tab.
Catholic education in our schools and Catholic schools across Ontario is supported by the Institute for Catholic Education (ICE). The organization brings together, works with, and assists groups responsible for English-Catholic education to promote and maintain publicly funded Catholic schools. In 1999, the Institute created the Ontario Catholic Graduate Expectations, which celebrate the distinctiveness of Catholic education in Ontario. Upon graduation from secondary school, students are expected to be:
- Discerning believers, formed in a Catholic faith community;
- Self-directed, responsible life-long learners;
- Reflective and creative thinkers;
- Collaborative contributors;
- Effective communicators;
- Responsible citizens; and
- Caring family members
Catholic Education Week
An annual celebration of Ontario's publicly funded Catholic schools; the weeklong celebration usually takes place the first week of May. Niagara Catholic joins other school boards across the province in celebrating the unique identity and distinct contributions of Catholic education. The week is filled with special activities and events at all grade levels. This year’s theme is Igniting Hope. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
The Niagara Catholic Annual Pilgrimage
Father Jim Mulligan C.S.C. was a young priest and teacher at Notre Dame College School in Welland. After participating in a pilgrimage in France, Fr. Mulligan returned to Niagara with the idea of holding a holy walk here. The first Pilgrimage took place at Notre Dame College School in 1975, and is now a pillar of the Niagara Catholic school year calendar, with students from all eight Catholic high schools and many elementary schools within their family of schools participating.
Students, staff, local school communities and other supporters walk several kilometres in solidarity for a common mission, raising money for villages and organizations around the world. Each school has its own cause that supports the efforts in developing countries, and to date, Niagara Catholic has raised more than $2.5 million for causes around the world and at home.
Holy Childhood Association
Elementary schools support the Holy Childhood Association annually through community-sponsored walks. Founded in 1843 in France with the motto of ‘Children Helping Children’, the Holy Childhood Association is a children’s charity and a missionary group under the Pope’s direction, where children pray and financially support less-fortunate children in other countries. Niagara Catholic has raised nearly $700,000 for the association.