Catholic education at St Peter Chanel has its foundation in partnerships between staff, students, parents, Parish and the wider community. These partnerships are essential in order to build and sustain a faith community where life-long and life-giving education takes place.
St Peter Chanel, as a Catholic Christian community, educates its members to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ as successful, creative, confident, active and informed learners, empowered to share and enrich our world. We envisage a school where students and staff are active, confident and inquisitive, through a purposeful and challenging curriculum. We are committed to building a learning community, where learning and teaching is visible, explicit and responsive, creating equity and excellence for all learners; where all members demonstrate motivation, engagement and empowerment in reaching their potential as life-long, enthusiastic learners.
The religious life of the school focuses on the second dimension of Religious Education, commonly referred to as “teaching people to be religious in a particular way" (Moran, 1991) and is comprised of four interrelated components:
Religious Identity and Culture - St Peter Chanel derives its identity and culture from its Catholic Christian character. The school is called to be a real and living expression of the Church's pastoral mission in the world.
Evangelisation and Faith Formation - Evangelisation and faith formation are focused on in an explicit way through the call to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to respond to it in daily life and to deepen personal understanding and faith. At St Peter Chanel we strive to create experiences which promote the spiritual and faith formation of our students and staff and we support the positive engagement of the members of our school community in these. The emphasis on these is seen through the religious life of the school, the Religious Education Curriculum and the promotion of a strong sense of prayer and mission which is interwoven within our school culture. There is also a very strong and active relationship with the Parish and an ongoing commitment to building and sustaining the capacity and commitment of staff to live the Gospel as they promote the model of Christian faith.
Prayer and Worship - Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or a request for good things from Him. Worship is described as the adoration of God that may be expressed through praise, thanksgiving, self-offering, sorrow or petition. At St Peter Chanel we provide many opportunities for our students and their families to engage with the Catholic Christian tradition and its rich spiritual practices. All significant feast days and celebrations of the Church's Liturgical Calendar and other major community events are celebrated with whole school Masses or Liturgies of the Word. The school also promotes and supports the participation of families in the Parish Sacramental Programs. Weekly school assemblies, led by different Year Six leadership groups, all begin and end with prayer and worship. At different times throughout the year, every class joins the parishioners at the weekly Parish Mass. Students in Years 4 to 6 also participate in the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on the first Friday of the month, at least twice a year for each year level. Religious icons and imagery are visibly displayed throughout the school and all classes create a sacred space in their rooms, featuring evidence of the liturgical year. Staff members have the opportunity to come together once a week for a prayer service led by one of their colleagues. We strive to create as many opportunities each week for all members of the school community to come together in prayer and worship, as a way of highlighting their importance in our lives.
Social Action and Justice - Students at St Peter Chanel are given numerous opportunities to extend their classroom learning about Catholic social teachings, with active participation and critical reflection on social justice initiatives. Many activities are held throughout the school year which attempt to develop a culture of care and concern for members of the broader community. These focus on raising an awareness of issues and provide an opportunity for us to reach out and offer assistance and support to others, often in conjunction with Caritas, Catholic Mission and St Vincent de Paul. There are also activities that continue the link we have with our sister school in Fiji. These include collecting and sending stationery, books and clothes to the school, along with raising funds to enable them to purchase much needed resources for the school. Liturgies focusing on particular Gospel values are developed to guide members of the school community to express and live out these virtues in day to day life. They provide the focus for prayer, pastoral time and action. Liturgies, as appropriate, include a strong focus on supporting the work of the Church through its agencies. Policies, practices and procedures are in place to ensure that the children do not forget the needs of marginalised members of our community as well. One such way this is realized is through the St Vincent de Paul Christmas Hamper Appeal, where goods collected are distributed to local families in need.
The School Fee Policy and School Fee Concession Policy ensure that no member of the community wishing to come to St Peter Chanel is excluded because of misfortune or disadvantage.
Parish Sacramental Programs - Sacramental Programs are run by the Parish community with the liturgical celebrations for First Reconciliation, First Eucharist and Confirmation being conducted within the St Johns Wood The Gap Parish. Parents are notified about sacramental preparation times and dates via the School's Newsletter and the Parish Bulletin, which are electronically sent to all members of the school community each week. St Peter Chanel plays an active role in the Sacramental Program with teachers attending information evenings and helping to run educational sessions outside of normal school hours. At school gatherings and during class we acknowledge and congratulate children who are receiving these sacraments.