Religious Education

Religious Education is at the centre of our school with our strong ethos of love, work and prayer. St. Bernard’s Preparatory School is inspired by the life and message of Jesus Christ. Religious Education is taught following the ‘Come and See’ programme. This is the Catholic Primary Religious Education programme for Foundation and Key Stages 1&2. ‘Come and See’ is based on the theological foundations of the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Catechism and the R.E Curriculum Directory. Alongside our Religious Education Programme, the children are taught about other world faiths. We are committed to respecting people of other religions and to recognise that God is at work in all of us.

  • Early Years and Years 1 & 2 - All the other major world festivals throughout the year as they occur.
  • Year 3 – Sikhism
  • Year 4 – Islam
  • Year 5 – Hinduism
  • Year 6 – Judaism

"Catholic schools are guided in all they do by an important and coherent vision of education. This vision is based on the truth revealed by God about ourselves, our life together in community and our ultimate destiny with God. This gives rise to an educational endeavour centred on the person of Jesus Christ, who is our Way, Truth and Life."                                                 Bishop’s conference 2007

Celebration – Prayer and Worship

In the light of our school mission statement, we understand that the prayer and worship life of our school community is central to our Catholic tradition and an essential part of our religious experience. We acknowledge God who is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit through liturgy and prayer. Prayer and worship are the way we celebrate and develop our relationship with God.  The prayer, liturgy and worship of the school are spiritual experiences which contribute to the faith journey of each individual. "Active, conscious participation is the challenge established for worship by the Second Vatican Council".  All who are part of our school must be able to participate actively and consciously in the worship we share as far as it is possible.  Respect for the individual who does not share our beliefs is also essential. Celebrations of various kinds help children to understand some elements of liturgy, e.g. greeting, silence, community, praise in song.  They are opportunities for seeing the development of prayer throughout the school.  They are happy and prayerful occasions giving many children a responsible part to play. The worshipping nature of the school is expressed in a variety of ways:-

  • Through individual and group prayer in both formal and informal styles and settings.
  • Through the celebration of Eucharist/Liturgical Service which we have on a weekly basis and to which parents are invited.
  • We support children preparing for the Sacraments of First Holy Communion, Reconciliation and non-sacramental liturgical experiences.
  • Through Headteacher-led assemblies.
  • Collective act of worship every day in addition to Wednesday Liturgy/Mass and Friday formal assembly to which parents are invited.
  • Through the ‘Come and See’ programme children are encouraged to celebrate, in worship and life’s experiences.
  • Class based prayers before school, before and after lunch and at the end of the day.  RE and prayer are interdependent and provide a joint focus for acts of collective worship.

Particular feasts celebrated at our school

  • Guardian Angels
  • St Benedict’s feast day.

We celebrate the liturgical year including the seasons and major feasts. During the season of Lent, we celebrate class reconciliation services, which include the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation received individually as appropriate. Prayer is a central part of our life at school.  It is at the heart of our celebrations and is both planned and spontaneous. Children are encouraged to pray in different ways both individually and in groups in formal and informal styles and settings.  These include:

  • Quiet reflection
  • Praying together
  • Writing own prayers
  • Prayer through music and art
  • Learning traditional prayers
  • Prayer through gesture
  • Year 6 retreat day/Sacramental retreats
  • Meditation

We acknowledge that our community is made up of a variety of faiths, cultures, traditions and backgrounds.  All pupils should be encouraged to contribute their gifts in a spirit of offering and sharing. We recognise that we are all at different places in our faith journey and all opportunities for prayer should reflect this. Each class has a prayer area which is a focal point for prayer. Every staff meeting begins with prayer and reflection.  Staff Retreat Days are arranged.

The ‘Come and See’ programme supports the development of prayer by providing a focus of reverence for each topic.  Formal words for prayer are gradually introduced throughout. Prayer life is fostered by the arrangement of prayer partners (current members of the Bernardine Community who founded the school) for each class.  We are in regular contact with them through prayer, retreat days, and other forms of communication e.g. letters, email etc.

Charity

The development of a social conscience is an integral part of religious education. The children are encouraged to consider others less fortunate than themselves and participate in varied fundraising activities.

Chaplaincy

In the light of our school mission statement Chaplaincy is understood as working with all the other forms of pastoral care and fostering the Catholicity of the school.

  • Chaplaincy aims to support the human and spiritual development of all members of the school community.
  • The chaplaincy aims to work with the wider church community and, as far as circumstances allow, to develop links with the parishes our children belong to, particularly those within the Slough Deanery.
  • The chaplaincy aims to support and complement the work of the pastoral care given by the school staff.

The Chaplaincy team comprises of all staff and Canon Kevin O’Driscoll (Parish Priest).

The Chaplaincy team’s role can be summarised in the following ways:

  • providing an action plan for each academic year
  • by being an animator of the spiritual, religious and liturgical life of the school.
  • by being available for staff and pupils.
  • all staff are part of one of four focus areas: Bucket fillers (children), Staff sanctuary (staff), Eco warriors (environment) and Parent Prayers (Prayers and reflections with parents).
  • by helping them to recognise God’s love for them and their work of God.
  • by encouraging the active support of parents in the liturgical life of the school.
  • by developing a prayer life and an awareness of vocation.
  • by providing liturgical and sacramental celebrations
  • by celebrating the relationship between Home/School/Parish
  • by leading the ‘Rainbows’ programme
  • leading a drop in session once a week.

In Religious Education everyone is helped to achieve their very best knowing that God is at the heart of everything they do. Promoting spiritual growth throughout the school’s learning environment, learning together helps children to care for each other and become responsible.