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Religious Education: Policies

Our Philosophy of Religious Education 

The context for our teaching is one of appreciation for different learning styles and needs of the students. Our volunteer teachers are ready and willing to work with parents to provide a learning environment that will be comfortable for students who may need attention in a particular area. We view our ministry as a mandate to model Christian virtues of faith, hope, love, and respect in dealing with all members of the religious education community: faculty, support staff, and families.

This is our Mission and our Philosophy. May God be with us and help us, parents and parishes, as we make this a reality.

The following guidelines are presented so that parents, students, teachers and staff will have an understanding of the policies which help the religious education program run smoothly.

Attendance 

Attendance, with students arriving on time (except in extenuating circumstances) is essential to the students’ religious education and spiritual growth. An entire year of religious education instruction amounts to approximately 19-24 hours of class time. They are with us just one day or less out of 365! Every class is important. If your child has to miss class for illness or another serious reason, please email the Religious Education Office at religiousednatick@gmail.com or call 508-653-6005 and leave the message on our voicemail. Please assist your teen in structuring her/his activities and part time job schedule so that there is no conflict with his/her religious education commitment.

Participation

Because our time together is limited, we depend on the cooperation of each student and the cooperation of each family to assist in making the most of each class. We all recognize the fact that circumstances beyond a student’s/parent’s control occasionally may affect a student’s promptness and we understand this. We hope, however, that this is a rare occurrence. Students coming directly to class from a school activity may have a problem arriving on time for a number of weeks. In this case, they must speak to the Director and teacher to inform them of the situation ahead of time.

As part of their overall faith formation, attending religious education classes (or being involved in a home school religious education experience in conjunction with the Parish Religious Education Office) on a yearly basis is most important to the development of all children and teens. It is expected that children and teens attend classes (or home school formation) from Grade 1 through Grade 10. If any grade is missed (and the student did not attend a Catholic School during the missed timespan), the student will be expected to make up the missed material before progressing to the next grade level. Depending on the grade level this may necessitate taking additional classes to make up missed material or participating in home school activities to make up the missing grade level(s) at the Director’s discretion.

Sacramental Years

Please note that both our First Eucharist and Confirmation preparation programs consist of a two year time span. Therefore, students wishing to receive First Eucharist in Grade Two must first complete the Grade One year of religious education. Likewise, students wishing to receive Confirmation in Grade Ten must first complete the Grade Nine year of religious education. If a teen attends a Catholic High School, the Grade 9 year of Religious Education is not required. However, all students wishing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation (including Catholic High School Students) are expected to participate in our Grade Ten Program.  

Pick Up and Drop Off

The policy printed below will be effective beginning with the first day of classes in the new school year. We thank you in advance for your cooperation in helping to keep your children safe:

There are no words strong enough to express our ongoing concern for the safety of all children and teens in our religious education program. The grounds of the St. Linus property and St. Patrick property are very busy and at times quite congested with vehicles in the parking lots. The physical layout of the parish grounds make a smooth flow at drop-off and pick-up times quite imperative. We ask the cooperation of all parents and guardians in working with us to create the best environment for the well-being and safety of all our religious education children and teens by adhering to the following policy:

Norton Center & Lower Church Arrival (Sundays and Thursdays, Grades 1-5)
We ask all Parents/Guardians of our younger students in Grades 1-5 to please park your car and walk your child(ren) to his/her/their classroom(s).

Norton Center & Lower Church Dismissal (Sundays and Thursdays, Grades 1-5)
At the conclusion of our class hour, all students in Grades 1-5 will remain in their classrooms until picked up by a Parent/Guardian. Please note, if someone other than a Parent/Guardian will be picking up a child, a note must be given to the child’s teacher at the beginning of class on that day/evening. Also, no child or group of children will be permitted to walk home from Religious Education without a signed note from a Parent/Guardian.

Norton Center & Lower Church Arrival (Sundays and Mondays, Grades 6-8)
Parents/Guardians of our older students in Grades 6-8 may opt to drop off their child(ren) at the Norton Center or Lower Church. When doing so, however, we ask that Parents and Guardians remain in their cars until they see their child(ren) enter the respective building.

Norton Center & Lower Church Dismissal (Sundays and Mondays, Grades 6-8)
At the close of class on Sunday for Grades 6-8, the students will be walked out to the parking lot by their teachers and will remain there with a their teachers until they are picked up by a Parent/Guardian. Please note, if someone other than a Parent/Guardian will be picking up a student, a note must be given to the teen’s teacher at the beginning of class on that evening. Also, no teen or group of teens will be permitted to walk home from Religious Education without a signed note from a Parent/Guardian.

St. Patrick Lower Church Arrival (Sundays, Grades 9-10)
It is our hope that many of our Grade 9 and Grade 10 students will be coming to class from directly following the 5:30 p.m. Parish Mass celebrated at St. Patrick Church. In this case, the students would need only to come downstairs to the Lower Church. In the event that teens are being dropped off, we ask that Parents and Guardians drop off students in the St. Patrick Parking Lot and have the teens enter the door leading directly to the Lower Church. We ask Parents and Guardians to remain in their cars until they see their teen(s) enter the Church building.

St. Patrick Lower Church Dismissal (Sundays, Grades 9-10)
At the close of class on Sunday session for Grades 9-10, the students will be walked out to the parking lot by their teachers and will remain there with a their teachers until they are picked up by a Parent/Guardian. Please note, if someone other than a Parent/Guardian will be picking up a student, a note must be given to the teen’s teacher at the beginning of class on that evening. No child or group of children will be permitted to walk home from Religious Education without a signed note from a Parent/Guardian.

We understand that our policies may lengthen the drop-off/pick-up procedure, however, we are confident of your understanding as this will benefit the safety of all our children and teens. We thank you for being partners with us in our efforts to enforce this policy.

Behavior Code

Mindful of our Mission to prepare students for discipleship and citizenship, we strive to foster behavior that will promote a more civilized society. Everything that goes on at religious education class, before, during, and after the class hour must be rooted in the basic principle of respect. An atmosphere of mutual respect between teacher and students, and among students in a class, is the linchpin upon which learning revolves. All students must be respectful of Parish property, most notably the classrooms. We are committed to providing every student who wants instruction with a place in our program. However, we also must weigh the needs and demands of one student in a class against the needs of the class as a whole. If a student, in any grade, is unwilling or unable to act respectfully toward others or is disrespectful of parish property, we will notify the parents. If the unacceptable behavior continues, the student will be admitted to class only if accompanied by a parent for the class hour, or the parent will be invited to instruct the child at home. The Religious Education Office will provide teaching materials and support the parent in this task.

Our students come to class during a long and busy day. So too, our teachers come to class during a long and busy day of work inside and outside of their homes. All of our teachers are extremely dedicated and most generously volunteer their time. Teachers deserve to be treated with respect and appreciated for their effort.

Food Policy

Due to the large number of students who suffer from serious food related allergies, it is the policy of our program not to allow food in any of our classrooms. We ask your understanding as we strive to create the safest possible environment for all of our children and teens. On rare occasions, Catechists may request special permission to include food as a part of a class celebration. In these instances, prior approval from the Program Director must be obtained and written notice (by letter or email) must be sent to parents well before the scheduled activity takes place.

Cancellation of Classes due to Inclement Weather
 

Sunday Classes – Grades 1-5

  • On stormy days, a decision will be made by 8:30 a.m. as to whether or not classes will be held for the lower grades on that Sunday.

All decisions will be:

  • Placed on the religious ed voicemail (508-653-6005)
  • Listed on Channel 4 (WBZ), Channel 5 (WCVB) and Channel 7 (WHDH)
  • Emailed out to all registered families***

 Sunday Classes – Grades 6-8 and Grades 9 & 10

  • On stormy days, a decision will be made by 12:00 noon as to whether or not classes will be held on that Sunday.

All decisions will be:

  • Placed on the religious ed voicemail (508-653-6005)
  • Listed on Channel 4 (WBZ), Channel 5 (WCVB) and Channel 7 (WHDH)
  • Emailed out to all registered families***

 Monday Classes – Grades 6-8

If there is no school in Natick public schools due to stormy weather there will be no religious ed classes that day.

  • If a storm begins during the day or if conditions are expected to deteriorate during the day a decision will be made as to whether or not to have classes by 12:00 noon.

All decisions will be:

  • Placed on the religious ed voicemail (508-653-6005)
  • Listed on Channel 4 (WBZ), Channel 5 (WCVB) and Channel 7 (WHDH)
  • Emailed out to all registered families***

Thursday Classes – Grades 1-5

  • If there is no school in Natick public schools due to stormy weather there will be no religious ed classes that day.
  • If a storm begins during the day or if conditions are expected to deteriorate a decision will be made as to whether or not to have classes by 12:00 noon.

All decisions will be:  

  • Placed on the religious ed voicemail (508-653-6005)
  • Listed on Channel 4 (WBZ), Channel 5 (WCVB) and Channel 7 (WHDH)
  • Emailed out to all registered families***

***Every effort will be made to notify families of stormy weather cancellations via email (for those families who have submitted an email address on their religious education registration forms).  However, there may be instances when we do not have access to our email lists or when our computer systems are down.  Due to these possibilities, we ask families not to rely solely on email notification for inclement weather but also to check either the religious education voicemail, and/or Channel 4/Channel 5/Channel 7 for information on cancellations.

Please click here for a PDF of the handbook that contains this information. 

 

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