GALLERY: Catholic Schools Week - Day 1

Catholic Schools Week for 2019 began across the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle yesterday with the ‘Learn, Serve, Belong’ theme celebrating the connection to the community, the diversity of learning and the supportive and inclusive environment that students experience as part of their Catholic education.


What does learn mean to you? – Suzanne Fern (Head of Teaching and Learning, Catholic Schools Office)

During Catholic Schools Week, we celebrate the learning that takes place for students and teachers every day in all our schools.

We know that learning is most successful when there are shared expectations for all students’ achievements and a shared understanding of the learning process.

Good learning starts with curiosity and asking questions and we understand that students start school as curious and successful learners and thinkers. Play-based pedagogy in these early years recognises the strengths young learners bring with them to school and open-ended play provocations encourage them to engage, take risks and approach their learning with creativity, inventiveness and flexibility.

Contemporary learning therefore requires all learners to develop their curiosity, imagination, creativity, problem solving and collaboration skills. We need to allow students to have time to work out their own challenges, rather than jumping in and rescuing; we need to explicitly teach students what to do when they are stuck or do not know what to do. This may include persisting, thinking flexibly, using past knowledge, using their senses, finding humour, asking for help, working with others and questioning.

This Catholic Schools Week, we celebrate the diversity of learning and the supportive and inclusive environment students experience as part of their Catholic education.


Members of the community of Holy Name Primary School, Forster kicked off their Catholic Schools Week celebrations by inviting the school community to a Youth Mass at the Holy Name of Jesus Church on Sunday.

Holy Name will use each day of Catholic Schools Week to celebrate an aspect of their school community, with this afternoon’s Mass celebrating ‘our Parish’. Throughout the week, they will also celebrate ‘our community’, ‘our students’, ‘our faith traditions’, ‘vocations’ and ‘our staff’.


What does belong mean to you? – Gerard Mowbray (Acting Director of Schools, Catholic Schools Office).

A Catholic school is built around a deep sense of community, of belonging and of being family-like. The events, rituals and process evident in a school are very much designed to enhance this sense of belonging.

For students, their journey in Catholic education has a myriad of purposes. Fundamental in what we seek is for each young person to feel a deep sense of being valued and developing a strong sense of self-worth. A key dimension of this arises from belonging to a close and supportive community.

Parents and carers, too, have such a fundamental role to play in their child’s journey and this is built on a close partnership with the school.

For our members of staff, they thrive when they feel that they are a part of a team that has great cohesion in vision and purpose. Further, we see the bonds between school and parish extend the sense of belonging to the local faith community.

In the first week of school, I received an email from a very appreciative dad of a new Kindergarten enrolment. His son had received a beautiful letter of welcome from his teacher on the day before school. This simple gesture was very much about welcome and, along with all of the transition processes, sent a strong message to children and families that they were about to embark on a very special journey.

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