The National Centre for Religious Studies is in the process of preparing a new Religious Education Level 1-8 Curriculum that will hopefully be completed within the next five years.
In the meantime, the NCRS has made available to Religious Education teachers in primary schools a new curriculum guide that will update and refresh ideas and make faith more relevant to pupils.
The Religious Education Bridging Document (REBD) is an online resource aimed at supporting teachers in effectively teaching the mandated New Zealand Religious Education Curriculum in today’s school setting.
NCRS director Colin MacLeod said the bridging document provides positive guidance for teaching “what is currently a 20-year-old curriculum while the formal, longer process of preparing a new RE Curriculum begins”.
“This document revisits our teaching of RE, placing the person of Jesus at the centre of what we do. It provides guidance and encouragement for RE teachers and reminds us of the ‘why’ and the ‘who’ (Jesus) which give meaning to RE in our schools,” he said.
New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference President Bishop Patrick Dunn said the bishops “welcome this responsive and accessible guide for what is a central tenet in our schools’ curriculum”.
“The Catholic Bishops of Aotearoa New Zealand give thanks for all who teach Religious Education in our parishes and schools, we encourage you in your work, and assure you of our prayers as you participate in nurturing the seed of faith in our young people,” Bishop Dunn said.
The REBD resource is produced in electronic format only, in response to Laudato Si’ and the digital world. It is available at http://www. faithalive.org.nz/the-rebd/ .
According to the document, responding to change is “an essential on-going consideration for NCRS”.
“For NCRS, addressing change means responding to new needs and emphases that emerge as contexts change and diversity in teachers, children, their families and whānau increases,” the document stated.
These new emphases include: Catholic Social Teaching, references to recent papal encyclicals, experiences to nurture children’s spirituality, highlighting of children’s role in the mission of the Church, more intentional experiences to help New RE curriculum guide available children “encounter” God, learning strategies that enable children’s “voices” to be heard, experiences that encourage children to recognise and respond to their personal call to holiness and integrate the key competencies more intentionally into RE concepts.
The document said “NCRS recognises that it is time to broaden the direction for Religious Education teaching and learning in Aotearoa New Zealand so that children and young people can better see its relevance to their lives as disciples of Jesus in the 21st century”.