SPIRITUALITY AT ST.PATRICK’S PRIMARY SCHOOL

“God does not come in extraordinary events, but in everyday things.”

Pope Francis 

As a Catholic school we are concerned with the development of mind, body and soul.  We believe that spirituality should influence all areas of education and life, therefore we aim that all areas of the curriculum contribute to pupils’ spiritual development. Spiritual development relates to fundamental questions about the meaning and purpose of life which affect everyone, and is not dependent on a religious affiliation. We cannot create spiritual children because it is our belief that they are already spiritual beings when they come to us at school but we can nurture their spirituality. It is our aim that we create a spiritual community at St.Patrick’s.

Spiritual development is not about becoming more spiritual, it is about realising or becoming more and more aware of one’s natural, innate spirituality. This is sometimes a slow and gradual process, at other times there might be significant stages of realisation, which are part of the ongoing ‘developing’ process.  People don’t reach a finished state of spiritual development, but participate in the ongoing process of spiritual realisation.

Our aim is that our pupils develop a spirituality that is informed by Church teaching and Christ, as modelled in a personal life of virtue and service towards others. Our patron St. Patrick taught that God and spirituality was within each of us and all around us. We have based our spiritual experiences in school around his prayer:

  • Christ in me– spirituality discovered in prayer and stillness
  • Christ beneath me –spirituality of earth and creation
  • Christ above me– spirituality in relationship with God
  • Christ All around-spirituality in relationship with others

Through our curriculum and lived out experiences at St. Patrick’s, we endeavour to provide opportunities for spiritual development for all learners and their interests. Within our children, we believe that we have the:

  • Naturalists: Loving God outdoors and in creation
  • Sensates: Loving God with the senses
  • Traditionalists: Loving God through ritual and symbol
  • Ascetics: Loving God in solitude and simplicity
  • Activists: Loving God through social advocacy
  • Caregivers: Loving God by loving others
  • Enthusiasts: Loving God with mystery and celebration
  •  Intellectuals: Loving God with the mind
  • Contemplatives: Loving God through adoration

However, as a school, we have come to recognise that there is no single definition of spirituality because it can mean different, but equally meaningful, things to different people at different times. We believe that a single person’s view of spirituality can change throughout their life. We aim to give children a range of experiences to develop their own spirituality and refine and reflect on what it means for them.

How Spirituality is nurtured at St. Patrick’s
At St. Patrick’s we offer endless opportunities and encounters with God for all children and members of the school community to explore spirituality. As a Catholic School this often reflects our distinctively Christian character.

Children’s spiritual development is fostered through all aspects of our provision. It is about the relationships and the values that we consider to be important, as well as the development of knowledge, concepts, skills and attitudes. We give children opportunities to:

  • Express personal beliefs and compare views with others, sharing feelings and opinions through discussions and stories.
  • Begin to develop their own system of beliefs which may or may not include religious beliefs.
  • Experience a love of learning through rewarding their enthusiasm and by encouraging exploratory play and learning.
  • Reflect upon the world around them and show a sense of awe and wonder towards aspects of the natural world or human achievement.
  • Reflect on the situations of others through role play, stories.
  • Experience a range of culture, music, art, drama and dance

 

Where Spirituality  in our Curriculum?
Spirituality is not a study or subject in the curriculum. It is a connection to something that is bigger than ourselves. It is about awe and wonder, asking questions and being inspired to look beyond ourselves and serve and care for others and nature. Spirituality does not just occur in our planned curriculum and lessons. It can happen:

  • At lunch and break times
  • At special events
  • In contemplation and prayer
  • In visits and through visitors to school
  • Throughout the whole of the school day
  • In the experiences that children bring to school
  • In daily conversations
  • the unexpected

 

What is the Role of our School Community?
In school we give opportunities for reflection, in lessons and through prayer and liturgy, children develop an understanding of looking back and reflecting on what they have experienced. This may take the form of looking back and taking from the past, from scripture, from an image or learning experience. All members of the school community have a responsibility for helping to nurture children’s spiritual development and where appropriate we connect with our parish and wider community to develop spirituality.

Staff can do this through:

  • Establishing and maintaining a partnership between pupils, parents and staff; recognising and respecting the faith background of the children and their families;
  • Taking part in, and supporting, collective acts of worship;
  • Being good role models in their conduct towards other members of the community;
  • Promoting an attitude of respect for other people and for others’ views;
  • Nurturing consideration for and generosity towards others.
  • Drawing on the experiences of pupils and their families during religious education lessons and beyond;
  • Recognising and being constantly aware of the needs and backgrounds of each individual pupil;
  • Being willing to develop their own knowledge and understanding of the Christian faith and the faiths of others;
  • Having a positive attitude to the value of spiritual education.

Children can do this through:

  • Taking an active part in acts of prayer or liturgy;
  • Participating in activities which promote the skills allowing them to engage in examination of and reflection upon religious belief and practice;
  • Conducting themselves towards others considerately in acts of service to others;
  • Respecting the views and beliefs of others.

Parents can help through:

  •  Adopting a positive attitude to the value of spiritual education;
  •  Supporting the school’s Catholic ethos and acts of community worship such as assemblies, Mass and other church services;
  • Respecting the views and beliefs of others.
  • Parents and Developing Children’s Spirituality

Parishioners

  • Pray and journey in faith together
  • Share Sacrament and Eucharist
  • Take part in collaborative acts of social justice
  • Share in tradition and liturgical ritual- Rosary/Processions/

Our world more than ever needs inhabitants with spirituality. The world is going through tremendous political and ecological turmoil. It is driven by excessive greed for resources and energy which is fueling unsustainable living and could be one of the major causes of earth warming and pandemic. Everyone, whether religious or not, have spiritual needs such as: the need to love and be loved. the need for meaning and purpose. the need for support and hope. At St. Patrick’s, we believe that Spiritual experiences can contribute to our pupils being more creative, patient, persistent, honest, kind, compassionate, wise, calm, hopeful, and ultimately have a sense of joy, justice and peace.