Catholic Education Catholic schools exist to inform, form and transform students according to the message of Jesus as it comes to us through scripture and the living tradition of the Church. Fundamental to Catholicism is the belief that parents are the primary educators of children and that education is holistic.
All elementary students participate in the Religious Education Program (Elementary Religious Education curriculum) and the Family Life Program (Ontario Fully Alive Curriculum) written and approved by the Catholic bishops. In elementary schools, the teaching of Religion as a subject discipline occurs daily. Preparation for the sacraments, in collaboration with the local parish, is an integral part of the Grade 2 and Grade 8 curriculum. In secondary schools, students enroll in one Religion course (whose curriculum is set by the Ontario Bishops (Secondary Religion program) in each of the four years. The Religion and Family Life Programs are intended to provide instruction in the faith and the skills needed for moral decision making. These are life skills which will serve our students long after their formal education has been completed.
Perhaps what most distinguishes a Catholic school from that of others is its broad curriculum. All subjects in Catholic schools (and all activities) are taught from the perspective of faith. At its core, curriculum in any subject reveals fundamental beliefs and values about the nature, task and specific character of the educational enterprise. It presupposes and involves a definite understanding of what it means to be human, of how to live together, and the wisdom necessary to sustain life on this planet. Indeed, in its broadest sense, Catholic curriculum is a worldview shaped by the Catholic conversation about life’s meaning and purpose. Education that is Catholic, analyses all truth and knowledge (literature, history, geography, science, technology, mathematics) through the lens of faith.
For the Catholic Church, education is not just about the transmission of knowledge and the acquiring of skills and tools for success in life. While a Catholic education does include formal religious education classes, as outlined above, it is so much more. It includes the open expression and celebration of faith and opportunities for a relationship with God through the entire syllabus of the school.
Day retreats are compulsory in each of the four years of secondary school. In addition, Grade 2 and 8 students usually participate in a retreat. A retreat is a time away from the routine of the regular schedule. Students are led through activities and reflections which allow them to think more deeply about who they are as human beings.
Prayers, liturgy and religious celebrations are integrated into the daily schedule. Together with the pastor, Liturgy of the Eucharist, which is central to Catholicism, is organized according to the seasons of the church year. Each elementary school has an active pastoral program animated by a staff member who is the faith ambassador. Each secondary school integrates prayer and social justice activities organized with the assistance of the full time chaplaincy leader who is available to students in times of joy and crisis.
It is a fundamental Catholic belief that parents, parishes and schools co-operate to educate a child to the fullest extent. An educated person, derived from the Latin origin of the word "education", is a person who is well brought up. When Catholic teachers, convinced of the vision and mission of Catholic education, together with our priests and pastoral staff, work closely with parents and families, a powerful and exciting possibility emerges.
Framed by the Ontario Catholic School Graduate Expectations (OCSGE), our graduates will be effective communicators, reflective thinkers, lifelong learners, collaborative contributors, caring family members, responsible citizens and discerning believers formed in the Catholic faith community.
Our Catholic School Heritage
Read an historical understanding of issues related to Catholic education in Ontario. Our Catholic School Heritage is a Q and A style document, written by Dr. Robert Dixon and edited by J.B. Kostoff, Director of Education.
168 Years of Success
Catholic Schools have been educating students in mind, body and spirit in Ontario since before the birth of the province. For nearly 170 years they have provided educational excellence, in a school culture imbued with the Gospel values of Jesus Christ. Catholic education has been the foundation for millions of students to develop their full spiritual, academic, physical and social potential.