03 Feb What To Expect In Your Child’s First Year Of Catholic School
One minute you’re mulling over baby names for your child, the next you’re picking out their first school. Parenthood has a way of creeping up on you with milestones at every turn, and none is more significant than your child’s first day at primary school.
Whether you attended a faith school or not, much has changed in education over the years, you may find it useful to know what to expect from a Catholic school before your child starts. While all UK schools follow the National Curriculum, there are some differences with a Catholic school education.
Here’s a few things to expect when your child starts reception this September.
- They’ll learn a lot (about Jesus)
In their first year of school, also known as reception, you’ll see your child’s learning curve go through a huge transformation. They’ll start to read and write, and develop their learning of the world around them. This includes their understanding of Jesus, and the teachings of Christ. With an emphasis on Catholicism, don’t be surprised when your child comes home reciting bible stories and telling you all about the Saints.
- They’ll find their religious compass
As your child develops in their first year of Catholic school education, you’ll notice they’ll find a love for their faith, helping to lay a foundation for life. They will also develop a curiosity around it, which might mean lots of philosophical questions – some you won’t have the answer to. Use this as an opportunity to talk to your child openly about your faith and how it can act as a compass and spiritual guide throughout life. It’s never too early to find comfort and peace through the learnings of Christ.
- Lots of prayers
Perhaps what is most noticeable about your child attending a faith school, is the amount of praying they undertake. Quite often it can be up to several times a day, although it tends to be quick bursts, typically; morning reflection, a prayer before meals, and upon leaving school. They will also start to learn the Lord’s Prayer, The Hail Mary and how to use the Rosary, as well as learning how to bless themselves. You might not realise until you’re standing next to them at Church when they join in seamlessly, it’s a proud parent moment for sure!
- Celebrating festivals
Get ready for plenty of throwback memories, as your child will be celebrating all the key religious events throughout the school year. From Lent to Easter and Saint Days to Harvest Festival, there’s lots of events they’ll be marking and yes, that also means plenty of colouring in and crafts to bring home. You might also notice fundraising events tend to have a Catholic-bias, such as raising money for local churches/Catholic charities, rather than partaking in commercial events like Comic Relief and Children in Need – although all schools vary.
- A wide friendship group and community
It’s often said that Catholic schools tend to have more of a community feel to them, especially since most (if not all) children are of the faith. As a parent, this is wonderful for making friends with likeminded people from all backgrounds – something you will build upon in your first year. This also means that your child will grow up with plenty of Catholic friends, and will be supported throughout events such as their First Holy Communion.
- The Nativity
If you were to put a starting primary school checklist together, it would likely include a number of big events to look forward to, including the nativity. Make no mistake, Catholic schools take the nativity seriously! Your child will be practising their lines from early December, and you’ll be impressed with the high production values put into it – most definitely a step-up from nursery nativities.
- Reporting to the local diocese
Catholic schools are subjected to the same accountability as all schools in their local authority. However, you’ll notice that most have additional accountability to their local diocese, responsible for certain standards they uphold. There are a few times when you might notice this in the school running, especially if you compare notes with other local schools.
- Learning important values
One of the greatest benefits of a Catholic school education are the values it instils in your child. You’ll notice these from day one, especially being kind and thoughtful to others. It’s a delight to see your child flourish and nourished in these important values.