As a follow up to the retreat experiences that students receive, they have the opportunity to complete Youth Ministry units of study within the Religious Education Course. These units give students the chance to further understand the Catholic Faith Tradition and develop vision and skills in Youth Ministry. Youth Ministry students conduct retreats for Middle School as well as whole school liturgies, such as the College Easter Liturgy, and Year 6 Confirmation retreats.
Due to the interest of other schools around Australia in offering the Youth Ministry course, Catholic Schools Youth Ministry Australia (CSYMA) was formed. Through this the Youth Ministry four-phase program is applied at the College:
Phase one: The initial retreat experience where students are introduced to Youth Ministry. Typically, the first Youth Ministry experience of a student will be a “Catch The Wave” retreat in Year 9 or 10.
Phase two: Participation in the Youth Ministry units of study which are incorporated into the Religious Education Curriculum at CSYMA schools. These classes are usually offered to students who have had a positive retreat experience and desire further opportunities and information within Youth Ministry.
Phase three: Focuses on the Senior Youth Ministry Team. This is made up of Year 11 and 12 students who conduct retreats and liturgies to provide a phase one experience for younger students. The Senior Team are also candidates for cross-cultural mission trips.
Phase four: Aims to carry on Youth Ministry after a student finishes school. Its goal is to connect youth into the broader Church including Parish/Diocesan events.
The Years 7 to 10 curriculum for Religious Education at St. Edmund’s College has been created using the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn’s program, ‘Treasures New and Old’ and merged with the content covered in the Religious Education textbook ‘To Know, Worship and Love’ thus creating a more interactive educational experience.
Senior school students have the options of undertaking tertiary or accredited study using the Religious Studies course framework developed by the Board of Senior Secondary Studies (BSSS). St Edmund’s College has taken a further step in offering electives to the students undertaking Tertiary study in Religious Education. There are four courses to choose from every semester which offer a diverse and engaging field of study.
The option of students choosing their path of study in Religious Education has led to a rise in retention rates for the subject in the senior school.
The Religious Education faculty has taken several steps to benefit the quality of the learning experience provided for the students of the College. The use of iPads in the classroom creates an interactive and engaging learning environment, and the feedback from the students on the use of iPads as tools for learning has been outstanding since their implementation in 2011.
The Religious Education classrooms have also recently been fitted with new, different and brightly coloured furniture and tables. This use of innovative design creates vibrant learning spaces that enhance learning.
There is a also continual focus on improving the delivery of the lessons taught by the Religion faculty. They are committed to delivering quality education centred on the EREA Charter.