What Does a Catholic Education Offer Children?

Overview

Catholic education focuses on the search for true meaning in life as an important spiritual and academic quest. Ontario Catholic schools' curriculum isn’t just understood in regards to the knowledge and skills students learn but also in regards to the values, actions and attitudes informed by faith and reason.

Students get an opportunity to understand the relationship between the body, mind, and spirit, which is the key to finding meaning in life. Catholic school students get a unique opportunity to learn the relationship between knowledge and faith as well as learning and believing.

Below is a more in-depth discussion on what a Catholic education offers children from a spiritual, academic standards, extra-curricular, family and community perspective.

Children at mass, Superior North Catholic District School Board
Photo: Church Mass

a. Spirituality

Catholic education offers an outright advantage from a spiritual perspective. The entire educational experience challenges students to focus on improving the world by abiding by Christ’s message of salvation and sharing Gospel values.

Besides academic learning, the curriculum focuses on helping students understand the roots of Christian faith as well as their responsibilities as Christians.

The curriculum incorporates classes and activities revolving around scripture, morality, the Church and sacraments, in an effort to teach students how to be responsible Christians. There is also focus on virtues, such as commitment and self-discipline. Students are encouraged to accept and face the challenges of being Christians.

Children hanging a welcome banner for Father Sauve
Photo: Welcoming Father Sauve

b. Academics

Catholic education is challenging from an academic point of view. The curriculum demands high standards from its students, and the teachers support the children in their achievements. We structure our schools and classrooms so students can learn in a caring environment which fosters excellence. This is one of the reasons Catholic school students in Ontario perform better nationally on standardized testing

Catholic students also tend to stand out because of the high level of personal sharing and individualized attention in Catholic schools.

c. Standards

Catholic schools have high standards for the schools, staff, and their school board. As a group, we undergo continuous education, evaluation, certification and accreditation processes for both programs and teachers.

The processes we have in place for accountability, help us serve our students better so those students can achieve more and grow in their faith.

Students are taught using a curriculum that meets our province's guidelines and regulations. Catholic schools also focus on employing fully qualified professionals to ensure our students gain knowledge, skills and values from the best educators. 

Saint Hilary Girls' running team
Photo of the Saint Hilary Girls' Running Team

d. Extra-curricular programs

Catholic schools incorporate extra-curricular activities as a crucial part of the overall learning experience. Students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of extra-curricular activities to foster leadership, creativity, and cooperation while generating healthy competition.

All students are encouraged to participate in extra-curricular programs.  See the individual school pages to learn about activities at the school nearest you.

e. Family and community involvement

Catholic schools recognize parent, caregivers, and the community, as educators. This is why Catholic schools encourage parents, as well the community, to take part in the education process.

Schools go outside their mandate to make sure students create special bonds among themselves as well as with family members, church members and the community as a whole. Parents are encouraged to help their children understand their roles in the church, the family, and the society.

Catholic schools also value the input of the community and family in the overall learning process of students. 

Research shows that Catholic schools have lower dropout rates and higher attendance rates (read our article about the importance of school attendance) because of a number of factors among them being the partnerships formed with caregivers and the society.

We all play a role in Catholic Education.

The Catholic Graduate Expectations are embedded in all that we do. Our graduates are expected to be:

  • A discerning believer formed in the Catholic faith community who celebrates the signs and sacred mystery of God’s presence through word, sacrament, prayer, forgiveness, reflection  and moral living
  • An effective communicator who speaks, writes, and listens, honestly and sensitively, responding critically in light of gospel values
  • A reflective, creative, and holistic thinker who solves problems and makes responsible decisions with an informed moral conscience for the common good
  • A self-directed, responsible lifelong learner who develops and demonstrates God-given potential
  • A collaborative contributor who finds meaning, dignity and vocation in work  that respects the rights of all and contributes to the common good
  • A caring family member who attends to family, school, parish and the community
  • A responsible citizen who gives witness to Catholic social teaching by promoting peace, justice and the sacredness of human life.

Summary

Students who attend Catholic schools have significant advantages based on the above information.

First and foremost, the curriculum is challenging, so students are constantly engaged. Students also have opportunities for joining in extra-curricular activities and advancing their spirituality which helps them develop into holistic individuals.

The Catholic tradition sees human life as a combination of body, mind and spirit. From this vision, Catholic education promotes the search for knowledge as a lifelong spiritual and academic quest. Catholic graduates, therefore, are both lifelong learners and people of value, character and positive action. 

Furthermore, parents, caregivers and the community are involved in the Catholic education process.

Last but not least, high standards are maintained in every aspect from choosing educators to curriculum evaluation. Catholic school students definitely get what the best modern education system has to offer and more.

To explore joining our schools, please visit the registration page, or make an appointment for a tour with a principal at any of our schools.  Each of our school administrators welcomes phone calls, or emails, to answer your questions.

Links

Catholic Culture Updates

Family Life Education Curriculum (PDF)

Catholic Graduate School Expectations (PDF)

Initiative Contact: Sister Stephanie Romiti