St Thomas’ Catholic School in Willoughby, have been using their project based learning approach, aligning student learning with the Year of Faith and the school’s historical Josephite heritage.
The active engaged learning is inspiring Year 5 and 6 St Thomas’ students to develop a deeper knowledge of their school’s faith story through questioning, inquiry and critical thinking.
Aligning student learning with the Year of Faith and the charism of St Mary MacKillop and the Josephite Sisters, the students examined how curriculum is created and then developed a plan for the teaching of the charism across the school. In small cross-grade groups they then researched and interviewed to produce a short movie.
The students developed a learning plan that had two strands – one about the practicality of living the faith story and one about the theology behind it. This included a movie for Kindergarten answering the questions of “what is a nun?’ What is a priest?” and the practical side was based on friendship. The local parish priest was interviewed. The Year 6 theological focus was on Mary’s Excommunication and then dealing with everyday challenges in life to further develop their own discipleship challenges. One of the local parish’s senior acolytes was interviewed.
The students then showcased their movies and staff used them as part of their resources when teaching about St Mary MacKillop during her feast time in August.