The Catholic school should be able to offer young people the means to acquire the knowledge they need in order to find a place in a society which is strongly characterised by technical and scientific skill. But at the same time it should be able, above all, to impart a solid Christian formation.
The 191 primary and 49 secondary Catholic integrated schools in Aotearoa New Zealand strive to fulfil their obligations to young people and their parents, to the wider society and to the Church. The 'solid Christian formation' mentioned above has many aspects. Pre-eminent among these is classroom religious education.
For many years the Bishops and their agents have, in cooperation with schools, devoted significant time and resources to providing formation for religious education teachers and developing religious education curricula. In particular NCRS has been responsible for coordinating the development of educationally and theologically sound classroom resources.
The Church recognises parents as the first educators in faith of their children and desires to support them in this process. The early childhood curriculum statement intends to support and guide parents and teachers in the religious education of their children at this most important time in the child’s development and to ensure the provision of quality Catholic Early Childhood education.
The official Religious Education curriculum for Primary Catholic Schools in Aotearoa New Zealand is a dynamic, practical classroom resource for children aged 5-13 years (Year 1-8). The programme helps children to develop an understanding about how Catholics celebrate, live and pray in ways that are relevant to the new millennium.
It was developed by teachers for teachers and seeks to enhance the collaborative relationship between the Home, the School and the Parish as they work together to educate their children in faith.
The officially approved national curriculum of Religious Education in Catholic secondary schools in Aotearoa New Zealand is entitled Understanding Faith. This name gives an indication of the purpose of the curriculum, which is to help students gain knowledge, understanding and appreciation of what it means to be Catholic.