The word curriculum has roots in Latin where it referred to the “course to be run.” When this idea is used in education it describes not just those ideas and attitudes that are to be learned, but also the sequence in which they are to be studied. The curriculum shows how ideas build together over time to form a more and more complex understanding of the subject and ultimately of the world.
The religious education curriculum for the diocese published in 1995 is organized first by grade level, then within each grade level there are several sections which outline important parts of the whole. Each grade level first identifies the overall goal that the particular curriculum sections of that grade are hoping to achieve. This is significant and important. All of the objectives that are assembled in the various sections of the curriculum are organized to achieve this stated goal. To view individual objectives apart from their intended goal is to see them outside of the context that they were designed to serve.
To achieve the stated goal, objectives are arranged in four areas that are identified as the key ingredients of catechesis by major Church documents. Students are exposed to learning objectives that are intended to increase their understanding of the faith; to form them into a community of believers, that is the Church; to increase their participation in the worship habits of the Church and to increase their participation in and awareness of service as an important dimension of Catholic life. These four important areas are typically referred to as Message, Community, Worship and Service and form the major headings within each grade.
Also within each grade, the curriculum provides a summary of the grade in a section referred to as “Content.” Each grade also identifies the “Outcomes and Evaluation” that students are expected to master for that year. These outcomes are identified in three ways:
- The curriculum identifies what information the student should know
- What attitudes the student should display
- What behaviors the student should exhibit because they have participated in this course of study.
The elementary curriculum of the diocese is indexed to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and you will see this indexing represented as Catechism-paragraph-numbers in a parenthesis following the learning objectives. This curriculum is written using the “student outcomes” model of curriculum development.
Resources for implementation of the Bishop’s of the US Curriculum Framework for High School are available but optional for the 13-14 school year. The resources outlined below are required for implementation in the 14-15 school year. The resources to teach the Framework will be a combination of lessons from the Center for Ministry Development and a supplementary text the Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth from St. Mary’s Press. Please see the schedules above for additional details.