S’pore Catholic educators visited Church-run schools in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast recently
Group photo at taken at the Brisbane Catholic Education Office.
Singapore Catholic educators saw how Church-run schools in Australia integrated the Catholic ethos into the school community and curriculum during a recent visit.
Eleven principals and vice-principals of local Catholics schools, ranging from preschool to secondary, went on a study trip to Australia’s Brisbane and Sunshine Coast from June 4-9.
This was part of the continuing collaboration between the Archdiocesan Commission for Catholic Schools (ACCS) and the Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) Office to help strengthen the Catholic school identity in Singapore.
Of the 10 schools that the Singapore group visited, two schools – Seton College and Assisi College – stood out for the visitors.
At Seton College, which serves people with specific needs, such as physical or intellectual disabilities and academic delays, students are equipped to be lifelong learners.
The school, which takes in children aged 11-18, believes that every child is a child of God and builds a strong relationship with students and their families.
The school offers work placement according to the students’ needs and abilities and is also involved in community projects.
Many of the Singapore visitors said they were moved by the school’s motto, which states: “Do your best, whatever your best might be. Each person has a different best.”
Students are actively involved in caring for the school compound, which is like a mini-farm. They take part in activities such as the setting up of irrigation systems, and recycling and waste management programmes.
Through these shared goals, students make meaningful connections with each other and feel valued.
Another noteworthy experience was at Assisi College, where many of the students are not Catholics. The Singapore educators said they could relate to this situation as Singapore Catholic schools comprise students of different religions.
At Assisi College, Catholic values are imparted through infusing Catholic social teaching into various parts of the curriculum. For example, Church teaching on equality and human dignity is part of the Genetics & Evolution subject, so that science is viewed within a wider context of Catholic values.
In the humanities and social sciences, students also gain an insight into Church teachings on social justice.
Many of the Singapore visitors shared that they were impressed with how the schools put Catholic values into practice.
Commenting on Seton College, Mrs Michelle Willman, vice-principal of CHIJ St Joseph’s Convent, said, “Every child was understood and supported in progressing as an individual by teachers and school leaders alike.”
Mr Brandon Lee, vice-principal of Montfort Secondary School, said Assisi College’s way of imparting Catholic social teaching “would allow the students to engage in real world issues through the lens of the Church and use existing platforms in schools … to provide the context and rationale for the action to be taken on social issues”.
Submitted by the ARCHDIOCESAN COMMISSION FOR CATHOLIC SCHOOLS