I was blessed with seven years in at the Catholic school associated with my home parish. I am thankful for what those seven years provided me; a strong base for my faith and a community I still love to visit and be a part of. In honor of Catholic Schools Week, I wanted to share four benefits of a Catholic elementary education!
1.) Religious Education
Religion was a grade at St. Lawrence; we had textbooks, worksheets, and activities that helped us piece together what our faith was and why we believed it. We studied the Bible and how it came together to prove who Jesus was. We learned a variety of ways to pray and got to practice them with our peers.
Beyond that, parents can take comfort in knowing that their children are being educated by real educators, not just (wonderful) volunteers who may not be the best at teaching. There is also a greater wealth of resources available to students enrolled in a Catholic school rather than just attending a PSR or Sunday School.
This is a benefit in any good school system, but a Catholic school is generally structured around a parish community. Being a member of the church and school provides kiddos with more opportunities to be participating members of a community. A key to a healthy parish is a sense of community and volunteerism, which a school community can help model and instill in the students.
Although many public schools make altruism a part of their values, students at a Catholic school will get to serve a community they will be a part of for many years. Children learn how to be a member of a community and a good volunteer through modeling and opportunities to practice what they have seen. A Catholic school can provide this in a manner public education does not.
Diversity is important for children to be exposed to, but like-mindedness (majority Catholic) is a healthy environment for young kids to be raised in. Parents can take comfort that their children are spending time with others who have been raised with similar values. Children will be able to share about their culture and traditions with others who will understand what a Rosary is or why they cannot go to a different church on Sundays.
Diversity (which is also important when growing up) can be experienced through extracurricular activities (t-ball, scouts, art classes, etc.)
4.) Variety of Catholic Living
Priests, nuns, married, single, religious... they all come together as educators in the classroom. The more students are exposed to a variety of vocations, the more they are aware of the value that each brings to the greater community. Getting to see that a single man or woman's life is just a fulfilling as a married person's is so healthy for young ones to see. Also getting to see their parish priest play kickball or eat lunch with them is an introduction to the full life that priests live outside of the Mass.
I do believe that public education also provides great things for students, but those early, formative elementary years in a Catholic school were a great mix between the two for myself and my siblings. I am so thankful for my Catholic education!
Did you attend a Catholic school? What do you value about your Catholic education?
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