Whilst other values may be found within the four Gospels and New Testament writings, it is the Beatitudes which ‘depict the countenance of Jesus Christ and portray his charity’. (Christ at the Centre)
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them. He said:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
The Beatitudes reveal the goal of human existence, the ultimate end of human acts and as such are the objective ‘values’ given by Christ himself:
Faithfulness and Integrity
Dignity and Compassion
Humility and Gentleness
Truth and Justice
Forgiveness and Mercy
Purity and Holiness
Tolerance and Peace
Service and Sacrifice
Rooted in the teachings of Christ, these Gospel values constitute the targets and outcomes of the educational enterprise of our Catholic school.
As a Catholic Infant school, we have developed a yearly programme of Gospel Value foci which are appropriate to the younger age children we teach. Over the course of a year, the Values build and intertwine so that our understanding is given breadth and depth and ensures our engagements with them are truly ‘goals’:
Children experience God’s love and show God’s love. Something that is outgoing and not just focussed on.
How to be compassionate towards others, near and far, especially the less fortunate.
Treating others in a non-violent way, respectful way.
Learning how to be resilient and persevere, about loss and gain, and having faith in the future.
Honesty and Forgiveness
Honesty and Forgiveness – Standing up for what is right. How to reconcile with others.
Gratefulness and Generosity of Gifts
|Being grateful for their own gifts, for the gifts of other people, and for the blessings of each day; and becoming generous with their gifts as they grow up.
Our Gospel values are explicitly named, their meaning unpacked and children helped to understand how they relate to their lives both at school, at home and in society. We use the example of Christ to ensure our children not only know these values but also where they come from and why we should endeavour to use them in our day to day lives – ‘we love because He first loved us’ 1 John 4:19.
Essentially, we aspire for our children to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and to learn to treat each other how we they would like to be treated.
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” Matthew 7:12
We teach our children Gospel values that they might live them out and so that ‘Christ is at the centre of all that we do and our faith community is rooted in Gospel values which permeate into every aspect of learning and teaching: ‘the totality of school life’’.
Where we see children ‘living out’ our values, we reward and encourage until they are embedded natural acts. Children wear ‘Golden’ Sweatshirts when they have modelled use of a given value and this is followed up by the sending home of ‘Prayer Bags’ to celebrate their achievement with family, friends and the wider community.
In this way, we ensure Gospel values go beyond prayer and liturgy and even curriculum; they are the essential core of our Catholic School.
Esk Avenue, Whitehaven, Cumbria, CA28 8AJ