The Catholic Classroom
School is where the Home is…
It is said that the Catholic School is an extension of the Catholic Home. When I was growing up, I was surrounded at home, by holy pictures and statues. Today I would like to think that when someone walks into my house, they immediately know they are in a Catholic home.
The Primary School Classroom
And as Catholic Teachers, we should see our homes in our classrooms too. Primary school teachers are normally allocated a permanent classroom where the adornment of the physical environment is a natural part of the classroom curriculum: students continually decorate the class according to the Liturgical Year, Feast days and the Sacraments.
The High School Classroom
But what about High School classrooms? High School teachers are often required to move around to different rooms to teach their subjects. And often these classrooms are bereft of physical signs of the Faith; albeit the obligatory Crucifix hangs on the front wall.
The Physical Environment
In comparing these two types of physical environment, you might be forgiven in thinking that they are classrooms in different schools! As mentioned in a previous post: Four Marks of the Catholic Teacher the Holy See’s Teaching on Catholic Schools explains…
A school’s physical environment is also an integral element that embodies the genuine community values of the Catholic tradition.
When a student, teacher or parent walks into any Catholic Classroom they should immediately identify the Catholic in it. The external signs of the Catholic culture is expressed visibly and physically across the classroom.
Images might include pictures of The Sacred Heart of Jesus, The Immaculate Heart of Mary, The Patron Saint of the School, The Pope.
And as the School is an extension of the home, we should see prominently The Holy Family: The Blessed Virgin Mary, St Joseph and The Child Jesus.
Patron Saints of Education
And don’t forget the Patron Saints of Education like St Thomas Aquinas, St John Bosco, St Francis de Sales, St John Baptist de la Salle.
Symbols and icons, objects of the Faith including statues, complement the classroom environment. A classroom crucifix should be prominent and in view of the whole class, to direct prayer during the school day towards the ultimate symbol of love.
Other adornments of student work, posters or art, although not explicitly religious in nature should embody the Catholic ethos and not lead to scandal. This includes all textbooks and novels too. Discernment at all times is important.
It makes such a difference to be teaching in an environment that exudes the Catholic faith, both within and without. The external elements are fundamental to our Catholic Culture in a world that is on a quest to undermine it.
Take every opportunity to promote Catholic culture in the physical environment, in every school in the classroom. Does your classroom do this?