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Catholic school - is this the norm?

(23 Posts)
Tiredandtorn Tue 17-Nov-15 06:30:44

I regularly look after my brothers child who has recently begun school based nursery in a catholic school.

The dc constantly, I mean literally - very little else, talks about the sign of the cross, washing her baby ready for baptism (not just bathing her doll) the bible and all shes learning about God and Jesus. She very frequently says, "in the name of the father, son and holy spirt" spontaneously during play. Even while playing with play doh, she uses tools to make the cross.
A friend of mine is a TA in the school and tells me the teacher only does RE based lessons - very little numbers or phonics work. The dc was able to write her name 3 months ago and now can't due to lack of practise at school.
She went to a lovely day nursery as a baby and toddler and despite attending church with her family every week since birth, she's never been as emmersed as she is now.

I've absolutely nothing against faith schools, my own family is catholic too.
But this is making me, and the family very uncomfortable.

Any thoughts?

00100001 Tue 17-Nov-15 07:44:11

ge your brother to deal with it

meditrina Tue 17-Nov-15 07:47:55

"very little numbers or phonics work"

That'll be because it's a nursery class.

If her parents are concerned, they need to find a different setting for her. The ethos of a school cannot be predicted by the type of school it is, they need to visit each one, and remember that the deadline for reception applications is 15 January.

SuburbanRhonda Tue 17-Nov-15 07:50:13

OP, prepare to be amazed by what people will put up with in pursuit of what they believe is a superior education for their DC.

bearleftmonkeyright Tue 17-Nov-15 07:51:37

Watching with interest. As a lapsed catholic and someone who went to a catholic school I have deep reservations about faith schools. I am looking for work as a TA and feel reluctant to apply to catholic schools if I'm honest.

PurpleDaisies Tue 17-Nov-15 07:52:50

What does your brother think about it? Given that he chose to send his kids to a catholic school, perhaps he wanted them to have a strong faith component to their education?

If he isn't comfortable with what they're doing at nursery he should move them but you haven't said one way or the other in your post.

ScarlettDarling Tue 17-Nov-15 07:53:46

Well, I teach in a Catholic school and of course RE is quite a large part of our curriculum. We say prayers four times each day, do classroom liturgies, have whole school assemblies and have a couple of formal RE lessons each week.

I honestly can't believe that a nursery teacher only teaches RE lessons though! In nursery the children shouldn't be having formal lessons on anything, it's all play based learning. I'd take what the TA friend says with a pinch of salt. Most probably they've been talking about making the sign of the cross and the little one has just become a bit taken with it. We've recently done a topic on baptism where we poured water on doll's heads and the kids loved it...I can imagine they all went home and copied it. It doesn't mean they're religion obsessed!!

But of course if your brother is worried, the only sensible thing to do would be to go and speak to the teacher. She'll be able to explain what they're doing and hopefully put his mind at rest.

APlaceOnTheCouch Tue 17-Nov-15 07:54:29

If your brother is concerned then he has to speak to the nursery. A DC acting repetitively doesn't mean they are constantly being taught to do so. One talk could just have caught your niece's attention. Likewise it may be coming from another DC.

DS was at a Catholic nursery. He used to come home talking about 'zambies' zombies all the time. Bugger all to do with what nursery was teaching him; everything to do with one of the other DCs having a Zombie obsessed big brother.

So to answer your specific question, in our experience, playing baptisms was not an effect of attending a Catholic nursery neither was making the sign of the cross. As for writing, DS always wrote more at home than he did at nursery.

mrsglowglow Tue 17-Nov-15 09:40:11

No, it is not the norm and I don't believe a word of your post.

TheApprentice Tue 17-Nov-15 09:45:38

I find this extremely odd. I work in a Nursery in a Catholic school but the nursery is non-denominational - as are all Nurseries here, s we don't do any of this stuff. (just as well as I am not Catholic!). And why would a Nursery teacher be doing "lessons"? That's not how Nursery works.

Viviennemary Tue 17-Nov-15 09:50:25

I think some things just interest children more than others. It may have just been one 'lesson' that sparked this off rather than a whole series of talks. In a child's mind it's no different than being obsessed with a book or TV programme IMHO.

llhj Tue 17-Nov-15 09:50:46

Perhaps she's filled with The Holy Spirit?

lunar1 Tue 17-Nov-15 09:55:20

My friends ds was the same when he started in the nursery attached to the local catholic school. It is the best performing school in the area and I did apply despite not being religious.

After spending some time with them after he started I've never been so relieved he didn't get a place!

APlaceOnTheCouch Tue 17-Nov-15 10:14:41

Scarlett I remember being taught about baptism in P3 and getting a doll baptised. I couldn't get it's hat off and nearly pulled the doll's head off in the process. The priest remarked it was just as well it wasn't a real baby grin

ShelaghTurner Tue 17-Nov-15 10:18:46

I found this at the very start of reception. DD1 went through an obsessed with Jesus phase! Lasted about a month and I put it down to the fact that she was saying prayers at school three times a day and God was coming up in conversation more than at home. It was all a bit new to her. We're practising Catholics, she'd been to mass all her life before that but it went over her head before. It wore off. She barely mentions Jesus now wink

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Tue 17-Nov-15 10:30:36

What Vivienne said. Some children really latch onto things that interest them. He'll probably move on to other stuff.

It probably isn't the only thing the nursery are teaching, but most of it probably doesn't look like lessons.

Can't say I'd be particularly surprised at a Catholic nursery teaching the sign of the cross and talking about baptism.

ButterflyUpSoHigh Tue 17-Nov-15 11:41:32

My children go to a catholic school. They do prayers in the morning, before lunch and at hometime. Either assembly or mass weekly. They do the sacraments through school so would learn about their baptism, then prepare for reconciliation, holy communion and confirmation.

Witchend Tue 17-Nov-15 12:59:47

If you asked my ds at that age what he'd spent the time doing at that age he'd either have told you he spent the entire time sitting on the mat being bored, or the entire time playing football, depending on whether he was feeling positive or negative about school at that time.

Tiredandtorn Tue 17-Nov-15 19:28:58

Thank you for all the replies.

To answer a few questions:

Yes, my brother and his wife are concerned, and yes they have an appointment to see the teacher to discuss further. My post was to gain a general opinion after discussing with my SIL yesterday.

Phonics and basic number work is VERY much the norm in school based nurseries where I live. Some school have differentiated groups for this from age 3.

To the poster who questions the validity of my post, I assure you it's true. Why on earth should I post lies?!

I know my niece very well and even after church and Sunday school every week since she was tiny, she has never been filled with so much information.

I completely agree that that's why they sent her to a faith school, to learn about her religion. However, the degree of it seems a little excessive for 3 year olds.

shebird Tue 17-Nov-15 20:23:30

My DCs went to a Catholic nursery and primary and I never experienced the things you mention OP. It is possible that in preparation for big school the nursery is introducing things like how to make the sign of the cross and prayer as part of the daily routine. As others have said it is possible that your DN has just latched on to this and like all other phases it will pass. Just make sure that she doesn't try to make altar of her playable and fill up a beaker cup with wine as one of DDs friends did shock

shebird Tue 17-Nov-15 20:23:40

*play table

SmallestInTheClass Tue 17-Nov-15 20:30:03

My two go to a catholic primary, one in nursery, one in year one. We are not catholic but it's our nearest school and the only one where we would get a place. It's an OK school achievement-wise, but not outstanding so it was being close to home that motivated us to send them there. Both will talk a little bit about God making the world and Jesus being born at Christmas etc and they can do the sign of the cross, but it's unusual for them to mention it much. I would expect some simple phonics and number work based around playful activities from nursery at school. My first went to a private nursery and did quite a bit even in that setting, which was very much focussed on play and was much less formal than school. I've noticed my LO who is in nursery school recognises more letters and numbers since starting school.

MMmomKK Wed 18-Nov-15 10:24:15

I also think that the run up to Xmas has something to do with it.

Dd1 used to talk a lot about God, etc about this time when she started Reception. And we don't even go to church...and she wasn't at a church school!

I think as they start practicing Xmas performances, and do Xmas-related activities there is a lot more focus on religion at this time of the school year, especially with the little ones.

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