Welcome to Our St. Mary Immaculate Religious Education Program

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1 Religious Education: Grades K-6 Contact Information Phone: Fax: Web address: Office Hours: (during school year) Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday 9:00 a.m. 3:00 p.m. 9:00 a.m. 6:30 p.m. 9:00 a.m. 7:45 p.m. 9:00 a.m. 6:30 p.m. Closed 9:00 a.m. 10:15 a.m. Please note: After 3:30 p.m. our desk is often manned by volunteers, so if you wish to speak to a staff member please come in or call before that time. Office Hours will be modified during Thanksgiving, Christmas and Spring Breaks. Please call for details. Welcome to Our St. Mary Immaculate Religious Education Program We look forward to another fulfilling year working with you and your children. Our ministry here is to enhance the spiritual development and faith formation of our students, while at the same time opening their eyes to a church community. Within our program the personal safety of our students is of the utmost importance and is the deciding factor in most of our policies and procedures. As you read through this handbook if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact us. We would like to thank you in advance for your support and understanding in working with us to make this a holy, joyful and safe year. To get immediate notification on class cancellations and other program urgencies sign up for Flocknote by texting SMIP to 84576

2 Table of Contents Registration Information. 3 Session Policies.. 4 Special Programs 7 Sacramental Preparation. 8 Curriculum. 9 Grade Level Retreats. 10 Family Involvement 10 Communication.. 13 Health and Safety 13 2

3 Registration Information Who can register? Families with children in grades one through six can register for the Religious Education Program. Kindergarten is an optional grade and is offered on Thursdays at 5:15 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. What must I do to register for Religious Education? Families must be registered with the parish. A Religious Education registration form must be completed. Along with the registration form parents must provide a copy of their child s baptismal certificate. If you are a returning family you must reconcile all outstanding balances. If you are a transferring family please provide proof of past attendance in other programs. When can I register? Registration for the fall classes begins in March. Forms are available online, in the RE office and at the Commons Desk. Registration forms are never mailed out to the homes. Registrations are due March 31 st. Second Graders must be registered by October 1 st. No registrations will be accepted after November 1 st unless transferring from another program or parish. Financial Commitments There are different options for paying your child s Religious Education tuition (see the RE registration form for details). The cost of tuition not only covers our program operating supplies like arts & crafts supplies and textbooks, but also our percentage of the building maintenance expenses as well. We expect you to honor your financial commitment to the program but understand that there are times when unexpected expenses arise. If at any time your family finds itself unable to pay your tuition balances or weekly offering, please call our Parish Business Manager ( ) for an appointment to discuss other financial arrangements. We will never turn a family away due to true financial need. 3

4 Session Policies Calendar Our academic calendar runs from the beginning of September through the beginning of May. Christmas and Easter breaks are recognized and coincide with the District 202 school calendar. A complete schedule of dates and times for the year is included in the back of this handbook. Attendance Weekly attendance is crucial to your child s success in the program. Understandably, young children sometimes will miss because of illness. When this happens we ask that you as a parent do two things: Call the Religious Education office at before the session begins to report the absence. If you are asked to leave a message please leave your child s name, what session he or she attends, who the teacher is and the reason for the absence. When your child returns to class, touch base with the teacher to see if there is work that can be made up at home to cover the missed material. Six or more absences could jeopardize your child s promotion to the next grade. Completing make-up work to keep your child current will decrease the possibility of promotion concerns. Early Dismissals and Tardies Leaving the class session early or arriving late can be disruptive to the learning process, not only to the child but to the entire class as well. Please respect the starting time of the session and arrive on time Our doors will lock PROMPTLY at the start of the session, so parents are asked to park and walk your children into the RE office to be signed into the session, if you arrive late. If an early dismissal is unavoidable, please send a note to the RE office before the session begins, and arrive in the RE office at least 20 minutes prior to the end of the session to sign out your child from the building. All children must be signed out by their parents. No one will be released with less than 20 minutes left in the session. 4

5 Security Issues Any adult in the building during a Religious Education Session must: 1. Attend a Protecting God s Children workshop 2. Complete a background check form. These requirements are put in place throughout the diocese and exist for the safety of all the children. Parents are welcome to walk their children to class but are asked to leave the building once the session begins. Hall monitors will check the building at the beginning of each session to check that only authorized adults are in the building. Drop-off Procedures (Doors open 10 minutes prior to the beginning of the session) All students will enter the building through the main school doors, Entrance A. Parents can drop off their children in one of two ways: 1. Stay in the car: Enter the small parking lot next to the school from the south, pull up along the orange and green cones in front of the school and let your child exit the car at Entrance A. There will always be an adult greeter at the door to supervise the children as they enter the building. For the safety of the children please do not drop students in the outer drive of the parking lot. This can be extremely dangerous, especially after dark. 2. Walk your child into the building: If you would like to walk your child into the building, please park in the main church lot and walk along the sidewalk to the school Entrance A. Entrance A will close promptly at the start of the session. If you arrive after this time, children must be escorted by their parents into the RE office to be signed into the session. Pick-up Procedures If your child is a Walker Dismissal student: Park your car in the main church lot. For safety reasons please do not park along the curbs or in the rider dismissal lot. Wait outside on the sidewalk outside of the Commons, Entrance B. Staff and teachers will escort the children outside to meet you through the flag pole door. Before leaving with your child, please make sure that they give their walker s pass to a staff member or teacher. Staff members can not release a student to a waiting car if you wish to have your child released to you while you wait in your car, please use the Car rider dismissal procedure below. If your child is a Car rider Dismissal student: Place your car rider sign in the passenger door window during the entire process. (If you need more than one sign, or you have lost your sign, please get another one from the RE office, these signs are extremely helpful to the process.) Line up along the orange and green cones outside the school. Wait until 15 minutes into the session to line up to prevent grid-lock for the drop off procedure. Enter the parking lot from Frederick Street only. 5

6 1. Entering the lot from Route 59 and trying to enter the pick-up line only leads to grid-lock. 2. If you are arriving from the South of town, do not turn down Renwick to access Frederick. Often we have so many cars that we block traffic from flowing freely all the way back to Renwick Road. Instead, drive past SMI and turn right on Roberts Road, then turn right on Frederick St. Pulling on to Frederick Street from Roberts Road is the required route. In doing this we line up along our own property down to the rectory bothering as few of the neighborhood families as possible. Once you have entered the parking lot turn North into the short lot next to the school. Pull up to the first cone and wait in your car. Staff members will escort your child to your car. Once your child is safely in the car, please pull away slowly watching carefully for other families leaving with their children from the walker line. Special Dismissal Notes for all: Parking in the school lot opposite the orange and green cones is never a good idea because of the constant movement of the pick-up and drop-off procedures. For the safety of everyone involved please park in the main church lot. If at any time during the year you would like to switch the way in which your child is dismissed, notify the office and also inform your child s teacher of the change. If you are running late, and upon arrival see that all the cones have been removed from the lot already please park and come into the Religious Education office to pick up your children. Remember that during dismissal time all staff members are busy with their designated assignments outside of the office. Phones will not be answered at this time and messages may not be picked up until later. No Cell Phones For the safety and efficiency of the pickup and drop off procedure, please refrain from using your cell phone while the line is in motion. 6

7 Class Cancellations When District 202 cancels classes for inclement weather, the Religious Education office will be closed and class sessions will be cancelled as well. If the weather changes drastically during the day and necessitates the closing of our sessions we will make the decision by 3:00 p.m. if possible. At that time we will do the following Contact the Emergency Closing Center at Our facility name is St. Mary Immaculate Religious Ed. You can set up to be automatically notified through should our facility close. A program-wide will be sent to all of our families notifying them of the cancellation. Please be sure we have a current address for you on file at all times. We will send out a Flocknote to all families who are signed up for this service. Using this vehicle of communication will certainly be one of the quickest ways to find out this information. To sign up for Flocknote, please text SMIP to More details about Flocknote are available on our parish website. As soon as possible our parish website will run a banner with the information of class closings. We will post our signs outside that state No Religious Education Classes We will do everything in our power to notify you should we cancel classes. But in case the message is not received, and you pull into our parking lot and do not see our orange cones set out or a greeter at the school door please do not drop off your child. For this reason it is important that the RE office and your child s teacher always has the most up to date contact information. Text SMIP TO to sign up for Flocknote Special Programs Special Education Not all of our children are best served by incorporating them into a normal classroom setting. Some of our children have very special needs that require unique attention. For those students, we have been blessed with faith-filled volunteers who by profession are trained to handle the special needs of these students. We have set up a Special Education class that meets during the Thursday session at 5:15 p.m. We know how important it is to provide a program for the needs of all the children of our community that is why we feel very fortunate to provide this service to our families. For specifics on this program please contact the Religious Education Office and speak to a staff member. 7

8 Sacramental Preparation General Requirements: The Diocese of Joliet requires that a child be baptized and receive two consecutive years of religious education instruction before receiving a sacrament. We have set up our sacramental program to adhere to these policies. If a child is enrolled in our Religious Education program this year and has documentation that he or she was enrolled in a Religious Education program or Catholic school last year, sacramental preparation may be started. Grade 2: First Reconciliation and First Eucharist Second graders will receive the sacrament of First Reconciliation at the end of November and the sacrament of First Holy Communion in the spring. To better explain our approach to this sacrament and the necessary family involvement all parents must attend one meeting in the fall. Please choose one of the following mandatory meetings to attend: Tuesday October 2, 7:00 p.m. Wednesday October 10, 6:00 p.m. Sacramental Make-up First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion Children in 3 rd, 4 th, 5 th and 6 th grades that were enrolled in a Religious Education Program last year and are currently enrolled this year in our program can register to participate in our Sacramental Make-Up class for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. To register please do the following: Complete a separate Sacramental make-up registration form by November 1 st. Forms are available in the RE office and online. Attend a Parent meeting on Thursday December 6th at 7:00 p.m. Reconciliation Retreat Day: Monday January 21, 2019 (students only) Communion Retreat Day: Monday February 18, 2019 (students only) 8

9 Curriculum While each grade has a prominent theme covered throughout the year, all grades are presented with strands of the topics of church, prayer, sacraments, and morality interwoven throughout the curriculum. Kindergarten: Text: Lectionary for Children s Masses (The Pastoral Center publisher) Theme: Prayers, God s love, Creation, Jesus, the Holy Family, Weekly gospel reading Grade One: Text: Theme: Grade 2: Text: Theme: Grade 3: Text: Theme: Grade 4: Text: Theme: Grade 5: Text: Theme: Grade 6: Text: Theme: Faith Basics: Text: Theme: We Believe God Loves Us (Sadlier publisher) God s many gifts, we are God s special creation, sharing God s love with others. Encounter with Christ (Our Sunday Visitor publisher) Sacramental preparation for Reconciliation and Eucharist. We Believe We Are The Church (Sadlier publisher) The Creed, we are members of the church and being a disciple of Christ. We Believe--God s Law s Guide Us (Sadlier publisher) Ten Commandments, Beatitudes, and moral decision-making. A review of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We Believe We Meet Jesus in the Sacraments (Sadlier publisher) Holy people, holy places, and sacraments The Catholic Youth Bible (Saint Mary s Press) The Old Testament focusing on the Pentateuch, Judges, Psalms and Proverbs. Faith Fusion (Our Sunday Visitor publisher) Overview/Introduction to the basics of the Catholic Faith Sacramental Make-Up: Text: Encounter with Christ (Our Sunday Visitor publisher) Theme: Sacramental preparation for Reconciliation and Eucharist. 9

10 Grade Level Retreats We have found that many of our students are hands on learners. They want to dig in to the core of the subject and get a more personal grasp of the material. To that end we have developed a grade level retreat for each of our grades (Grades 1-6). For each grade level, once during the year we will set aside a special week where all the students will join together to experience their own spiritual retreat. We have created retreats that emphasize the curriculum covered for each grade. Each retreat is unique and geared for that particular age group. The weeks of the retreats are listed below: Grade 1: Grade 2: Grade 3: Grade 4: Grade 5: Grade 6: Week of January 14th Week of September 10th Week of March 18th Week of October 15th Week of February 11th Week of February 4th Family Involvement One of the best ways to feel at home in our parish is to become involved. A wide variety of events are offered here for all members, children, adults and families. Our Sunday bulletin is a wonderful resource on finding out what is happening here at the parish. The Religious Education office is hosting some special events to promote family involvement in the formation process. Please take advantage of these opportunities. RE Commitment Week Join us as we devote a special day to celebrating our theme for this year The Year of the Eucharist. This is a regular class day where all the students will join together for the session. Parents are welcome to drop their children in their classrooms and then make their way to the gathering place for our event. This year we will be experiencing a deeper look at the Mass. Tuesday September 18, 2018 Wednesday September 19, 2018 Thursday September 20, 2018 Saturday September 22,

11 RE Family Holy Hour Our Pope, Pope Francis, is a great inspiration to his flock. By example and demeanor he is truly living his life as Jesus himself did. One important message he is sending to all the faithful is the importance of prayer; without prayer we become weak and lost in our faith. To help our families deepen their own prayer lives, our program will offer several times throughout the year a RE Family Holy Hour. Parents will come with their children to experience a prayer service that will center on Eucharistic Adoration a beautiful way to pray. The dates of the Holy Hours are listed below: Tuesday October 23, 5:15 p.m. Wednesday February 20, 6:15 p.m. Thursday March 7, 5:15 p.m. On these nights/days there will be no regular RE classes. Parents and students will all come directly to the church. Children cannot be dropped off and left unattended, parents should accompany them. All families are welcome at all the prayer evenings you are not limited to attend only the session that your child attends. RE Advent Gathering---Annual Christmas Program Join us for a time to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Wednesday December 5, 6:15 p.m. Tuesday December 11, 5:15 p.m. Thursday December 13, 5:15 p.m. Saturday December 15, 9:00 a.m. The Living Rosary and Scapular Enrollment In an effort to teach our children the important role that Mary plays in our salvation history, each year we set aside a week where our focus is on our Holy Mother. At this gathering we begin by enrolling our 5 th grade students into the Brown Scapular Society. Following the enrollment we join together to pray a Living Rosary. It is a beautiful night of prayer, please join us. The dates are listed below. Tuesday January 22, 5:15 p.m. Wednesday January 23, 6:15 p.m. Thursday January 24, 5:15 p.m. Saturday January 26, 9:00 a.m. 11

12 RE Lenten Gathering Join us for a prayerful walk down our own Via Dolorosa and experience the Stations of the Cross. Thursday April 11, 5:15 p.m. Saturday April 13, 9:00 a.m. Tuesday April 16, 5:15 p.m. Wednesday April 17, 6:15 p.m. New Additions to our Family Involvement Opportunities Grade Level Masses Lead by the students One time during the year each grade (Grades 3-8) will have a chance to be the coordinators of our 10:45 a.m. Sunday Mass. The students in both RE and SMI school will be responsible for many of the minister rolls for the Mass as well as have an active part during the liturgy. Please mark your calendar for these special Masses. September 23, 2018 Grade 8 October 28, 2018 Grade 6 November 18, 2018 Grade 7 January 20, 2019 Grade 4 February 17, 2019 Grade 3 March 3, 2018 Grade 5 Family Enrichments for our Year of the Eucharist Here are just some of the events the parish has planned for families to participate in to grow in their appreciation of the Eucharist. Watch the bulletin for more details and additional events as they are added to the calendar. September 27, 2018 Project 177 A night of Praise, Worship and Prayer Experience the Displays of our Eucharistic Miracles (after Masses the following weekends) o September 22/23 o November 17/18 o March 9/10 o April 27/28 12

13 Communication Open communication is key to a successful relationship. We encourage parents to be fully involved with their child and his or her religious education experience. If at any time you would like to contact the teacher, the best way is to send a note giving the teacher your contact information. Before and after classes can be quite hectic so in giving the teacher your contact information the conversation can be had at a time that is convenient for all. If you would like to contact the Religious Education office, it is best to do so before 3:00 p.m. for similar reasons. After 3:00 p.m., staff members are active in the school preparing for the sessions and our volunteers are fielding questions and answering phones. Look for our monthly newsletter that comes home at the beginning of each month via . This is our primary way to communicate what is currently happening in the program. We will also post the newsletter on our webpage. If you are not receiving our newsletter via please call the office to verify your address. is our primary mode of communication we want you to stay informed. Health and Safety Behavior Expectations and Consequences Modeling Christ for one another is the expected behavior. Specifically we ask that all our students Respect one another. Respect volunteers, staff and adults. Respect the property of others including the classroom items, student s desks, and the property of the parish. Come to class ready and willing to engage actively in the lesson that is prepared for them. Serious offenses that are unacceptable in the St. Mary Immaculate Parish Religious Education Program by students are: Serious lack of respect for an adult or student in words or actions. Use of abusive, profane or indecent language, gestures or materials. Use or possession of drugs, alcohol or weapons. Intentional harm caused or threatened to another person. Evidence of these behaviors will result in immediate administrative intervention and possible dismissal from the program. Prohibited Items The following items will not be allowed in the Religious Education program school building. Cell phones (students may bring them to use in case of emergency, but they cannot be used without permission) Personal technology equipment: It is best to leave all electronic devices at home. The time spent here is limited, thus use of these items will not be allowed. Hats should only be worn outside the building. 13

14 Health and Safety Concerns If a child is sent to the RE office because of illness or injury our first concern is treating the child to the best of our ability. We do not have a paid nurse on staff, but sometimes we are blessed to have a volunteer with a nursing background that is willing to step forward. Once the immediate needs of the child have been addressed a phone will be placed home telling the parents of the incident. If your child has a unique medical condition we need to be aware of please call the RE office so that we can assist in any way possible. Lost and Found Periodically throughout the year, personal items are left behind in the classroom. Because we may not always know what class left the item behind we collect all things and keep them in the RE office. Should your child lose something be sure to check with us. 14

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