All children and adults experience a life in St John's that is rich in opportunities to encounter God and to deepen their relationship with Him as a loving, compassionate Father. We enable our whole community to come to know and to love God through:
- Prayer and liturgy and reflection sessions, both traditional and informal;
- Religious Education lessons, where children receive direct teaching of the faith,
- Our service to others in school, the parish, the community and the world
- Our commitment to Catholic Social Teaching
- The relationships and support for each other that children, staff and parents enjoy within the school community.
Religious icons can be found throughout the school. Displays of work in RE are of very high quality and can be seen in classrooms and all around the school, including the school's main reception area. Each class has a prayer focus area, with a liturgical cloth in the appropriate colour.
The Christian values at the heart of our Catholic faith incorporate the British values and we aim in everything we do, to further each child's developing sense of commitment and responsibility to themselves, to others and in the wider world.
Prayer and Liturgy
Prayer and Liturgy are central to the daily life of our school. We aim to provide opportunities for children's spiritual growth and development through participation in a variety of forms of daily worship and through experiencing all forms of prayer: formal, informal, spontaneous, private, shared, petitionary, reflective and meditative.
Pupils are actively involved in planning and leading prayer and liturgy, both in class groups and whole school settings. Shared acts of worship take place in an atmosphere of reflection and stillness, where we encourage each other to listen to God speaking to us and to respond. Children are encouraged to write prayers and this is a skill which we explicitly teach, just as we teach other genres in literacy. All classes have their own prayer books for this purpose.
The school as a Catholic Community
All staff, led by the Co-Headteachers, R.E Leader, Catholic Life Leaders and Governors, are aware that the school's values and vision are built on the Catholic faith and beliefs. All staff receive regular in-service training as part of their continuous professional development. Staff of all faiths, pray and work together to support each other in providing the very best Religious Education possible for the pupils.
Learning in RE is at the core of the curriculum and we ensure that the Bishop's directive is followed in allocating 10% of curriculum time to RE lessons. The Governing Body, led by the Chair and the Governor responsible for RE, provide outstanding support and commitment to the central place of RE in the school.
We hold the belief that we share the role of educators of the faith with the parents and we strive to keep them fully informed of what their child is learning at school and to support them in what they can do at home to further their child's understanding of the faith. Parents are welcome to Masses and other liturgies throughout the year.
Catholic Social Teaching
As a school, we are introducing children to the principles of Catholic Social Teaching and focusing on one principle each term
Term 1 - Stewardship - Caring for God's creation
Term 2 - Option for the Poor- helping those most in need.
Displays to reflect our Catholic Life
Each term, children are involved in producing some whole school art work linked to our distinctive Catholic identity and life.
We followed up our prayer and reflection on Remembrance with the creation of a beautiful poppy blanket.
Every child in the school was asked to make a butterfly for our entrance display. Each and every butterfly was special and unique and came together to make a beautiful display.
Leading Lights Group
Our Leading lights are a group of children from across the school who meet to discuss, plan and to train in the delivery of quality prayer and liturgy sessions so that they can then share this learning with other children across the school. They are taught about different forms of prayer and about the use of readings from scripture and personal reflections.
Leading lights are led by Mrs Ola Krawczak.
Angels in Action
This group was set up in September 2022 to help us allow others to bear witness to our faith through our actions and deeds.
The group, led by Mrs Aisling Barker, is made up from volunteers from across the school who actively consider how we can work in service to others. In term 1, they are focussed on working actively to promote preferential option for the poor.
Reverse Advent Calendar
Last year, in the lead up to Christmas, the School Council have been discussing Citizenship and thought about ways of how we can help the wider community. They really loved the idea of a reverse advent calendar and assisted the staff in creating one. Members of the school council encouraged members of staff to donate items for the House of Mercy food bank. In total the staff donated a box that weighed 18.5kg! They have asked the staff to beat the weight this year in 2022! Watch this space!
Operation Christmas Child
St. John's are proud to take part in Samaritan's Purse 'Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Appeal' again this year, following on from the fantastic effort we have made in the past!
The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to show God's love in a tangible way to children in need around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the good news of Jesus Christ. This year, donated shoeboxes are making their way to boys and girls across the world.
Thank you to everyone who is planning to join in the Operation Christmas Child appeal and kindly donate a shoe box gift! in 2021, we collected 93 shoe box gifts which made 93 children smile at Christmas. It was great to see the care and thought put into them and the lovely messages and prayers included. We are confident that we will all be equally as generous this year.
We received another fantastic response to our Harvest Festival appeal from parents this year. A incredible range of tinned food, pasta, biscuits and toiletries were donated and we celebrated with a beautiful infant mass. All donations received were taken to the local foodbank by our Angels in Action group who helped sort the items and who found out a little bit more about how much our donations help those in need.
Update from the Gravesham Foodbank - The combined total from parish and school was a fantastic 373kg! A massive thank you to everyone!