New Sydney ECEC service takes children to weekly mass and religious curriculum
Kay Ishak, founder of Alphabeta Retaval Preparatory in the Sydney suburb of Bellfield has described her new service as one which is ‘a special place’ where children will attend a chapel with a weekly Mass on site, and participate in an innovative religious education curriculum.
“I’ve launched and operated child care centres for years, but I have a passion for creating a strong connection with families, and where child care is extended to caring for the couples and families as well,” Ms Ishak added.
“When a parent drops off a child and their bag here they also may drop off a bag of emotion, of heartache and a lot of pain,” she explained, “not necessarily because of anything major happening but there’s a lot going on for families these days.”
“There is not always a lot of support available, grandparents may not be there to help any more or live a bit too far away for it to be practical for them to be involved on a regular basis. So we need to be that community for them, to support one another.”
While Alphabeta is a separate organisation, it shares similar values to PARED, including a commitment to supporting parents in the education of their children, and providing a spiritually enriching environment.
The religious education curriculum will be driven by Dr Anne-Marie Irwin, an adjunct lecturer at the University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney, who has been working with Ms Ishak and her staff to train them in her SALT (Scripture and Liturgy Teaching) approach to religious formation.
“Following the Church’s liturgical year, the SALT Approach incorporates Scripture, Sacraments, Catholic teaching and prayer, considered throughout the liturgical seasons and major feasts of the Church Year. Children ponder deeply as they engage with the Catholic faith in all its dimensions, applying it to their own lives in age-appropriate ways,” Dr Irwin explained.