Religion And Schools – Is There A Change Coming?

I had a little panic two weeks ago when our 5-year-old non-Catholic boy showed me how he’d learned to bless himself in school.

I didn’t show HIM the panic obviously, this mammy does her best to keep her emotions under wraps around the kids, but inwardly, I hated it.

I am not a Catholic, nor is Ass Monkey (although he believes in ‘god’ more than I do at this point) and our kids are non-religious.

So why did we send Jacob to a Catholic school? Well, it was the best option to us in our community.

We knew we would have to stay relaxed about certain things, such as the language of the Catholic religion that we knew he would most likely come home with but we would stand firm on others, such as not permitting him to make his communion and trying to keep him out of any masses that the school were attending.

I think I just wasn’t expecting it all to kick in so soon, he shared his class’ daily prayer with me within a couple of weeks of him starting.

So we asked to have a meeting with the principal and his teacher (who also happens to be the vice principal) and we had a GREAT chat with them about it all.

They are so lovely and relaxed that it was easy to sit with them and say, ‘Hey, this is our first time down this road, what should we expect?’

Jacob’s school is in a tiny village in North County Dublin and they are as progressive as can be while doing their job in following a religious curriculum as set out for them.

They assured us that they will not spend any longer than 20 minutes per day on teaching religion, there are certain aspects of the curriculum that Jacob’s teacher refuses to teach (such as the immaculate conception which she described as ‘promoting rape’ and the Creationism aspect which she described as ‘nonsense’ – I LOVE HER).

There are no major masses at the school and the local parish priest really only visits the communion-making class each year – at which point, we’ll talk to them again about how best to proceed with our little man.

These fantastic educators agree that we may see an end to one particular religion having such a stronghold in our children’s schools but that it might take another 20 years for that to happen, and I am in agreement with them.

In the meantime, I truly believe that we made a wonderful school choice for our son who, totally unprompted, has now decided that he no longer wants to say the daily prayer and we are totally OK with that.

If you want to see the video chats we had online about this subject, you can catch them here: 

Followed by the update here:

If you liked this then please also check out other great Back To School chats:

Back To School: Label Everything Or Die Tryin’

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Sharyn Hayden

About Sharyn Hayden

Sharyn is the creator of Raising Ireland who thinks that you parents deserve better: better services, better resources, better information and better craic. Mum to two kids, Jacob and Eva, she is also the author of 'I Forgot To Take My Pill!' which has been shortlisted for the 2016 Carousel CAP Award for Independent Authors.

One thought on “Religion And Schools – Is There A Change Coming?

  1. Janine

    We are moving house in less than two weeks time. The school my boy will be going to next September is only a ten minutes walk away. e haven’t signed him up yet as they haven’t released the form online just yet.
    It’s a Catholic school .. of course. Like so many others in Ireland. Matthew is baptised to keep all relatives sweet. My second child isn’t. I don’t see why I should christened her just to enter school. I’m hoping she’s just going to get in because he’s in it. It’s a joke really. If there was a non Catholic nearby I would have chosen that but unfortunately not. None of us are religious.

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