Values, Culture and Ethos of St Joseph’s

Values, Culture and Ethos of St Joseph’s: Spirituality- St Joseph’s Catholic School offers all members of the school community regular opportunities to develop an awareness of their relationship with God. Through a Catholic culture of prayer, worship, tradition and celebration, and the quality delivery of the religious education curriculum, teachers and trustees promote and nurture individual and communal spirituality throughout the school, encouraging  staff, students and parents to think deeply about how this can be applied in everyday life.

  • Staff comes together at the beginning of each day for prayers, songs of praise and reflection. Meetings begin with an appropriate prayer. Staff spontaneously pray for others in times of need during morning prayers.
  • Daily prayers in classrooms include morning prayers and grace before meals, and again at home time.
  • Students assist in organising classroom prayer time and explore a range of prayer styles during their time at St Joseph’s. They write and share their own prayers and assist in the organisation of class and school Masses.
  • Altars/Prayer tables are a place of respect in all classrooms.
  • Evening prayer time is part of all school camps. Classes going on day trips gather for roll call and prayers before leaving school.
  • There is a Gospel Values assembly each Monday after lunch. All classes take a turn leading this. Scripture is used to reinforce messages and is linked to their everyday lives and the school’s “Golden Way” initiative.


  • Gospel Values and virtues come from the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. The particular virtue or Gospel value chosen comes from what the staff identify as a need in the school, or was identified as a high priority in the parent survey.
  • Significant school documents reflect the school’s Catholic Character. Catholic values are treated with utmost importance when school documents are being reviewed.
  • Children are encouraged to follow Catholic teaching and values when making decisions.
  • Teaching and learning programmes integrate Catholic values where possible.
  • The values programme enhances the school’s Catholic Character and recognises Gospel values in action.

School Culture

    • New families are welcomed at Mass with a special candle ceremony, followed by a shared morning tea in the staff room.
    • Students’ knowledge of the traditions and founding charism of the school is being developed through the RE programme.
    • All staff are professional in their dealings with parents and the school community, realising that they are role models and representative of the school’s Catholic Character.
    • The staff regularly ask “What would Jesus do?” in difficult situations, and pray for guidance and positivity in decision making.
    • The Principal, DP, teachers and support staff are to be highly commended for the high level of pastoral care afforded to the several special needs children enrolled at St Joseph’s. The way these pupils are cared for is noteworthy. A parent of a special needs child spoke of how the school goes “way over and above to support special needs children.”
    • Students at St Joseph’s are friendly and willing to talk to visitors. The interaction between juniors and seniors is excellent. The playground exhibits a calm and busy atmosphere and children spoken to love their school.

Service/Social Justice

A broad range of activities and initiatives are provided for children to grow in their appreciation of reaching out to those less fortunate than themselves

  • Young Vinnies meet regularly and are involved in many productive fundraising or assistance activities as a way of fostering good works. Charities include Caritas ,World Vision sponsored child, Cancer Society, Chase Foundation, Loud Shirt Day, Blood and Leukaemia Foundation.
  • Young Vinnies make school lunches for children at the local High Schools every week.
  • Non-perishable food items are collected for the St Vincent de Paul foodbank and also pet food is collected, or money raised, for the SPCA.
  • Children are taught about doing their part to help mankind -Mission focus, Caritas, MissionZ, World Vision, Red Cross etc.
  • Caritas Lent and Social Justice units are explored during an RE staff meeting, with teachers using the resources in groups and then sharing their ideas about how they could use them in classes. This helps teachers to see the continuity of the programme as a whole and also to decide upon the action that will come out of this learning either at class or school wide level.
  • Mission money is counted each week and class contributions recognised at school assembly.
  • Senior students show servant leadership in providing lunchtime programmes and care for younger children during break times -playground angels.
  • Class visits to rest homes to entertain the elderly, especially at Christmas time, are encouraged,
  • The school participates in the annual senior citizens’ Christmas luncheon, providing entertainment for senior parishioners.
  • The school assists families in need – e.g. families with parents made redundant, unemployed, terminal illness, disability, CYFS or mental health issues. Help is provided with attendance dues, food bank, lunches for students when needed, help with school fees, school uniforms, meals, sports gear and fees, camp fees.
  • The school takes responsibility for keeping the road frontage of the church and school free from litter.
  • Through the leadership of the Principal, St Joseph’s Catholic School Whakatane always endeavours to support and include St Joseph’s Matata (a small, rural school not far away from Whakatane) and share resources and ideas across the Catholic School network. This is particularly seen in the Bay of Plenty-Poverty Bay Catholic Schools cluster group.

Bi Cultural Awareness

New Zealand’s bicultural heritage is recognised, respected and valued at St Joseph’s Catholic School. There is excellent inclusion of the Maori dimension and this manifests itself in classrooms and RE delivery, language, the arts and in liturgical events and spirituality.

  • Maori parents are invited to the school for a hui and elders are invited to school productions.
  • A whanau support group has been established-” Te Whanau O Hato Hohepa.”
  • The school participates in a Sunday Maori Mass and collaborates with the Maori group for Palm Sunday Mass.
  • Maori himine and prayers are part of school/class Masses.
  • All classes participate in Te Reo Maori and Kapa Haka.

Information taken from conversations with staff members, observations over the six weeks and from

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