Thursday, August 19, 2004

The New Corinthians Curriculum for K-8

1 Corinthians is the basis for a Catholic religion curriculum called New Corinthians. This curriculum got its start from the document, The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality from the Pontifical Council on the Family.

The Curriculum follows Vatican Guidelines.
Four Guiding Principles

The Foundation for the Family intends to open the door to virtue, while closing the door to vice, as Pope Pius XI urged in the 1930s. The best way to do this, the Council points out, is to follow these four principles regarding information about sexuality (TMHS §65-76):

1. Each child should receive individual instruction, so that the parent is aware of, and sensitive to, that child's individual needs.

2. Sexual activities should always be discussed within the framework of Catholic moral teaching.

3. Sexuality should always be viewed as a manifestation of love, whether in virginity or marital fidelity as a component of one's spiritual life. "...Suitable advice should always be given regarding how to grow in the love of God and one's neighbor, and how to overcome any difficulties..." (TMHS §71).

4. When introduced at the appropriate age, sexual education should be done with the utmost delicacy, respecting the privacy and natural modesty of each child.

The New Corinthians Format

To honor these instructions, The New Corinthians Curriculum (NCC) employs the following strategies:

1. Parents and Teachers use the same text. The role of the NCC is to assist parents in teaching their children about the virtues, including the virtue of chastity.

A guiding principle in the NCC has been to recognize the primary responsibility of parents for such education. "The Church has always affirmed that parents have the duty and the right to be the first and the principal educators of their children" (TMHS §5).

Parents frequently turn to educators for help in presenting the delicate matter of human sexuality, but this collaboration is "of a subsidiary nature" (TMHS §67). Any assistance must be subordinated to the wishes of the parents, and the best way to make this clear is to provide parents with the same text educators will be using. Using the NCC, they teach off the same page. This is in keeping with the Council's recommendation that parents "keep themselves precisely informed on the content and methodology with which such supplementary education is imparted" (TMHS §115).

Each lesson of the curriculum has an "At Home" component, integrating the lesson into the home life of the student. The family is "the best environment to accomplish the obligation of securing a gradual education in sexual life" (TMHS §64). Any education that attempts to cause "affective" change in the lives of students must rely on the guidance and involvement of parents as a primary resource.

2. The curriculum uses the Bible for its "student text," and is cross-referenced to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, providing doctrinal support wherever matters of Catholic moral teaching appear.

Our generation has been blessed with the first new Catechism in 400 years. The New Corinthians Curriculum takes advantage of this great gift of the Holy Spirit and acknowledges its superiority over any other catechetical resource. Parents, teachers, and students are directed to the inspired word of God and the constant teaching of the Church to understand God's intentions for human sexuality.

3. The virtue of chastity is a habit developed in training for Christian discipleship. Therefore, the first five grades do not treat human sexuality, but show students the nature of Christian love and its demands: kindness, obedience, and the will to sacrifice for God and neighbor. The Fourth and Fifth Grade units teach the discernment of God's call and the formation of conscience, two essentials for understanding chastity.

The curriculum uses the lives of the saints to inspire and positively direct students to discern God's call and cultivate the virtues necessary to live spiritually fruitful lives. "The objective of the parents' educational task is to pass on to their children the conviction that chastity in one's state in life is possible and that chastity brings joy" (TMHS §73, our emphasis).

A child may be called to marital chastity or to the commitment of perpetual virginity. With this in mind, the curriculum respects the freedom of each child and encourages "their personal vocation... without trying to impose a pre-determined vocation on them" (TMHS §35).

4. Respecting the child's "right to chastity," the Council recommends that each be "adequately informed by their own parents on moral and sexual questions in a way that complies with his or her desire to be chaste and to be formed in chastity" (TMHS §118-119).

This means that sexual information may never be forced on children (TMHS §120) and that "Parents and all who help them should be sensitive: (a) to the different phases of development, in particular, the 'years of innocence' and puberty, (b) to the way each child or young person experiences the various stages of life, (c) to particular problems associated with these stages" (TMHS §124).

The New Corinthians Curriculum provides parents with a separate handbook a puberty unit for personally introducing matters of human sexuality to their children. This is to be conveyed when the parents feel it is appropriate, based on the mental and physical maturity of the child. The recommended time is before the Sixth Grade, but the decision on this belongs solely to the parents.



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