Literature and Teaching Resources Policy
Redeemer Lutheran Primary School, Biloela, recognises that as a School of the Lutheran Church of Australia, it is committed to the authority of the Bible as the source for Christian doctrine and Christian life, and to the centrality of the gospel as it is expressed in the confessions of the Lutheran Church. The School also recognises that it serves as an arm of Redeemer Lutheran Congregation, Biloela, in its mission of “reaching out in love and being a blessing to all people.”
The School accepts that it has a spiritual and moral obligation to its students and parents, and to the Redeemer Church community, to ensure that literature and resources within the School reflect the School’s Mission and its Christian ethos.
However, we live in the secular world and face moral dilemmas in every facet of life. As parents and teachers, we need to responsibly prepare our children to face these dilemmas with true Christ-like courage. We cannot shut off from ourselves or from our children, every matter which is evil (spoken, done, written) against God’s will and his purpose for us, His people. For practical and other reasons, it would be impossible to remove every book or set from a library or other learning resource that may contain something offensive to the Christian Faith and values. (NB. There may not be much left!)
It is much easier for us as parents and teachers if we do not have to think about the answer to the challenging confrontational, ‘curly’ questions but God has created us as thinking, responsible people; not as robots with preprogrammed answers. Total exclusion of these materials from younger children will not promote healthy Christian understanding and growth through question-answer learning situations.
A Christian boldly asserts that Jesus Christ is God’s Son and that He opens a window for us to the living power and purpose behind the universe. But at the same time, we need to understand that the opening of this window does not mean that now we can know everything about God, every answer to our questions, or that the problem of evil will totally dissolve.
We make decisions as free people, motivated by the Gospel and guided by the Scriptures. Although at times the signposts are barely legible, our knowledge is faulty and our judgements are impaired, we must remember we live in forgiveness. This encourages us to make our decisions confidently in the fear of God, and to commit ourselves to His guidance, grace and blessing.
Redeemer Lutheran Primary School aims to develop children’s God given abilities in the area of literature in a God pleasing manner, by providing learning experiences that:
- Foster a love, appreciation and knowledge of God’s Word.
- Develop a love of reading for enjoyment, leisure, and information.
- Teach children to read and learn through the skills of word recognition, comprehension, critical thinking
and research, using a variety of sources and media.
- Foster improvement in oral and silent reading.
- Stimulate imagination and creativity.
- Develop an appreciation of literature by exposing students to a wide range of genre.
At Redeemer Lutheran Primary School, resource materials provided to achieve these aims are:
- Christian literature and teaching resources.
- Literature and resources of educational value:
a) Appropriate to each child’s age and ability level;
b) Organised to be taught sequentially;
c) Across a wide range of topics and interest levels.
- Literature and teaching resources selected from a wide range of sources- magazines, pictures, charts.
- Visual and computer resources – intranet and Internet, DVD’s, television etc.
- Audio resources- CD’s.
Resources are classified under three (3) headings.
- Non Fiction
- Information Communication Technology
1. Non Fiction
Non-fiction texts and resources will be selected to provide a wide and varied knowledge base, which
students may reference. Appropriate balance will be maintained with regard to content eg evolution/creation, while emphasising that Creation is the teaching of the Lutheran Church and School.
Texts and resources which teach about other religions eg Hinduism, Buddhism and Indigenous Religions, are used to support the teaching of the Christian Studies Strand “Christianity in the World” and as a component in the study of other cultures in History allowing students to explore the way in which different cultures influence and are influenced by those religions. Texts and resources, which encourage students to practice alternative religions, will be unacceptable. Where appropriate and necessary, teachers will contextualise them within the teachings of the Bible.
Christian texts and resources will be selected to form a substantial and high quality component of our collection, as a reflection of the importance of this area within the School. These resources will be varied and theologically sound.
The School recognizes that the majority of fictional texts and resources are suitable for primary students to read/view and enjoy. Such resources will be selected with regard to quality (eg well-written, wellpresented), but have no conflict with the Christian ethos of the School. They will be suitable for primary age students. All attempts will be made to ensure that quality Christian fiction is included in the library’s collection.
Literature and resources involving children’s fantasy and imagination, fairies, monster, witches, ghosts, dragons and traditional fairy tales have a place in the education program of the School. We believe that this literature, treated correctly in the classroom, should not and does not interfere with our belief of God and our understanding of His Word, or go against the Mission and aims of the School. Where appropriate and necessary, teachers will contextualise these stories within the teachings of the Bible.
Witches, magic, and monsters are used purely as a literary device. Much, if not most, children’s literature contains material of this kind, including witches, trolls, fairies, leprechauns, gnomes, non-existent animals, talking animals and trees, magic and spells. Some well-known examples of these are:
Cinderella (Fairy Godmother/spells)
Jack and the Beanstalk (Giant/monster)
Aladdin’s Lamp (Genie)
Three Little Pigs (Talking animals)
Snow White (Magic Mirror)
Children have no difficulty distinguishing such material as fantasy so it is unlikely that a child will become involved in the Arabian spirit-world through reading Aladdin’s Lamp. The ‘witches’ of popular children’s literature are fantasy figures. Such ‘witches’ with power to turn little boys into frogs have never existed. Children know that mirrors don’t talk, that fairy godmothers don’t pop up in your bedroom if you cry, or that strange spirit-creatures don’t materialise out of bottles or lamps if you rub them. Likewise, what child really believes that there is a magic carpet which flies? Such material is not satanic, but part of the excellent world of childrens’ fantasy which helps create in a child a desire to read for their own personal enjoyment.
Christians who object to this type of literature should also reject the names of the days of the week and certain months on the grounds that they are derived from ancient heathen gods or goddesses, which 1 Corinthians says represent demons, and many of our everyday sayings and customs which are pre-Christian in origin. Ultimately it becomes impossible to use and accept much of common culture.
As children grow and learn, they must learn to differentiate fantasy from reality and good from evil.
However, if this literature has been kept from them, how will they learn to discern these issues? If a child is not encouraged at an early age to make these judgements, under the guidance of parents, and later, Christian teachers, they will eventually be forced to make these decisions on their own, or perhaps under the influence of peer group pressure. Sooner, or later, whether we like it or not, we are confronted with the deeper and more complex issues in life and are forced to make many decisions.
III. Myths and Legends
Myths and legends, eg Greek Mythology, Aboriginal Dreamtime stories and other stories from traditional native cultures, are acceptable within the School’s program. They are read and studied as part of history, culture and beliefs of the particular group of people involved, with the aim to build tolerance of other cultures essential for the multicultural world we live in. Where appropriate and necessary, teachers will contextualise these stories within the teachings of the Bible.
3. Information Communication Technology Resources
All such resources must also comply with this Policy. The library will hold at all times a substantial stock of readily available Christian resources. Such resources, both fiction and non-fiction, will be held to support all areas of the curriculum. A minor percentage of these resources, based on entertainment value only, may be part of our collection. These will be G rated. Any PG rated resources must be fully previewed and found to comply with all aspects of this Policy.
Redeemer Lutheran Primary School provides a computer network linked to the Internet for the use of students. The network offers our students opportunities that will assist them in researching and communicating on a global scale. Even with the content filter, it still may be possible, to access sites that are potentially offensive or objectionable. For this reason, the School has formulated an Internet Usage Policy. This policy sets out what students can and cannot do while using the school computer network, and the consequences that will result from any breach of the guidelines. Refer to Redeemer Lutheran Primary Internet Usage Policy for full details.
Procedure for Selection of Resources
As stated previously it is necessary to check the suitability of books and teaching resources so that they support the education and spiritual aims of the School. The Librarian, with the assistance of other staff (teaching, support and administration) known as the Resource Review Committee, will be responsible for the selection, review and purchase of texts and resources, which reflect this Policy. If a resource is requested or is already part of the School collection, and the Resource Review Committee is unsure as to its suitability, the Principal will be consulted. Although the Librarian has the day-to-day responsibility for implementing this Policy, the Principal reserves that right, on behalf of School Council, to make final decisions, especially with respect to contentious issues.
Resource Review Committee
The Review Committee will consist of the Librarian, the Library Teacher Assistant and a minimum of two other teachers nominated at the beginning of each year.
Procedure for Resource Review
School community members who have concerns regarding a particular resource can request that a resource be reviewed by submitting the attached Literature/Resource Enquiry form to the Librarian through the Office Administrator. In relation to written literature, before submitting an enquiry form, the complainant must have read the text in its entirety. This is to ensure that the text and material of concern has been interpreted in the appropriate context. The resource will be reviewed by the Review Committee in a timely manner and a reply will be communicated to the parent stating the Principal’s decision on the matter, in light of this Policy.
School Community members who object on religious grounds to all use of supernatural figures, magic, and monsters in children’s literature, are to consider the following:
- This is an area in which there are divergences of opinion among Christians, and we ask that parents, while upholding their beliefs, recognise the right of a vast majority of Christians to hold contrary beliefs.
- Our Christian unity comes not from having identical beliefs on all issues, but from having one Head, who is the Saviour, Christ the Lord.
- The Kingdom of God is advanced by proclaiming Jesus Christ rather than by campaigning against evil, or by banning or censoring the literary wealth of the ages.
- Christians accept as part of God’s gift to them, the good literature of the nations, including the writings of secular storytellers and poets.
- We pass on in love, and with some concern for the children involved, the comments of Christian educators, that children who have a very warped view of the world as a terrible place filled with evil, and who have grave traumas about witches, etc. are often the children of over-concerned Christian parents to whom campaigning against satan and the occult have become an obsession, rather than the positive
expression of the wonder and goodness of God’s world, and of His magnificent love in Jesus.