Lutheran education: a well organised system with a long and distinctive tradition
Lutherans were the first Protestants and trace their origins back to the Reformation of western Christendom in the sixteenth century. With some seventy million members, the Lutheran church is still the largest Protestant denomination in the world. As a church with an emphasis on biblical literacy and Christian education it has supported the provision of Christian education from its beginnings.
The long tradition of Lutheran education has been part of this country's history too. Lutherans have operated schools and early childhood services (ECSs) in Australia since 1839. Currently there are Lutheran schools and ECSs located in every state and territory of Australia except the ACT. All these schools and ECSs are owned by the Lutheran church and are incorporated into a system with support structures at national and regional levels.
The Lutheran church also has its own tertiary institution, Australian Lutheran College, which provides special training for Lutheran teachers in order to promote a distinctive ethos in its schools and ECSs.
Lutheran education: understanding people and life
God's word, as revealed in the Bible, is the authority for living and learning in each Lutheran school and ECS. Its central message is that of the gospel, the good news that our acceptance by God does not depend on our own worth or achievements but on his unconditional commitment to us as evidenced in the life and death of Jesus. Lutherans believe that through the process of Christian education God's Spirit is active in the lives of the community leading children and families to know and trust God.
In a Lutheran school and ECS each student is seen as a unique person created by God. He made them and loves them and provides each of them with dignity and worth. All of them have their own talents and needs as well as the potential to live useful and fulfilled lives in the world.
Lutherans believe that all positive knowledge and learning is a great gift of God for the growth and welfare of human beings. Each school and ECS considers it important to develop a spirit of service in its students so that their lives, studies, relationships, ambitions, values and attitudes they reflect a commitment to living useful lives for the good of others.
Lutheran education: a caring environment
While there is a major focus on teaching and learning, each school and ECS strives to offer far more than that. When a family joins a Lutheran school or ECS they become part of a community which strives to be a secure place which offers warm, caring relationships and a safe environment. A Lutheran school and ECS sees each student as being unique with their own particular gifts and needs. The approach is not to ask what students and their families can do for the school or ECS, but what the school or ECS can do for them.
Lutheran schools and ECSs have developed a special vision which is based on teachings of the Bible. As a Christian learning community each school and ECS aspires to provide a culture and ethos permeated by the core values of love, justice, compassion, forgiveness, service, humility, courage, hope, quality and appreciation.
Lutheran education: embraces high standards of teaching and learning
Each school and ECS strives to provide an education of excellence.
It recruits and hires well qualified, professional teachers.
It incorporates into the learning program the curriculum requirements and guidelines set in place by the relevant state authority. It caters for a wide range of abilities, including gifted and talented students and those with learning difficulties. The teaching program emphasises key competencies, stimulates thinking skills and integrates technology into the curriculum. Each Lutheran school and ECS strives to provide a quality learning experience for all its students.
A Lutheran school and ECS is also committed to a wide range of quality co-curricular activities in areas like sports and the arts.
Lutheran education: promotes Christian growth and development
Each school and ECS integrates Christian understandings into all its teaching. The Lutheran system has developed its own Christian Studies curriculum to provide students with a knowledge of Christian beliefs and teachings. Each school and ECS intentionally employs teachers who are able and active in supporting students in a Christian approach to life.
A Lutheran school and ECS provides regular worship including daily devotions. There are opportunities to encourage and nurture the Christian faith in each individual student.
Lutheran education: works as a team with parents
Lutherans believe that God has given parents and caregivers the prime responsibility for the education of their children. Lutherans provide schools and ECSs to assist parents in promoting their educational and spiritual growth. It is vital that each home and the school and ECS work together for the welfare of students on the basis of shared aims and values.
A Lutheran school and ECS holds itself accountable to parents for the progress and welfare of students. It provides structures for constant communication between the home and the school or ECS. It encourages parents to get involved in their children's schooling and to participate in school and ECS life in the variety of ways that are available.
Lutheran education: part of the greater community
Lutherans understand that their schools and ECSs operate in a larger system where they make their own special contribution and offer choice and diversity.
Lutherans accept the responsibility they have to comply with government regulations pertaining to the schools and ECSs. They appreciate and accept financial assistance from governments for the establishment, maintenance and operation of the schools and ECSs, provided that it does not compromise their distinctive nature. The church commends government assistance that enables more families to use the schools and ECSs and which helps them to provide programs for those with special needs.