Oratory (Pastoral) Program

At the end of 2018, we reviewed and redeveloped our Oratory Program to better suits the needs of our boys. The following information documents the process and the decisions made along the way. This year, being its first delivery year, we are looking for feedback from teachers, students and parents.

Salesian College, a Catholic boys school in the Salesian tradition, has investigated how to develop a pastoral program that is uniquely Salesian. In more recent times, we have focused on drawing on and being faithful to the contexts developed by Catholic Education Melbourne; such as Identity and Growth (A Perspective for Catholic Schools) and eXcel (Wellbeing for Learning).

We considered the following things when developing our program:

  1. Exploring the notion of Oratory that Saint John Bosco (Founder of the Salesians) established in the late 1800’s and how this would be relevant for our context today
  2. Acknowledging the challenges facing our young people today
  3. Ensuring that the program is deeply embedded and faithful to the Catholic tradition and its teachings through the foundation of Identity and Growth
  4. Determining the five key pillars, which we believe are essential for each boy to have experienced by the time he completed Year 12

Don Bosco’s Oratory

Don Bosco’s Oratory had humble beginnings. The aim of the first Oratory was to provide a safe gathering place for young boys who had no family support or anyone to look after them. On the occasions in which they gathered, the boys prayed, had religious instruction, and were given clothing and food. They played games, met new friends and had fun.

Later Don Bosco decided that his Oratory needed to not only deal with the immediate needs of the boys, it also needed to better prepare the boys for a life that could be well lived. He therefore introduced into his Oratory a school that taught the boys the skills they needed to find work and look after themselves and their future families.

The Oratory was all these things, and was always based on Don Bosco’s preventative system, of reason, religion and loving-kindness.

For us today, our Oratory is our school. Our charter states that our school is:

  • A home that welcomes
  • A parish that evangelises
  • A school the prepares for life
  • A playground where friends meet and enjoy themselves

For Salesian College Chadstone, the Oratory is also made during specific times each week as part of our Oratory Program. It is our hope that by the time a boy has completed Year 12, he will have achieved the following, also known as ‘Our Five Pillars’:

1. Spiritual growth based upon our Catholic and Salesian traditions that allows for a strong personal faith and an understanding of the diversity of beliefs of others
2. Emotional maturity that is based upon a healthy self-identity and wellbeing which allows students to relate to others in an empathetic way
3. Social awareness that comes from a strong sense of belonging and promotes positive relationships, inclusion and true respect for others
4. Academic skills and attributes that allow students to achieve academic engagement and success and access appropriate future pathways
5. Physical maturity that allows students to engage in healthy pursuits

The Five Pillars are developed through the teaching and learning program and covered in the following units; which are scoped and sequenced from Year 7 to Year 12.

  1. Leadership
  2. Decision Making
  3. Study Skills
  4. Personal Wellbeing
  5. Relationships

These units have been created using a number of different programs and resources. Regardless of the resource selected, the basis of all work is in the teaching of the Catholic Church, which is supported by the CEM framework, Identify and Growth.

Where and how does Respectful Relationships (RR) program fit into our Oratory Program?

It is important to understand that we do not teach the Respectful Relationships program as set out in the RRRR (Resilience Rights & Respectful Relationships) manual, but rather select elements (and teaching activities) that complement our program as outlined above. This will become clearer when interrogating the Skills Continuum.

For example: Rather than referring specifically and only to gender identity, we cover this material when we explore human dignity for all, understanding the uniqueness of each individual, exploring diversity in our world, evaluating the importance or recognising the human dignity in all people and impact of discrimination. Covering the RR elements in this way allows for a more holistic, Catholic approach to respecting all people, rather than a focus on labelling.

Selected elements of the RR topics are spread across a number of units including Relationships, Decision Making, Personal Wellbeing and Leadership.

It is important to note that our process began with answering the following questions:

  1. What do we want our boys to know in these areas at each year level?
  2. What does the Church teach?
  3. How does the Identity and Growth Framework guide us?
  4. What is the best way to include these elements in our program?

Once these questions were answered, we proceeded in developing a skills continuum and incorporating many of the capabilities from the Victorian Curriculum. This ensures new skills are taught at each year level, which develop on previous years learning.

Please note the following legend in order to read the Skills Continuum. The Skills Continuum can be accessed here.


Mrs Nadia Knight
Assistant Principal – Faith and Mission