El Camino serves children in kindergarten through eighth-grade for ninety minutes a day, Monday through Thursday. Four days a week, our children receive homework help from experienced teachers, a nutritious snack, and thirty minutes each of catechism and physical fitness or sports. Children and families have regular opportunities for the reading of Holy Scripture, and for shared and personal prayer. Below are key components of El Camino’s model:
- Forming Lifelong Disciples: At El Camino, children are called “disciples,” not “students” or “scholars.” We want to instill a life-long understanding that we are all called to be disciples of Christ, who must “not only keep the faith and live on it, but also profess it, confidently bear witness to it, and spread it” (CCC,1816).
- Rich, Customized Content: Seton Education Partners commissioned the development of a robust, teacher- and child-friendly catechetical curriculum based on Saint John Paul II’s Catechism of the Catholic Church and aligned to the catechetical guidelines set forth by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The curriculum is engaging without being watered down so that children grow to love learning about Christ and His Church. In 2020, the El Camino Catechesis Curriculum received the imprimatur of Cardinal Dolan. We’re grateful for Cardinal Dolan’s support for all we do at El Camino and beyond.
- Catholics Who Know Scripture: Regrettably, many Catholics do not know Scripture as well as other Christians, and we want to change that. At El Camino, children are taught that Scripture is sacred. Not only do disciples read the Bible on a regular basis, they memorize it and love to recite Scripture verses when they are answering questions, praying, or even going on walks!
- Growing in Virtue: El Camino emphasizes the four cardinal virtues of Courage, Justice, Wisdom, and Self Control—teaching disciples what each of these virtues means, and what each looks like in practice. The El Camino Catechesis Curriculum also provides systematic instruction on the virtues so that youth can form the right habits and dispositions, with an understanding that happiness is found in a life of holiness.
- Evangelizing Whole Families: At El Camino, the call to discipleship is extended not only to the children but to their parents as well. Every Thursday, families join their children at a prayer circle to thank God for His blessings, and to ask for His help. An astounding 50-75 percent of parents participate in community outings and faith formation nights.
- Partnering Closely with Local Parishes: One of El Camino’s key objectives is to strengthen our local churches. We have a close partnership with our neighboring parish, St. Rita of Cascia Catholic Church. St. Rita’s pastor celebrates mass for our children and families; provides family faith formation; and administers the Sacraments of Baptism, First Communion, and Reconciliation for our disciples.
- Dedicated Missionaries: Seton Teaching Fellows commit to love and serve the disciples in our program and their families. Each year, our growing Fellows program continues to make an incredible impact on our communities.