Our School

Principal’s Welcome

Welcome to Our Lady of the Nativity School – a Franciscan school offering the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program. Our school vision, Franciscan charism and PYP character all contribute to the full flourishing of the ‘good people’ that our students are. We believe in the inherent goodness of each member of our community and strive to grow the gifts, talents and abilities of our learners within a strong Catholic culture, supportive environment and challenging curriculum.

Our Franciscan leads us to look beyond our own needs. It calls and challenges our community members, especially our students, to become internationally minded. It challenges us all to be agents of God’s goodness in the world and to see not difference but that which unites us with our brothers and sisters and all of creation. This is not a religious education program. This is our culture.

The mission statement of the International Baccalaureate states, in part, that it aims ‘to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect’ and to ‘encourage students….to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences can also be right.’

We aspire to develop our learners spiritually, morally and ethically as well as intellectually, emotionally and physically. We aim to develop life-long learners who:

  • Are continually growing in faith
  • Demonstrate the learner profile attributes
  • Communicate effectively
  • Understand and respect individual and cultural diversity
  • Are socially responsible, compassionate and community minded
  • Willingly take action for the common good
  • Live in right relationship with others and creation.

We trust that your journey through our website will be an informative one, enabling you to see that uniqueness of Our Lady of the Nativity School.


Peace and all good

Anne Doherty.

Our History

Our Lady of the Nativity School was founded by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in 1958 to cater for the growing Catholic population of West Essendon. Initially intended as a junior school (Years Prep – 2) with older students continuing their education at nearby St Therese’s, demand for a co-educational Catholic primary school in the area saw its classes extended to Year Six. The founding principal of our school was Mother John Bosco (Sister Majella Tracey fmm)

Though pre-dating the Parish church, Our Lady of the Nativity School takes its name from the fact that the first mass in the parish was celebrated at Christmas in the stables of Ave Maria Convent, (now Ave Maria College)

From small beginnings, Our Lady of the Nativity School has continued to grow. Classrooms were added as needed and in recent years the school has undertaken a significant building and refurbishment program to ensure up-to-date facilities for our students. A section of the original school was demolished in 2009 to enable the construction of a new building – the Greccio Learning Centre – which houses a library, multi-media centre and learning spaces which support and enhance 21st Century pedagogies. Recent upgrades have seen the addition of a multi-purpose learning area and new administration and staff facilities.

Our school today has an enrolment of just over 400 students in fifteen classes. 32 members of staff ensure the efficient administration of the school, the delivery of an engaging and challenging curriculum and dedicated support for all students.


Our Charism

As stated in our school prayer ‘We are blessed to have our school founded in the tradition of St Francis and in the name of Mary.’ In St Francis of Assisi and Mary of the Nativity we have two outstanding models of discipleship for our community to learn from and follow. Both our patrons teach us about the love of God, the importance of faith and the need to trust in God. Throughout their lives both St Francis and Mary demonstrated a complete willingness to do what God asked of them and both drew on their love of God and faith to overcome difficulties and hardship. As we deepen our knowledge of St Francis and Mary they show us a path to God and help us to know Him more fully.

Our school owes a debt of gratitude to the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary who infused Our Lady of the Nativity School with Franciscan values and a strong devotion to Mary of the Nativity. In naming one of our buildings the Greccio Learning centre (a name chosen by Sr Majella Tracey fmm) we acknowledge the great devotion that St Francis had for Mary and the Christ Child and in recognition that it was St Francis who began the tradition of the re-enacting the Nativity scene at Christmas time. The Italian village where this re-enactment took place was Greccio. A treasured piece of artwork in the entrance of our school depicts Franciscan monks creating a nativity scene – the stories of our patrons joined as one!

Franciscan Education

Franciscan Education has one clear aim – to educate the ‘Good Person’. Whist we aim to provide our students with the best academic education possible our commitment to our ethos and charism demands that we also educate them on how to be good people who are:

  • concerned for the ‘other’
  • committed to social justice
  • outward looking
  • able to see beauty in ugliness
  • concerned for the environment and committed to stewardship
  • dedicated to promoting peace, justice and equality

As a Franciscan school we aim to teach our children that:

  • Goodness matters
  • Beauty matters
  • Matter matters.

Our aim is for our students to live out the words of St Francis of Assisi to ‘Preach the Gospel always and where necessary use words.’

Our Lady of the Nativity School is a member of Franciscan Schools Australia – a network of schools whose aim is to educate our students by encouraging them to be good people capable of spreading, via action, the Gospels of Christ. In the words of the founder of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary we hope that our community members will ‘Walk as a living Gospel’.

Francisan Schools Australia: www.fsa.asn.au

Franciscans Australia: www.franciscans.org.au

Franciscan Spirituality: www.ofmqc.ca

Franciscan Media: www.franciscanmedia.org

Our Motto

Ad Caritatem per Veritatem

The motto of Our Lady of the Nativity School is ‘Ad caritatem per veritatem’ – to love through truth. Our motto comes from the words of Helene de Chappotin, the foundress of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, who said ‘to truth through love and to love through truth.’

Pope Francis in his encyclical ‘ Lumen Fidei’ said the following which deepens our understanding of our motto:

Love needs truth and truth needs love. Love and truth are inseparable. Without love, truth becomes cold, impersonal and oppressive in people’s day to day lives. The truth we seek, the truth that gives meaning to our journey through life, enlightens us whenever we are touched by love. One who loves recognises that love is an experience of truth, that it opens our eyes to see reality in a new way, in union with the beloved.

Pope Francis

Our Vision

Our Lady of the Nativity is a faith-filled community that gives witness to, and proclaims, the Gospel teachings of Jesus.

Within a nurturing environment, inclusive of all its members, we uphold the dignity of the human person.

Through an holistic approach to education we aspire to develop lifelong learners.

With a commitment to social justice, a sense of purpose and hope, we encourage our members to be active participants in the global community.

Education in Faith


School Prayer

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love.

Where there is injury, pardon

Where there is doubt, faith

Where there is despair, hope

Where there is darkness, light

And where there is sadness, joy.

Watch over us as we gather together each day

Help us to love through truth

We are blessed to have our school founded in the tradition of St Francis and in the name of Mary.

Help us to feel your love in it and in us.



As people of peace and hope the Gospels are the foundation of all that we do.

All students, from Foundation to Year Six, participate in formal Religious Education classes through which they come to know the scriptures, especially the Gospels, and learn about the traditions, history and sacramental life of the Catholic Church. Whilst faith is a gift from God, we aim to nurture the children’s faith journey by assisting them to develop a relationship with God through which they come to know Him and His teachings. It is our aim to provide learning experiences for the children which enable them to respond to the world in the light of the Gospels so that their actions, decisions and relationships draw deeply on the example of Jesus Christ. Our hope is that throughout their lives they preach the gospel always through their actions in relationship with others.

During their primary school years, the children of Our Lady of the Nativity School receive three sacraments:

  • The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation.
  • The Sacrament of Holy Eucharist
  • The Sacrament of Confirmation.

The sacraments of Penance and Eucharist are received in Year 3 and the Sacrament of Confirmation is received in Year Six. Throughout their primary schooling, however, all children are brought to a deeper understanding of the sacramental life of the church.

Prayer and liturgy are important elements of the children’s faith development as they provide opportunities for the children to deepen their relationship with God and experience being part of a faith community. Each day begins and ends with class prayer and the children are encouraged to contribute their own prayers of petition or thanksgiving at these times. The focus of our Assemblies is communal prayer and classes take turns to prepare and lead the community in a short prayer service that is an expression of their current RE unit, Church season or feast day, or in response to a current issue that requires people of faith to respond or stand in solidarity with those in need.

Participation in sacramental liturgy (Mass) is also an important element of the children’s education in faith. Each Friday a year level prepares, and participates in, the regular parish mass, joining with members of our parish community to celebrate the Eucharist. On major feasts and special days, the whole school attends mass, again with parishioners, to celebrate, remember, pray and give thanks.

Student Liturgy leaders play an important role in the preparation of prayer services and masses and highlighting significant seasons, feasts or social justice actions and causes.

As a school community we are committed to the promotion of the principles of Catholic Social Justice. St Francis of Assisi lived a life true to the Gospels and as such the plight of the poor, the outcast and those in need of peace in their lives were of prime importance to him.

In living out Franciscan charism we actively support the following organisations:

  • Our local St Vincent de Paul Society through food donation and a Christmas gift collection.
  • Caritas Australia.
  • The work of the Franciscan community of St Peter and Paul Parish, South Melbourne.
  • Franciscan communities abroad who work with the poor.

Throughout the year our children are encouraged to take action to help those less fortunate. This may involve ‘raising awareness’ campaigns, activities to raise money, action linked to their Inquiry units (one group of students made cakes for distribution at the Franciscan food van). A highlight of our social justice commitment is the annual student-run social justice fair where all students contribute…..