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.

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