A few years ago, we lost our dedicated Sunday School teacher, a woman who loved working with our children, planning crafts, creating games to teach them the Ten Commandments, and other creative approaches.
After she left, we worked out the following way of dealing with our growing number of children from three to 11 or so. (Plus we have nearly 2-year-old twins who will soon join them.) On Sundays, the priest who is giving the homily that day will invite the children for a brief lesson, usually a very simplified explanation of the Gospel reading. Then the children file downstairs where two delegated people — we're on a rotation — will read them a story from a Bible story-book. We return upstairs during the hymn for the collection.
It's a holding pattern and I'm not sure how much the children are getting out of it. One one hand, we adults like it, because the load is spread, and no one person (or team of two, now a kind of legal requirement) has to miss the homily every week. But are we giving our children the best? I do like the fact that by sharing this, many of our adults are developing relationships with the kids, rather than just one or two.
I really enjoy the children when it is my turn to do it and am musing about whether I should volunteer myself to take it on for more intensive effort.
But it would help to have a curriculum of some kind that could help me, as I work full time, am not a teacher by nature and haven't a clue how to do this kind of thing.
Also I have a problem with what I have seen of various prepared curricula for Sunday Schools. I can't stand the schlocky or tacky-looking graphics. Are there programs that teach using great art? Ways to get the kids excited about learning some of the canticles by heart? Ways that are age appropriate without being silly or sentimental?
Does anyone have any suggestions? How are you doing Sunday School in your parishes?
I remember hating having to color in pictures of Jesus or do crafts in my Sunday school days. I remember my sons hated Sunday school lessons that talked down to them, that assumed they needed to play games or other things they found silly.
We have some really bright young kids, though they are quite young. They're also quite well-behaved and really seem to enjoy just having us adults interact with them and ask them questions and connect with them.
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