I’ve discovered I need to give much more attention to these last five CCE lessons, purely from the practical perspective that my kids already know what most of these lessons are designed to teach, i.e. The Lord’s Prayer.
They all know the Our Father because we open every class by singing it. The book, however, devotes the last two lessons of the year to learning a (simplified) version of one of our most basic prayers.
I’ll let that sink in a little. In our given lesson plans, kindergarteners aren’t introduced to the Our Father or the Sign of the Cross till the end of the year.
Anyway, I find myself needing to come up with almost entirely independent lessons for the rest of the year. So for the next two Wednesday’s classes, (plus yesterday) we are learning the Easter story. (If anyone has a good recommendation for a Easter Story picture book, please drop it in the comments.)
We started out with what they know about celebrating Easter. To a man, they drew some variety of Easter eggs, bunnies, or egg hunts. And candy, of course.
So we talked a little bit about how these are all things we do to celebrate, but they aren’t what we’re celebrating, and I defined Easter for them. Then we launched into the Easter Story starting with Palm Sunday.
I read them Jesus’s Entry Into Jerusalem, from the Gospel of John twice, and we talked briefly about what the people did and what it meant. Then we cut our own palms leaves out of green construction paper, and read it a third time. This time, they played the part of the people, waving their ‘palm branches’ and shouting.
They enjoyed the shouting part a little too much. But that’s a gripe for another time.
One other highlight from the lesson was talking about the actual palms that will be blessed at Mass on Palm Sunday. Because they are blessed, we don’t just throw them away, but next year some of the palms will be burnt to make black ashes for next year’s Ash Wednesday. This fascinated them, and that’s something I completely understand. It fascinated me when I first found out. Still does.
I love teaching lessons like this. They’re very simple, tangible, accessible lessons. But they aren’t shallow, like so many of the lessons in our textbook. There is depth there, waiting for them to grow big enough to creep in a little deeper.