Easter and Kindergarteners

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.

Hmph.

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.

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10 Responses to Easter and Kindergarteners

  1. Foxfier says:

    I love you sharing this stuff– it either gives me stuff to copy, or makes me grin because my eldest is a year or two “behind” the class and “got” it.

    She taught herself the Our Father and Hail Mary (both slightly mangled….) from saying them before bed each night, and those Sundays she can actually hear it. Then she asked me to explain each part. (Possibly to delay bed, but she remembered it the next night, mostly!)

    • GeekLady says:

      You have no idea how glad I am someone like this stuff! I love catechesis in spite of all my (extensive) frustrations with the system.

      This year, I have eight five to six year old boys during the small child witching hour of 6:30 to 8 when they’re all weird and wild. It’s rather challenging, and I’ve had a lot of epic-fail lessons. But occasionally there is a stunning success and this was one.

  2. melaniebett says:

    Check out my recent blog post reviewing Bible story books: http://www.thewinedarksea.com/2014/03/23/bible-story-picture-books-faith-formation-series/. There are three good Easter stories there. My favorite is Easter by Fiona French which I think is perfect for that age group, all mine love it at about that age especially. They love the vivid stained glass window pictures,the text is really simple. And the boy like the pictures of soldiers. Easter by Brian Wildsmith is good too it uses the donkey– and that angel too– as a hook. The pictures are really eye-catching.

    I love the idea of cutting out palm branches and having them act out the story. And I think Iearned that about the palms only within the last ten or twelve years, definitely as an adult. Very fascinating.

    That is a crazy hour to try to do any learning. I’m amazed you can accomplish anything at all.

    • GeekLady says:

      I call it the witching hour for a good reason. Wow are they weird little ones then.

      I originally started out with trying to cultivate the prayerful and quiet atmosphere of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. But the room is too full of stuff, the time is extremely bad for learning. Also, the eight boys are badly in need of an hour of playground time. So instead CCE is becoming mostly interactive story hour. This is at least effective – they all remember the stories.

      • melaniebett says:

        Yep. Sounds like you’re making the best of a tough situation. Prayerful and quiet atmosphere is good, but realism is better.

  3. melaniebett says:

    And my mind is still boggling about delaying the Our Father and Sign of the Cross. What the what?

    • GeekLady says:

      I know! This last class I even had one of the more outgoing boys volunteer to come up to the front and lead everyone else.

      I think the saddest thing is this will just fade away without reinforcement so by their first communion year, they will have forgotten it.

      • melaniebett says:

        Sadly, true. Bella used to know the Regina Caeli, but then forgot it. And the other day she had zero memory of a book I used to read her all the time. But at least if they’ve known it once, it might be there planted waiting to sprout at a future date.

  4. I teach 6th grade catechism. My general impression is that many religion textbooks are not as deep as the kids who are expected to learn from them.

    • GeekLady says:

      Oh, I know it. Himself and I taught the 5th graders last year and the book they were expected to use was just insulting. We supplemented where we could, but we are are essentially bound to the book’s schedule.

      I don’t understand why textbooks (and not just for CCE) are so shallow today. When I was young, I remember my textbooks all pointing to greater depth in the subject. But the trend today seems to be not to threaten kids with the idea that there’s more there than they’re really up to learn at present.

      On Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 11:00 PM, On the Care and Feeding of Geeks wrote:

      >

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