Saturday, November 16, 2013

Work in the Atrium

The Bible in the Prayer Corner
Altar 1 Work
We have finally begun working with some of our Mass works in the Atrium. It has been so hard for me to wait on these beautiful materials! I think it has been a little hard for the children as well. We have been focusing on practical life in the Atrium to help the children learn order, concentration, coordination and independence. It is by working on these skills that the children are more prepared to absorb the religious lessons. They are more capable of sitting and listening, of moving more deliberately, of carrying things one at a time, of sitting and looking at the beauty of the altar or of walking slowly for a procession.

This week we began class with a procession on the line to set up the prayer table with a new element: The Holy Bible. In this whole group presentation we talked about the Bible as the most precious book in the whole world. We showed the Bible and how beautiful it is and I read Jesus' words from the gospel of John, "I am the light of the world." We remember that although we are hearing Ms. Beth's words, the words are the words of Jesus. We remembered that these words are the reason we light a candle. Over and over we repeated the words of Jesus, "I am the light of the world."

During our free work time, I showed a few children the Altar 1 work. In this work we begin naming the articles used during the Mass: The altar cloth, the chalice, the paten, the candles and the crucifix.  I explain that the chalice is used to hold the blood of Christ, the wine and the paten holds the body of Christ, the bread. After the lesson, the children are able to use these materials themselves. If they want the candles lit they must ask an adult who then sits with them until they extinguish the flames. 

I purposely showed two 4 year olds this work. A three year old joined the lesson. All three children were enchanted by the work. It was the three year old, however, who set up the table (which you see above) and then asked for the lighted candles and sat silently for a very long time admiring the work until she was interrupted by one of the 4 year olds coming back to do the work again. ("Darn" he said when he saw the work was being used!)

We have only two weeks left in the atrium until Advent. Come Advent there are some beautiful works to present. Each week I am left wishing I could have more days and more hours with the children! What a blessing this work is to me and to them.