Sunday, October 16, 2016

Ongoing Work

I continue to be amazed at the level of concentration and purposeful work that we have each week in the atrium. It is such a joy to be there with your children!

This week we talked about the Sign of Peace and practiced shaking hands while saying, "Peace be with you."  We also practiced saying "And with your Spirit" after the priest says, "The peace of the Lord be with you always." That one was a little harder to remember. Of course we know that everything we do with children at this age is in small steps. We shape knowledge and behavior slowly, one lesson or activity at a time. Often children learn things when we least expect it! They are always listening and watching, even when we don't think they are.

Thus by repeated lessons they slowly get the knowledge or skill that once eluded them. It is what I love about the Montessori environment. The children are free to choose their own work and work with joy and concentration. However, they are also hearing and seeing the lessons going on all around them. It is through this kind of meaningful activity and indirect learning that they learn so much! I could never teach them so much if I tried to do it directly during group lessons.

Although I do try to do one group lesson every week, there are lots of lessons that the children work on individually. The children use the materials shown in the above picture to learn about the gestures the priest uses during Mass to change the bread and wine into Jesus' body and blood. We show them how to make their hands to come down over the vessels (while another friend rings the bell). We make sure they know it isn't the priest who changes the bread and wine but the Holy Spirit. They then take the paper Host and chalice and lift it up in thanksgiving.

The children also enjoy learning how to prepare the cruets with wine and water and eventually how to add the wine and a drop of water into the chalice. They can also practice Lavabo (which is the washing of the priest's hands during Mass.) All of these lessons will enhance your child's understanding of the Mass as he or she grows up. 

What you can do: Sit up front during Mass so your child has more opportunity to see what is happening. Point out the moments they have been learning about and the vessels used during Mass. Make sure they know where the Tabernacle and Sanctuary Candle are located in the church. Ask your child what color Fr. Leo's vestments are and see if they know what the color means (green/growing time; purple/preparation; white/celebration; red/Holy Spirit). Don't expect them to know all the answers or necessarily want to tell them if they do but give them the opportunity to see all the amazing things we have in our church that bring us closer to God.