This year I have had the privilege of teaching Zachary's kindergarten faith formation class this past year. I had a fantastic partner, Denise. One of my favorite weeks we taught about last month was the Mass. I really wanted them to have a greater appreciate for the Mass, however I knew it would be tough because right now with the short attention spans they have, it is hard for them to understand what is going on and appreciate it in the moment.
We did a couple of things to engage them.
We decided we would act out the Mass and have the children be a different part. We had a priest, a deacon, 2 readers, gift bearers and the choir. The picture above shows the altar that we used. The choir enjoyed using egg shakers and rhythm sticks when it was their turn. We have 10 kids in the class so this set up worked very well.
Visual Mass Parts
We printed off each detailed step of the Mass. For example, the greeting, Penitential Act, First reading, etc. Each child got 2 of these papers and when we got to that part of the pretend Mass we asked who had that part. They had to look at their papers and figure it out for themselves.
Hanging the papers up allowed them to see the entire Mass in front of them which helped them make sense of the order. The kids also agreed that they would be less confused at Mass if they had something like this to follow along with.
Here are the steps we did.
- Penitential Act
- Liturgy of the Word Begins-First Reading-Old Testament
- Psalm- Old
- Second Reading- New Testament
- Gospel/Homily- New
- Prayers of the Faithful
- Liturgy of the Eucharist
- Holy Holy Holy
- Calling of the Holy Spirit
- Consecration of Bread
- Consecration of Wine
- Great Amen
- Our Father
- Sign of Peace
- Lamb of God
- Final Blessing
Picture Missals for Purchase
There are some picture missals for sale at Catholic bookstores or online through Pauline Books and Media, St. Josephs, etc. You have to decide for yourself which one fits your child. Some are not as detailed as others and some of the pictures may reach your child more than others.
We started with St. Joseph's Coloring Book of the Mass. It worked well for ages 3-4 or even 5.
We also used one called My Picture Missal when Zachary turned 5. It has more words but still has pictures.
Making Your Own
I personally wanted something very detailed so last weekend I made a book out of these papers we used for class. I wanted to have something for every little step of the Mass and not all of the books get that detailed. I found some images on google. A lot of bloggers allow readers to print the pictures for educational use in your family or in church. One great resources that I got some of the pictures from was http://Thatresourcesite.com. If you are an artist and can make the pictures yourself, you have one up on the rest of us. I'm sure your children will appreciate having their own parent's art work.
What's the Point?
I very much agree that the more you use visuals and hands on teaching tools at home or during Mass, the more they will understand and hopefully appreciate it. You can make your old testament page look like an older book or something creative like that. It's okay to explain things that are happening during the Mass. I tell my son what we are praying for after the reader reads off each prayer of the faithful so he feels like he is involved.
So how do you teach your children? What have you found that works for you?
Denise, quizzing the kids at the end to review what we learned.