Christ is in our midst!
I am honored to have been appointed the new Director of Children’s Education after presenting my vision for the program to the parish council at their August 2011 meeting.
The Children’s Education Program will be focusing on the spiritual formation of the child as an Orthodox Christian. This year we will be going through the major feasts and fasts of the Church, beginning this fall with the life of the Most Holy Theotokos and Virgin Mary. I will be incorporating materials to engage children at different age levels. My goal for this year is to recruit an additional “regular” teacher and a “substitute” teacher so that the children can be split into two, then eventually three, age groups so that the material will be more age appropriate.
The curriculum is adapted from that published by the OCA’s Department of Christian Education (http://dce.oca.org/). I am also drawing material from:
- The Twelve Great Feasts for Children by Sr. Elayne;
- The Religious Potential of the Child by Sofia Cavalletti;
- Children in the Church Today:An Orthodox Perspective by Sr. Magdalen;
- Raising Them Right by St. Theophan the Recluse;
- and Walking in Wonder: Nurturing Orthodox Christian Values in Your Children by Elizabeth White.
In addition, I am enrolled in a course for teaching the curriculum of The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd adapted for Orthodox Christian parishes. At the end of the course in November 2012, I will be certified to instruct children ages 3-6 in the Montessori-style program. I will be able to begin incorporating what I learn into our program as early as January 2012 and after we have an additional teacher.
The new program began on Sunday, September 18, 2011, at 9:30 AM lasting until the beginning of Liturgy was announced by the ringing of the bells. We will be having lessons prior to Liturgy in order to focus the children’s attention on preparing for the Divine Mystery of Holy Communion rather than after when children (and adults) often tend to be both restless and hungry. The Children’s Room will be open after Liturgy for children with their parents to work on crafts started during lessons.
Overall, this year will be a year of transition to a more formal Children’s Education Program that, God willing, will become the backbone of our children’s ministries in years to come. I ask for your prayers and encouragement as I continue to develop the curriculum.
Your servant in Christ,
Mrs. Elizabeth McAtee