Methods to Teach Children the Sacraments

Hi! It has been a while since I’ve written on here. I have been invited to teach an RCIA class adapted for children and I wanted to know if there are any people who work with children to teach them the sacraments! I have searched online and there isn’t much online readable stuff only selling and more selling of books that talk about that. lol

I would like suggestions about how I can help these children along with their parents to learn the sacraments and not have them bored out of their minds! Something that will bring them closer to the Church and grow in a personal relationship with Jesus and His Church and between parent and family. I am teaching the second year only, so sponsors will be there also. I have a few ideas of what to do but I need help! I will surely love it :]

:blessyou:

Ohh! One of my favorite topics. This is my third year teaching RCIA for kids and I absolutely love it. Our program sounds a bit different from yours. I have my kids for a school year, for an hour and a half on Sunday. For the most part I just have the kids, occasionally before we have the various Rites, their parents and sponsors join us.

We use Journey of Faith from Liguori. I do have to supplement quite a bit with my own stuff as there isn’t enough to use up all my time. I can send you a link to a copy of my lessons plans if you want. We only do the sacraments specifically for four weeks though.

How many classes will you teach and how long will each session last? What age ranges this time?

Great! :]

Ages range I believe older than 7 and 8. They are all elementary students. They explained in the orientation that the kids are here because they weren’t baptized as infants. It will be on Thursdays for one hour only. 2nd year will have also on Sundays. I will have only four students. I want to be able to teach these kids the best I can and have them get into it and not get bored, including the parents and sponsors.

If you are just getting started the most user friendly IMO is Journey of Faith from Liguori. It comes in versions for child, teen and adult, English and Spanish (which is a major concern here) with a “handout” for each lesson, and a decent guide for extending the lesson. It assumes breaking open the work, the work with the week’s Sunday readings, will be part of each session, and the guide supports that, or you can use the children’s weekly gospel resource they publish, depending on the age group.

There are (I am working from memory) about 12 lessons for Inquiry, 16 for the catechumenate, 8 for Lent which prepare for the rites of Lent and Easter, 8 for Mystagogy. It is affordable, less than $10 per participant.

I assume you mean true Children’s Catechumenate, with mostly unbaptized children. You do need to supplement after Easter to prepare them for first confession.

If you have mostly older Catholic Children who have never received first communion, JOF also works, with some adaptation. The “catch-up” catechisms from Sadlier, One Faith One Lord for about grades 8 or 9 to adult, and Our Catholic Faith for middle grades have turned out to be our best resource for bringing grades 4+ up to speed. You do need to supplement specifically for the actual sacramental preparation, but this is a good all around “what Catholics need to know”.

I suggest both of these because they are easy for a new, inexperienced catechist to use. As you gain confidence you can supplement with other resources but your children will be well served if you stick with these programs.

JOF supports about a 45 minute lesson, and assumes you will also be spending at least 15-20 minutes on the Sunday readings, in the same class or at another meeting during the week. Add work on basics like the prayers, the Mass, saints, rosary etc and you can fill a weekly 90 minute lesson.

You always come through for me puzzleannie :slight_smile: Praise God. I was given a folder and I have yet to look through it :\ I will let you know how my experience goes on Thursday. My mom has been doin this for years and she says that its basically however you want to do it, structurally of course, but help them learn the sacraments and prepare them.

Another thought, you are probably going to want to start on some VERY basic faith formation. We start with things like prayer, the Bible, Mary, the Saints, people and places in the Church, basic Bible stories, that kind of stuff. Some of them may have a bit of knowledge/experience, but a lot of them will most likely know NOTHING. :smiley:

I did this when I started out as a 2nd grade catechists, and I have my older kids in RCIA do it each year, make flash cards, one set for sacraments (signs, symbols and actions), one for the parts of the Mass, for items found in church and on the altar, one set for works of mercy etc… Save magazines esp. Catholic ones, use 5x8 cards, “laminate” using clear contac paper.

I’ve done that for a few of the lessons, but I make two sets and we play memory. The first time they get to keep the cards by simply finding the match, but we make sure to talk about what the pic is. After that, in order to keep the match, they have to name the object, tell what it is for, or something along those lines. :thumbsup:

That sounds good :slight_smile: I read somewhere online about Sacraments bingo. Have the children draw a sacrament on a bingo card and then say the sacrament or how them the sacrament and have them tell you which sacrament is this? and then have them put the bean on the picture. Of course, the winner gets a prize. What are good things to give as prizes?

I’m going to speak to my mom and ask her how I should begin the first class. I know the first class I would like to emphasize the parent’s support with their child to learn their prayers. I would like to also help them learn the prayers by having kind of like mad-libs/fill in the blank tests to learn them. Also, have a different child begin the class with the sign of the cross and at the end do it also. Possibly have them pray the OF or the HM or the Glory at the end too. I want to have these kids participate a lot :slight_smile:

Thank you KarenElissa also for your help! :smiley:

Little pouches of candy, some pretty Holy Cards, inexpensive Rosaries, medals, and so on. I keep a “treasure box” full of medals, plastic rosaries in all different colours and styles, holy cards, bookmarks, prayer cards, little devotional booklets, pouches full of candy, birthday party favours, magnets, and whatever else I can get my hands on that’s inexpensive and colourful.

Whenever the kids “win” something, they get to pick something from the treasure box.

One of the “first day” activities that I like to do, after mentioning all of the expectations and taking any questions that they have, is to take the kids into the Church with their parents, give them candles to hold, have them recite the Apostles’ Creed, sing “This Little Light of Mine,” and get their parents to bless them with Holy Water. :slight_smile:

I use candy. I bought a big bag of mini Hershey bars. They are cheap and what kid doesn’t like candy. :smiley:

I would like to also help them learn the prayers by having kind of like mad-libs/fill in the blank tests to learn them.

I don’t know if you have access to a whiteboard or a blackboard, but one thing I have done is write the whole prayer up on the board and have the kids read it. Then I will erase a couple of key words and have them repeat the whole prayer, filling in the missing words as they go. I keep doing this until I’m down to just words like the, a, an, and they can say the whole thing.

Also, have a different child begin the class with the sign of the cross and at the end do it also. Possibly have them pray the OF or the HM or the Glory at the end too. I want to have these kids participate a lot :slight_smile: D

We always begin class with prayer. I light a candle, we all make the Sign of the Cross, and then pray either the OF, HM, or Glory Be. I have a copy of the prayer out on the table and we pray the same one for a number of weeks until they pretty much have it down, then move on to another one. After we do this, we have a short reading from the Bible. After that, everyone (no one gets to pass) gets to light a candle while saying either something they are thankful for or someone they want to pray for. I end with a short prayer and we all make the Sign of the Cross. It works well for me. :smiley:

I also recommend the Journey of Faith pamphlets. They are simple, clear and have great information.

I use matching games - for example - when teaching about “Who’s Who in the Catholic Church” I have the titles (Priest, Bishop, Sisters/Nuns, Brother/Monks, Laity, Pope, Cardinals) and I have laminated collage of pictures of each.

I have a beautiful one for the Sisters - it shows many pictures of their life and their mission - praying, working, teaching, nursing, caring, working with the poor etc… some in habits, some in regular dress, laughing, having a snowball fight- (yes, in their habits) to show that they are real people, they have lives and laughter as well as other aspects like people outside an order do.

I also have a short description for each title and picture and the group works to put them together in the right way. We discuss and many questions are brought up and we work to find the answers together.

Hands on participation is the best. Try to engage as many senses as you can - children (& adults) learn more. We do activities based on the info from the Journey of Faith and keep it interesting.

Good luck with your class and I will keep you in my prayers.

Great suggestions from other before my post - Thanks for new ideas.

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