I have been asked to teach the first communion class for children who do not attend our parish school and I am PETRIFIED!!! I have the Baltimore Catechism 1&2 as well as a teaching book from Seton Home Study, but I need some suggestions.
I spoke with my priest and he said that at age 7 yrs or so, the children wouldn’t really be able to write their prayers and such, so I am contemplating making worksheets where they have to match the question to the answer (via drawing lines - KWIM?). Possibly making flashcards for them to take home if I have a small enough class.
Otherwise, does anyone know of a good website that has songs or memorization games I can use with the kids or printouts? My oldest child at home is only 4, so I’m not really familiar with what kids at 2nd grade are capable of and what they aren’t. I may bug our religion teacher at school to see if she can throw me some suggestions.
Prayers and suggestions welcome and appreciated. Thank You!
It’s important that whatever materials you use (including websites) conforms with the catechism of the Church. Therefore, your best resources are the textbooks you have already, prayer cards (Catholic versions from Catholic bookstores), etc.
Websites which can be helpful would include: the office of catechesis of your diocese, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and your local parish’s religious education program &/or library. (and of course the Vatican’s website). Use the search criterion: “prayers and preparation for First Holy Communion”, or something similar.
If you come across something, just be sure and check with the pastor of your parish and/or the director of your religious education program at your parish before using any materials, hand-generated or gathered from various sources, because they must conform to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
In addition to the basic/daily prayers and how to say the Holy Rosary, they will need to learn how to participate in the Holy Mass. Teach them well!
what is the text recommended by the parish and diocese? that is your first stop and no matter what the publisher gives you the framework of what should be taught at their level. You as the catechist supply any deficiencies in the text from your own knowledge. The publisher will have black line reproducible masters available for much of the “worksheet” exercises you would use, and also most have a website with a wealth of downloadable resources.
I do make my own flashcards, what is available is way to expensive. If like most of us you have a stack of religious and standard magazines it may be something the kids can do, even if you have to reproduce images for them to cut and glue (chalice, altar etc). that physical action by the way facilitates learning and retention.
the diocese has a curriculum to follow for your grade level, with vocabulary and prayers they should know. Parents should be teaching the prayers at home, although you can text through exercises such as you suggest.
if you don’t get guidance on a text from the pastor or DRE use whatever the school uses because you can probably borrow or copy reproducible resources from the teachers. also you can ask for the code they have to access the website for additional resources.
IMO most first communion and first penance “programs” (2 matching books with 8 or so lessons each) are a waste of time and money if you have a solid Grade 2 text–Faith and LIfe, Image of God (Ignatius Press) are the gold standard, Loyola and Sadlier are also credible, but a knowledgeable catechist can work with any standard text.
It is a little odd the parish does not give you age appropriate materials. There are some very good materials out there that quote the CCC. Here are the topics for each section of our 2nd grade book:
God Creates Us
God Gives Us Jesus
God is our Father
Jesus is Faithful
Jesus Saves Us
Jesus Calls us to Love
Jesus Cares for Us
We Worship God
The Sacrament of Penance
Mary Shows Us the Way
New Life in Jesus
Jesus Loves the Church
Gathering for Mass
Celebrating the Eucharist
Being Like Jesus
We Share God’s Life
With each of these chapters we cover a saint and Scripture, mix in some Catholic Social Teaching and the basic prayers.
Please do not just start by reading the BC to them because you loose them very quickly.