Getting to Know the Age Level You Teach

V3027074DOne of my favorite cartoons shows a professorial-looking catechist or Sunday school teacher in a classroom full of pre-school children and saying to them, “I’m new to teaching your age group. How much do you know about systematic theology?”

The truth is, if we’re not familiar with the developmental characteristics (emotional, psychological, spiritual, physical, mental) of the age group we teach, we can find ourselves facing some real challenges.

Here are links to some very helpful descriptions of the faith development of children in grades one through eight (from the Finding God catechist manual). Take a look at the age-level you teach or will be teaching.

Getting to Know a Child – Grades 1 through 6

Getting to Know a Child in Junior High

What is something you didn’t know about that age group? What is something that you would add (from your own experience of working with this age group)?

About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at


  1. Wow. This data for 6th graders is spot-on. I was shocked 6 years ago when I first went from teaching RCIA to 6th grade: the kids’ brains were so capable, and actually more nimble than the adults. Information has to be repackaged for them to learn it, but doesn’t have to be dumbed down.

    It just seems like an ideal age for learning.

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