A routine during the school year that helps us come together as a family is praying for each students’ intentions. I have noticed that our intentions many times align with the seven themes of Catholic social teaching.
- Life and Dignity of the Human Person
- Call to Family, Community, and Participation
- Rights and Responsibilities
- Preferential Option for the Poor
- The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
- Care for God’s Creation
While we do not explicitly cover Catholic social teaching as part of the third-grade curriculum, we do have the seven themes posted in our school. When we pray for Mykayla’s 101-year-old great-grandmother, Maria’s aunt who has Down’s Syndrome, or Luca’s dad who has a sore knee, my students make the connection that we are all acknowledging the life and dignity of the human person.
We always pray for those who are homeless in our city, especially during harsh winter days with subzero windchills and hot summer days. My students will ask, “Where will they sleep if the homeless shelter is full?” These prayers show their concern for those without secure housing, showing the Church’s preferential option for the poor.
Much of Nebraska, including Omaha, has just suffered a devastating flood. Our prayers for the many people affected by this flood help the students grow in empathy for the people affected, not just in our area but throughout the state. As my students see the action of their families donating water, cleaning supplies, and other essentials, they realize that their prayers show solidarity with those in need.
My students look forward to praying together and keeping those we love close to our hearts. This practice of praying for one another, I think, is one of the best parts of our day, and I know it’s something the children will carry forward as they continue to grow in their faith.
How do you incorporate the themes of Catholic social teaching into your classroom?
Drop by Drop tells the story of Sylvie, who is unable to attend school because it takes her several hours every day to collect the water her family needs. Sylvie eventually learns that her village has been chosen for a special Water Project. Blackline Masters for Drop by Drop include lessons for grades 2–4.