Engaging Second-Graders in Faith Formation with Hands-on Learning

reader question

Over the years, many catechists have commented to me that they admire those who teach junior high and high school and that they opted for the “easier” age group of pre-K and primary grades. I’ve always turned it right back around on them and expressed my admiration for anyone who can teach the youngest among us! It is a gift that I never felt I had, which is why I have always gravitated toward teaching older children, and I stand in awe of those who engage young children and keep their attention. In my mind, there is nothing easy about it!

There are unique skills and strategies that go into working with various age groups, and the same is true of working with younger children. I fielded a question about this very topic during a webinar to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Catechist’s Journey. Here’s how I responded; I hope it’s helpful!

About Joe Paprocki 2741 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 www.catechistsjourney.com.

4 Comments on Engaging Second-Graders in Faith Formation with Hands-on Learning

  1. Enjoyed listening to the ideas for learning. I agree that changing the environment in which a specific lesson is taught encourages students to feel more engaged and remember context better.

  2. My youngest has ADHD and is now an adult. I started teaching 3 year olds and now teach all primary grades (Pre-K through 5th grade all at the same time-it is a small class). We have to change activities often for all the grades. One thing the kids all like- all the mixed ages- is me singing (silly but they like to giggle at me) and doing a hands on project that all of them can enjoy. Something for the bulletin board or such things. Over the holiday break, they are each making a felt quilt square showing all the things important to them and their families. Then I sew them together and we get to display it for all to see. We had lots of crosses on last year’s “quilt”, which I was glad to see. They also like to make felt banners celebrating their lesson – baptism, etc.

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