Celebrating the Annunciation: Finding Reassurance in Mary

March 25 is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, when we recall and celebrate the day that the angel announced to Mary that she had been chosen to be the Mother of our Lord (Luke 1:26–38). As I’ve mentioned here before, Marian feasts are ultimately about Jesus, since Mary seeks to draw attention, not to herself, but to her Son, Jesus, who brings us the Good News of rescue, restoration, and reassurance. Mary participates in […]

Teaching Early Childhood Is Not Just Fun and Games

Whenever I would tell folks that my inclination is to teach older children—eighth grade or high school—some would remark, “Oh, I admire you for teaching the older kids. I could never do that. I teach the little ones.” In response, I would always say, “Oh, I admire you! I could never teach that age group!” And that’s the truth! I don’t have the gift of connecting with the “wee ones” of early childhood (pre-school, K, […]

The Importance of Kindergarten

Among my earliest memories are the assassination of President Kennedy, the Beatles appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show, and my first day of Kindergarten. I think that says something about the significance of Kindergarten! I know that we sometimes can overdo these things, as if our children will not get into the prestigious college of their choice later on unless we get them into a world-class Kindergarten program now. On the other hand, studies continue […]

Populating the Imaginations of Preschool Children

When speaking about the roles of parents, godparents, grandparents, catechists, and teachers in forming the faith of children, my friend and colleague, Tom McGrath, often emphasizes the need to “populate the imaginations” of young children with stories, images, signs, and symbols of our Catholic faith. At a very young age, children develop a “worldview”—a way of seeing the world. Some develop a positive worldview that recognizes truth, beauty, and goodness as more potent than that which […]

Teaching the Daily Examen to 4- to 6-Year-Olds

One of the hallmarks of Ignatian prayer and spirituality is, of course, the Daily Examen—a prayerful way to review your day to recognize God’s presence and movement in your everyday life. We tend to think of this prayer as an adult exercise; however, many catechists and school teachers have found that this prayer is easily adaptable to children and can serve as a great tool for introducing young people to the contemplative aspect of our […]