Friday, September 25, 2015

Notes from our September 20, 2015 session

Hello everyone!

Hope you have had a great week, and have been able to catch some of Pope Francis' visit to the U.S. on television or cable.  Did you know that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is also live streaming many of his appearances?  You can catch the live stream here:

What an exciting week it has been for the U.S., and how blessed we are to have a pope who really reaches out and touches the heart of people, regardless of their faith!

On to CGS news.  We had our second session last Sunday, and I loved seeing all those smiling faces!  A number of new children joined us.   I am overwhelmed with the wonderful response to this program, and so grateful to the Holy Spirit for guiding us as we take on this new endeavor.    Unfortunately, our group is now at capacity, so we need to close registrations for the 2015-16 year.  This saddens me; I wish I could engulf each and every child into the warm glow of the Good Shepherd!   I'm praying that next year, after we've tested out the program for a year, and everyone (catechists, parents, junior helpers, children) are more familiar with the program, that we will be able to include even more children in the group. 

If you know someone who is interested in the program for their children, please urge them to contact me.  I will be conducting at least a couple of sessions about how parents can implement the techniques of the CGS program into their everyday lives.  I will open these sessions to all parents who are interested, so that those whose children aren't in the program this year can begin doing some simple things at home to build the faith of their young children.

Last Sunday's activities:
We start each session with a variety of songs led by Mrs. Lauinger.  The children are quickly learning these songs!  Then, after all the children arrived, we continued
to work on our "grace and courtesy" lessons, especially introducing ourselves, greeting each other and saying good bye.  As you may notice, I ask each child to come to me and shake my hand before they leave at the end of the session.  For some of the littlest ones, this is a bit strange, but they will catch on eventually.  We will continue to work on "please," "thank you," "excuse me."   The idea is to create an environment of peace and calm in the atrium, and these little courtesies contribute to that environment.   

We also began working on some practical exercises, like using to use trays and getting materials. (When the room is all set up, the children will have time for individual work, so we want them to know how to get materials properly using the trays.)   

We spent time in our "atrium" space (Room 3), where we had our prayer service.  The children especially love singing the "Thank You, Lord" song and contributing their suggestions of things we should thank the Lord for.

This Sunday's activities:
We will sing our favorite songs with Mrs. Lauinger then continue working on our grace and courtesy lessons.  On the practical skills side, we will talk about using rugs for our material -- how to roll them, unroll them, walk around them if someone is working on a rug, etc.  Then we'll practice what we learn.  In our prayer corner, we will "enthrone" a beautiful Bible.  After snack, I'm hoping we have a chance to learn the "Shalom" song, which is the song that signifies the end of each CGS session.  I've been waiting to introduce it until we get into a routine. 

Check In/Check Out procedures:
I'm continuing to hone the check in/check out procedures. Beginning this week, please follow these steps:

Check in procedures: (when you bring your child to the PAR before Mass):

1) Go to the "Check In/Check Out" table and sign in your child on the Check In/Check Out sheet;
2) Take your child's name tag from the display on the table and put it on your child.  If you have two children, take the name tags for both children.
3) You can either walk with your child to Room 1&2, or one of the junior helpers will walk with them to the room

Check out procedures: (when you pick up your child after Mass):
1) Go to the "Check In/Check Out" table and sign out your child on the Check In/Check Out sheet
2) Take the card with your child's name on it from the display on the table and go to the door at Room 2, where a catechist will meet you.
3) The catechist will take the card, call your child's name and your child will come to the door, and you can then leave with your child.
 If you have two children, please take the name cards with both children's names

This procedure will be especially helpful to us, as we learn the names of your children, and as we get to know the parents!  

Please know that I may continue to hone these procedures as we go along to make them more efficient.

As always, I welcome your emails and questions!

Cheryl Basile

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