It was so nice to see all the smiling faces today, to make some new friends, and to see old friends again! It is going to be a great year! I can't wait until next week when the rest of the children join us!
Today we learned some basic "grace and courtesy" lessons, which guide us and help us understand how we should act in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd atrium. We learned:
- How to introduce ourselves
- How to say "excuse me" if we need to pass by someone while they are working
- How to say "thank you" when someone does something nice for us
To the parents, these might seem like basic instructions that you are already doing at home, but it is important for us to reinforce that we use these behaviors in the atrium, too. It helps set the stage so the children know what to expect.
We also learned how to "make silence." This is especially important; it helps calm the child and center him/her toward the individual works they will do later.
We learned to "walk on the line" -- the tape line that surrounds our room. This also requires intense focus, especially for our youngest children. Many of these exercises may seem even a bit silly to adults, but Maria Montessori and Sofia Cavalletti (the founder of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program) found that they are highly effective in helping children develop not only their large motor skills, but also in developing their ability to focus and concentrate.
We then learned about the prayer room -- a special place we will go each time to thank Jesus for all the good things he has given us. We learned about the way they should behave in the prayer room -- quiet, reverent and carefully. Sometimes this is especially hard for children, because the prayer room is at the end of the session. So they get a little antsy sometimes. That's okay; it is a work in progress. Each time, it will get a little better!
And there will still be some days, after weeks where the children are especially focused and concentrated in the prayer room and in our "atrium" rooms (where they do their work), when they will be a bit silly and antsy again. That's okay too! It isn't usually a setback, but rather "just one of those days." Even as adults, we have days where it is harder to focus and concentrate. It is a skill we need to learn, and then continually practice! The most important thing is that we are giving them this quiet time to develop their concentration and focus.
Next week, we will cover more grace and courtesy, and also learn how to use the rugs and trays that are available for our individual work.
Here are a few photos from this week:
Practicing "walking on the line":
In the prayer room:
During snack time:
See everyone next Sunday!