We were together for the first time as a full group today -- so nice to see so many familiar faces! I know that the catechists, junior helpers and I really missed the children over the summer!
Today we continued to work on "grace and courtesy" lessons. Our junior helpers did a wonderful job of demonstrating certain skills we always use in the atrium, such as:
- How to speak softly (we strive to only use soft tones in the atrium)
- How to form a line (we form a line to go over to our prayer room)
- How to sit on the carpet during prayer time
- How to throw away our hand wipes (they all receive hand wipes after prayer and before snack)
Very soon, I will begin bringing out individual works. But before we do that, we wanted to show the children how to designate their work space, using a rug or a tray. So we demonstrated carrying a rug, unrolling a rug, putting our work on the rug, rolling up the rug and then returning it to the rug container. Then we broke up into small groups and practiced these skills.
Finally, we learned how to carry and set up a breakfast tray (we use breakfast trays for work that requires drawing or writing, since it is difficult to write or draw on a rug.) Right now, we have four breakfast trays that the children share, but eventually we will replace these with small portable work desks that high school sophomore Kevin Walsh is making for us as part of his Boy Scout Eagle project. Then, we will have many more work surfaces for writing and drawing!
Ms. Christy played the silence game with us, then it was time to practice walking on the line. Such a simple exercise, but a vital one to use when learning to process correctly! Right now, we sing a song "we are walking on the line" while we walk, but soon, we will switch to the song "Christ is Light." We will also begin carrying a small processional cross. Then, our next step will be to sing and carry the cross into our prayer room. The children really love this activity; they love imitating what they see Father do every week when he comes into the church!
Ms Christy also led us in prayer time this morning. The children expressed thanks for so many things, from trains, to friends, to planes, to superheroes!
After we came back to our atrium room, Ms. Alyce led us in prayer before we enjoyed our snack.
Then, it was time to go!
Here are a few photos from prayer time today. The room isn't very conducive to photos (because of the light shining from the window), but this will give you a glimpse into our prayer time:
Unfortunately, I don't have many photos today; I was distracted and forgot to take them! Will have more next week!
Wanted to mention something about when we end our session, since there may be confusion, especially with our new parents.
We finish at approximately 10:40 a.m. (never earlier). Even this is challenging; we do a lot in the hour the children are with us. So, if Mass gets out really early (like it did this morning), please feel free to take your time coming downstairs. No need to rush. Stay in church a bit longer and savor the quiet; visit with friends, or just relax a bit. You are parents of young children -- you deserve a break, even if it is short!
Here's a peek at part of our schedule: at around 10:20-10:25, we go into the prayer room (the Spanish Room, across the hall.) We sing our prayer songs, and will usually finish around 10:30-10:35. Then we will come back across the hall and enjoy a snack while waiting for you.
So, you will see us come out of the south door of the Spanish room in a line, then go into door 1 of the atrium rooms, where we will have our snack. At that point, you can pick up your child's name card from the board and then line up by door 2. A catechist will come to the door, take your name card, and then call your child to the door.
Please keep the area between the Spanish Room and Door #1 clear so we can process back into Rooms 1-2.
For last year's parents, this is a little different than last year's procedures. We held prayer time in room 3, and we did not need to go into the hall to get back to rooms 1-2. This year, we are using part of the Spanish Room as our permanent prayer room, so we don't need to move furniture in and out every week. So that's why we moved the prayer room from room 3 to the Spanish Room.
If you need to occasionally pick up your child quickly to make another activity, it's no problem! Just let me or one of the catechists know when you drop off your child, and we'll release him/her right after prayer time and before snack. The children love snack time, so you might hear a complaint, but you can always tell him/her "you can enjoy snack time again next week!"
We WILL have CGS atrium next week. Generally, we take the weekend off since many go out of town for the three day weekend. But because we started so late this year, thought it might be best if we held our session. Next week, we will start introducing the practical life works to the children. So if you need to miss, it isn't too serious. The following week, we begin our faith formation presentations, by learning about the items that the priest uses on the altar. That would be an important session for them to attend, especially the new children, who haven't yet seen the presentation. But even the children who were with us last year will enjoy this presentation -- I have some new items to show them, including a dedicated miniature altar table!
As always, if you have questions, feel free to drop me a note!
Have a wonderful week!