Respect life concerns are numerous and too complicated for preschoolers. However, this developmental stage is a good time to introduce the concept of life as a gift.
Most young children love babies. Like adults, they may be responding to the irresistible appeal of babies, or perhaps, being not long out of babyhood themselves, they feel empowered when they compare themselves with those who are younger! In any case, celebrate babies to help preschoolers become aware of the preciousness of life. Have a “Babies are Great! Babies are Gifts!” celebration in a variety of ways this month.
Ask parents to tell their children something about the children’s babyhood (e.g. at what age they crawled or walked, got a first tooth, first word, first reaction to ice cream or green beans). Also ask parents to bring in photos of your students when they were babies. At group time, have children show their pictures. As a child holds up her photo, ask, “Who is this gift from God?” and allow the children to shout out the obvious name. Ask each child if he or she can tell something about themselves as babies. Some will do so gladly, but do not expect all will be able to do this.
Invite parents in the parish to bring their babies in briefly to class sometime during the month of October.
Provide dolls, blankets, and other props for imaginative play.
Many books for babies have wonderful photos of infants. Visit the local library and bring in these books to read with your students.
Talk about Jesus having been a baby once. Look at a picture book of the Nativity that has good illustrations of the Infant Jesus. Consider bringing out the crèche for a few days, then put it away again until Advent.
If your parish collects baby clothes for donation, show some of these items to your students. Then have them make “Welcome to our World” cards to send with the clothing.
During these activities, speak of babies as gifts from God. They are beautiful and precious, with the capacity to become three, four and five year olds, just like your students, who learn, laugh and love!
Reinforce this concept by celebrating guardian angels (whose feast day is October 2). Explain that every child is so important, God gives each a special angel. Learn the “Angel of God” prayer and also pray spontaneously in thanksgiving for this special guardian from God. Feast on angel food cake.
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