1. Many parents are attached to a drop off/pick up mentality when it comes to their child’s faith formation classes. Look for ways to encourage connection. Even something as small as asking parents to sign in their kids when they drop them off at class gets them in the door and provides a moment for a face to face greeting of the teachers.
2. Help your teachers get a head start on the week’s lessons by offering a “Did You Know?” tidbit in your Sunday bulletin about one of the week’s topics.
3. Kids retain information when it’s relevant. Look for ways to tie in the week’s lesson to a real life issue in their lives. For example, if the topic is respect life, ask children to share how they reach out to others – do they visit someone when they’re sick? Do they include another child who seems left out? Do they have an elderly grandparents or other family with whom they spend time?
4. Build community in classrooms by opening each lesson with prayer and prayer requests. Lead your own weekly Prayers of the Faithful.
5. Kids connect with the curriculum when they connect with their teacher. Encourage teachers to find out more about their students so that they can in turn encourage them. Who goes to what school? Do they play sports or take lessons? Do they have siblings? Do they have a special talent you could use in the classroom?
6. We can encourage kids to get into the Bible themselves in many ways. How about offering a weekly Bible verse hunt? Have the Scripture reference on the board when they arrive and see who can find the verse first. This means each child needs their own Bible, so how about making sure there is a class set of them for each teacher.
7. Character counts! Encourage your teachers to focus on positive character traits in their students. Catch them being good! Take Polaroid photos of each child and then create a “Wall of Fame” using the categories of the gifts of the Spirit. Whenever you see a child exemplify one of these traits put their photo on the “Wall of Fame.”
8. Older students are especially attracted to music, videos, and the Internet. Encourage your teachers to utilize any of these delivery methods when presenting a lesson. There’s wonderful Christian music available, along with contemporary videos and websites that offer pre-teens and teens a way to connect their faith.
9. Keeping kids on task isn’t always easy. Be prepared with high interest, hands-on lessons that move quickly. Try not to linger too long on one topic. Try to create a classroom routine that kids can count on to go through the hour with. Maybe open with a bible verse search, then prayer, then intro the lesson, then a class activity, then bring everyone back together to wrap up and close in prayer.
10. Offer parents practical ways to connect their faith to their own lives and those of their children by providing them with a subscription to Take Out: Family Faith on the Go!
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Simplify family life with the help of your Catholic Faith. Part magazine, part newsletter, Take Out: Family Faith on the Go, is a one-of-a-kind combination activity guide and support tool designed and written for busy families. This 8-page, monthly mini-magazine offers insightful, creative solutions to real life issues and interesting, fun ideas for living your faith. Start making new family connections with a positive approach today!