Well it is the day after Halloween, so that means it is All Saints Day here! We started the day off with Mass and then I took the girls out for a mini celebration! We brought our saint book with us and read them over our “coffee” (whipped cream) and bagels! The girls loved it and it really inspired Bunny to want to know more about her patron saints! We of course looked them up and she just fell in love with the whole idea that there are saint out there she can ask pray for her! Both the saints we found were teachers and nuns. I think that she is happy to find helpers for when that school work gets really tricky! Maria Montessori observed that children in the ages of 6-12 really desire and NEED heroes that they can look up to! They want to have someone special that inspires them! I think that saints are an awesome place to start! They are literally hundreds of amazing real stories of people doing amazing things for others around them and for God. These are things that I want to my girls to emulate and make a part of their lives, so knowing people who have lived this way and know that they are real leave such a deep impression! If you are looking for a place to start this Lives of the Saints book Bunny has is really beautiful! It is a great place to start! If you have littler ones, I really love the Alphabet of Catholic Saints is an awesome book too! For First Communion, I read Bunny the book about Blessed Imelda and this was a real turning point for her! She realized how special making her first communion was and she really started to grow closer to Jesus in her own personal prayer. It is amazing what a good book can do! So I wish you all a happy Saints Day! My all the saints in heaven pray for blessings for all of you!
PS. In case you are wondering if we skipped Halloween, I assure you we didn’t! The high winds and icky rain made all the cities around postpone Halloween fun to Sunday night! I promise you pumpkins, candy and costumes then! I hope you all had a fun holiday!
It is the beginning of Holy Week and many Christians are preparing to think about and reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus. However, when you are thinking about it with small children, its hard to know what to say so they can appreciate it and yet not much that they are disturbed or scard! Sofia Cavalletti came up with a brilliant idea that allows the children to think about the story. We have in the Atrium we have a city of Jerusalem map. The map has a main board, a control map, and movable pieces. The work is out only during lent and the Easter season. Here are a few tips on using a work like this at home. I have adapted the traditional presentation for home use. Please know that going to an Atrium and seeing the work first hand can never be substitute and many Atriums are more then happy to have you stop by for a visit or even join! If you want to find an Atrium near your, you can visit http://www.cgsusa.org/. Now on to the practical points of the presentation.
This presentation require a small map of the city of Jerusalem. In the atrium, we have a city on a board with a control chart to move the pieces to. There is a wall around the city, the Tower of Antonio (where Pilate lived), the Temple with a wall around it, Herod’s Palace, the House of Caiaphas, the Cenecle (or upper room), Garden of Olives, Calvary, and the Tomb of the Resurrection. Now I figure that you are all not going to have this work laying around your house. So it is more then possible to make it up with whatever you may have! Use building blocks, Legos, wood scraps, heck, even use the red rods! What you want to to create the walls of the city like the ones in the pictures above. Then you will need some buildings. The Tower of Antonio is part of the top right of the wall. The temple is across from the Garden of Olives and the Cenecle is at the far end of the city. Just set it up according to the pictures above. Then you are ready to tell the story.
1. Using the sandpaper globe, point out where the Land of Israel is to the child. “This is the land of Israel. This is where Jesus lived when he was on earth. Now we cont see all the mountains and roads and towns can we? No, So here is a map of the city of Jerusalem. This was a very important city because Jesus came here to teach and pray. It is also where he died and rose again.”
2. Next start to point out the different pieces of city and walk the child through the city following Jesus. If you have a control chart, move the pieces after you mention each piece. Here is an idea of what to say.
“Why do you think that the city is surrounded by walls? Yes it helps to protect it from bad things. There was a big wall around Jerusalem to keep it safe. There is also a wall around the temple. The temple was a really important place for the Jewish people to come pray. The wall protects the temple too.”
“On plan Sunday, Jesus came into the city. Maybe he came in on one of these road. On Holy Thursday, Jesus went to the cenecle with his disciples to celebrate the Passover. While there were there he blessed the bread and told his disciples that this was his body. Then he took the wine and gave it to his disciples saying this is my blood. After singing a song of praise to God, they left for the Garden of Olives”
“At the Garden of Olives, Jesus prayed. While he was praying, the soldiers came and arrested Jesus. They thought he was a bad man.”
“So they took him to the House of Caiaphas. Caiaphas was the priest who was a leader in Jerusalem. He asked Jesus alot of questions, but Jesus didnt answer them. Since Pilate was in charge, Caiaphas sent Jesus to him.
“Pilate lived in the Tower of Antonio. It is the tallest building in the city and build into the wall so he can look down and see everything. When they brought Jesus to the Pilate, Pilate talked to Jesus and realized that there was nothing bad about him. So he decided to send Jesus to King Herod who was in charge of land where Jesus lived.”
“So off to King Herod’s Palace they went. King Herod had always wanted to meet Jesus and see one of his miracles. But when King Herod asked Jesus questions, Jesus didnt say anything, so Herod told the people that he saw nothing wrong with Jesus. So he sent him back to Pilate.”
“Pilate told all the people again that He saw nothing wrong with Jesus. The people didnt like that. So Pilate gave Jesus the cross to carry to Calvary.”
“Jesus walked the road to Calvary with his cross. When he got there, he was put on the cross and died.”
“When Jesus died, they took his body and buried it in the tomb. It looked like the light went out of the world forever. But did Jesus stay dead? No! That’s right, he rose again! (Light a candle) and the light came back into the world! What a wonderful thing. What do you think we can say to Jesus while we think about this? (allow time for the child to offer a prayer or thanks to God). This is why Easter is a celebration, a happy time! You can use the map to think more about the story. You could draw your own city or you can write a prayer.”
This is a simple version of what we do in the Atrium with the children. I love this because there are things to do, things to touch and see, and the children can connect with the story of salvation without worrying about the pain of death. I hope that this will give you a way to live the story of Jesus with your children this week! It is amazing to me that each time this work is done, I can see the story come alive for the children and their little tiny prayers are always ones of thanks and love for Jesus! It is a beautiful thing! Again, if you have the opportunity, go to your local Atrium and see the work that allows the Lord to speak to their hearts!
If you want to see more amazing Montessori fun, be sure to stop by the Montessori Monday link up! I am there partying, so you should to! Happy Holy Week!
Well seeing as I have been a little lazy in my blogging, I will share today what we did on Ash Wednesday. I set out to have a a feast day celebration each month at the beginning of the year, so this month I thought we should celebrate the beginning of Lent! I saw on Catholic Cuisine that they made an ash Wednesday cake that was made with cake crumbs and pudding. It was really to help remind the kids of the ashes that they received at church! Seeing that they had to crumble up the whole cake, they thought it was a perfect idea!
We had a lovely talk about Lent and about the things we could do to love Jesus more. Pup decided that she could work on the sign of the cross. It was all her own thought. She had been making crosses out of paper and drawing Jesus on them the day before. She was so sweet and she made 3 of them. I pointed to them and said it was Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and I explained the trinity a bit to her. She loved the idea and said it was just like the sign of the cross. Se was so excited about it and I think that it was what inspired her to work on the sign of the cross this Lent. I thought it was a beautiful idea!
Bunny really didnt know what she wanted to do, but she did grab a money box to give to the poor and she said she wanted to fill it. I told her if she needed to earn money she could work in the house to make some money to give. So she has been working really hard scrubbing floors and cleaning windows! The money has mostly gone to the box for the poor. I am proud that she is willing to try hard to help others! As for me, I have quite a few books that I am going to try and read. As well as stepping back computer time in the mornings! I want to make time to pray together as a family too. This is our plan for Lent! I wish you all a very blessed season of preparation!
Today is Epiphany Day and since it was my goal for the year to celebrate the Church year, we took the time for a small King’s Day Celebration! I made a kings cake and hid a wooden coin inside (wrapped in foil). After it was baked, I frosted it and the girls decorated it like a crown! They had a great time adding all sorts of yummy bits to it and Bunny thought that we needed some kings on top of the cake! So off she went to make three of them and a camel for the cake!
After our dinner, we sat by the nativity and read the story of the Epiphany together. As I read, Bunny moved the figured around. We talked about the story together and about how we can still give Baby Jesus gifts, gifts of Love and Prayer. After our reflection, it was time for cake! Even though we each ate a piece of cake, no one found the coin. The girls were so disappointed about it, I did something rather unconventional. The girls split the rest of the cake and they literally dug through it! 🙂 Bunny found the coin and she was named king of the night! They both had so very much fun!