As a reminder, it is time to change the colors of your table or family altar or atrium to reflect the Passion of Holy Week. We began our Holy Week observance with dressing the doll vestment stand into a red vestment. We observed at Mass that the priest on Sunday had on a red stole.
Children love to dress dolls so this activity is a very tactile one.
* * * * *
The weekend was busy so I did not get around to presenting the Palm Sunday presentation found in Home Catechesis 6-9 by Moira Farrell until today.
Here is our presentation in part. Moira Farrell's album gives you the dialogue and steps for presenting the lesson.
* * * * *
The cloaks and palm branches are laid upon the ground in honor of Christ as He enters Jerusalem to claim his kingship.
Some Montessori/Good Shepherd purist might notice we didn't use the wooden figures for the presentation. That's because I don't have them for this presentation. And what we have here is neither a Good Shepherd church-based atrium nor am I a trained Good Shepherd catechist.
I am simply a mother doing a presentation within my domestic church. Because of this, I strive to keep things simple. I use what I have, even if that means using a salad bowl in place of a baptismal font.
I am not a naturally organized person, but I don't think God wants me to use that as an excuse to be a slacker. I believe whole-heartedly in the Good Shepherd/Montessori program (what I have read about it and what I have learned about it) and I adapt it to fit my home. I make it do-able within my domestic church. I use what manipulatives I have on hand or items I can pick up easily.
These hands-on manipulatives are my treasured Fontanini figurines. I have wanted to start a collection for a long time and finally had the blessing to buy some. They are made of hand-painted resin which is durable and safe for little hands to use. They also come with little card pamphlets which name the figures and tell the Biblical story of each. Your child comes to know these characters who, once upon a time, where real people.
The married couple from the wedding feast at Cana come to life in your child's hands. John the Apostle and Mary Magdalene come out of the pages of your Bible and into your home atrium. Even the little children waving palm branches are assigned names because certainly long, long ago, there was a child named Ira and older brother named Asher living in the town of Jerusalem on that beautiful day so many years ago. The same sun that shines on your child shone on these children too. What an enlightening thought for little minds to absorb.
These minatures help real life events become meaningful to our children. I began my collection with only five figures. I justify the cost knowing that in time I will have a whole village of people and they are something not only my children can enjoy, handle and respect, but my grandchildren as well. I have seen whole towns constructed with these Fontanini figures and it is a glorious sight to behold. Even more magnificent was the way my children were intrigued over the minature villages.
Think of the times you or your child has seen a minature train set or a minature town or a minature replica of an old Roman city. These things fascinate a child because they are set at a child's view. I don't want to talk anyone into going out and buying lots of Fontanini figures. Aside from the five pieces I bought, I will have to wait for Valentine's Day, birthday, Mother's Day, and Christmas to enlarge to my collection. But the children will never have to wonder what Mom wants. Our Catholic bookstore makes it even more convenient. My family has only to go into the store and have the clerk check to see if I have a certain figure or not. Every piece I have bought or that someone has bought for me is stored in their computer bank. I won't end up with duplicates and my family doesn't have to think about which piece I'd like. It's a no-brainer.
While I am well aware that there is a purpose to using the wooden figures in the Good Shepherd presentations there is also a better reason to simply present the lesson whether you use the proper materials, Fontanini minatures or other less expensive figures, even clothespin dolls you make yourself.
Just do it!
If you wait around to gather the proper materials, you might never get around to presenting the presentation. I think it more important to add to your materials in time and go ahead with the presentations using what you already have.
It's not perfect. Nothing ever is. But, armed with Moira Farrell's catechesis albums and a few materials, it is do-able.
God can take the little things we do and make something great out of them. We are merely His instruments. It is His heart's desire for our children to know Him, love Him, and serve Him. He will make sure we have the necessary tools with which to share His message with His little ones. We just have to have faith in His sovereignty.
Please notice the dear rooster on top of the chicken yard. I was unaware my daughter had set him up there until I went to take the picture.
In an otherwise joyful setting, he is a mysterious foreshadowing of what awaits us by week's end.
And I can't help but wonder if she set Mr. Rooster on top like that with childish fancy that he should be there, with child-like logic that roosters are often seen on roof tops and fence posts, or if she meant to set him apart as a subtle reminder of what awaits us down the road this week.
The absorbent mind is at work...