Lent & Holy Week at the Preschool
Walking in Faith Together Across the Miles
Unique Times Call for Creativity!
With the unexpected circumstances of the coronavirus upon us, this Lent is a particularly unique one. The way Lent prepares our hearts for Holy Week and ultimately the joy of Jesus' Resurrection on Easter Sunday is perhaps made even more poignant for us this year. We can continue walking together in faith across the miles!
Our connected lessons of the Stations of the Cross and the Resurrection address the most pivotal events in our liturgical (Church) year, sharing key aspects of our Catholic faith with the children. Knowing how important this is to many of your families and to us, we wanted to find a new way to bring these lessons to your children this year and support your family's Lenten and Holy Week journeys. In this spirit, we've prepared for you:
A 15-minute interactive Stations of the Cross video lesson
A 4-minute Resurrection video lesson and a craft idea to complement it
Help finding a live-streamed Mass: Our priests here at Holy Family as well as many other parishes across the archdiocese and beyond are joining the ranks of Catholic media outlets like EWTN in offering the sacrifice of the Mass this way. If you have not yet found one for your family, feel free to follow Holy Family's parish Facebook account or click the button below.
Help planning a simple but meaningful Holy Week for your family: There is a fantastic Catholic school teacher out of the Midwestern United States with a blog called, "Look to Him and Be Radiant." Earlier this week, she published a great editable template for doing just this sort of planning. I encourage you to visit her blog to access this free resource using the button below. Holy Week will surely look a little different this year, but we can still make it a deeply meaningful one for our families and little ones with a little intentionality!
Perhaps you will choose to do the Stations of the Cross together during Holy Week and the Resurrection lesson on Easter Sunday, or one lesson this week and one next to prepare!
Stations of the Cross
We have recorded for you a 15-minute interactive video of the Stations of the Cross. We will need your help to gather up in advance the symbols they will need to “receive” at each station to make it interactive. Please be sure to read the instructions below before you sit down to enjoy this lesson with your child(ren). If you still have your child's box of symbols from a previous year, you should have everything you need. If not, you can collect the items listed above from around your home, or we have scanned all the symbols for you to print and cut out in advance of watching the lesson together. Just click the button to download them.
Here are some ways you could set up your Stations of the Cross lesson:
Watch the video and hand each child the symbols to put in a basket, bag or box as I mention them. Encourage them to say the response, “Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world,” at the end of each station.
Make it more active by setting up the stations around the perimeter of your yard or a room in your home. Grab 15 bowls, paper plates, envelopes or baskets (or anything else of a similar shape). If you like, write on or tape a paper to each with the numbers 1-14 (plus one for the card at the end). Place the symbols that correspond to each station in each numbered container and space them out on the ground along the perimeter. Play the video on a phone, tablet, etc. walking from one station to the next and letting the children get a symbol out of each as you go. Depending upon their age and ability level, tell them what number station is next, and have them guide you to the right one. (If they are especially good at recognizing numbers, you could even mix them up rather than placing them in order so they have a “look-and-find” opportunity with each station.) Again, encourage them to say the response, “Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world,” at the end of each station.
AN IMPORTANT NOTE: If your child tends to have a sensitive temperament, here are some things to consider. The Stations are such a key part of our faith, and we work very hard to convey them in an age-appropriate and sensitive way, simplifying for the youngest children and expanding for the older ones. We are hopeful this video will meet the needs of a wide range of children. The teachers and I always watch the children’s expressions and body language very carefully, and I adapt the presentation - maybe adjust the language, show the picture a shorter period of time, or move to the next station more quickly - if it seems that they are feeling “antsy” or if a child seems particularly sensitive to the content. If you find this to be the case with your child, you can redirect them to looking at me rather than the picture, manipulating the symbol for that station in their hands, or fast forward. I’ve added titles where each station begins to make this easier for you, and of course, you can always preview with your child in mind.
Extension Idea: Pull out some of those extra plastic Easter eggs you might have in a closet and a clean egg carton (18-count) from your kitchen. Write the numbers 1-14 on the outside of each plastic egg with a Sharpie and place each of the symbols inside the corresponding eggs. Tape the card listing all the symbols to the inside of the top of the egg carton for your reference. You also could print the symbols pages (link above) and write the station number on each symbol picture to give them a visual key. Let the children take turns hiding the eggs for each other and finding them. What stations do each of the symbols remind us of? Can you put them back in order? Our family had a set of store-bought "Resurrection eggs" just like this, and our boys had plenty of fun playing this for many Easters!
We hope you enjoy this 4-minute video of our Resurrection lesson with your children.
Each year at the end of the lesson, we have each child in each class paint a craft stick yellow and when they dry, we collect them from each class and fan them out to make the rays of sunlight on the happy Easter sun on our bulletin board outside the preschool office. If you'd like to complement the video with a craft, we've created something similar you can do at home above.
There is nothing like hearing young children announce with joy, "Jesus is Risen! Alleluia!" Happy Easter!