It's the end of the year for class and the kids are raring to get out from behind their desks. As a volunteer in your child's classroom, you can commemorate the students' achievements by planning special projects and events that let them show the world what they've learned. It's a chance for you and the teacher to see which lessons where the most effective and resonated with the children.
Art Gallery and Poetry Reading
The kids have spent the year learning about different Biblical passages and stories, and now it's time for them pick their favorites to bring to life. Give the kids time at the end of the year to create a piece of art based on their favorite lessons or Bible passages. You can also encourage students to write poems or stories from the point of view of their favorite religious figure or saint. Hold an invitation-only event for students and other parents so everyone can take a look at the result of the students' hard work. If everyone is brave enough, have them read out loud to the crowd, whether it's a poem they wrote themselves or a favorite passage related to their artwork. If the kids have a flair for the dramatic, have them research their favorite Catholic saints in advance and then pretend to be the saints at a year end party while their parents try to guess who they are. You can make the party a potluck and have everyone bring something or provide light refreshments.
Act of Charity
Encourage the kids to reflect on service by undertaking a service project together. This can be as simple as weeding the flower beds at the church or school. You can also sign up to help serve breakfast at a soup kitchen. If your child's class is more ambitious, try organizing a school-wide or church-wide project to gather food for a local food bank or hold a clothing drive. Let students make posters and handle the marketing of the event. You can also encourage your child and his classmates to research Catholic charities in your area. Each child can pick a charity on which to focus during the summer, whether by volunteering or researching. Ask the kids to bring their knowledge back and share it when class begins again.
Kids can show off their skills and knowledge with a special class-wide project. If your child's class is artistic, consider painting a mural that represents the school or a special Biblical scene selected by your child and her classmates. Ask school administration if you can paint it in a hallway or on an outer wall. Even students who aren't gifted artists can get involved with the planning and painting. Another huge project is creating a timeline of what they've learned over the year. Each student can pick a lesson or subject and add it to the timeline, representing it with pictures, facts or some text. If you have the space, make a Jesse Tree together instead of a linear timeline. Jesse Trees are usually Christmas traditions, but you can shake things up and bring some holiday cheer into the last days of your child's religion class. Have the kids find where their favorite Biblical figure or quotation fits in the time between creation and the birth of Christ.
End of Class Prayer Service
You can create a special end-of-year prayer for your child's class or search online for a prayer that your child's class will appreciate. If crafting your own, be sure to give thanks for all the children have learned and the skills they gained. Also include a prayer for those hurt, stricken ill or who have faced hardship during the year. Make mention of world events that have had an impact on your child's class or that have been discussed in the classroom. If the students are older, ask each of them to write their own prayer. Have a day where each child stands up to read their prayer, either in the classroom or during a church service. In fact, have the kids help plan a special Catholic mass that celebrates children. Spend time finding passages about children, like Proverbs 17:6, "Children's children are the crown of the elderly, and the glory of children is their parentage." The kids can pick out hymns and passages for the entire congregation. With a few more volunteers, you can even create a fun fair for kids to enjoy after the mass.
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