Preschoolers at Mass

Discussion in 'Private School Teachers' started by dogs&teaching, Feb 5, 2010.

  1. dogs&teaching

    dogs&teaching Comrade

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    Feb 5, 2010

    I wasn't quite sure where to put this but I think this will suit.

    This week is Catholic Schools week. Today was the day for teachers and we were being honored as mass. The other teachers and principal asked if I would bring my 3 year old class over to attend mass. My preschoolers don't attend mass during school, so this was a first for us. Well, the day started off very wrong and I was worried how my students were going to behave. I only have 5 girls in this class so I wasn't too worried, yesterday. This morning was a whole different story. The first girl came in fine, but said she would rather stay and play than go to mass. The next girl came to school in tears. Her seatbelt on her carseat had rubbed her and she was upset. The next girl was completely fine, until we had to walk over to the church and started crying. The final two, twin girls, were fighting with each other. None of them have acted like this before, so I knew this wasn't going to go well.

    We go over to the church and sat in the pew behind the kindergarten and first grade. They sat quietly and I think it's gonna be ok. Then father comes out and two girls start crying. Our priest is very tall and heavy set, and he ended up scaring them. Throughout mass, the twins were fighting, one girl was in lala land and all over the pew, another kept bursting into tears, and the last wouldn't stop talking.

    Finally, we go up to get blessed and one little girl attaches herself to my leg and begans to cry because father scared her so much. For their first time going to mass as a class, it could have been worse. Other teachers said that they did very well for being so young. One of the teachers said that we should have them come to mass more often and I told her I thought it was a great idea. I doubt the other preschool teacher will even consider taking her students there.

    Does any other Catholic schools have their preschoolers attend mass? If so, how often?
     
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  3. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Feb 5, 2010

    I applaud you for giving it a try at all! We're Catholic (my family, not my school) and I don't even like to take my own preschoolers to mass - I usually enroll them in Faith Formation during mass time until they are old enough to take communion, and then make them start attending mass AND Faith Formation.
     
  4. Mr D

    Mr D Comrade

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    Feb 5, 2010

    I work in a Catholic school, and our preschool students (and Kindergarten as well) attend Mass occasionally, but not every week. They attended the Mass this morning for Catholic Schools Week.
     
  5. dogs&teaching

    dogs&teaching Comrade

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    Feb 5, 2010

    Is it once a month? Every other week?
     
  6. Mr D

    Mr D Comrade

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    Feb 6, 2010

    Usually it's just for special occasions for the PreK class, so maybe once every couple of months. Kindergarten goes a little more frequently, maybe about once a month.

    Each week, we have one 5th-8th grade Mass, one Mass for 4th grade and younger, and one all school Mass. I don't know how often PreK and K go to the K-4 Mass since I teach 5th and we don't go that day, but they do sometimes go to the all school Mass.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 6, 2010

    My own kids are in public school, so I don't know.

    But I applaud you and your principal for taking them.

    My kids have always attended mass; we're Catholic and we go to mass on Sunday, case closed. I spent years sitting in the back row, where we have seats instead of pews, so I could squeeze a stroller in between us. Most times my kids were very good, and received compliments. One time a woman turned and asked me to "shut those kids up." (I left mass in tears that day.)

    But if they're that uncomfortable going to mass, I would imagine it's because they don't go all that often and it's unfamilar. All the more reason for them to go with you.

    I wonder if you could set up a mass just for them, so that the priest could speak to them on their level and explain to them just what's going on?? Or if you could explain the whole fear issue to Father, and have him visit your class on occasion so he's less of an intimidating figure? Maybe let him bring the kids up onto the altar and explain what it's about?

    Maybe you could do an occasional prayer service, or Father could offer mass in your classroom, so things are more familiar to your kids.

    Again, kudos to you!! Catholic school, in addition to all the wonderful other things it teaches, should also teach about being Catholic-- and that means mass.
     
  8. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Feb 6, 2010

    When I taught Faith Formation, we did just what Alice suggested. These were Kindergarteners. We didn't actually schedule a child's only mass, but we scheduled a session in the church with the priest where he explained, in kid language, what he was doing and what each part of the service meant. The kids were able to walk up onto the altar and really SEE. He let them touch things, and he said later that it was the most fun he's had in church in a long time.

    If nothing else, at least the kids wouldn't be afraid of him next time!
     
  9. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Feb 6, 2010

    Not sure if this will be helpful for you at all...

    Our school is K-8. We have "Chapel Buddies"--the 8th graders sit with the kindergarteners, 7th grade with 1st, and 6th with second. That way, there's a "big kid" sitting with each little kid (the same one every week), and they can help them follow along, etc.
     
  10. wrice

    wrice Habitué

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    Feb 12, 2010

    Yes, Chapel Chums for our school also. Fifth graders sit with Ks and 1st. No Pre's at our school.

    Perhaps next time you could bring your precious ones over to chapel a day early and let them preview the church, talk about it and ask questions, and relieve any anxiety.

    Otherwise seemed like there was a lot of things you couldn't control; don't worry about it and they'll get used to it if you decide to continue attending.
     
  11. kidsandpups

    kidsandpups Companion

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    Feb 15, 2010

    This is what we do at our school too. Pre-K and Kindergarten attend every Mass that the rest of the school does, except the one during the first week of school in September. Each Mass a different class does the Mass and by the end of the year there are Pre-K and Kindergarten students doing the readings, with the rest of the class in the choir loft.
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 15, 2010

    I used to teach K in Catholic school. We would go to mass with our 8th grade prayer partners- that helped keep the Ks under control.

    Funny, though, that your students would have problems with going to mass...wouldn't you think that their parents would take them regularly and that going to mass would be familiar to them? ;)
     
  13. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Feb 15, 2010

    Kind of like I wouldn't expect my third graders to have problems saying the Lord's Prayer for memory since they've been saying it every week? ;)
     
  14. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 15, 2010

    Yes, exactly...or even could you have half an inkling that maybe someone should be saying prayers with them at home? I don't understand the thought that parents would send kids to Catholic school (or really any religious-based school) and not be 'walking the walk' at home as well.
     
  15. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    May 28, 2010

    We have kindergarten students at the Catholic school where I will be teaching next year and I would assume if they were use to this routine they would have been even better. They're still too young to understand what Mass is and to be little angels as the older students are. I think by the sounds of it, they did fine :)

    What you might want to do is find a time for the priest to come into your classroom and spend some time with the youngsters so they know him. Young kids are easily frightened by big adults so they were probably overwhelmed. But if they had some time to see that the priest is a kind man, they probably would have done even better at the Mass.
     
  16. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Jul 23, 2010

    I teach in a Catholic school, and while I don't teach pre-school, our pre-schoolers attend about twice a year. I am not surprised at all by your experience. I think you did quite well with them. Mass is not an easy experience for 3 or 4 year olds.

    I am sure others think it is very cute to see the pre-schoolers at mass. That is not a good reason to have them attend. I think with lots and lots of preparation you could see behavior improve. I do feel strongly though that you as a teacher can do a far better job of bringing the Catholic faith to your students at their level. I think you'd be better off with lessons at their level in your classroom and bring them over to mass only a few times a year. One program that really helps pre-schoolers prepare for the mass is called "The Catechist of the Good Shepherd" (sp?). It requires a lot of training and I'm not sure if it is available in your area. Something to find out about though.
     
  17. Mommyserenity

    Mommyserenity Devotee

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    Aug 13, 2010

    I teach in a Christian school and we have grades K3-8th grade. We have chapel once a week. K3 and K4 classes have the preacher come to their own building and do a short "chapel" with them for the first few months of school since they are so young. They get used to seeing him, singing songs, and listening to his short lesson. Then they begin going to actual chapel services around December. K5 comes to chapel from day one with the rest of the school. It seems to work pretty well to gradually add in the K3 and K4's.
     

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