There are many challenges to effective Catholic faith formation for today’s parish including family engagement and scheduling conflicts. While a traditional classroom model is widely used, alternative models are becoming more prevalent to make religious education programs more engaging and flexible for today’s families and parishes. Offering multiple or alternative models of catechesis for Catholic faith formation gives families options and flexibility, and therefore can boost engagement and increase participation in your religious education program.
Sadlier has identified six popular models that are being implemented for faith formation. In some parishes, multiple models are offered. Faithful, comprehensive, structured, and effective catechesis of children may be delivered through a variety of instructional models. It’s important to understand each model of catechesis and what differentiates them.
In a parish classroom model, weekly instruction is offered to children by age or grade level. Instruction follows the traditional academic calendar or the Sundays of the liturgical year.
In a traditional school classroom, four or five lessons are taught each week. These lessons follow the traditional academic calendar or the Sundays of the liturgical year.
In a summer model, an intensive course of religious education is taught in a span of several weeks, usually blending coursework and activities.
In a family model, family-centered learning takes place onsite at church or school.
At Home Model
In an at home model, the parent or guardian is the primary instructor. Instruction features fully individualized learning on a flexible schedule.
In an intergenerational model, events provide multi-age learning for the whole faith community.
A liturgical model offers lectionary-based catechesis and lessons are correlated to the Sunday readings.
Christ In Us is the all-new approach to catechesis that keeps pace with the needs of today's Catholic schools and parishes!
Model selection is quick and easy; the user is managing his or her class or parish group and planning lessons in no time at all. When a user selects a model, Christ In Us content is automatically filtered to suit the selection. For example, if one chooses a traditional school model, the lesson planner would be populated to suit a four- or five-day lesson plan. The planner provides media options for lesson enhancement. These options add to the blended nature of Christ In Us.
The content available for our family and at home models is actually a composite of gathered events, the Home Guide (an eBook that is designed to coach parents on how to share their faith at home and guide children through the Christ In Us curriculum), and a variety of online resources touching on family life and spirituality. Our gathered events focus on two themes: family catechesis and knowledge transfer. Four of our nine family events help families to learn unit themes together. They include instruction, activities, and faith sharing. The other family events focus on the child demonstrating his or her understanding. The child does this, for example, by sharing (showing and telling) about his or her favorite lesson and unit-based tasks. (Tasks in Christ In Us provide creative opportunities to demonstrate one’s understanding of lesson content and unit themes.)
Our liturgical model is an overlay of the liturgical year—complete with lectionary-based catechesis—that is found in the lesson planners for traditional school and parish models. Now, catechists and teachers can use the wisdom of the Sunday readings for worship to inform their lessons. Each Sunday reading has been correlated to one of the program’s twenty-eight lessons, the majority of which are the four, core units. Each of these four units is based on one of the pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Creed, Worship, Prayer, Morality
The summer model provides catechists with a tour de force of our curriculum. It takes place within a two-week period, with prompts for catechists that include what to cover in class and what to assign for homework. All twenty-eight lessons are covered in this model. Whew!
Find more suggestions for experimenting with flexible Catholic catechetical models within a variety of printable resources.
Rigorous and Relevant Rubric
What makes a strong Catholic faith formation program? Like other types of curriculum, religious education programs should be orthodox, rigorous, and relevant in order to help Catholic kids learn the truths of the faith and apply them meaningfully to their lives in the real world.
This Rigorous and Relevant Religious Education Rubric will help Catholic School leaders and teachers evaluate their religion programming to ensure it’s solid, rigorous, and relevant for today’s students.
Benefits of a Spiral Approach in Catholic Faith Formation
When it comes to learning, research shows that a spiral approach has many well-documented benefits. See how these apply specifically to religious education. Is your religious education curriculum offering the same benefits? Download the Benefits of a Spiral Approach in Religious Education Tip Sheet now.
Go Further! Learn how Christ In Us spiral approach to catechesis goes deeper into faith concepts at each grade level in developmentally appropriate ways!
Cross-Curricular Connections At Home
See what an At Home Model is like with this printable Cross-Curricular Connection Activity! This activity links Religious Education to STEAM subjects through cross-curricular connections. This lesson on forgiveness is tied to second grade big ideas and standards in science and mathematics. This experiment is perfect for an at-home project with just a few have-at-home materials. Share it with families today!
Flipped Classroom for Family Models
Experiment with a flipped classroom approach. This model supports transitioning to an at-home or family-centered catechetical model. The flipped classroom philosophy involves taking the portions of learning that typically happen in a classroom (think of the content from formal teaching and readings) and having students complete them at home, ahead of class time. Class time is then spent reinforcing the content that students have read and reviewed before class (think activities, discussion, and projects). In other words, what is typically completed as classwork is homework preceding class, and what is typically assigned as homework, is classwork. Download a How To: Religious Education and the Flipped Classroom eBook that further explains the flipped classroom model and provides instructions on how to give it a try.
Lectionary Planner for Liturgy Models
Help the students make connections to the weekly readings and supplement with seasonal, Scriptural-based resources. Preview, discuss, and reflect on the readings students will hear at Mass or heard at Mass this week. Download this exclusive Integrating the Lectionary Planner designed for catechists to inspire connections to the weekly readings in whatever catechetical model you currently use.
Implementing flexible models of catechesis solves the challenges of Catholic faith formation today! Offering multiple or alternative models for faith formation gives families options and flexibility, and therefore can boost engagement and increase participation in your religious education program.
Sadlier has created a new catechetical program that is the future of catechesis and supports and inspires ALL participants in their faith formation. It’s not every day that there’s a new catechetical program with the goal of setting the standard for faith formation in today’s world. That alone should inspire you to check out Christ In Us.
With Christ In Us models and content-filtering, our ability to provide you with the flexibility you need in order to meet a diversity of catechetical needs, is greatly enhanced. Christ In Us is a game changer; and it continues Sadlier’s longstanding commitment to modeling catechetical excellence.
Want to learn more about Christ In Us? Watch John Collins on demand webinar Family Faith Formation: Engaging and Building Capacity! John explores ways to put “family” into “Catholic faith formation” by equipping parishes with resources and engaging and enabling parents to form their children in the Catholic faith.