There are many challenges to effective 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 for 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 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, provides an unprecedented level of catechetical customization for 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!
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.