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Implementing Alternative Models of Catechesis

Multiple and alternative models of catechesis continue to emerge and grown in popularity to meet the varied needs of modern Catholic families and today’s parishes. In this article, we'll explore how catechetical and pastoral leaders can harness the benefits of offering alternative models of catechesis. Download and print free resources that will help you explore various forms of faith formation and learn more about Christ In Us models and content-filtering!

There are multiple models for Catholic catechesis. Using alternative models of catechesis or incorporating elements from these models into traditional catechetical programs offers options to parishes as they “inform the faith community and candidates for initiation into the Church about the teachings of Christ.” implementing-alternative-models-of-catholic-catechesis-catehcetical-instruction.png

What Are Some Models of Catechesis?

There are multiple models for Catholic catechesis. In a traditional 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 model attend daily or weekly religious education classes to pray together and learn their faith. These lessons follow the traditional academic calendar or the Sundays of the liturgical year. In a family model, family-centered learning takes place onsite at church or school. In an at home model, the parent or guardian is the primary instructor. Instruction features fully individualized learning on a flexible schedule. An intergenerational model brings the whole community, including parishioners of all ages, together to learn about and share faith. In many summer models, an intensive course of religious education is taught in a span of several weeks, usually blending coursework and activities. Finally, a liturgical model offers lectionary-based catechesis and lessons are correlated to the Sunday readings.

What is catechesis? The General Directory for Catechesis states “the definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch, but also in communion and intimacy, with Jesus Christ.” (80)

Sadlier has identified and studied these six popular models of catechesis that are being implemented for faith formation. In fact, these six models were essential in shaping Sadlier’s new catechetical program, Christ In Us. It’s important to understand each model and what differentiates them.

Download a tip sheet with descriptions of each of these six models and use it to assess which models you are currently implementing within your program and which models could be used to reach families and diverse populations.

Six Models of Catechesis

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Why Choose an Alternative Model of Catechesis?

Alternative catechetical models can offer flexibility for both parishes and families and help parishes reach diverse populations.

Family models provide a way to involve parents more directly in the faith formation of their children. An at home model suits parents who choose homeschooling for religion over a more traditional model. This model also provide the leeway needed for families with scheduling difficulties or other extenuating circumstances. Family and at-home models also support those who may not be able to attend regular catechetical sessions, such as those living in rural settings. Intergenerational models engage parishioners of all ages and ground catechesis within a broader parish context. A liturgical model forges a strong tie to Scripture and the liturgical year.

Alternative models of catechesis can offer flexibility for both parishes and families and help parishes reach diverse populations.

Offering multiple or alternative models for catechesis gives families options and flexibility, and therefore can boost engagement and increase participation in your religious education program.

What Model Do You Most Often Use for Catechesis?

Which model do you most often use for catechesis in your religious education program? Is it a traditional school model, or a hybrid model that includes family catechesis? Do your students meet mostly by grade level but come together with families for intergenerational meetings at some points throughout the year? Your catechetical model may have elements of multiple catechetical models, or you may use different models within your program.

Consider a New Approach

Implementing Alternative Models of Catholic Catechesis - Christ In UsSadlier’s new catechetical program, Christ In Us, provides an unprecedented level of catechetical customization for schools and parishes. One of the key features that speaks to CIU’s flexibility and ease of use is the ability to choose from six catechetical models: traditional parish and school; liturgical (lectionary based); family; at home; and summer models. While not a formal Model in Christ In Us, these events provide multi-age learning for the whole faith community.

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.

Current We Believe or We Live Our Faith Users

If you are using the We Believe or We Live Our Faith catechetical programs, you can use the resources below to augment and adjust the program for multiple models.

Implementing Alternative Models of Catholic Catechesis

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Implementing Alternative Models of Catholic Catechesis

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Implementing Alternative Models of Catholic Catechesis

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Printables to Support and Enhance Your Model of Catechesis

Find more suggestions for experimenting with alternative Catholic catechetical models within a variety of resources.

Benefits of a Spiral Approach in Religious Education

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?

Models of Catholic Catechesis - Spiral Approach

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Cross-Curricular Connections At Home

Connect 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. H This experiment is perfect for an at-home project with just a few have-at-home materials. Share it with families today!

Models of Catholic Catechesis- Cross Curricular Connections

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Flipped Classroom for Family Models

Experiment with a flipped classroom approach. 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. This alternative model supports transitioning to an at-home or family-centered catechetical model.

Download an eBook designed to explain and provide help implementing a flipped classroom approach to religious education.

Models of Catholic Catechesis - Flipped Classroom eBook

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Lectionary Planner

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.

Readings, and For inspiration, links to the Weekly Readings, and questions for reflection, visit Sadlier’s free Question of the Week feature on Sadlier Connect! 

Models of Catholic Catechesis - Lectionary Planner

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