Faith formation is one of the first formal-ish teaching things I do with little kids. We start with learning the sign of the cross, how to walk into church (i.e. dealing with holy water, bowing, etc.), and bible stories.
Once they start showing more readiness for crafts and longer stories (about 2.5 to 3 years old) I start an actual faith formation program. It is not strictly necessary, but I find that it does cut down on the work for me, which makes it much more likely to happen.
We have been using the Little Lambs program, the preschool version of Family Formation, from the Church of Saint Paul in Minnesota. It runs for the length of the school year (September - May), and they will prorate your subscription if you are not signing up before the year starts.
The new family packet comes with helpful guides for how to do the lessons, prayer lists, a liturgical year color in map, and a W.O.G. (Word of God) log for each kid.
Every month we get a packet in the mail with all of the lessons for the coming month, the saint of the month coloring page with bio, and, the best part, the supplies for all of the activities! You provide the scissors, glue, crayons, etc. The packet will contain construction paper, any printable pages needed, and even things like star stickers, popsicle sticks, and cord.
One of the things I really enjoy about this program is that it is really geared for the whole family, and it empowers the parents to be the teachers of their children. In the beginning of each lesson is a page that explains to the parent what they will be talking about, and the lesson leads you through introducing the topic to the kid. They catechize the parents just as much as the kids!
|Liturgical Year map. Each of the days gets colored in with the appropriate liturgical color that the little key on the map will show you.|
I like that it is tied to the liturgical year while also finding ways to include the full depth of Catholic culture. During the month of May last year we had a great booklet on how to pray the rosary as a family and an audio CD of a rosary you could pray along to, but we had also just covered topics like "Adoration and Holiness" and "Marian Apparitions."
There are some aspects of the program we omit or do differently.
We didn't do the W.O.G. logs much last year as we were easing into the idea of more formal school time. We got more in the habit of reading bible stories lately, and John liked keeping track of his minutes doing the Summer Reading Program at the library.
|W.O.G. log! You fill in the days of the month and add the minutes the child spent reading or listening to scripture, bible storybooks, or mass readings.|
I also don't really do the bible verse memorization yet. The preschool curriculum we are using includes a verse we are working on, but I'm aiming more for familiarity, not memorization, at this point for that type of thing. We are working on memorizing things like the Our Father and the table blessing prayers.
My final favorite point is that both Family Formation and Little Lambs are based on a per family pricing system vs. per child. This means that the cost is the same no matter how many kids are involved. This can make it VERY cheap for the per person cost. When you sign up the number of kids in each age group (Little Lambs 3-4 years, Family Formation Grades K-3 and 4-6) are noted and you will receive enough materials for that number of children.
I am not involved, financially or otherwise, with this program beyond subscribing for my family. I have just found it really useful in my life, and, since it is not very well known outside of particular geographic areas, I figured I would write it up in case it helps someone!