“Who Is The Holy Family?”
I remember presenting this question to my kindergarten/first grade class at the end of the school year 2015-2016. The answer was deafening–mouths were dropped open, I heard crickets chirping, but apparently no one had a clue. We had been singing “Good Morning Jesus” every Sunday. It’s a lovely song that names the members of the Holy Family- Jesus, Mary and Joseph- and the class knew it by heart. My first thought when none of the children responded, was, “Yikes!” Then I consulted my friend Donna, who had taught kindergarten in public schools for more than thirty years. Donna said, “The students may have wondered, “Which Mary?” Does Ms. Connie mean my grandma Mary, or my neighbor, Mary?” etc. In other words, life at six can be complex! Donna also suggested, that I teach, re-teach, and repeat each remaining class session. So I did.
The material the children are learning is abstract and far from their reality. As adults, we need to re-teach and repeat in many different ways. The song “Good Morning, Jesus” is excellent because it is physical, includes counting and marching, has very simple choreography, and names the Holy Family members clearly. Storytelling, art projects, “Play-Doh” for modeling the family, and simple writing all help get the concept across. Donna once told me that a kindergarten-age child has a nine-minute attention span. Then the adult needs to do something to refocus the students. This includes getting up, moving closer to the children, asking them to sing and march, etc. I have been doing public speaking for almost eight years for parent groups. I can see their faces and eyes. When the eyes begin to glaze over, I know it’s time to wrap it up. With kids, we have to keep them moving, involved, and repeating the material we are teaching them.
Who is the Holy Family?–“JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH!” Then we reward: “Good job!”
“Good Morning, Jesus”