New Archdiocesan childhood curriculum launches

April 25, 2017

The Catechetical Framework for Lifelong Faith Formation was promulgated by Daniel Cardinal DiNardo on Aug. 6, 2013.

This document became the definitive framework by which catechesis is to be carried out in this Archdiocese, be they Archdiocesan programs, Catholic schools, parish formation programs, early childhood centers, university campus ministries, catechetical efforts in detention facilities, or home-based catechetical efforts.

It was Cardinal DiNardo’s firm conviction that a consistent application of this document’s vision and content across all parishes in over 10 counties of this Archdiocese would serve our catechetical and evangelization efforts well.

The intention of this framework was to develop curricula across the life cycle. Curricula, or curriculum, is an intentionally planned sequence of instruction consisting of age-appropriate understandings that increase in depth across the life cycle.

Elements of curriculum include the “What” we teach, “How” we teach (methodology) and “Assessment” (did the learner understand?). In developing the curriculum from the framework the overall theme emerged: Growing closer to God through Jesus Christ by means of the Holy Spirit alive in the Church.

From that point 4 Big Ideas surfaced to serve as the unifying anchors for curriculum content across the life cycle. They are:
• Who is Jesus Christ?
• How do we get to know and love Jesus Christ?
• How does Jesus Christ teach us to live a moral life?
• How are we called to become missionary disciples of Jesus Christ?

The Childhood Curriculum (Grades 1-5/6) has been in the stages of development and piloting in target parishes in our Archdiocese for the past three years and has now been launched into implementation stage one. Parish Catechetical Leaders were in-serviced this year on this Childhood Curriculum and were presented with implementation strategies for Fall 2017. The curriculum can be used with any textbook resource from publishers as long as they are on the approved textbook conformity list of the USCCB (United States Catholic Conference of Bishops).

This childhood curriculum incorporates a new lesson design sequence that is infused with Scripture, engages and motivates our children by making age-appropriate personal connections to their faith, clarifies and solidifies the meaning of key Catholic doctrinal concepts, and provides a means through which our children will be able to articulate their faith in conversations with their peers and family.

The Early Childhood (Pre K3–K) and the Younger Adolescence (Grades 6-8) are in the development process for launch in Fall 2018. The Older Adolescence (grades 9-12) and Adult curriculum will enter the development process soon. The common anchors for all of these curricula will be the 4 Big Ideas which will coincide with the year so that all ages will be formulating their answers to these Big Ideas at the same time.

This will help to unify parish catechetical efforts as our children revisit these questions each year and delve deeper and deeper to grow into that mature adult understanding of their faith. In addition, when implemented Across the archdiocese, our catechetical efforts will all be united in a common direction.
What can you possibly do now to help prepare you and your family?

Reflect personally on these Four Big Ideas:
• Who is Jesus Christ for ME?
• How can I get to know and love Jesus Christ?
• How does Jesus Christ teach ME to live a moral life?
• How am I called to become a missionary disciple of Jesus Christ?

After a fruitful and prayerful Lenten journey, as we continue through these 50 days of the Easter season, daily personal reflection on our answers to these questions can lead us to a rich Pentecost where we, like the followers of Jesus in the upper room, are called and sent to be witnesses to the world.

Julie Blevins is the director of the Archdiocesan Office of Evangelization and Catechesis.