Holy Week, preschool style

| March 25, 2015 | 0 Comments

From left, Bernadette, Augustine, Nancy and Dominic Bandzuch look at a homemade cross from one of Nancy’s “Quiet Books.” Nancy uses the felt creations to help make Holy Week more meaningful for her kids. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Nancy Bandzuch mixes her talent for crafts with her desire to teach her Catholic faith with her young family.

And she willingly shares her ideas.

“I’m no expert,” admitted Bandzuch, but she does have a background in education. She taught English in Minneapolis public schools before staying at home to raise her children.

She and her husband, William, members of Sacred Heart in Robbinsdale, are the parents of three under the age of 4, so Bandzuch uses simple means and storytelling to get across ideas.

“It’s a beautiful thing to teach your children,” Bandzuch said, and she knows she has gotten through to her oldest, Augustine.

“Gus will talk about ‘the bad guys hurting Jesus,’ and he has questions later” about the story, she said.

“It’s really powerful to be reminded how real these things are,” Bandzuch added. “Sometimes as an adult you forget — this all happened so long ago and far away. But when my son hears it, it’s real, it’s the present in his mind.”

Some of the approaches she has used during Lent which could be adapted by other families to make Holy Week more meaningful, especially for preschool-age children, include:

  • Pray one Station of the Cross each night. Bandzuch made felt finger puppets of 13 of the major characters in the Passion — Jesus, Peter, Judas, Pontius Pilate, Veronica, Roman soldiers, etc. — so that the children could act out the story.
  • Pray one decade of the rosary each night. Bandzuch has made what she calls “Quiet Books,” felt creations that include beads and simple activities on every page to teach children to pray and enjoy the rosary.

For her Quiet Book about the sorrowful mysteries, for example, her 3-year-old is able to remove the cross and carry it just as did Simon of Cyrene.

  • Take children to the Easter Vigil liturgy. Although the vigil Mass often is late in the day for young ones, Bandzuch said children sense the interacting with water and the drama of the lights darkening and brightening, which help to keep them attentive.

“The Easter Vigil is the one Mass you don’t have to understand a word,” she said. “You can feel the meaning.”

Nancy Banzuch writes a blog at DoSmallThingsWithLove.com, and sells patterns for her creations, including Quiet Books and finger puppets.

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Category: Holy Week/Easter