K-6 Religious Education
By Penni Cannova
Vera Zielinski, Director of K-6 Religious Education, described the work of
faith formation for our younger students in this most unusual year. At the
onset of the instruction year, Vera, with school and other church leaders,
envisioned methods to hold Religious Education in person. They concluded
that it could not be done safely, as all classes are held inside of St. Isidore
School after hours on Tuesday and Wednesday, and also on Saturday. While
enough time could be gained after Saturday classes to clean properly, they
could not ensure the same after Tuesday and Wednesday night RE classes
before school students entered classrooms the next morning.
Though faith formation needed to be remote for K-6, Vera held in-person,
large meetings and the Sacrament of Confession, with one parent
accompanying one child for each. She related how special it felt to parents
to be able to do this in person, and also do so safely. Some families not
comfortable with coming into the church were certainly excused.
Vera, who had always designed her own curriculum for delivery for
both in-person classes and those held at home in the past with Families
in Faith, decided with all students remote she needed a family-friendly,
unified and bilingual curriculum. Choosing the theme, “Faith Strong”,
she purchased a program, Sunday Visitor, and augmented it with her
own creation of flip grids. With every family working on religious education
at home, these flip grids allow each child to do the lesson on their own,
by chapter, and perform their own self-assessment. Vera added video
content to engage the learners, emphasizing the week’s Reading with
a Bible story. Vera also offered activities outside of the flip grid for
students who wished to do more. Each week she sends a Family Faith
newsletter highlighting saints and a weekly reading.
Every month all RE students and catechists meet in a large group
gathering held in the church. Families reserve seats. Vera utilizes
this time to tie together the lessons of the season. At the October
large meeting, she presented the ties between Halloween, Day of
the Dead and All Saints and All Souls feast days. She created a Day
of the Dead altar which she said was a hit with the families. In
December, she taught the traditions of Advent and Christmas.
Catechists are still essential to the program. In this most unusual year, they do not actually teach but they check in
with their class’ families. They also help monitor the sacramental preparation in each family this way.