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1 How Do PrimaryThe Pflaum Gospel Weeklies invite children to a living faith in the loving God who raised Jesus to new life, sent the Spirit of love to dwell with us, and today calls us personally as God’s people to eternal communion. In concrete ways appropriate to them, children in the primary grades experience through this Gospel-centered curriculum the basic realities of our faith:• our relationship to the Father, Son, and Spirit;• our belonging to the peoplegathered in the risen Jesus, the Church;• our moral journey towardfinding our own ultimate good, as Jesus did, in wholehearted love of others; and• our sacramental celebration of the risen Jesus’ continuous presence among us.The editors of Good News view with wonder the children for whom they design each lesson. They assume religious education must be developmental; that is, suited to the age and abilities of second- and third-grade children.HilDren earn? ClFaith Development BuilDs on human DevelopmentPrimary-age children are each unique and individual. Children’s families and their first eight or nine years of experience differ. Some will have visited Disneyland; some will have ridden on dog sleds; some will have played in Central Park.These children are not only each unique and special, they are also alike. They share an unfolding human nature. Their abilities to think, choose, symbolize, and learn are basically similar. The development of faith follows and builds upon human development, so catechists need to know that second- and third-graders can only thinkand make choices in the concrete. They need to work at cooperating socially. They need to hear stories because they can understand only concrete narratives, not abstract concepts.The second-grade child has lived 14% longer than a first-grader and can read the funnies, play“hangman” with simple words, and soothe the worries of a younger brother or sister. The third grader has developed even more competencein reading, cutting, pasting, coloring, playing, and working with other children. How do the developmental characteristics of primary children affect our handing on the faith to them?Thinking AbiliTyEight- and nine-year-olds think concretely. In second and third grade, children develop their ability to put events in sequence and use the “and then, and then” sequence to express cause and effect. Their limitation to concrete thinking means catechists must approach primary children with tangible, concrete learning experiences.Second-graders frequently ask why questions. 10

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