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without fetters and their minds are curious. They are eager to learn and ready to explore and investigate. A classroom provides these children with continuity of experience and with play, movement, song, and artistic activity which can help them express their understanding of the day’s lesson.Young children can comprehend only what they take in through the five senses. They cannot think abstractly, so they cannot assimilate concepts. However, in daily life the child faces abstractions— time and distance, for example—and strives to make sense of them. The child assigns magic to what he or she cannot comprehend and engages in fantasyin attempts to understand. When children cannot understand catechists’ attempts to explain God or doctrinal concepts, they use magic and fantasy to compensate.At ages three and four, children’s thought patterns are fluid and impressional. Everything is novel. Their imaginative processes are uninhibited and unrestrained by logical thought. Their strong imaginations produce long-lasting images and feelings, both positive and negative, that will stick with children and often have to be sorted out later in life.The dangers of the early childhood yearsarise from the possible possession of the child’s imagination by unrestrained images of terror and destructiveness or from the exploitation of her or his imagination in the reinforcement of taboos and moral or doctrinal expectations. Catechists have an obligation to speak to children concretely, realistically, and caringly.Faith DeveloPmentRevelation, especially revelation in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, is God’s self-communication to human beings. Faith is our response. This dialog with God—God reveals, we respond—is something we grow in during our whole life. Young children of three and four are just beginning their dialog. It is the privilege of the Seeds catechist to talk and listen to these children as they share how they experience the faith of their family and their local church.In his book Stages of Faith, James Fowler teaches that our faith orientation is shaped by three major elements.First: centers oF value. These are the causes,concerns, or persons that have the greatest worth to us and call out our loyalty and commitment. For a child, this is the immediate family, and by extension, the groups the immediate family values, such as the parish.seconD: images oF power. We look for safety and security. We try to align ourselves with what will sustain us and persons and things we love. Again, this is the family for a young child.thirD: the master stories. These stories give us patterns to interpret and respond to the events that impinge upon our lives. An example of a master story is the parable of the prodigal son. Fowler suggests that adults need to review the master stories they tell and ask: Is this story rich enough? Does it convey enough sense of self-worth to offset stress and loneliness and pain? Will this story open depths of meaning in the midst of failure and loss? Willthis faith orientation impel me to contribute to allof humanity and to the planet? As Christians, we believe that the answer to these questions is “Yes, the Gospels will help me in these tasks.” This is why we choose to present them to our children.Stories help children place their feelings in an experience-world. They register the child’s intuitive understandings and feelings toward the ultimate conditions of existence.moral DeveloPmentChildren of Seeds age are egocentric. They learn behaviors of sharing and caring, but their first concern is necessarily themselves. For example, a child may share one toy with another child, but refuse to share another, more favored, toy. While young children are usually honest and truthful, they may lie out of fear. Teachers know that the best way to find out how the paint can got spilled is not to ask directly, “Did you do this?” (which may get a fearful and lying “No” in response), but to say, “Tell me how this happened.”Three- and four-year-olds are at work learning how to get along with one another. They will let each other know what actions are and are not acceptable. However, habits of taking turns, sharing, and asking in words have to take the place of kicking over a castle of blocks or grabbing at a book someone else has.

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