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The Antiochian Orthodox Department of Christian Education (AODCE) supports church school directors, teachers, parents, and all who participate in the work of Christian education on the local level.

NEWS YOU CAN USE

View our latest (1.20.2020) comprehensive ONLINE RESOURCE LIST for Teachers and Parents! 

Church School Directors, we hope to get a community together who can help one another by sharing their experiences. Check in with our Facebook page.

If you have not registered for the listserv, please email the department, at aodce@aol.com or Anna-Sarah at aodce.csdirectors@gmail.com with your name and parish.

The Christian Ed Materials and Order Form  is now available for download! Download and use this new form to order materials for your parish program! Be sure to see the revised Billing and Shipping/handling sections of the order form. Also, visit the Antiochian Village Bookstore and Giftshop for your gift needs for Sunday School and home.

FEATURED EVENT

The Great Feasts: The Life of Our Lord

By Carole Buleza

The Twelve Great Feasts and Pascha, taken together, are an overview of the life of our Lord. While it is important for our children to know about His miracles and teachings, it is just as important for them to know the main events of His life story. Our salvation resides in His life. Furthermore, just as we are baptized into Him, our own story—our life—must rest on His. Jesus' life comprises the "foundational story" for Christians. A foundational story answers the ultimate questions of life, death and why we are here, and guides our thoughts, values, and actions. The Christian story provides answers to all these questions and gives us the virtues of faith, hope, and love that, even if not recognized as such, influence our attitudes and actions and curb the anxiety that comes from unexpected events and uncertain times. It is a strong foundation.

Visit The Great Feasts: the Life of Our Lord Program for curriculum and supplementary resources

 

FEATURED ARTICLE FOR DIRECTORS

An Interview with Kelly Hamwi: Directing a Large Church School

The 2019-2020 school year marks Kelly’s fourth year serving as the Church School Director at St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral. The parish currently has 270 children registered, with 12 individual classes from K4 (4-year olds) up to Grade 12. Due to a limited number of classrooms, the older grades are combined: one for grades 9/10 and the other for grades 11/12. On average, half of the registrants attend in any given week. Classes begin once the children have received communion during Sunday morning Liturgy. They run for approximately 45 minutes until 12:15pm. For the most part, there are two teachers, and in some cases, three teachers for each of the classes.

Which curricula is used for Sunday classes?

We use both the Antiochian and Greek Orthodox curriculum up to Grade 8. There is no formal set curriculum for grades 9 and up. Teachers are given the flexibility to teach the material that is most pertinent for the older students. This includes studies of the lives of the saints, feast days etc.

Did you have previous training/experience which prepared you for the Director role? If yes, please describe.

I served as a Church School teacher for 4 years before being called to the role of Director. As a teacher, I was able to see the challenges teachers face and the importance of training them to be able to best manage the classroom.

Are there books, resources, etc. that you would recommend to Directors for their own development / enrichment / training in the role of Director?

We provide training in September to kick-start the year (through the Department of Christian Education) both for the teachers and directors. This training is open to other parishes in the diocese.  Not only is it beneficial to learn from more experienced educators/pastors but it also allows interactive discussions with fellow Church school directors and teachers.

FEATURED ARTICLE FOR TEACHERS 

"My Orthodox Church," a New Program for Middle School Students

"My Orthodox Church" is a middle school program of frequently asked questions that Orthodox Christians encounter. It provides a platform for students and teachers to engage with our faith and bring knowledge and understanding of the faith to the task of identity-building. The materials used for researching the answers are from both The Orthodox Study Bible and from pamphlets from Ancient Faith Publishing that are available at most parishes.

Instructor's Manual

Student Book

Password Cards

FEATURED ARTICLE FOR PARENTS 

Ways to Share Great Lent and Pascha with Your Child

Children are never too young to be brought to Church for services. The sooner we introduce them to the Church, her services, and her wisdom, the sooner we begin the process of "becoming" an Orthodox Christian. In order for Orthodoxy to make sense, our children need to experience all that the Church offers.

Make it part of this year's Lenten commitment to attend more services, or attend more often. When Holy Week comes, block out all other activities. Make it a point to attend every service you can with your children. Be creative so that you can keep little ones directed and occupied. Locate service books for children who can read. Explain what's going to happen. Talk about what Holy Week and Pascha were like when you were growing up.

The following article is taken from the Orthodox Family Life Archives:
http://www.theologic.com/oflweb/lentpask/share.htm

 

Ways to Share Great Lent and Pascha with Your Child

by Ann Marie Gidus-Mercera

Take your child to Church! 

Whenever a service is scheduled, plan to attend. Services like The Canon of St. Andrew of Crete may be physically tiring with the many prostrations, but don't think your child can't be a part of them. In my own parish, which is filled with pre-schoolers, the children do a great job of making prostrations right along with the adults. Many of the children will join in as "Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me" is sung. This experience is good for our children! If they see their parents attending services, they get the message that attending Church is important. If we bring our children to Church with us (both young and old), they get the message that their presence in Church is important. The Canon of St. Andrew of Crete is especially good for teaching our children that we worship with our entire bodies.