Praying with ChildrenCourse Level: Intermediate

Course Summary

Praying with Children includes an overview of Catholic prayer traditions allowing students to assess their own spiritual practice and introducing them to the variety of prayer forms and expressions in the Church. The importance of partnership with parents for prayer in the home is emphasized. An overview of the spiritual development of children is examined in the context of developmentally appropriate prayer. Participants will learn skills for leading prayer and be introduced to practical and creative strategies for prayer with children.

Successful completion of this course earns 2.5 CEU's. Click here for more information about CEU's.

General Course Objectives

  • Students will be able to describe the purpose, forms and expressions of Catholic Prayer.
  • Students will understand the importance of family prayer, and how faith development theory impacts prayer with children of different ages and stages.
  • Students will be familiar with the traditional vocal prayers, both devotional and liturgical, of the Church.
  • Students will understand the Catholic traditions of Meditation and Contemplative prayer and how to use these expressions of prayer with children.
  • Students will be able to plan prayer creatively, using movement, music, art and other elements, to involve and engage children.

Course Materials

  • Required Book: Glavich, Katherine, SND, 500 Plus Ways to Teach Prayer for Students of All Ages National Catholic Education Association, Arlington, VA, 2017. ISBN: 978-1558336216 (Available as paperback or e-book)

Course Structure and Highlights

  • Week 1: What is Catholic Prayer?
    • To know the purpose and nature of Catholic prayer as communication and building relationship with God.
    • To be introduced to the traditional forms and expressions of Catholic prayer.
    • To conduct an initial assessment of the learner’s personal prayer life.
  • Week 2: Principles of Prayer with Children
    • Understand the importance of praying well with children.
    • Become familiar with what the Church says of the role of parents as the first and best teachers of prayer.
    • Assess leadership skills and strategies for leading prayer well.
  • Week 3: Vocal Prayer with Children
    • Review traditional Catholic prayers with words, including devotions and ritual/liturgical prayer.
    • Discover strategies for teaching these prayers to children.
    • Reflect on how these prayers can enrich the spiritual and communal lives of children and families.
  • Week 4: Meditative and Contemplative Prayer with Children
    • Review traditional types of meditative prayer, including Lectio Divina, Visio Divina, imaginative meditation on Scripture and the Ignatian Examen.
    • Discover contemplation of God as "a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us." (St. Teresa of Avila)
    • Be introduced to strategies for helping children to enter meditation and contemplation.
  • Week 5: Creative Prayer in the Catechetical Session
    • Learn the importance of signs, symbols, seasonal music and ritual to enhance prayer.
    • Understand how to use creative arts, gestures, and songs in prayer.
    • Recognize the importance of prayer that matters to students and learn to involve them.
    • Become aware of the need to evaluate classroom prayer as a core element of faith formation.