KidsChurch Catechist Welcome
KidsChurch has a long history at OLR and we are delighted to be able to offer this service to families. It is truly a privilege to work with the children as they have such an innocent and pure faith – you’ll find yourself enriched more than expected by the experience.
This page outlines the policies and procedures for this important and rewarding ministry. Please read it carefully and if you have any questions, please contact the coordinator.
Vacant – are you called to take on this role?
Contact the Parish Office.
OLR Parish Office
T: 9662 1070
Preparing for the KidsChurch Session
- The parish office provides handouts for each Sunday. This includes 20 copies of each of 2 resources – one for younger children (usually colouring in) and one for older children (usually word puzzles). These can be found in the blue Catechist bag in the foyer of the Church.
- A lesson plan is also provided and includes the basic format for the 20 minute session (see below).
- Notes are sent to catechists a day or two prior to their session, so that they can be briefed on the topic ahead of arriving at church. Make sure you allow 5 - 10 minutes to familiarise yourself with the material before the lesson.
- The key for the kidsChurch room is available from inside the church - get another catechist to show you where it is. Please return it after use.
- Often, the KidsChurch room is already open on arrival – please make sure that you tidy and lock the room before departing the church grounds.
- Excess handouts should be thrown out please as they clutter the bag and make it confusing for the next Catechist.
- Children and catechists gather at the back of the Church to process in with Father.
- Blessing – the congregation blesses the children and catechists and they depart via the side door.
- Greeting - When children are settled and seated, greet them and say an opening prayer.
- Reading – read the scripture passage.
- Sometimes it is helpful to stop and ask them questions, or play with the text by saying something outrageous to ‘wake them up’ (eg Jesus and his disciples went to MacDonalds…).
- The text can also be dramatized (better with older children) by using the dress ups available on the shelves. These are simple ‘head dresses’ and pull over shirts. Catechists will need to prompt children on where to stand and what to say.
- Do not get a child to do the reading… this is not a reading class and it makes it virtually impossible for the children to grasp it.
- Discussion – break open the text by asking questions about it.
- It can help to use “I wonder…” questions.
- Translating the concepts into 21st century children’s world helps (eg if Jesus were here today and there was a big crowd following him, where could he go so that they could all hear him?)
- There is a discussion guide in the catechist notes but to be useful, catechists need to read this before the session begins.
- Activity – going deeper.
- Usually this is colouring in or a word puzzle. Give children a handout and a clipfolder, and pens/pencils to complete.
- Occasionally the activity is a craft activity. There are some limited materials available on the shelves, or catechists may bring things from home.
- If there is something in particular you’d like to have in regular craft supply, let the coordinator know.
- Wrapping up
- The bell will chime when the homily ends giving you a 5 minute warning.
- Give the children a few more minutes then get them to say a closing prayer from the Catechist guide handout.
- Get the children to tidy up and line up at the door.
- Escort the children back to church, taking care not to lose any stragglers.
- Wait in the foyer until the collectors have passed the half-way point then proceed to the offertory table
- Select three children to carry the gifts.
- All children should process to the front.
- Make sure that all children find their parents before returning to your seats.
Safety for our Children
Working with Children Check
New government regulations require all adults working with children to get the Working with Children Check (WWCC). This includes volunteers like KidsChurch but fortunately is free (for volunteers).
More information about the WWCC can be found here http://www.kids.nsw.gov.au/Working-with-children/New-Working-With-Children-Check/New-Working-with-Children-Check
How to get it:
You can apply for it here http://www.kidsguardian.nsw.gov.au/working-with-children/working-with-children-check/apply/apply
The process involves completing an online application (5 mins) and then presenting yourself to a RTA office where they will issue the certificate and provide a WWCC number. They will also email it to you. Make sure that you choose volunteer otherwise you will be charged $80! The WWCC is valid for 5 years.
You need to forward your WWCC number to the parish office. Office staff will then log in to the registry and check your status.
If you already have a WWCC (because you are a teacher, social worker etc or have completed for some other ministry) you can simply forward your WWCC number to the parish office. If you are under 18, you do not need to complete the WWCC but you must always work with an adult who has one. The one WWCC covers you for all work/ministry you might do with children.
This needs to be completed before you can begin working as a catechist.
Protecting our children is of supreme importance to us at OLR and we are very happy to comply with the government requirements and even more. Our common sense policy in this regard protects children, catechists and the parish.
- At least two catechists should be in attendance for the session.
- If one catechist is not available, ask a second responsible adult to accompany you. This is important should a child need to go to the bathroom or be returned early to his/her parents. Ideally this will be another catechist or parishioner with WWCC. If this is not possible, the supervising catechists must remain with the children at all times and any child that wishes to leave will be asked to wait until the end of the session.
- Children under the age of 5 must to be accompanied by an adult or responsible sibling.
- KidsChurch is not suitable for children over 12 unless they are explicitly attending in order to assist the catechists.
- If a child is problematic or their behaviour is inappropriate, please notify the parish priest or the coordinator so that suitable action can be taken. This is especially important if the child in question is putting another child at risk, is causing offence or is consistently disrupting the lesson. It may be that the child’s parent is requested to attend the session to provide supervision.
- If there is an incident in which a child is likely to be physically or psychologically impacted, a file note should be made and lodged with the parish office briefly and factually stating what happened. Examples include: a child falling over on the way to or from KidsChurch, a child leaving the session unaccompanied, a child being sick during the session, a child behaving inappropriately such that the parent needs to be informed etc.
Training & Communication
Our KidsChurch catechists get training on the job! Join another catechist’s session to get the run down and then jump in!
In addition, there is an occasional meeting of catechists (1-2 per year) to get updates and share ideas. Catechists are expected to attend this if at all possible.
Most communication is conducted by email so please make sure that the coordinator has a current email address and mobile phone number.
By joining the KidsChurch team, it is assumed that you agree to your contact details being provided to other catechists and to the parish office for the rosters.
- The KidsChurch ministry is a one year commitment after which we ask all catechists to renew their commitment for another year.
- We have five teams of catechists – one for each of the four Sundays in a month and a fifth team for the 3-4 times in a year when there is a fifth Sunday. Each team will be rostered for a regular Sunday - eg the 2nd Sunday of the Month. This makes it easy to diarise.
- Each team ideally includes 2 catechists so that if one is sick or unable to attend, the second can cover the lesson.
- If neither catechist is available for their rostered Sunday, please do NOT call the parish office or the coordinator – email the catechist team to arrange a swap or fill-in.
- If you are unable to continue with your ministry commitment, please notify the coordinator and endeavour to find a replacement if possible. It’s important for all catechists to be thinking about succession planning.
- To get started, please complete the registration form and provide your WWCC documentation to the parish office.