16 October 2013

day 3 of training: CGS Level 1, Part 1

A few highlights from our day today:
  • Linda said, "I was tempted to ask, after yesterday's "Altar II" presentation, whether anyone noticed Fr Joseph put the leftover consecrated bread into the ciborium and tabernacle this morning." I didn't quite have the courage to answer, "Yes, and I took a photograph!"
our priest at the high altar

It's a beautiful church, isn't it? But a pity that the roof is leaking!

looking toward the side chapel we use

The parish priest joined us for lunch today, and he and I shared commiserations about difficulties for both the Dutch (Roman Catholics) and the English (Anglicans) with regard to the cost of maintaining so many church buildings, some with relatively sparse attendance, as balanced against having a loyal few members per building who cannot bear to move anywhere else. I had not realized that the 9 o'clock masses we had originally planned to attend, at different churches scattered across the city, are all celebrated by this same priest. It is all one parish now, although with several church buildings. 

He laughed and said, But it's not as many as the English have. Here we might have another church two streets away, but in England there's a church ON EVERY STREET! 
  • After taking the time to answer many questions we'd come up with overnight, Linda presented us the lesson of the Annunciation to Mary.
our trainer, reading the story to us
It was very different from a Godly Play lesson. The figures serve as a visual focus for the young children, but are barely manipulated at all by the chatechist. In a presentation to older children they might not be used at all. And the story is read straight from the Gospel account.

Different from a Godly Play lesson, and yet the hush brought to the group was the same. One course participant lamented the fact that "the spell was broken" at the end of the lesson. The trainer replied that it was better for the chatechist to "break the spell" by ending the lesson appropriately than for a child to finally lose concentration and break the spell in a more negative way.

the Annunciation materials
  • We split into groups of three, to discuss and prepare a different presentation (one per group, to be presented to the rest of us). 

I thought my reader, "Sweeter than Southern Tea", would enjoy this
photo of young children at training with their parents
  • Our trainer was much more gracious than I'd managed to be about my co-trainee who wanted to assemble so much information. She said, in front of all of us, that it was obviously part of how this person works. That in order to present so simply to children, this person needed to have a really holistic and almost exhaustive apparatus in mind as scaffolding around it. So it was fine to have that all in mind as long as the presentation to the children stayed basic. 
    • I saw this as a great example of what the Montessori guide / Good Shepherd Catechist / Godly Play storyteller and doorperson ought to do - to observe the child, to recognise and accept their individuality and enable them to work.


  1. Interesting about the Catechist not manipulating the materials, and the materials being a focus center. I had always wondered about that from Leslie and Cheryl's posts. Also, interesting that the effect is the same: everyone's attention is absorbed in the same place.

    Here's a question: while it is possible (thought not recommended) to do GP with just one adult facilitator, could you also do CoGS with just one? From what you are describing, it seems unlikely.

    I also love the picture of the Catechists-to-be with their babies.: )

    1. Please remember that I'm speaking as someone very early in training still, and not as an expert! But it seems to me that CoGS could be used, for example, in a home-schooling situation by one person. Many churches will have policies in place which require two adults for safeguarding reasons, regardless of the curriculum.

      In CoGS, the two adults do not have such different roles as in GP. It can simply be that when one adult is busy, the other is still available. And in particular that if one troubled child requires the undivided attention of an adult (perhaps even being taken out of the room for a time), another adult is still present to monitor the use of candles, etc.


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