Monday, October 11, 2010

Circle of Grace

This weekend several DREs and catechists met at the Archdiocesan center to learn about a new program called "Circle of Grace."  They were/are very close to the chest so-to-speak about the whole thing.  They did not let us look at any of the material before hand nor did they answer any questions.  I guess that is a way to get people to come to the training. 

"Circle of Grace" was developed by a committee in the Archdiocese of Omaha to meet their child safety education needs.  They developed the program with DREs, catechists, and even consulted child psychologists.  They've implemented it in their Catholic school programs as well as their RE programs.  It has been so well received by the schools, churches, and parents that some protestant churches in the Omaha area have adopted it to their programs.

"Circle of Grace" is a new child safety education program and I am proud to say that I am excited about it.  I tell you what, I was very dubious before the meeting.  I am not now.  Frankly, the Archdiocesan program we have now is pretty dismal.  It's boring, it's not well written, and it has nothing for the kids to get excited about.  This program is everything that program isn't.  It is exciting, fun, and interactive.  The program is all set up for the catechists, and they can integrate it into their existing programs.  They emphasize that this is NOT a sex education program and it is not a 'stranger danger' program.  It integrated our Catholic Faith and keeping one safe and healthy. 

The Program Goal
The goal of the Circle of Grace program is to educate and empower children and young people to actively participate in a safe environment for themselves and others.

Children/young people will understand they are created by God and live in the love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
• God is "present" in everyone's Circle of Grace.

Children/young people will be able to describe the Circle of Grace which God gives each of us.
• God is “present” because He desires a relationship with us.

Children/young people will be able to identify and maintain appropriate physical, emotional, spiritual and sexual boundaries.
• God helps us know what belongs in our Circle of Grace.

Children/young people will be able to identify all types of boundary violations.
• God helps us know what does not belong in our Circle of Grace

Children/young people will demonstrate how to take action if any boundary is threatened or violated.
• God helps us know when to ask for help from someone who we trust.

The program and sample curriculum can be viewed here:

Our Archdiocese has decided to implement the program here, and I am happy for it.  This year it is optional.  A catechist can use the old 'curricula' or implement the 'Circle of Grace' curricula this year.  Next year, it will be taught in all the parishes in the Archdiocese.  As a catechist, I am excited to see a program that implements child safety in a child-friendly, Catholic faith-based manner that is relevant and, honestly, easy to implement.  I, for one, will be implementing the program this year.  I wish I had had it at the beginning of the year.  I could have integrated the first Circle of Grace lesson with another lesson I taught at the beginning of the year. 

I'm excited about the program and I hope that it will excite and prepare the children for life in this world, as well as, preparation for the next.

No comments: