Suggested Methods and Strategies for Grades K-3

by Jo Ann Paradise

The NDC tells us that, "The Church's catechesis—and even more so, the catechist—must take into consideration all the human factors of a particular age level in order to present the Gospel message in a vital and compelling way" (48). More specifically, "School-age children should receive formal and systematic catechesis in a parish-based catechetical program, a Catholic school, or a program of home-based catechesis in which the content of the faith and the experience of Christian life is presented authentically and completely" (48.E.2).

To effectively help children understand the mysteries of faith, apply teaching strategies and methods based on the child's stage of development. Two specific groups follow, with characteristics and corresponding suggested strategies.

Grades K-3 Characteristics

  • visual; encounters God through images
  • vivid imagination
  • literal thinkers
  • physically active; needs to move
  • enjoys sharing feelings
  • loves to celebrate
  • involves all senses
  • experiential learners (hands-on, likes to "do" it to learn about it)
  • likes to belong to a group; by Grades 2 & 3 begins cooperating and working together in groups to meet a goal


  • Be very careful with the visual and verbal images given to represent God and faith; they can last a lifetime.
  • Use guided meditations with visualizations that build a relationship with Jesus.
  • Consider how children are picturing your words: i.e. "Blessed is the fruit of your womb..."[apples, oranges].
  • Allow opportunities to move, count, pantomime, create sound effects, etc.
  • Provide felt boards, pictures, videos, manipulatives to awaken all senses.
  • Provide concrete, engaging tasks to build, create, evaluate, examine.
  • Group-work expectations should be based on their abilities.
  • Encourage them to share feelings with the people of the Scriptures.
  • Turn all things into an occasion for joy.