What is Pillars?
The term "pillar" is laden with Biblical imagery. For example, "By a pillar of cloud you led them in the day, and by a pillar of fire in the night to light for them the way in which they should go." Nehemiah 9:12
The Catechism of the Catholic Church builds catechesis on four pillars, namely what the Church:
- believes ===> the Creed
- celebrates ===> the Sacraments
- lives ===> the Commandments
- prays ===> the Our Father
In the context of faith formation then, Pillars is a classroom-centered approach to catechesis for children in grades K-6 that is rooted in Sacred Scripture and the Catechism. As in the familiar PSR/CCD model, students meet once per week to study, talk, sing, pray, serve, craft, act, and celebrate all that is great about being Catholic kids. From this well known method, however, Pillars goes a step beyond.
Why an improved approach to classroom formation?
Our fundamental mission as a Church is to lead people - including children - to encounter Jesus in such a way that they are changed. A transformative relationship with Christ also rests on four pillars, as recorded in the Book of Acts: "They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." Acts 2:42
Sharing the apostles' teaching in a classroom setting is straightforward. To support parents in consistently representing the other aspects of this four-fold rule of life, Pillars includes extracurricular content that:
(1) involves group activities for kids;
(2) explores the Mass;
(3) allows children of different ages to discuss the same faith topics concurrently within their family.
Who should enroll in Pillars?
Pillars is one of two formation options that St. Mary offers to families with children in Kindergarten through 6th grade. Pillars is intended to reinforce and expand upon the faith messaging children receive from their parents, and to offer children the opportunity to build friendships with their Catholic peers. In addition, if you're actively seeking to share the love of God with your children and explore the treasures of our Faith with them but could use an assist, then Pillars is for you!
NOTE: It is suggested that you review the remaining program information on this page, then return here to complete the 2-step enrollment process, beginning with online registration and payment by clicking on the pillar icon below.
ENROLLMENT STEP 1
When and where do Pillars classes meet?
As was the case with PSR prior to the pandemic, we intend to offer two weeknight options for Pillars (pending a sufficient number of volunteer catechists). Although no timeframe we establish will mesh with everyone’s busy schedule, we pray that most families are able to prioritize one of the two evenings for the duration of the school year:
Tuesday, 5:30 - 6:30 PM
Thursday, 5:30 - 6:30 PM
Classrooms are located in the church basement. Each classroom will be receiving a technology update over the summer to support a blend of both print and digital media to heighten student engagement. Following parish safety protocol, parents are expected to drop off and pick up their children at the classroom door. Moreover, dropoff and pickup are opportunities for you to get to know and interact with your child's catechist, demostrating the importance you place on faith formation to the catechist and to your children.
The school year runs from September through April. Out of respect for catechists investing their time week-over-week to prepare and deliver lessons, children are expected to attend at least 75% of classes in addition to weekly Sunday Mass participation. Click the icon below to see the schedule of classes overlaid on the Springboro Schools academic calendar.
How is Pillars implemented?
Pillars will use Sadlier's Christ In Us curriculum and platform as it's foundation. Featuring a blended learning approach, the curriculum consists of two components:
- a parish edition student book for each child
- a digital portal with activities, videos, assessments, etc. to accompany the student book
Across all grade levels, each student book features four units with five lessons each (i.e., 20 core lessons for the year). No coincidence, the four units correspond to the four pillars of the Catechism. A fifth unit provides additional lessons corresponding to the Church year (e.g., Advent, Christmas). Preview a sample of the student book for Grade 4 by clicking the icon below.
In the sample, note on the Contents pages that each lesson poses an essential faith question (e.g., Lesson 1: How do we know God?). This same faith question is being asked of every child in every grade. This is a true spiral curriculum where children revisit these essential questions at the same time each year at increasing levels of depth, creating an ideal opportunity for faith conversation around the family dinner table.
Each grade features a patron saint (e.g., Teresa of Ávila for Grade 4) whose life is revisited throughout the year. In addition, several other "partners in faith" make an appearance in different lessons. We want to introduce strong role models to the children and cultivate in them a desire to become a saint.
Scattered throughout each lesson are icons signaling the opportunity to visit the Christ In Us digital portal. Catechists have an ample selection of media and activities (e.g., songs, prayers, Scripture passages) from which to incorporate into each lesson.
Following Pillars registration, please order a copy of the Parish Edition student book at the appropriate grade level for each of your children using this sequence:
- Click on the image below.
- Click Login/Register in the top right to register for a free Sadlier account.
- Register to Buy as an Individual and Ship to Home Address.
- After creating your account, add your shipping address.
- To begin shopping, click on the image below again (or browse to https://religionstore.sadlier.com/christ-in-us-parish-edition).
- Select Student Editions for each child and then add them to your cart. (Note: We are not using the portfolio workbook and you do not need to purchase any other resources.)
- View your cart to ensure you have the proper grade level book(s) selected and that each indicates Christ In Us Parish, Student Edition. (Note: There is only one book for Kindergarten and it is coded School edition.)
- Proceed to checkout and enter discount code CIU30.
ENROLLMENT STEP 2
Christ In Us is also a complete learning management system (like Blackboard, Moodle and Google Classroom). As a parent/guardian, you can log in and view your child's progress and access resources to support the learning process. You will also be able to view graded assignments and communicate with his or her catechist.
Account information for the digital portal will be sent via email by the parish coordinator prior to your child's first class.