One of the challenges I find in our once a week religious education program is that parents drop off their kids (those parents who are not catechists) and then pick them up 75 minutes later. They often have little knowledge of how the class went, what was covered or what questions came up. If our religious education programs are going to pass on the faith to the next generation we must find ways to include and inform parents. After all, this generation of parents are most likely uncatechized or were poorly catechized growing up. The Second Vatican Councils Declaration on Christian Education said:
This role in education is so important that only with difficulty can it be supplied where it is lacking. Parents are the ones who must create a family atmosphere animated by love and respect for God and man, in which the well-rounded personal and social education of children is fostered. Hence the family is the first school of the social virtues that every society needs. It is particularly in the Christian family, enriched by the grace and office of the sacrament of matrimony, that children should be taught from their early years to have a knowledge of God according to the faith received in Baptism, to worship Him, and to love their neighbor. (Gravissimum Educationis, #3)
Therefore it is clear just how important parents are to the faith formation of their children. Today’s religious education situation has many challenges with regards to successfully equipping parents in the faith.
One way I try to inform parents is by sending a weekly email about any announcements as well as a summary of what their child will be learning in class (I send it the day before class so they have a chance to look at it before their child goes to class…and so when their child(ren) get into the car after class the parent already knows what was covered in their child’s class). It is so important to communicate with parents what their children are learning. Parents often learn along with their kids (learning about truths of the faith for the first time). I also try to provide a suggestion that parents can apply to their lives in some way.
How do you “keep parents in the loop”? Please share ways you inform and involve parents in the faith formation of their children.