Children s Ministry Director: Niki MacDougall, ext 229

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1 Children s Ministry Parent Handbook Children s Ministry Parent Handbook St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church 8000 El Dorado Parkway Frisco, TX Office Phone: Fax: Children s Ministry Director: Niki MacDougall, ext 229 Children's Ministry Assistant: Rachel Hansen, ext 232 Education Wing Phone: NOTE: This phone is only answered by volunteers during the scheduled Faith Formation sessions. To reach the Faith Formation office, please call the number above. Our Mission The Catholic Church clearly teaches that parents are the primary educators of their children. The mission of our Faith Formation program is to offer a solidly Catholic program that will strengthen and support your family s efforts to live and learn about our Faith. We offer programs designed to support parents and children in living their Catholic Faith through participation in Mass, sacraments, prayer, evangelization and service. Children are expected to be enrolled in our Faith Formation program through high school. Reception of a sacrament is not meant to be the end of your child s participation in our Faith Formation program--there is so much more to learn! Actively share the faith with your children by asking them to summarize the lesson they learned in class, and help them find ways to put the lessons they learned into action. Starting in September 2015, you can see a list of scheduled lessons and objective on our website, on the Children s Ministry Tab. Registration and Rates: For registration and rate information, please visit: Payment is expected at the time of registration for all students. No student will be denied catechesis due to financial circumstances. If your family is experiencing financial hardship, please contact the Children's Ministry office directly. Refunds of Fees: If you are withdrawing your child from our program prior to September 1, you may request a refund, in writing, by ing Niki MacDougall at Please note that due to supplies purchased, no refunds will be given after September 1, Class Change Requests: If your schedule has changed and you wish to change your child s Faith Formation session, please contact the Children s Ministry Office to see which classes are available. Please Rachel Hansen at to request this change.

2 Class Attendance Policy for Non-Sacramental Years: (Kinder, and 3rd, 4th, 5th graders who have received 1st Communion): All children are expected to maintain good attendance throughout the year. Good attendance is defined as no more than 3 absences per diocesan policy. Diocesan attendance policies must be met in order for letters of enrollment to be provided, or for the year to be considered complete. If there is a waiting list for your child s assigned class and your child has 4 recorded absences, your child will be dropped from the class role after the 4th absence has been recorded. If you wish to keep your child s place in class, all missed work must be made up in order to keep your child s spot in class. To receive the make-up work for your child please notify the Children s Ministry Office in writing of planned absences, or pick up the missed work at your child s class and return the following week. If make-up work is not completed and turned into the Children s Ministry Office, your child will be dropped from the class role to accommodate the students on the wait list. Class Attendance Policy for Sacramental Preparation Years (1st and 2nd grades or 1st and 2nd years): All children are expected to maintain good attendance throughout the year so that they may be best prepared for the Sacraments they are preparing to receive. Diocesan attendance policies must be met in order for letters of enrollment to be provided, or for the year to be considered complete for Sacrament Preparation. Students who do not meet attendance requirements will be removed from the class roster in keeping with Diocesan Policy. It is the parent's responsibility to ensure the student is meeting the attendance criteria. For 1st grade/1st year Sacrament Preparation, no more than 3 absences are permitted per year in order to advance to 2nd grade/2nd year (if a make-up class is attended, the absence is erased). Please mark your child s Faith Formation class dates on your calendar and ensure that your child attends each class in entirety (arriving on time and leaving no earlier than when class is dismissed by the catechist; students will be marked absent if they arrive more than 15 minutes late or leave more than 15 minutes early). To schedule a makeup class, please contact Rachel Hansen at so that the catechists will be expecting your child at their class If your child is ill and cannot make another session, please contact the Children s Ministry Office and do not send your child to class. For absences due to illness, you must notify the CM office directly or to receive activities and lesson objectives to review at home. This will not erase the absence, but a note will be added to your child s attendance record to indicate the reason for the absence. The only way to erase an absence is by attending a makeup class. For 2nd year Sacrament Attendance Policies, all absences that are not due to contagious illness are required to be made up by attending a makeup class the same week the absence occurred. Please mark your child s Faith Formation class dates on your calendar and ensure that your child attends each class in entirety (arriving on time and leaving no earlier than when class is dismissed by the catechist; students will be marked absent if they arrive more than 15 minutes late or leave more than 15 minutes early). Students who incur 2 or more absences per Sacrament preparation period (September-December for Reconciliation, and January-April for Eucharist) will be

3 removed from the class roster. To schedule a makeup class, please contact Rachel Hansen at so that the catechists will be expecting your child at their class If your child is ill and cannot make another session, please contact the Children s Ministry Office and do not send your child to class. For absences due to illness, you must notify the CM office directly or to receive activities and lesson objectives to review at home. This will not erase the absence, but a note will be added to your child s attendance record to indicate the reason for the absence. The only way to erase an absence is by attending a makeup class. Mass Attendance: Because our Catholic faith is meant to be lived, not just learned about, it is essential that you bring your child to Mass on a weekly basis. The instruction received in our Faith Formation Program does not replace your child s participation in Sunday Mass or Holy Days of Obligation. Rather, our Faith Formation Program revolves around the Mass and the Eucharist and sees to it that each child grows in their understanding of their Catholic Faith through a full participation in Mass and class. Weekly Mass attendance provides an excellent hands-on opportunity to explain the Mass to your child as well as giving an opportunity for your child to understand and practice proper behavior during Mass. All students are expected to attend Sunday Mass weekly in order to grow in understanding of their Catholic Faith. Looking for resources to explain the Mass in kid-friendly terms? Check out Magnifikid s website, for a kid friendly weekly missalette. More resources may be found on St. Francis website or by contacting the Children s Ministry Office. Parent Responsibilities for Arrival and Pick-up: Ensure that students arrive on time for class, no earlier than five minutes before class time begins. This allows your child s catechist adequate time to prepare for class. We appreciate our catechists who volunteer their time and talent to provide this vital ministry to our families. Please join us in thanking them for their service by respecting this policy. Children must be signed in to their respective classrooms by a parent or authorized adult 16 years of age or older. For their own safety, they cannot be dropped off in the parking lot or outside the Education Wing. Under no circumstances should a child be left without adult supervision in a classroom, in the Education Wing, or elsewhere on St. Francis property. Families who do not adhere to this policy will forfeit their spot in the class for the safety of your children, there are no exceptions. Ensure your child has good attendance. Please remember if your child is not signed in, he/she will be considered absent. Late arrivals (15 minutes after class begins) will be counted as an absence. If your child must be picked up before the end of class, please notify the Team Leader and your child s classroom teachers (preferably in writing for our records). Only the parent or an authorized person 16 years of age or older may pick the student up at the classroom door. Students will only be released to authorized adults.

4 Be prompt in picking up your child. Our Catechists and Team Leaders are volunteers who have their own children and families to attend to once class has finished. Please respect their service by picking up your child no later than 5 minutes after class ends. If there is an emergency or you will be late, please call and inform the Faith Formation Desk at If late pick-up continually becomes a habit, we will have no choice but to drop your child from our program. Although we hope this to be a last resort, we are not equipped as a babysitting service and must enforce this rule for the safety of all children. Keep informed of the events, important dates and changes to the program by reading the notices sent out through Flocknote, E-news, and the Sunday bulletin. Student Responsibility and Conduct Student responsibilities for having a positive experience in religious education will include: Attending class regularly and arriving on time Bringing folders and class materials weekly Actively participating in activities, listening and sharing ideas in appropriate ways Be attentive and cooperative with classroom teachers and other adult volunteers Follow classroom rules established by catechists and conduct themselves in a manner that is caring, responsible and respectful. Leave all electronic devices at home. It is expected that all students and adults will: Act in a Christian manner of being courteous, respectful, and helpful to all. Use appropriate language and only speak kindly and respectfully to and about others. Complete class assignments and participate in class. Walk in the building (no running). Wear appropriate clothing for a learning environment. Refrain from chewing gum during class. Remain quiet in the hallways and church areas. Use restroom facilities before coming to class. Refrain from disruptive behavior in the building and on the grounds. Respect St. Francis property and the property of others. Be responsible for their actions and the consequences of those actions. For the safety of the students and the minimization of classroom disruptions, certain items may not be brought to any class. These include, but are not limited to, the following: Real or toy knives Real or toy guns Beepers or pagers Skateboards sharp objects matches or lighters Electronic devices such as Cell phones, ipods, ipads,game boys, DS, etc.

5 The above items are subject to confiscation. Items that are confiscated will be returned to parents only. No calling or texting is allowed during class. There are NO exceptions to this rule. Cell phones will be held by the catechist or team leader until the parent arrives to pick up their child if it is used during class. If the parent has asked that the student bring the phone to class in case of an emergency, the cell phone will be given to the catechist or team leader and they will answer it should it ring and then give it to the student. Discipline: The Catechist will handle normal discipline problems. If a problem becomes persistent, the Children s Ministry Director will be notified. A continuing problem may necessitate a call or note home to the parents. A parent may be requested to attend class with a child. In extreme cases removal from the program may be necessary. Disciplinary infractions include, but are not limited to abusive language, fighting, disrespect to catechist or other students, inability to follow directions and/or refusal to listen, vandalism, stealing, and leaving the building during class time. The standard disciplinary procedures are as follows: (please note that all circumstances are different and these are for reference only; some circumstances may require alternative consequences): o 1 st offense: Reminder from Catechist. If necessary, parents may be notified to remind children of the class rules. o 2 nd offense: Warning. If necessary, parents may be notified to remind children of the class rules. o 3 rd offense: Student sent to sit with Team Leaders for 15 minutes. Parents notified of incident when they pick up student. At this point the Catechist may request that you accompany your child to his/her next class. There may be times when the parents or guardians of the student will be contacted by Niki to see if a meeting is in order. Although we hope it to be a last resort, we reserve the right to remove your child from our program due to disciplinary issues. Inclement Weather Faith Formation classes will not be held on days that FISD cancels school due to inclement weather. Classes will be canceled when snow or ice make driving conditions hazardous. A message will be sent out on Flocknote ( ) informing Children Ministry families of cancellations. If time permits, The Children s Ministry staff will ask catechists to contact parents to inform them of cancellations. Pets Pets are not permitted in the Education Wing. Empty classrooms Due to Safe Environment policies to protect the children of our parish, empty classrooms are not to be used by parents or children other than in the official capacity of our Faith Formation Program. Safe Environment Program St. Francis of Assisi established this program to provide a safe environment for the protection and wellbeing of our children. All priests, staff, and lay ministry volunteers go through a criminal background check and Safe Environment training before serving the children. As part of the program we must have

6 two cleared adults with children at all times. This means that each religious education class must have two cleared adults for the class to begin each week. We depend on the dedication and responsibility of the catechists and other support team members such as team leaders, nursery and substitutes to administer to this policy. If you are interested in serving as a Faith Formation volunteer, you may pick up a Screening Form from our office during office hours. Notice of Nondiscriminatory Policy St. Francis of Assisi programs (including, but not limited to, Faith Formation and Kids Day Out) admit students of any race, color, handicapping conditions, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to participants in the programs. St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Community does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin or handicapping conditions in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, athletic or other parish-administered programs.

7 Prayers to Know: Ensure that your children know the prayers listed below. Prayer with children at home, in church and in the classroom is an important aspect of religious formation. During Children s Ministry Faith Formation classes, the children will experience prayer as a part of each week s activities. Catechists may also assess each child s knowledge of his/her prayers throughout the year. Please support them in this role by ensuring your child frequently practices these prayers. Lord s Prayer Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen. Glory Be Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Hail Mary Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. Guardian Angel Prayer Angel of God, my guardian dear, To whom God's love commits me here; Ever this day be at my side, To light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen. Act of Contrition (Please note the below version is one of many Acts of Contrition; you or your child may wish to learn a different one) My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy. Amen. Grace before Meals Bless us O Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive from thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen Apostles Creed I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and was born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; On the third day he rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

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