- What is Sowing Seeds all about?
Sowing Seeds: Inquiry, Faith and Early Learners is a book about students learning about their faith. It is about respecting the ability of children, all ages, to engage in exploring their relationship with God and each other through everyday realities and experiences. For example, a young friend ran to the window the other day and watched our first snow fall take place. She looked out and said: “Wow, God makes beautiful worlds!”
Sowing Seeds offers 30 different collections of provocations, each including an image, a bible story, a read aloud and other ideas to launch students in exploring their faith.
- What inspired this book?
Each year, I visit the Pope John Paul II school in Kenora, Ontario to chat with the kindergarten class about their namesake. I bring in a picture of a shepherd and we examine that, then I share a picture of St. John Paul II and we compare how the two pictures have some similar things in them. The class usually reminds me of the story of the Good Shepherd, one of their favourites. We then shift to talking about how we are all shepherds too, and I then call each child up by name, ask them if they too are willing to watch God’s sheep, then I place a paper pope hat on their heads. Hats that they wear with pride.
I noticed how responsive the students are to images and stories. I also noticed how quickly they accept faith challenges and it led me to imagine a whole collection of images and provocations to truly appreciate the inquiry stance of kindergarten children.
- What have been the greatest rewards in writing this book?
I feel grateful to help early years teachers do what they do even better through the lens of faith. I appreciate hearing the stories of how the students are engaging and I live in hope that it will enable teachers of all grades to see that scripture and theology in general are such a natural part of our day, versus confined to the mere block of time we teach religion.
It warms my heart to think that students are being wrapped with the joy and warmth of God’s presence in their lives every day!
- What have been the greatest challenges?
It is difficult to write a religion resource from an inquiry stance as it is in itself a contradiction to put inquiry into a book! Inquiry flows from the questions and wonderings of students, so I needed to make it clear as I wrote that this resource is a starting place for inquiry, a catalyst, so to speak, to help educators see all of the starting places to share faith with children.
- Any final words to people who will be using this book?
Look at the students gathered around you as little theologians! Their awe and curiosity will lead you to new and deeper understandings of the beauty and range of God’s love in action in our world!
Sowing Seeds: Inquiry, Faith and Early Learners can be found and purchased here.
Mariette Martineau is the religious educator, family life, and equity lead for Kenora Catholic District School Board. She has written and contributed to several books in relation to prayer, family faith, inter-generational learning, and effective learning practices. She loves kindergarteners and their wisdom!