Orthodox Curriculum

Children’s Garden of the Theotokos

A Kindergarten and Primary Curriculum for Homeschool, Sunday School, and Catechism

teaching-guide-coversmall.jpg

Scope

The Church, our Guide

Our school year revolves around the life and rhythms of our holy Orthodox faith, and particularly the Church calendar. Our opening lesson, on Sept. 1, teaches the children that the Church is our Mother, guiding us always toward Christ. This theme is kept central throughout the Kindergarten year.

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Looking to the Holy Fathers

The Orthodox worldview, as articulated by the Holy Fathers of the Church, undergirds the curriculum. We read and considered Sts. John Chrysostom, Theophan the Recluse, Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, Isaac the Syrian, and many others for their guidance in raising children and families of faith, as we were writing the curriculum. Particularly, the lives of the saints and the rhythm of the liturgical year (its feasts and fasts) are central in The Children’s Garden.

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Educating Experientially

Kindergarten is all about learning through experience. The main framework of this curriculum is the life of the church, yet we often wonder if our young children are connecting during liturgies and services. Our objective in The Children’s Garden is to bring the liturgical and sacramental life alive for young children on their own level. Activities are particularly designed for the young child to live his faith experientially, to participate in the movements of the church life and the wondrous world around him. In essence, it is an experiential catechism for children.

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Nurturing Imagination in the 3 R’s

Basic knowledge about reading, writing, and arithmetic begins at this age with experience. Gently and imaginatively, the teacher introduces the letters, numbers, colors and shapes in a measured way throughout the year, choosing from a variety of approaches those which best fit the children concerned. Coloring, painting, movement, rhymes, poetry, and other creative ideas may be used. For those wishing a more Classical or academic approach during Kindergarten, pre-math and pre-phonics programs are reviewed and recommended.

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Treasury of Orthodox Childhood

The curriculum has many original, explicitly Orthodox poems, songs, finger-plays and stories which feed the imagination of the child such as this song:.

Monday Song

Monday Song, Children’s Garden,mp3

O holy angels and archangels
mighty brave and strong.
We ask you please to pray for us
and help us as you hear our song.
Make a circle all around us
with your shining golden wings.
Keep us safe from every danger
as we worship God our King.

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Age and Setting

The curricula is written for children from about 4 to 10 years old. The scripted lessons and suggested art projects are most appropriate for this age group. However, the subject matter can be easily adapted for older children by adding discussions, readings from Scripture and the Fathers, more complex artwork, and writing assignments. It can still work well as a catechism spine for large families or homeschooled children out of the target age range.

Although originally conceived of for homeschooling families, it has also been used by parents and teachers in a variety of settings:

  • parochial Orthodox school program for Kindergarten or pre-school
  • informal pre-school parish groups
  • Sunday school
  • after-school catechesis for children in public or private school

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Structure

A unique daily and weekly rhythm is established by the parents/teachers to fit the needs of their children. Including prayers, chores, lessons, and activities tailored to their family or classroom, the lessons from The Children’s Garden are then regularly woven into this schedule from the two primary texts: Seasons of Grace and Treasury of Feasts.

Prayers of the Hours for Children is supplied as a starting point for family prayer throughout the day. This can be expanded in subsequent years. Guidance and sample schedules are provided to help families new to homeschooling establish a good rhythm for their school day.

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Components

Prayers of the Hours

A booklet for praying 5-minute “hours” throughout your school day. Includes daily songs commemorating saint of the day.

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The Teaching Guide

 

teaching-guide-coversmall.jpg

has a threefold purpose:

  • explaining how to use the curriculum
  • articulating our basic philosophy of education for the primary grades
  • offering an appendix of helpful tools for Orthodox educators

The guidebook covers topics concerning homeschooling in particular and education in general, specifically from an Orthodox perspective. While not exhaustive, there is enough substance to help the teacher build some confidence and a sense of direction for nurturing children spiritually and ushering them into a solid understanding and experience of the liturgical life of the church. Both first-time and seasoned teachers will find inspiration and tools to help nurture this spiritual life in our children.

Teaching Guide Table of Contents

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Seasons of Grace

 

seasonscover.jpg

A collection of 5 Unit Studies to be used throughout the year:

  • Book of Days (Sunday through Monday)
  • Book of Creation
  • Nativity Vowel Poems
  • Orthodox 12 Days of Christmas
  • Lent to Pentecost

Each scripted lesson is 5-10 minutes long and is accompanied by an art project. The art projects are collected into a blank book with script added by the child, parent or older sibling for a memorable keepsake the children will treasure.
Sample Lesson from Unit 2: Creation

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Treasury of Feasts

 

treasury-cover.jpg

A collection of saint’s lives and major feast days (3-4 per month) and activity suggestions to help bring them to life for your children. When possible, “liturgical offerings” are emphasized, in which the children can prepare something to be shared at the festal Liturgy. This helps to build an experiential bridge for them directly into liturgical life.

Introduction and First Lesson: Sept. 1, Beginnning of the Liturgical Year

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Children’s Garden CD

CGT CD Cover

 


20 songs to be used throughout the school year. Most are original melodies and words, a few are standard Troparia: Obikhod or simple Byzantine melodies. Single voice, no accompaniment. Anyone can sing them!

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Book of Days Template

A cardstock booklet used with Unit 1 in Seasons of Grace.

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3 Waldorf-style Blank Books

Used to collect artwork for 3 of the Unit Studies. (Those ordering a digital copy must provide their own blank books. They can be ordered from Paper, Scissors, Stone or A Child’s Dream Come True.)

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Cost and Ordering

Printed Full Program

$80  (Shipping $11.50 Priority Flat Rate, can include up to 3 sibling sets and crayons)

Includes all components as listed above (Teaching Guide, Seasons of Grace, Treasury of Feasts, Book of Hours & CD) printed & spiral coil bound, and one set of consumables, sent via USPS Priority Flat Rate.

2014: Please see shipping note at top of page! 

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Digital Full Program

$60.00

All components as listed above EXCEPT the Waldorf blank books and The Book of Days cardstock booklet are transmitted to you via pdf files through email.  You will need to provide your own blank books and make your own Book of Days from the pdf templates provided.  Tracks from the CD come as mp3 files.  It usually takes 1-2 days to arrive.

 

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Extras

Extra Consumables for Siblings (3 Waldorf blank books; 1 Book of Days): $14
NOTE: up to 3 Sibling Sets can fit in the flat rate box of curriculum without increasing shipping charges. But if you are ordering a Sibling Set without the curriculum an additional shipping charge of $11.50 will be requested after your purchase. Sorry for the inconvenience. Paypal is limited in adding shipping charges accurately.

2014: Please see shipping note at top of page!  

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Tin of 8 Waldorf beeswax block crayons: $12

2014: Please see shipping note at top of page!  

Payment Options

Preferred: Post your payment for either product through Paypal, using the buttons above
Accepted: Personal or Cashier’s Check sent to:

Anaphora Press
3110 San Juan Ave.
Port Townsend, WA 98368

Payment Plan

If a payment plan is needed, please contact us through the comment form below or the Contact button on the homepage to set up a payment plan for you. There is no extra charge for this but we ask that you only use the option if it is necessary.

Need-based “Scholarship”

Please contact us directly if you or someone you know would really like the program but would need a scholarship.

82 Responses to “Orthodox Curriculum”

  1. Lizabethon 18 Dec 2007 at 1:12 pm

    Dear Macrina,

    Our you offering any of your children materials at the wholesale level?

    Your website looks really great!

    Lizabeth

  2. Angelaon 19 Dec 2007 at 1:55 pm

    I was wondering if you are putting together any other curriculum for elementary grades. I would love to have a way to order our homeschooling around our church year. I can’t wait to pre-order the kindergarten curriculum.

    In His Peace,
    Angela Weaver

  3. macrinaon 19 Dec 2007 at 8:45 pm

    Dear Lizabeth, thanks! We will be offering wholesale pricing to retail stores in mid-January.

    Dear Angela, The Children’s Garden can be used with a variety of ages and will help you to establish homeschooling patterns around the church year with all your children. Right now we don’t have any other elementary curricula in the works, but I can offer you a couple of suggestions.

    http://paideaclassics.com

    http://www.stmichaelschool.us/bookstore.html

    I highly recommend both sites, which carry a variety of Orthodox materials suitable for elementary age. I will do a much longer review of both these sites as soon as I can under our “Resources” page.

    In Christ,
    Macrina

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