Catechism for kids: Good or counterproductive?

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Need 4 Creed

Puritan Board Freshman
I've been teaching my young kids memory verses. I want to start doing the catechism too.

What do folks think about the kids' version?

I can see that is easier, my 4 and 6 year old clicked with it straight away, and I know they would find the language of the standard one a hurdle. However, I wonder if it is counterproductive to teach them the kids' version only to have to start again with the standard version once they are a bit older.




Historic Church Documents at Reformed.org
 

whirlingmerc

Puritan Board Sophomore
I think it's fine. I also like SImonetta Car's book on John Owen. In the back it has John Owen's catechism which is even shorter. Good for a once through.

I also like a few recent song product on the catechism for young children
Ask me who is very nice... little girls particularly like it Ask Me Whooo - The Children's First Catechism - Diana Beach Batarseh

Judy ROgers Why can't I see God is very good Children's, Worship and Praise Music from Singer-Songwriter Judy Rogers

For scripture memory songs I like the Fighter verse songs from Bethlehem Baptist
 

kodos

Puritan Board Junior
We've been going over it with our 3 year old. The way I see it is this: it gives them the ability to learn some basic truths and succeed whereas the Shorter Catechism would be frustrating for him. My son gets up in front of the Church with Andrew's son (who is only 2) to recite the Children's Catechism. They have the ability to do it, and it gives them a positive view of the idea of catechism at a young age. He feels good about his ability to actually do complete questions and answers each week in front of his brothers and sisters and the entire church.

Once my youngest daughter ended up being 5 we transitioned her to the Shorter Catechism, which she's working on, and will continue on until Lord Willing someday she is a Communicant Member.

Learning truth is never counterproductive :)
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Brimstone
I recommend using the First Catechism, published by GCP. (Just scroll down the page to find it.)

You can buy it for $1.50 and I think at that price it is a steal. You're getting Reformed doctrine presented in accessible language. It's what we've used for several years.

Have fun catechizing your children! Enjoy the journey... :)

Blessings,
Ben
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
While they are probably capable at that age of starting to memorize the standard catechism, the language and brief sentences of the children's catechism are more suited for them. I would go with that, for sure, thinking it's better that they learn something meaningful than that they get an early start on the standard catechism. Teaching them that catechisms are practical and meaningful will likely be more valuable in the long run than an early start on the standard catechism would be.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
The Westminster Shorter Catechism is for children Westminster Shorter Catechism

So my 5 year old has been learning it and it isn't too difficult for him. And he has a shorter attention span than most 5 year olds I would say (lots of energy here...he must be ADHD or something...haha).
 

reaganmarsh

Puritan Board Senior
We have used the TAG materials from Founders with our kids and they have a lot of fun with it. Rom said above that the children's catechism helps get them some success & provides a positive experience; I concur.

We've coupled the TAG catechism with Jim Orrick's Baptist Catechism set to music (also from Founders). They get very excited when "Daddy's playing the catechism music!" And it's incredible how much of the larger catechism they retain.

Enjoy! There's nothing more wonderful than to hear them recite the Scriptures and these massive truths about our God.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
First, great job dad on taking the steps to begin catechism with your children. I can't stress enough how beneficial this can be for a family!

As Rom noted, we have numerous children in our church who weekly go before our congregation to recite their weekly answer. I believe we have nine kids in our church under the age of 10 who participate in the weekly recitations. Of those nine, all but the youngest two recite from the WSC. Rom's son and my son are the youngest children at age 3 and 2 respectively and they use the Children's catechism. My wife and I chose to begin with the Children's Catechism simply because it is tailored for a younger demographic with shorter, simplified answers. However, don't think "simple" means the answers aren't full of fine bible truths! Just yesterday as my son practiced question 17, he asked me "what does that mean?" referencing that God made the body of Adam out of the ground. So we had a nice time reading Gen 2 and explaining how God literally made Adam's body from the dirt.

Just based on my experiences/observations, I'd say that around age five/six is when a child is able to begin the transition to the WSC. Obviously you know your children better than anyone else, so I think you have to determine based on their abilities if the WSC is appropriate for them or not. All children learn/advance differently so your six year old may be ready now of perhaps not. Personally, I'm fine with having my son finish the Children's Cathechism before he moves on to the WSC. The way I look at, we plan to continue doing memorization work until he's well into his teens, so there's no rush to "finish" any time soon! Blessings on your work with your lovely kiddos!
 
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