At Saint Hedwig Catholic School in Los Alamitos, students have multiple opportunities every day to focus on their faith. But when the school day ends, that focus shifts. In between extracurricular activities and homework, faith might make a quick cameo appearance before dinner or bedtime.
To bridge the gap between school, church and home, Saint Hedwig started Family Faith Night in 2013. “As we partner with parents to nurture the spiritual, academic and social-emotional development of each student, we felt it was important to provide activities for families to grow in their faith together,” says principal Erin Rucker.
Once a month, the school sends an email to parents with details of each project, geared separately to three age groups: TK- grade 2, grades 3-5 and grades 6-8. No other homework is sent home that evening. In October, the project included a video to watch and sing along with, based on scripture. A grade level appropriate reflection is also included.
“Not only do students get to discuss their faith and engage in faith-related activities at home as part of Family Faith Night, they also have the opportunity to discuss their experience with their classmates the following day,” Ms. Rucker says. “This helps us build an even stronger faith community.”
Instead of seeing it as one more thing to do, parents enjoy trading the regular homework routine, which can often be stressful, for conscious contact with God.
“We find that Family Faith Night is a great way to stop the weeknight craziness and focus on sharing our faith within our family,” says Kristie Brown. “It’s exactly what’s important and special about a faith-based education for our children.”