During the season of Lent, one of the most popular materials in the Children’s House (Level I) and Lower Elementary (Level II) Atria is the City of Jerusalem. With this material the children are introduced to and continue to ponder the events of Holy Week. Beginning during Lent in their second year in the Level I Atrium, the “story” of Jesus’ journey from the Last Supper at the Cenacle to His death and resurrection, is told and retold through this work. In Level II, the children expand their work with this material, moving from Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday through His Ascension and the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
The children, in their work with the City of Jerusalem, have revealed the following…
- A 4-year-old had drawn, labeled, and numbered the sequence of places visited by Jesus during Holy Week. When asked how he would like to draw the Resurrection he said he wanted to draw the Church.
- Another 4-year-old, hearing the “story” of the City of Jerusalem retold, paused when Pilate looked out of the tower and listened to the people who said Jesus should die.“Why! Why did they say that?,” she asked. After brief pause, she continued. “Oh, I know! So He could be risen! Jesus died and then He had a lot of risen light!”
- On entering the Atrium, a 4-year-old said, “Jesus had a really bad day after dying. But then He rose. That day He had a really good day. I’m going to work with the Lent work now.” She went off to work with the City of Jerusalem.
- After making a map of the City of Jerusalem and “retelling” the story of Jesus’ final days leading up to and including His death and resurrection, a kindergartener said, “I’m going to give this as a gift to my cousin because he doesn’t know about Jesus. I want him to believe in Him too!”
- After hearing the “story” of Jesus from the Last Supper to the Resurrection, a kindergartener was asked, “Why do you think Jesus would do all that?” The child said, “He wanted to give us life. He loves us. He’s like the Good Shepherd because he lays down his life for the sheep.”
- A first grader shared the following: “Mary had to stay in Jerusalem when the disciples went out and taught about Jesus. She knew so much about him so she stayed and told people in Jerusalem about him.