Monday, April 4, 2011

The City of Jerusalem

The cross and the tomb in the True Vine Atrium.

Children in both the Good Shepherd and True Vine Atria worked with the City of Jerusalem material last Sunday. This is an amazing work that allows us to walk along side Jesus through his last days, his death and his resurrection. Children come to understand that Jerusalem was a real city, and become familiar with its features. They also begin to appreciate that Jesus spent some of the most important moments of his life in Jerusalem.

As I've worked with this material over the years and with children of different ages, I've come to appreciate it so much. In a very gentle way, without becoming overly emotional, this material takes children to the heart of our faith-- through the Last Supper and Jesus' death to the joy and hope that is the resurrection.


This is our City of Jerusalem material from the Good Shepherd Atrium for 3-6 year olds. You can see there is a topographical map of the city on the left and a control on the right. Children move the walls and buildings from the map to the control as they identify and reflect upon them. Younger children learn the names and locations of some of the important places we remember during Holy Week, such as the Cenacle (where the disciples gathered for the Last Supper), the Mount of Olives, Herod's Palace, and Mt. Calvary.



This is the material from the True Vine Atrium for 6-9 year olds. The pieces on the map are smaller, and more detail has been added to the city. The presentation with the children is also more detailed and draws on their knowledge of Jesus' last days.

This year in the True Vine Atrium I realized how much the children have learned from working with this material and how much they love it. Several "big questions" arose, such as "Why didn't God keep Jesus from dying?" with the children themselves offering their thoughts and ideas.  It was pretty amazing.

Both of our cities were purchased from wood workers, unfinished. The talented Lynn Winkelman spent countless hours creating these beautiful maps. Needless to say, she became well known in train display making circles! What a gift to the children!


Our Last Supper Celebration is this Sunday! Check back for more about this special event.

14 comments:

  1. This is one of my favorite materials to present and work with the children. The children love to move the pieces and explore the city.

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  2. @DebMe too! I loved the photo of your material on your Lent ideas blog. I noticed signs on the map. How did you use them?
    I am, as always, so grateful for your support Deb!

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  3. The kids were clamoring to get their hands on this work! After presentations, I let them do it in pairs, and it was neat to see their excitement. I was worried they weren't really "getting it," but after your post, Leslie, I remember that it's ok for them to be in the simple joy of moving the wooden pieces of this beautiful real place.

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  4. @Kate I'm glad your presentations went well this week, and the children were clamoring to work with the city! I love that you've identified the simple joy that can be found in this satisfying work! :)
    As they return to it in the weeks ahead, remember that this work lends itself to using the three period lesson, when you see a child winding down...Thanks for your good work Kate!

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  5. I love this one too!

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  6. I'll be making one of these for our school's Atrium program. I've already made the altar, sheepfold, cenacle, and puzzle map of Israel. As I write this, the paint on my topographic map of Israel is drying in the garage. But this Jerusalem model is a daunting challenge.

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  7. @Doogie The children in your school sure are lucky to have you! Best of luck with your city of Jerusalem material! We took the short cut of buying the unfinished wood, but our catechist, Lynn Winkelman, worked incredibly hard on it! She got a lot of help from a local train store! Material making is daunting but such a blessing! Thanks so much for reading!

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  8. Is there any chance I can be put in touch with the woman who made this? I have the task of building our city of Jerusalem for our atrium and I'm quite overwhelmed. I have already built all of the wooden pieces but the topographical map I have no idea how to build or how what sort of paint to use on it. I would like to ask for some basic instructions on that. If there is any way you or she could contact me my email is: anna at matsumail dot com. Thank you! We're trying to get it finished for Orthodox Pascha which is May 5th this year.

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    1. Hi AKmama- sorry to be slow responding! We've been out of town. I sent you an email with more info. Thanks for reading!

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  9. I wanted to let people know if they are looking for instructions or a how-to video. My friend told me to look up "making plaster dioramas" or "making plaster landscape" on youtube. I am amazed at what people can make and the videos have been so helpful. Thank you for such wonderful pictures, I will definitely be using these for inspiration when building my city.

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    1. What a great idea! Thanks so much for sharing the resource!
      Good luck with your city!

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  10. This is spectacular!!! I have been pouring over your blog recently. Your blog has been a great source of information in communicating ideas and needs with church council members. Thank you!! I too am interested in where this was purchased. If this person is still producing these at this time, we would be interested in purchasing as well.

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    1. Hi There, I'm so glad you are finding the blog helpful! I wish I could tell you where we bought these materials but I have no idea. We actually bought them from two different woodworkers which is why the scale and look of each is a little different. Are you a member of the national association? They have lists of woodworkers on the site. I'm sorry I can't help more! Good luck!

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    2. Thanks for replying Leslie! I've googled it to death trying to find one. I am not a member,but thanks for the lead. And I may look you up when we come to Cleveland next year. We were just there and I would have loved to see a tour in person. However, your online tour is awesome!! Thanks!

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