Each year on our last Sunday in atrium we recognize children who will be moving up to a new atrium in the fall. This year we have five children who are leaving the Good Shepherd Atrium and moving up to the True Vine. At our last session, each child was given a tin with a tiny mustard seed glued inside to be taken home and enjoyed.
In the fall, seven children will be moving up from the True Vine Atrium to the Golden Thread Atrium. At our celebration, each of these children received a little lantern with a battery powered tea light inside to remind them that Jesus, the light of the world, lights the path for them.
As a part of the celebration we always invite each child who is being promoted forward and pray for him or her. This year, I asked the children from the child's current atrium to come forward also, and to lay a hand on the shoulder of the child moving up as we prayed. The children took on this new role with dignity and seemed to enjoy it.
It is always so bittersweet to say goodbye to children when they move up. What a joy it has been to see them grow over their three years with us. We will miss them next year. And yet, as a catechist the wisdom of the age groupings that we use is very clear to me. As the end of the year approaches I can feel restlessness in the oldest children. They are ready developmentally for new materials and the broader outlook that a new atrium provides.