St. Isidore the Farmer {May 15}

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

I'm really trying to learn more about the saints, and in turn pass that knowledge onto my children.  St. Isidore is a great saint to teach children about.  He was born in 1070 in Spain, and lived the life of a farmer, caring for the poor and finding happiness in simply serving God.  St. Isidore is the patron saint of farmers, rural communities, and of Madrid, the capital of Spain.  

Here are some ways that I'm thinking of teaching the kids about St. Isidore the Farmer:

Get them thinking with a collection

Before doing anything you will probably want to go to a few sights in the next section below to learn a little bit about St. Isidore.  Then you'll be ready for the collection!

A collection is simply that: a collection of items (usually 5 or more) that go with a particular topic.  For St. Isidore, (and with preschool aged kids), I want the focus to be on figuring out that he is a farmer.  My collection might include soil, seeds, flower, vegetable, farm animal, and a shovel.  There are two main options for revealing the collection: 

1.  Open collection 
All the items are displayed at the same time.  Kid(s) brainstorm possible ideas for what the whole collection is about.  The adult can guide their thinking by asking questions but should refrain from "yes" or "no" to their responses.

2.  Serial collection
The items are hidden from the child(ren) and are revealed one at a time.  You will want to think in advance of an order that would make sense for your items and your child.  

Show the child the first object.  Then ask the child to guess what the collection might be about.  Writing ideas on an index card can help collect their ideas.  

Then, reveal the next item.   Look to the child's previous ideas written on cards, and ask them to determine if those ideas still work with this new item.  Guide them in removing any that no longer work.  Then, ask if there are any new guesses about what the collection is about.  Continue this until all items are revealed.  

The point of doing a collection is to help children with higher order thinking skills like inductive and deductive reasoning.  It is important that you don't focus on a right or wrong answer, but rather on the process to get to the idea you are focusing on.  Kids really enjoy collections and other problem solving strategies.

Well I hope that made sense.  If not, just let me know and I can try to clarify.

Learn about St. Isidore

There is not a lot of kid-friendly information out there on St. Isidore, but I plan to use information found herehere and here.  Since many kids (and adults for that matter) are very visual, it might be good to Google some images of St. Isidore the Farmer (be sure to include farmer as there is another St. Isidore- the one the farmer is named after, actually).  

Study farms

Farm Unit

This is soooo much fun with kids of all ages, especially my little toddler friends, Ada and Lucas, and my preschooler, Grace.  I spent a lot of time compiling this Farm Unit in the fall, and I plan on using it again and linking it to St. Isidore. 


Visit a farm

Farm Unit

We are really blessed to live near a farm park, but there are also many farms within a short drive that provide a hands-on way to learn about farming, farm machines, farm animals, crops, etc.  In the Farm Unit post, there are a couple different types of scavenger hunts that can be used to make visiting the farm even more fun.

Plant a garden

This is the perfect time to plant something, anything!  We are in the process of adding some bulbs and flowers to our gardens, and celebrating St. Isidore is a great time to get the kids in on the planting.  You could also post this sign in your garden of a prayer of intercession to St. Isidore:

St. Isidore Garden Sign
Catholic Inspired

Planting or visiting a Mary garden (which is on my to-do list at some point in the future) is also a great way to incorporate St. Isidore's passion for using the land.

Mary Garden
Under Her Starry Mantle

Collect food for the hungry

St. Isidore was known for "miraculously" providing food to the poor.  What better way to emulate his giving spirit than to collect food for a local food pantry.  Our parish collects for a particular food pantry, so we could easily bring our goods to church this week or at the end of the month.   The family could also create a hot meal for the needy.  Our church collects casseroles each month to serve to the homeless.  This would be a great way to include the kids in helping others.

Pray a novena to St. Isidore

I haven't included my daughter Grace on a novena yet, as I'm new to them myself, but this might be the time!  There is a great explanation with exactly what to do here.

Eat foods from farms

Pretty easy right?!  Maybe a salad, fruit, carrots, bread, meat.  Most everything we eat comes from a farm in some way, so it shouldn't be hard to gather some items.  It's also a wonderful way to talk with kids about where their food comes from.

Happy Feast of St. Isidore the Farmer!


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