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Sr. Mary Jacinta & Sr. Mary Bethany
Throughout the year, students add gems to our Lady’s crown or petals to her flowers as a reward for practicing the virtues at school.
Sr. Mary Jacinta suggests:
Set up a bulletin board in the classroom with crowns labeled with the students’ names. These crowns are symbolically representative of crowns for Our Lady. As the school year progresses, the students have opportunities to practice virtue. If the practice of virtue is witnessed by the teacher, and she chooses to use it as a learning moment for the class, the student may earn a “gem” for Our Lady’s crown.
The hope is that by the end of the year there will be visible evidence of the many virtuous acts that were done to give glory to God. In giving these virtuous acts to Our Lady, Queen of the Classroom, she purifies them and presents them to the Father on the behalf of the students. It is, namely, a way of reinforcing the ongoing practice of virtue by modeling and showing a good example to each other.
Sr. Mary Bethany contributed:
I tell the children that each time they practice a virtue they are giving a gift to Jesus and Mary. Each child has a flower center with their name in the middle on the bulletin board. If I spot an outstanding act of virtue, I will invite that child to put up a petal corresponding to the color (thumb-tack; I start off the year doing it, but usually they are able to by the end of the year, if the bulletin board is low enough). For example, if a student takes care to arrange all the class supplies neatly, he/she would get to put up a purple petal for the virtue of orderliness.
Once the child’s “flower is full”, he or she receives the honor of presenting Our Lady’s statue on our Prayer Table with an artificial flower to place in the vase. I also fill out a little certificate to send home in order to share the good news with the parents! One rule is that the children cannot ask me for a petal. When they tell me about a virtuous deed they did which passed unnoticed by me, I rejoice with them and tell them, “That’s your surprise gift for Jesus and Mary – no one else saw but you!” When they tell me about a classmate’s act of virtue, I will often award a petal, since it is exciting to see how they can take altruistic delight in the good! It is beautiful at the lower elementary level to see how geared are the children’s hearts to doing the good (practicing virtue) out of love, rather than for a reward.