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Noëlle Le Duc and Her Pedagogy: Serving the Child’s Act of Faith, Part 2
Noëlle Le Duc, while looking for ways to awaken the faith in young children, identified two important aspects of catechetical pedagogy. We shall use the terms, “fidelity to man and fidelity to God.” Fidelity to Man The first aspect, fidelity to man, leads us to ask, how do we address children? In order to answer this question, we must take several points into consideration. First, we must remember that the human capacities of the children are still limited; in order to receive and adhere to the Word of God, they need to learn self-control, silence, how to listen, and so on. Young children, moreover, are still close to God, who is their origin and their Creator. Children are also innocent, although, like all of us, they are still marked by original sin. Finally, religious education must also consider that every child is unique and free. Noëlle Le Duc was not a scholar, but she was given a strong pedagogical and catechetical charism. Her practical pedagogy is not a result of academic research but is the fruit of her personal experience, enriched by the efforts of a group of educators and elementary school teachers. Her experience aligns with the research done by specialists in psychology, pedagogy, and children’s catechesis. These specialists helped her take into account all the aspects of the child’s education and to elucidate the particular aspects of her own pedagogy. For example, Noëlle Le Duc would refer to Maria Montessori, who described the great receptivity of children aged three to six years old as the “the absorbent mind.” Children are also able to remain in silence and to recollect themselves in the presence of God, as Hélène Lubienska de Lenwal explained in her writings. This Montessori educator said that young children could be compared to contemplatives: [My] observations obliged me to recognize that lots of children are naturally contemplative. If their capacity for attention is not developed, it is because they lacked the favorable conditions. It must be the same in the order of grace.