Last year marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, a time of significant change in the Church. Among other things, it started to put into effect a number of liturgical reforms that had been developing for some time.
Part of this reform, which has continued in the years since the council, was the realisation of the need for the liturgical rites to better meet the needs of children.
In 1973, the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship published the Directory for Masses with Children. It was the first document of its kind in the history of the Church. It proposed a number of general principles, then proposed liturgical adaptations for Masses with adults in which children also participate (such as on Sundays), and Masses with children in which only a few adults participate (such as a school Mass).
Amongst its proposals for Masses with adults in which children also participate, the Directory stated:
Sometimes, moreover, if the place itself and the nature of the individuals permit, it possibly will be appropriate to celebrate the liturgy of the word, including a homily, with the children in a separate, but not too distant, location. Then, before the eucharistic liturgy begins, the children are led to the place where the adults have meanwhile celebrated their own liturgy of the word.
Directory for Masses with Children, article 17