We are blessed to have a broad age-range of children and youth as part of our body. As we include them in the life of our church, we pray that they will grow to follow Jesus in a relationship that will last for eternity.
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is Montessori-style approach to nurturing the minds, hearts, spirits, and bodies of children. It is based on the educational philosophy of Maria Montessori and Sophia Cavalletti, who developed Catechesis of the Good Shepherd in Rome in the early 1900s. The heart of Catechesis is the Atrium, a dedicated space where children encounter the presence of God in a manner that is sensitive to their developmental stages.
The first level is for children ages three to six. The overarching thread of the Level I Atrium is the Good Shepherd who tends his flock. The second level is for children ages six to nine. The overarching thread is The True Vine.
The children experience a range of educational opportunities. The catechist offers presentations to the children, after which the children have independent personal time to work with the materials which accompany the presentations.
The children learn about the nature of God through presentations of Jesus’ promises, beginning with “I am the Good Shepherd” and moving on to “I am the True Vine.” They encounter the incarnation through carefully chosen stories of Jesus’ nativity, ministry, Last Supper, death, and resurrection. They enter into the universal life of the Church by engaging with the Altar, the prayer table, the Baptism corner, and liturgical calendar.
In addition to religious education, the children learn to quiet their bodies and cultivate silence through many practical life and grace and courtesy activities. Some of these practices include water pouring, plant care, sorting, and polishing. Moreover, the children are encouraged to take ownership and good care of the materials and the physical space of the atrium. In keeping with Montessori principles, these materials are built to be beautiful, well-crafted, and durable.