The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (Levels 1-3)
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program meets in the “Atrium,” a special room devoted to the religious life of the child. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, is a Montessori-based religion program.
Wednesdays 9:30am – 11:30am (all 3 levels)
Thursdays 4:30pm – 6:00pm (all 3 levels)
Saturdays 2:00pm – 3:30pm (if there is a demand)
Classes begin: Early October 2021
Family Sessions: Occasional family sessions are held throughout the year, usually on a seasonal theme (Advent, Lent, etc.)
Any questions? Call Dominique Gougeon-Gagnon: 204-233-7367 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
What is the “Atrium”?
The atrium is a specially prepared area. It is a sacred, quiet environment where children can work with beautiful materials which allow them to draw deeper into the essentials of our faith (all handmade by people from our parish). In the ancient Roman church the “atrium” was the room outside the main church where people were prepared for baptism. At Holy Cross we have three atriums, one for Level I: 3 years old to grade 1; one for Level II: Grades 2-4 and Level III for Grades 5-6.
What method do we use?
The “method” we use in the atrium is known as the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Based on principles of Montessori, it was developed over the last 50 years by Sofia Cavalletti in Rome and is rapidly growing across the world. Ours was first in western Canada but it is slowly expanding in Winnipeg.
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd has been described as the meeting of two mysteries – the mystery of God and the mystery of the child. Children seem to have a relationship with God even before we try and “teach” them anything. They have a special attraction to prayer, holy things, ritual, silence and beauty. We provide the environment where they can experience these things. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd uses carefully chosen themes from the Bible and liturgy to present to the children. After hearing a presentation (e.g. the parable of the Mustard Seed, the geography of Israel, the miniature altar) children are free to move quietly around the room working with any material they want. This includes art response and materials that provides care for the environment such as flower arranging or brass polishing.
What do the children learn?
Level I, for children ages 3-6 who are so rich in love, focuses on the child’s capacity to know and enjoy God who is love. We avoid giving them “kidee” religion but provide the deepest, most essential themes of faith, above all, that Christ died and rose again. Some of the themes covered: Jesus as our Good Shepherd, the parables of the Kingdom of God, the geography of Israel, stories of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the vessels of the altar, the gestures of the mass, the vestments of the priest.
Level II (ages 6-9) and level III (ages 9-12) expand on everything the children received in Level I, delving into the Bible and liturgy in much greater detail. Children are also introduced to the history of the kingdom of God (from Creation to the Parousia), the books of the Bible and how to work with the Bible, the maxims (“sayings”) of Jesus, and his moral parables.
To learn more, we invite you to visit the websites below: