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Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is an approach to religious formation based on the Montessori Method.  It serves children from ages one to twelve years.  It is based on the conviction that God and the child are already in relationship with each other. The child has a special capacity to enjoy the presence of God, and it is the task of the adult to help the child live fully their encounter with God. 

The "Atrium" is a special environment prepared for the child, containing many concrete materials, e.g. a small model altar, a prayer table, and wooden figures of parables, e.g. the Good Shepherd and The Precious Pearl.The focus for the child, birth to six, is the announcement that God loves them.

For older children, ages six to twelve, the material includes the history of all God's gifts to us, and the history of the gifts of cultures to each other and to the people of today.

Observervation of the children is welcome by all those interested in this program.

For the Schedule of 2014-2015 Sessions go to Newsletter for Faith Formation.

Toddler Program - Ages 6 months to 3 years

Our youngest children are capable of giving praise and thanks to God!  In the toddler environment, we have a combination of religious materials, as well as manipulative, concrete materials that introduce color, shape, and pairing skills, which aid the development of coordination. We have presentations from liturgy, e.g the Articles of Baptism, and scripture, e.g. The Annunciation to Mary. Children attend with one of their parents, or a grand parent.

Preschool - (Level I) Ages 3, 4 and 5

The parable of the Good Shepherd is the theme for the youngest children. This is appropriate because they are particularly capable of receiving and enjoying the most essential element of our faith - the announcement of God's love and care in the person of the Good Shepherd. Materials in this level present the life of Christ, geography, the Last Supper, selected parables, and liturgical work. An example of liturgical work is a small altar on which the children spread out an altar cloth and then arrange the paten and chalice, the crucifix and the candles. Through simple activities like these, they become familiar with the Articles of the Eucharist.
These young children are in a sensitive period for wonder, and so we present the Parables of Wonder: "The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, . . . or a precious pearl." In the Prayer Corner, we celebrate with prayer and song according to the cycles of the Liturgical Year.

Elementary - (Level II) Grades 1,2 and 3

The elementary aged child is captured by the image of the True Vine. "I am the vine, you are the branches.  Whoever remains in me, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing."  This proclamation responds to the child's deep need to form relationships with God, family and friends, and the larger community. 
A child of this age is aware of time and is able to explore the past and future.Timelines are used to express God's love and care for us through all the gifts.  We begin presentations based on the three moments of Sacred History: Creation, Redemption and Parousia.
Children are given opportunities to explore their place in God's creation and to see that they are an important part of God's plan.
Moral parables, e.g. The Good Samaritan and The Forgivin Father, and Maxims, e.g. "Forgive seven times seventy . . . ," give children guidelines for behavior as they see that God's love is constant and God's forgiveness is ever present.

Elementary - (Level III) Grades 4, 5 and 6

Older children focus on the Plan of God in history, a communion which links all people together, and in which the child now begins to find his/her own place.  The emphasis is on our response to this unfolding generosity of God and the responsibilities that come with receiving God's gifts.  Old Testament themes are presented and children do Typology Studies of Creation, Sin, The Flood, Abraham, and The Exodus.
The Sacraments and their Rites are explored, and all the prayers of the Eucharist are carefully read and meditated on.
Further study of moral parables and maxims is done.
Children are given opportunities to do research on subjects that interest them.

August 2014