Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
This Montessori method program recognizes that children are particularly capable of receiving and enjoying the most essential elements of our faith - the announcement of God's love, in the person of the Good Shepherd, who died and is risen.
The children work in a special classroom, called the "atrium", at St. Margaret Mary church. In the Atrium, the child becomes familiar with Jesus, selected parables about the Kingdom of God, and parts of the Mass. The role of the teacher, or catechist, is to make presentations in the Atrium that "call forth" the child's response to God, and to listen with the child to discover more deeply how much God loves them.
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is held on Tuesday afternoons from 3:30 to 5:00 pm.
For more information, email Joy Davis, or call at 603-352-3525 ext 29
Level I: Ages 3-6
Just because children are young doesn't mean they don't have a deep spirituality! Children in our Level I Atrium encounter God through independent work in any of the Atrium's hands-on areas:
Geography, where they experience the Land of Israel as it was in the time of Christ
Liturgy, where children explore the colors and seasons of the Liturgical Year, the articles and parts of the Mass, gestures of liturgical life, and more
Scripture, where the child can recreate selected Parables, the Infancy Narratives, and ponder Jesus' statement in John 10, "I am the Good Shepherd"
Practical Life, where practicing fine motor skills like pouring and folding help the child in aspects of work around the rest of the Atrium
Level II: Ages 6-9
As the child ages and matures, he or she encounters God in growing ways in the Level II Atrium. In keeping with the 6-9 year-old child's developmental stage, Level II includes more group work than Level I and emphasizes moral formation.
The overall theme for these years is the image of Christ as the True Vine, focusing on both relationship and responsibility. The History of the Kingdom of God is an important tool in introducing and illustrating God’s work and planning on behalf of humanity. As the children begin to discover the vast cosmic history of God’s plan of salvation, they begin to realize that they have something to contribute to it. Moral sensitivity/awareness begins here and grows as the work is presented.
Sacrament preparation for the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist is integrated through the presentation of five meditations for those children ready to receive the sacraments.
The Holy Bible is introduced as well as the theme of the History of the Kingdom of God.
Level III: Ages 9-12
In the final stage of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, children ages 9-12 continue deepening their experiences with Liturgy and Scripture, Biblical history, salvation history, and moral formation. The depth of the reflections they express is truly inspiring!
The theme for this level is the Plan of God as worked out in the Bible and human history. The child begins to deal with the growth of the Kingdom of God and people’s collaboration with or opposition to it. The paradigm of Creation-Redemption-Parousia guides a more thorough exploration of scripture, particularly the Old Testament. Many of the sacred history lessons presented parallel lessons they are learning in the schools. This level could be characterized as a time of “intellectual curiosity about the world and my place in it”.
A particular emphasis is put on biblical “typology” studies which include the primary Bible study of the topic listed below and supplemental studies linking the lesson to the time of Redemption and to the time of Parousia. Below, are listed the primary focus of each of the following studies:
Creation – (this entire study covers 5-6 weeks) Genesis, 1-2;
Sin – (this entire study covers 4-5 weeks) – Genesis 3;
Flood – (this entire study covers 4-5 weeks) – Genesis 6:5 through 9:17;
Abraham – (this study covers 8 weeks) - Genesis 11;
Exodus – (this study covers 8-9 weeks) – Exodus 1-17.
In depth study of the Mass and the parts of the Eucharistic liturgy.
Children wishing to participate in the Level III Atrium must have prior Catechesis of the Good Shepherd experience.