“The atrium is a place of prayer, in which work and study spontaneously become meditation, contemplation, and prayer…in which the only Teacher is Christ; both children and adults place themselves in a listening stance before his Word and seek to penetrate the mystery of the liturgical celebration.”
– The Characteristics of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd: 32 Points of Reflection #3
St. Patrick Church is excited to announce that we will now offer religious formation for children 3-6 years old using the method of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.
A Journey of Joy
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) method is rooted in Montessori educational principles. A trained catechist with over 120 hours of education and experience prepares an environment, referred to as an atrium, that specifically caters to the unique characteristics of the child’s developmental age.
We spend several weeks in the beginning of the year concentrating on developing the child’s ability to quietly focus. We refer to this work as Practical Life and these activities are profoundly enjoyed by the children. These activities are offered to help master the fine motor and meditative skills that will be continually built upon as the year progresses.
The environment of the atrium is hard to imagine as there is nothing quite like it. The atrium is characteristically quiet and peaceful- largely due to the lessons in Grace and Courtesy that the children receive throughout the year. The Catechist prepares lessons intended to instill in the child a deep love and respect for the environment, self, neighbor, and God.
It is helpful to imagine Practical Life with Grace and Courtesy as the two sides of a track that allow the child to successfully navigate towards a profound and genuine relationship with God.
The formation for children is rooted in prayer, the sacraments and the Word of God. Through decades of study and observation of the child, the content presented to each child has been specially designed to communicate an essential reality of Faith, proven to respond to a developmental need. The method is considered a Spiral Method, where the children receive all of the essentials in Level I (ages 3-6) and these truths are more deeply developed and presented in Level II (ages 6-9) and Level III (ages 9-12). The information presented corresponds to one or more of the following themes:
- The Life of Christ
- The Wonder of the Kingdom of God
- The Plan of God/History of the Kingdom of God
- Moral Formation through Parables, Virtues, Maxims, and Service
- The Holy Bible, including Old and New Testament Studies