The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a faith formation program for children between the ages of 3 and 12 years which aims to help nurture and strengthen the relationship between God and the child.
Based on the premise that there is a strong bond between God and the child, the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a faith formation program for children between the ages of 3 and 12 years based on Montessori educational principles. The central aim of the program is to help nurture and strengthen this relationship.
This is done by creating a specially prepared environment to allow this relationship to develop. The adult’s task is to serve the child in this environment, in a way that calls forth their own response and assists them to come close to God in their own way.
The Atrium Environment
The atrium is the name of the place prepared for the child. The atrium can be compared to a retreat centre. It is a place that facilitates a conversation with God, rather than a room for religious instruction.
In the early church, the atrium (or foyer) of the church was the place where catechumens were prepared for initiation into the church. For the child, too, the atrium is a place of preparation for involvement in the larger worshipping community.
The materials in the atrium are intended for use by children as aids to meditation and prayer. After being presented with a theme using the materials, each child is free to choose an activity that will lead them into conversation with God.
These materials are closely linked to their biblical and liturgical sources. They are handcrafted by the adults who work with the children. In the atrium, they are displayed attractively to invite the child to explore the themes presented through these materials at their own pace and rhythm.
The materials cover elements of
- Practical life (activities related to everyday life and care of the atrium)
Faith Formation for Children
For the Young Child Ages 3-6
The 3-6 year old child is particularly capable of receiving and enjoying the most essential elements of our faith. The central theme for this age is the announcement of God’s love in the person of Jesus the Good Shepherd.
At this level, the children are introduced to the atrium with practical life materials, geography of the land of Israel and the liturgical colours we see at Mass. Other works include Infancy Narratives, Parables of the Kingdom, important gestures from the Mass, Paschal Narratives, and the celebration of Baptism.
For the Older Child Ages 6-12
The central theme for this age is the image of Jesus the True Vine. This image responds to the need of the older child to know better their relationships with God, family, friends and the larger community. The child at this age seeks guidelines, which the moral parables offer.
At this level, the children are given an overview of the great work of God in Creation; the highpoint of God’s love for us as expressed in the Redemption; and the future hope of the Parousia. They also go deeper into the many prayers that make up the Mass.
Further information on the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd can be found on their website.
St Bernard’s Catholic Primary School - Berowra Heights NSW
Contact: Natasha Steele
M: 0409 621 817E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Lady of Dolours Parish - Chatswood
Contact: Angela Hague
M: 0411 441 289E: email@example.com