The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is an approach to the religious formation of children in PreK through 8th grade ( ages 3 to 14 years of age). It is rooted in the Bible, the liturgy of the church, and the educational principles of Maria Montessori. Children gather with catechists in an “atrium”, a room prepared for them, which contains simple yet beautiful materials they use to help them absorb the most essential proclamations of the Christian faith.
The atrium is divided into four levels of formation under these general guidelines:
- Level I – 3 to 6 years of age (PreK to K)
- Level II – 6 to 9 years of age (1st to 3rd grades)
- Level III – 9 to 12 years of age (4th to 6th grades)
- Level IV – 12 to 14 years of age (7th and 8th grades)
Students also receive formation for the reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation at the appropriate age and readiness through the parish Sacrament Preparation program. The formation for all sacraments includes students and their parents in a multi-generational setting which fosters prayer, formation, and service throughout their preparation process.
What is the atrium really like? Many of you have had the opportunity to be in the atrium with the children either as a catechist, assistant or visiting parent. For those who haven’t yet had this opportunity, take a few minutes to watch this video from The National Association of CGS. The voices of the current and former children of the atrium mirror many of the comments and reflections we catechists get to share on a weekly basis.
For more information, please feel free to contact Marrey Picciotti, Parish Life & Formation Director at GoodShepherd@stgilesparish.org or 708-383-3430 x 408 or visit the National Association of CGS website at www.cgsusa.org.