The philosophy of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program is that even very young children have a religious life. God is present to them in their deepest being and they are capable of developing both a conscious and intimate relationship with God. The program balances exposure to our liturgy and the richness of our communal sacramental life with reading the Bible. Our program begins with presenting the New Testament to the children because it is the foundation of our faith. The youngest learn about Jesus and the beauty and wonder of the Kingdom of God through carefully chosen Bible verses that foster a deep love for Jesus. As they grow older they are encouraged to think about their personal responsibility to maintain this relationship with God and their social responsibility in the world. Each presentation has specific materials designed to draw the child into the Biblical and Liturgical themes. These materials are always available to the children during their work time so they have additional opportunities to absorb the lessons. Classes are structured to offer a time of prayer and song, a time for the “presentation” and a time for individual work by the child. The work of the children is their prayer and is the most important part of their time in the atrium.
Currently Level I is integrated into our school curriculum for Grades K-2. Each class spends two 30 minute sessions per week in the Atrium.
We are in the process of implementing Levels II and III for the remaining grades.
Level I (Children Ages 3-6)
The theme for this level is the Good Shepherd who loves his sheep and gives everything for them. The child is introduced to Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and discovers who the sheep are. The enjoyment of the gift of God’s own self to the child is the foundation of further religious insight and moral development. This Level could be characterized as a “time of joy and wonder” in the lives of the children.