Faith Formation at Christ the Redeemer is rooted in the contemplative, Montessori-based style of spiritual development called The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS). CGS uses Montessori teaching principles to present the most essential realities of the Catholic faith to even very young children. Central to CGS is the beautifully prepared sacred “classroom” space called the Atrium, which provides a retreat-like place of serenity, joy and discovery for the child. Specially designed materials and inspiring presentations help children explore areas of religious formation appropriate to their developmental age. The outcome is a profoundly personal and joyful expression of faith, unique to each child’s relationship with God.
ATRIUM ONE: Kindergarten and 1st grade
Developmentally, children begin to view God as a “judge” by age seven. Studies show that nurturing the relationship between the preschool child and God; helping them to “fall in love” and introduce lessons and create an environment in which they can truly listen and hear Jesus introduce himself as the “Good Shepherd” – the one who nourishes us, keeps us safe and calls us by name – is extraordinarily beneficial to their faith development, even into their adult years.
For an overview and detailed curriculum of our Catechesis of the Good Shepherd approach to Faith Formation – CLICK HERE
You are welcome to email our Director of Religious Education, Lisa Brown, at [email protected] for a personal tour of our atrium spaces and an introduction to our methodology and curriculum.
Level I Atrium (PreK, K, 1st Grade)
Our youngest children demonstrate a particular sensitivity to the following points: Jesus Christ as the “Good Shepherd” who protects His sheep and calls them each by name; Eucharist as the greatest gift of the love of the God; Jesus Christ as the “light of the world” and Baptism as the act with which this light is given.
The Catechesis provides close links to scripture and liturgy – with a special emphasis on scripture. Dr. Cavalletti believes that we learn to recognize God through the Bible, particularly through those events that constitute the basis of Christianity: the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Materials on the life of Christ and his teachings help make the mystery of God concrete for the child. The geography materials establish Jesus as a real person in time and space and Israel as the land through which God realized salvation for all.
Infancy narratives announce the Incarnation with the words of Scripture, moving from the Annunciation, to the Birth of Christ, to the Flight into Egypt. The models of Jerusalem and of the empty tomb are the starting points for the Paschal narratives and the child’s celebration of the Easter mystery.
Selected parables serve as keys to unlock the mystery of the kingdom of God and to nurture the child’s natural sense of wonder. The young child enters the mystery of the Mass through the most important gestures including the preparation of the chalice, the epiclesis and offering, and the gesture of peace. From these gestures the Mass emerges as the Sacrament of the Gift. The child becomes acquainted with the historical character of the liturgy through the events of the Last Supper, Christ’s death, and His resurrection.
Materials that embody the liturgical colors and calendar situate the child in the church year. A prayer corner also reflects the liturgical cycle with appropriate colors, prayers, songs, banners, and readings to enhance the rituals and celebrations of the seasons.
Specific Scriptural References, Liturgical Foundations & Relevant Ecclesial Documents covered in CGS Presentations – LEVEL ONE ATRIUM – CLICK HERE
OVERVIEW OF LEVEL ONE
“What I hear, I forget. What I see, I remember. What I do, I understand.”
Level I Atrium Spiritual Formation
- Faith Formation: Develop a genuine personal relationship with Jesus, the Good Shepherd, through parables and meditations.
- Prayer: Develop a personal prayer life, which includes understanding of a sacred space, responding to the Word of God, and caring for a prayer table.
- Life in the Church/Sacraments:
- Learn the liturgical cycle and colors of the church year
- Learn the names and purposes of articles of the Mass
- Learn and reflect on the liturgical gestures of the Mass
- Learn and reflect on the sacramental signs and gestures of Baptism
- Kingdom of God: Read and reflect upon parables of the Bible, including: The Mustard Seed, The Precious Pearl, The Leaven, The Hidden Treasure, and The Wheat Seed.
- Good Shepherd: Encounter Jesus as the Good Shepherd who knows, loves, and protects me through work with the Good Shepherd materials.
- Life of Christ:
- Recognize prominent locations in the land of Israel at the time of Jesus
- Read and reflect upon selected Old Testament prophecies
- Reflect on the Infancy Narratives: The Annunciation, The Visitation, The Adoration of the Shepherds, The Adoration of the Magi, and The Presentation of Jesus
- Work with the Paschal Mysteries: The Last Supper, The City of Jerusalem (Passion/Resurrection account), The Empty Tomb, and Pentecost
- Celebrations: Participate in celebrations of Jesus’ Birth, The Last Supper, The Liturgy of Light (Easter celebration), and Pentecost.