ATRIUM LEVELS

Helping children draw nearer to God

Like the work of Maria Montessori, the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is carefully structured around the developmental needs of children at different stages. Each atrium has mixed-age groups of children within the same level, engaging in activities specially designed to meet their deepest needs and capacities.

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Ages 3-6

A place of joyful prayer for very young children, the Level 1 atrium invites them into relationship with a God who calls them by name, and loves them dearly.

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Ages 6-9

Using the parables of the True Vine and the Good Shepherd, children in the Level 2 atrium consider the question, "How are we called to live in covenant relationship?"

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Ages 9-12

In Level 3, the covenant is considered with respect to God's revelation and relationship with us through time:  "The History of the Plan of God."

  Ages 3 to 6  

In the Level 1 Atrium, children discover that

God is love, 

Jesus is Risen, 

and We are His sheep

Contemplating the Good Shepherd
Parable of the Mustard Seed
The City of Jerusalem
Caring for the Environment
The Last Supper
Biblical Geography
The Altar
Puzzle Map of Israel
Working with the Liturgical Colours
  • They enjoy biblical accounts of events such as the birth of Jesus and the Last Supper, to proclaim that Jesus was a real person who lived in a specific place in time.

  • They encounter elements of the liturgy, to encourage understanding and thoughtful participation

  • They contemplate parables that allow them to ponder the mystery of Kingdom of God, especially the call to joyful relationship with Jesus, the Good Shepherd

  • They partake of prayer opportunities, alone and in community, for enjoyment of God's gifts

 

  Ages 6 to 9  

 

As children move into Level 2, firm in their relationship with God, they wonder ... 

What is God’s plan? 

What is my role in God’s plan? 

Prayer
Parts of the Mass
Books of the Bible
Parable of the Grain of Wheat
Gestures of the Mass
The Mystery of the Incarnation
Prayer Time
The History of God's Gifts

In response,

  • They hear about God’s Plan of Salvation as shown to us in the Bible

  • They contemplate the gifts that human beings have received from God through time. 

  • They develop their moral intelligence by considering the parables Jesus told of mercy and justice, as well as his moral guidelines

  • They discover their role in God’s plan and their own place in the community of believers - the church

  • They acquire the tools to enable them to access the Word of God (Bible) and the prayers of the church in the rites of Eucharist, Baptism and Reconciliation.

Many atriums offer the children a special retreat in preparation for celebrating 1st Reconciliation and Eucharist.

  Ages 9 to 12  

 

Children in this stage of development have a wider perspective.  They want to know more about God's plan of salvation, so they ask ... 

What is God calling me to do as his co-worker in the kingdom? 

What gifts have I been given to use in this work? 

Prayers of the Mass
The Plan of God
History of the Jewish People
The Maxims
The Parable of the Wedding Banquet
Synagogue material
The Peoples and the People of God
Contemplation of the Lord's Prayer
Exodus Typology (Bible Study)

They discover...

timelines of God’s Plan of Salvation;

great figures and events in the scriptures: Creation, The Flood, Abraham, Moses, the prophets, miracles

They explore...

the gifts that we are given to help us on our spiritual journey, including the rites of Eucharist, Baptism, Reconciliation and Healing. 

They reflect...

on the teachings of Jesus to help us understand the meaning of life and our call to live as co-workers with God in the Kingdom.

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