CGS is a Montessori-based approach to Christian formation where children can grow in their relationship with God through a deep engagement in scripture and liturgy.
This approach to Faith Formation is based on the belief that God and the child have a unique relationship with one another and that the growth of this relationship should be assisted by either an adult or adults, but directed by the Spirit of God within the child--laying the foundation for a life grounded in an awareness of God's love.
Generally a day in the Atrium will include:
A presentation of a part of the Bible or Liturgy given to the children by the Catechist.
A significant period of time for children to work with materials of their own choice on their own.
A gathering time of worship at the prayer table.
**Volunteers are needed for helping with carpentry projects, preparing supplies, and donating items used for teaching the children.
Monetary donations are also very appreciated to ensure the continuation of the program.
Jennifer Rabaey - firstname.lastname@example.org - 507-532-7532
Joy Wambeke - email@example.com - 651-324-5996
Atria for Levels I, II & III are all in St. Edward Catholic School.
Click Here For "The National Association of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd" Website for More Information.
There are some terms used regularly in the Catechesis that may be new to you. Becoming familiar with these words will make it easier to understand the work being done in the Atrium.
A word first used in the early Church to describe the instruction people received in preparation for Baptism. In our context, the Catechesis is the way children are prepared to participate fully in Christian community. Sometimes CGS -- Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is referred to simply as Catechesis or the Catecheses.
The catechist is an adult who guides the children. This person is not the teacher in the traditional sense. Instead she prepares the space where God and the Child can come together. She creates materials, presents them to the child, and then participates with the child in a sense of wonder about God. It usually is used for persons having completed at least 90 hours of formation.
The assistant is a catechist who participates with the lead catechist in creating materials, preparing and maintaining the environment, and observing the needs of the children. Assistants may or may not have completed a formation course.
Another word from the early Church, it was the name of the room-sized entryway into the Church where people new to the faith were instructed for Baptism. In the Catechesis, the Atrium is the room that is prepared for the children. It is not a classroom. Instead it is a place of religious experience, community, and worship.
Many kinds of materials are found in the Atrium. They are often handmade, and are usually beautiful. The most important thing about the materials is that they are closely linked to the Bible and liturgy. Children work with the materials to mediate on the stories of our faith and to reflect on the traditions of our worship.
Examples of materials found in the Level I Atrium include small figures of Mary and the angel for the Annunciation, Jerusalem mustard seeds for the Parable of the Mustard Seed, and a small Baptismal font and Paschal candle to explore Holy Baptism.
Level II materials mirror those of Level I and become more involved, a response to the growing curiosity and ability of the child. Level III materials build on the foundation of Levels I & II but are geared toward the emerging abilities and needs of the 9-12 year old child. The central work in this atrium is called "The Plan of God."
A presentation is made by the Catechist for the children. The Word of God is proclaimed through a scripture reading or a description of an aspect of the liturgy and a demonstration of how to use the associated materials.