Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
Many people are aware of the Montessori method of education in its most popular elements:
- the use of beautiful materials such a wood and glass,
- miniaturizing all furniture and tools so that they are fit for a child’s body,
- educational materials which the child may see, hear, touch, and possibly even smell or taste.
- the emphasis on peaceful conduct and “normalization” (self regulation),
- and the independence which comes from acquiring practical life skills.
In the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, these elements are employed in a sacred space for children. The room where the children work is called the Atrium. It contains small models of the same things that we see in the church building:
- Altar & altar cloths
- Baptismal font
- Bible & other religious books
- Flowers & candles
- Processional cross
- Seasonal colors
The Atrium also contains art materials and practical life materials which allow young children to perfect their fine motor skills before handling the delicate materials used in the lessons.
Lessons are presented once a week as a choice for the young child. Everyone comes into the Atrium together, but no one is required to do anything with which he or she is not comfortable. There are many different activities available, and each child chooses one individually. (Most young children choose an art activity or a practical life activity at first.)