We invite all Primary and Lower El students and families to consider joining us on Sundays from 9:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. in the Bentley Room (where Spanish meets). Our Christian formation is offered through Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, a hands-on formation experience (video). Our Atria teachers are trained and ready to invite your child into a calm, prepared, and nurturing learning environment.

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is in concert with the Montessori philosophy espoused by our Lower School. As you can see from the picture, the environment is ripe for exploration and wonder. Please see the testimony below from one of our Catechists, Mary Cole, who also is a Substitute Teacher at the school. Please contact The Rev. Brandon Peete, Director of Spiritual Life, with any questions. Welcome!

Several years ago, I worked as Ms. Andrea’s assistant in Lower Elementary. When I would walk children to Spanish Class in the Bentley Room, I would tell the children that I taught Sunday School in that room, so please be respectful of all the materials. Because they knew that, I was occasionally asked questions about God and Jesus throughout the school day. Children are already thinking about God and when they have a resource to ask, they will.

As catechists, we believe that children already have a relationship to God. My job is to assist that relationship through providing materials to work with and specific presentations that tell them about the books of the Bible, the New Testament narratives of the life of Jesus, or the parables of Jesus.

We use the Montessori Method to present lessons. This enables children to meditate on Scripture or the information given by working with materials at the same time. We present the lesson and talk about it a little. Once the lesson has been presented the child may work with it whenever he or she feels called to do so.

We have some materials that closely correspond to Montessori materials.  In the beginning of the year we use a long ribbon, similar to the long black line (The Coming of Man), that is used to illustrate the Kingdom of God, beginning a long blue ribbon for the time before land appeared, then brown for when land appeared, towards the end of that there is a tiny strip of ribbon for the time when Jesus came until now. We do this work in the Nave because the ribbon is so very long.

We also have a Prayer Table at which we meet at the end of class.  We have had children offer up prayers for such wide ranging issues as pets dying, to the destruction of the Amazon rain forest to prayers for the children at Sandy Hook.

Children often dive into the materials, causing stirring questions to emerge. In this way, the Spirit moves in wonderful and mysterious ways.

-          Mary Cole, Catechist and Substitute Teacher