Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
What is the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd?
At Sacred Heart Villa, students in Nursery, PreK, and Kindergarten participate in a religious education program called the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. The class is taught in a special room called the atrium. The atrium is a prepared environment furnished with beautiful and simple materials that help the children draw near to God.
Who Teaches the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd?
The Catechesis class at Sacred Heart Villa is taught by Sister Matthew Maria Rancilio, ASCJ, a trained, certified catechist and teacher. Sister Matthew presents faith lessons such as bible stories and parables. She also introduces the children to the sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist. She shows how to set an altar, and helps the children better understand Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Sister Matthew also presents practical life works in the form of activities that have to do with the care of one’s person and the care of the environment. These activities correspond to the children’s needs for movement, order, and independence.
What do the Children do in the Catechesis Class?
Both the Montessori method and the Reggio inspired philosophy are apparent in the set-up of the Atrium, and the way the class is conducted. The students assemble as a group for a story and prayer at the beginning and end of each session. In between, they work quietly on individual projects of their choosing. Sister Matthew provides individual attention and encouragement to each child during this part of the class.
What the children do in the Atrium is not play. They are taught to work quietly and reverently, respecting the Atrium environment and their classmates. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd prepares the children to become part of the larger worshipping community, and also teaches appropriate behavior and practical skills.