Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
At the very heart of our life in Christ at St. Philip you will find our children. The vision and understanding of the spiritual life of children which we embrace is that of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is an approach to the spiritual formation of children 3-12 years old which is based on Scripture and Liturgy with underpinnings in the Montessori Method of education.
Developed in Rome over 50 years ago by Sofia Cavalletti and Gianna Gobbi, this work is sometimes described as the meeting ground of two Mysteries: the Mystery of God and the Mystery of the Child. The place of this encounter is the “atrium” classroom. These environments are specially prepared spaces with developmentally appropriate materials designed to help the child come closer to God. The atrium is a place of prayer, work, study, and community. There are separate environments for Level I (2 ½-6 years), Level II (1st-3rd grades), and Level III (4th-6th grades).
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd has been a mustard seed work for us at St. Philip. It began slowly in 1994 with an environment only for the youngest children, but has grown to include a full scope of this approach for children ages 2 ½ -12 years.
In the gospel of Matthew Jesus holds up children as spiritual models when he says, “unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” They may be the smallest, but certainly not the least. We consider our children a very important part of who we are and we do all that we can to respect and to nurture their relationship with Christ.