WESTON—The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a Montessori-based religious formation program that was begun over 60 years ago in Rome, Italy by Sofia Cavalletti. It is rooted in the Bible, the Liturgy and the educational principles of Maria Montessori. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd honors the innate spirituality of the child, allowing the child’s inner teacher, the Holy Spirit, to bring the child slowly to a deeper love and understanding of God.
This is primarily accomplished in an environment specially prepared for the child, called an “atrium” which is neither school nor church, but a place where they can know God. The atrium is prepared for different age groups: ages 3-6, 6-9, 9-12. It is here that the child is given presentations on Scripture passages such as the parables, prophecies, events in Jesus’ life; on the liturgy and rites of faith, Mass, the sacraments, and practical life activities to keep the atrium beautiful.
The child’s work in the atrium includes working with presented materials, pasting, tracing, original artwork, caring for the atrium. Their focus and concentration on these activities help the child enter into profound prayer and connection with God.
St. Francis of Assisi in Weston began using this program in January of 1995. They currently have three levels in their Sunday Program and Level I and II in their Weekday Program
Older students are taught in a traditional classroom setting, with instruction by a teacher; a textbook is used, followed by hands-on activities and creative crafts, which support the lessons. This program is designed to prepare students for the Sacrament of Confirmation, which takes place in 8th grade. Students are instructed and challenged to foster their own faith and to make a deep connection with Christ in their daily lives. Opportunities to participate in community service projects are also offered.
St. Francis of Assisi Parish is located on 35 Norfield Rd. in Weston, Conn.
(For more information visit their website at: www.stfrancisweston.org.)