Friday, January 30, 2009
7 Quick Atrium Takes
This afternoon I begin my third training weekend of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Here are seven quick takes on the atrium:
1. Children gather in a room specially prepared for them, called an atrium, which contains simple yet beautiful materials that they use to draw near to God. In the early church, the atrium was the place where the catechumens were prepared. For the child, the atrium is a place of preparation for involvement in the larger worshipping community.
2. Older children who read often copy parables from the Bible, put in order the prayers from the rite of baptism, or label a long time line showing the history of the kingdom of God.
3. In an atrium the child can ponder a biblical passage or a prayer by taking the material for that text and working with it – placing wood figures of sheep in a sheepfold of the Good Shepherd or setting sculpted apostles around a Last Supper table.
4. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is the result of a long period of careful observation of children by Sofia Cavalletti and her Montessori collaborator, Gianna Gobbi, in Rome.
5. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd has grown and spread amazingly. At last count it is in 32 countries: Australia, Austria, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Ecuador, Germany, Guatemala, Haiti, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Poland, Puerto Rico, Serbia/Bosnia, Slovenia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Uruguay, and the United States. In the United States there are hundreds of atria in Catholic and Episcopal settings, as well as several other Christian churches.
6. There are three levels of courses, focusing on children ages 3-6, 6-9, and 9-12
7. The atrium is a place where children fall in love with God.
All information provided can be found at the CGS website