A three-year old is setting a model altar with an altar cloth, paten, chalice, candles, and crucifix. Later she carefully arranges a small bouquet of flowers. A four-year old sits in front of a model of a sheepfold, moving model sheep and shepherd while listening intently to an adult read the scripture account of the Good Shepherd. Two five-year olds sit across from each other; one sewing while the other traces images from a scripture account and makes a book.
Welcome to the Atrium, a prayer space designed to meet the spiritual and developmental needs of children using the Montessori method. By means of the beauty, silence, self-direction and prayer fostered here, the mystery of the child encounters the mystery of God. Lovely hand-made materials to work and pray with, proclamations of God’s Word, meditation and song, all appropriate to the child’s way of approaching God, invite him or her into a lifelong relationship with the Good Shepherd who gives “life to the full.”
In the Atrium the child explores prayer, scripture, liturgy, Holy Land geography, practical life, and art expression during a weekly 2-hour session. Could the Good Shepherd be calling your child to the Atrium?
What are the different Atrium session levels and when do they meet?
Atrium sessions are offered weekly 2-hour sessions between late September and May in multi-age levels. Click the name of each level to learn more.
Level I — There is a seasonal rhythm to the presentation of Level I works. These newsletters are roughly organized into the season in which we present them. However, your child may be working with a material at any time of the year! Ask your child’s catechist if you have questions about what work your child is receiving.
Advent | Christmas
Late Winter/Ordinary Time
The National Association for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd has developed some excellent parent newsletters with adult reflections on topics explored in the Atrium. Explore them here: National Association Parent Newsletters
RCIA Adapted for Children – Children who are preparing for the initiation of sacraments through the RCIA adapted for children participate in Atrium sessions as part of their preparation process. They are usually registered in one of the Level II/III sessions. In addition to the Atrium sessions, there are also interviews, retreats, and Sunday Dismissals that are a part of this initiation process. We are often looking for adults willing to sponsor RCIA children or to otherwise assist with the RCIA ministry. Please contact the Steward for RCIA, Cecelia at 360-272-7127 or e-mail her at email@example.com for more details.
BOOK GROUPS FORMING
We are forming book groups that explore one or more of the transformative writings of the CGS founders. Possible titles include Joyful Journey and the History of the Kingdom of God. Past participants have found these to be like mini-retreats that further your own spiritual journey. Are you interested in weekday mornings or evenings? Contact mtrotter@saintmichaelparish.