MOTHERS in Bundaberg have welcomed new faces into the community’s first catechesis centre for children.
Known as The Atrium of the Good Shepherd, which uses principles from educator Maria Montessori, the mothers will work together to foster the spiritual and physical needs of children in the parish.
We asked the new catechists at in Bundaberg why they thought it was important for children to experience the beauty of an Atrium.
The Atrium is designed according to Montessori principles, which aim to cater for the physical and spiritual needs of the child at each stage of development.
These needs differ as the child grows and develops and the skills learnt in the early years are the foundation for a mature life in the Church and world.
Responsibility, initiative, concentration, consideration for others and a disposition of silence and listening are some of the many aspects of the formation offered through an Atrium.
The role of the catechists is to provide, maintain and present the space and materials in the Atrium so the needs of the child may be met.
Through this the gift given at baptism is nurtured and brought to maturity enabling the child to live out their Christian faith and fulfilling the promises made by parents at their marriage and the baptism of the child to bring them up in the Faith.
A child who enters and takes part in the provided activities of an Atrium of the Good Shepherd, works under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the quiet presence of the Catechist.
The child, when and as he or she is ready, discovers the Truth about God and His relationship with us.
The response to this growing awareness of an intimate friendship with God, is one of joy in this personal revelation. It would be rare for a child who has found this truth – this pearl of great price – through the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, to ever abandon God in his/her adult life.
Children are naturally curious.
The method of learning in the Atrium satisfies the child’s natural thirst to be closer to God.
The main method of learning is primarily through practical hands-on activities.
The ‘works’ at the Atrium have been developed for the child’s needs of repetition and exploration in the earlier years and the development of the Plan that God has for humanity as they continue in later years.
Importantly, children are able to begin a personal journey with the Good Shepherd.
As they continue they will remember the wonderful significance of why we do things in the signs and gestures of the whole liturgy.
The Atrium experience is unique as it fosters meditation on the Real Presence of Jesus the Good Shepherd in the Eucharist.
The art of passing on the faith to future generations is something that needs to be revitalised.
This is where CGS steps in.
From very young, children are naturally close to God and CGS sets aside a special time and place to foster this relationship.
It is an utterly unique way to be able to experience and learn the truths of the Catholic Faith through an encounter with Jesus the Good Shepherd.
I would consider this more important than any other extra-curricular activity, as it will most impact their life.