If we want to help the child draw nearer to God, we should with patience and courage seek to go always closer to the vital nucleus of things. This requires study and prayer. The child will be our teacher if we know how to observe."
At Grace, we are proud to offer Catechesis of the Good Shepherd as our children’s faith formation program (or “Sunday school”). The program has a strong, twenty-year legacy at Grace. Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is inspired by the Montessori principles of education and is based on the conviction that each child is already in relationship with God. The program is led by adult "catechists," who wonder with the child, rather than trying to "pour-in" information. Materials in the classroom or "atrium" invite children to explore and deepen their experiences at their own pace. A small altar, chalice, font, and Paschal candle introduce the child to the liturgical life of the church. Figures from the parables and from the life of Jesus help to make the person of Jesus concrete for the child and help the child wonder about the great mystery of the kingdom of God.
Scripture, tradition and prayer are part of the nucleus that is the core of each lesson. Within the community of each level our children experience the richness that informs our liturgy, our history, and our life together as Christians.
In Level One (The Good Shepherd Atrium) the 3-5 year old child experiences the loving gift of Jesus the Good Shepherd. In the quiet of the Atrium, we listen together to the words of the parables and the story of the life of Jesus in the Gospels. We work with a wealth of sensorial materials - including scale maps of the Holy Land and the City of Jerusalem, a miniature altar and font - and sit together, learning to draw and write simple prayers. We ponder together the essentiality and richness of the scriptures as the child grows in understanding and skill of self-expression.
In Level Two (The Word Atrium) the 6-8 year old child starts to find spiritual guidance in the Maxims and Moral Parables, while learning more about the traditions and liturgy of our church. We wonder together about the immensity of the Gifts of God – the breathtakingly beautiful world we live in, the unfolding of Sacred Story over time, the Gift of Jesus himself to us - and we learn to honor our own place in that story. The children develop important people skills through leading communal prayer in our small group every Sunday.
In Level Three (The Talents Atrium) the 9-11 year old child dives into Biblical study, exploring the stories of our faith from both the Old and New Testaments. At an age where questions about right, wrong, and why are very important, they are encouraged to explore the moral dimensions of the Bible. These children exercise their leadership by leading communal prayer. Our Talents Atrium is a hybrid form of Level Three, combining Catechesis presentations with a focus on Bible study and communal prayer.
Our goal in each level is to assist the child in seeing their relationship with God, to nurture its depth and provide them community for its growth and expression. Please join us on Sundays to share and learn about these beautiful gifts of our church!
Nursery care is available beginning at 9:15 a.m. (immediately following the 8:45 service) and during the 10:30 a.m. service. Parents are welcome to pick up their children during the 10:30 a.m. service so that the family can participate together in the Eucharist. Children (even noisy ones!) are welcome in both services. There are hands on “Prayer Bags” for children to use in the service near the entrances.
Contact us at this link.
A registration form may be found at this link.
Children's Formation events are at this link.