The Children’s Table
At Old North Abbey we strive to provide a loving, supportive community for adults and children alike. In our Children’s Sunday school classes we share stories of Jesus, we sing songs of God with us, and share God’s love for us by the reading of the Word, participation in communion and by loving each child as a member of the Body. We are moving to incorporate The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd into our service for children; once our training is complete we will begin implementation.
~Thea Yoder, co-worker at “The Children’s Table”
Thea Yoder is wife to Daniel Yoder, mother of five, and a registered nurse with over fifteen years of experience teaching Sunday school.
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is an approach to the religious formation of children. It is rooted in the Bible, the liturgy of the church, and the educational principles of Maria Montessori. Children gather in an “atrium,” a room prepared for them, which contains simple yet beautiful materials they use to help them absorb the most essential proclamations of the Christian faith.
You may be wondering how these materials help the religious life of children. If an adult hears a beautiful passage from the Bible, the adult might take a Bible, find the passage, and read it slowly again and again. He or she may think deeply about the words and perhaps speak to God in a thankful or hopeful prayer. A little child, too young to read, needs another way. In an atrium the child can ponder a biblical passage or a prayer from the liturgy by taking the material for that text and working with it – placing wood figures of sheep in a sheepfold of the Good Shepherd, setting sculpted apostles around a Last Supper table, or preparing a small altar with the furnishings used for the Eucharist. Older children often copy parables from the Bible, place written prayers in order from the rite of baptism, or label a long time line showing the history of the kingdom of God.
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a sensorially rich experience for children from the ages of 3 to 12 years that gives children the opportunity to grow in love and knowledge of God through the Christian tradition.