If you are Catholic (other christian denominations have adapted this program as well) and you want your child to have the best catechesis available, look into CGS. The basic philosophy is much different from your typical CCD, which automatically assumes that your kid knows nothing, as opposed to the Atrium where Sophia Cavalletti and Gianna Gobbi and Maria Montessori worked with young children enough to understand that even the very young can have a relationship with Christ. This is the difference, also that instead of starting the kids off with Adam and Eve and Noah, CGS begins with Jesus. THE GOOD SHEPHERD! This message is essential for the children. It is for all of us!
Today in the Atrium my son spent close to an hour making a color coded map of the Holy Land, and my daughter did the Adoration of the Maji work no less than 5 times. By the they were finished, they both had memorized scripture without even realizing it!
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Yesterday I went to a training day for Level II, 6-9 year olds, we were focusing on First Communion preparation. The fiirst presentation you always do for 7 year olds is the True VIne. You know the passage John 15, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
After we read this passage 3 times and ask the children each time what they heard, this is the Socratic meathod that Sofia Caveletti used, and we still use today. We try to start drawing parallels to the analogy Jesus is using in the vine. It is a beautiful example of how we belong to God because we were literally grafted in, adopted sons and daughters of the vinedresser. The sap running through the vine is the light and life of the RISEN Christ. Of course we don’t tell this to the children, we let them come to it on their own, after several separate times of talking about the vine, and re-reading the scripture. It is helpful to have an actual grapevine, to show the one source, and a picture of a vineyard as many children in our area have never laid eyes on one. You can also show the way a branch can be brought back by grafting it in- a symbol for confession. The children find all of this very amazing and wonderful. They have hope that they can come back to God even if they make mistakes, it talks about the merciful God we know. It talks about the wonderful light and life of Jesus that in and of itself is the fruit, Many people mistake the fruit for being social justice causes, or serving the needy, and although those are great things, what Christ was trying to tell us was that the power of the sacraments give us the light an life of His RISEN body! We are REDEEMED, if we choose to remain, or stay connected to Him, our source, we will have the same ideas and goals that God Himself has for us, and in that way, whatever we want will be what HE wants. Our hearts will desire His will.
O Lord, Thy will be done!
amen! how wonderful for all those children to expirience his beauty so vividly….
WHO DOEN’T LOVE HANDS ON :}