Registration for Sunday School for the 2016-17 school year is open. Please direct all questions regarding this ministry to Kristin Everett. Click here to register online. Click here to download and print out the 2016-17 Church School and Youth Group Registration Form. Click here for the 2016-17 Children's Ministries Brochure. And click here for the Church School Calendar for 2016-17.
To find out what our children and youth are up to this week, click here for the latest version of The Parent Weekly (during the school year only).
The spiritual formation of our children is one of our most important ministries at Christ Church. We use the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program for our Pre-K through 6th grade formation. Each class is held in an age-appropriate Montessori room called an "atrium". The program runs from September until June. Classes begin at 9:45 a.m. and typically run 50 minutes. The children are then brought into the service to celebrate communion with their families. Childcare is offered for children ages 6 months to 3 years old by our professional childcare providers in Room 113, beginning at 9:45 a.m. (see "Childcare" paragraph below for more specifics). We value a safe learning environment, as shown through our CORI checks and requirement of “Safe Church” training for all teachers and youth mentors.
What exactly is the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Program?
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is an approach to the religious formation of children that is based on the conviction that God and the Child are in relationship already. Our role as adults is to protect and nurture this bond.
Catechesis is rooted in the Bible, the liturgy of the church, and the educational principles of Maria Montessori. Developed by Sofia Cavalletti, an Italian Hebrew scripture scholar, building on the work and methods of Maria Montessori, the Catechesis seeks to give children, ages 3-12 years, the guidance and vocabulary to enable them to become aware of their relationship with God and give expression to it. With the Catechesis we help each child to continue to fall in love with God while building community among peers.
This is accomplished by presenting to the children age-appropriate themes from the Bible and our liturgy utilizing manipulative materials which the children use to internalize and ponder the great mysteries of our faith.
What is an atrium?
“[The atrium] is a place where the child comes to know the great realities of...life as a Christian, but also and above all, a place where the child begins to live these realities in meditation and prayer. There is nothing of the academic classroom about the atrium; it is not a place for religious instruction but religious life.” Sophia Cavalletti, Religious Potential of the Child, p. 56
Children need their own quiet place to work with the essentials and many other key elements of our faith. This place is called an atrium. Montessori coined this term recalling the part of the Early Christian church building where catechumens would gather in preparation to join the church. Each atrium is specially designed with child-sized furniture including a prayer table for gathering, a model altar, as well as materials to deepen their familiarity with more parables and the Eucharist itself. After being presented with new material in a small group, children are free to choose work which particularly speaks to them to foster the growth of their own relationships with God.
We offer childcare in Room 113, beginning at 9:45 a.m. until the end of our 10 a.m. worship service, for children who are not old enough yet to be in Pre-K. Our childcare providers, Kristen and Nicole, are daycare professionals who have been with us for almost 10 years. Our children look forward to spending their morning with them.
A Children’s Chapel service is held a few times a year in place of church school for children who are at least in kindergarten. This child-centered service allows the children to participate in the readings, the prayers, ushering, greeting, and singing to better understand worship in the Episcopal Church. Church School is not offered on Sundays of holiday weekends; instead a member of the clergy offers a “Children’s Sermon” immediately following the Gospel at the 10 a.m. service.