The second semester in the atrium has been very fruitful as the children continue to learn more about the Good Shepherd and the Mass. 
During the Lenten Season, the children re-visited the Parable of the Good Shepherd.  They heard that even if one sheep goes astray, the Good Shepherd will go in search of that one sheep and bring it back to the sheepfold. We further discussed the Eucharistic Presence of the Good Shepherd in the Mass.  The children heard the scripture of the Last supper, and they had the opportunity to work with a large model of the city of Jerusalem to help them retrace the steps that Christ took during the Passion.
The seven weeks of our Easter Celebration in the atrium have been spent learning about the Liturgy of Light, Baptism, the gestures of the priest during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, and touring the church to see the life-sized articles used during the Mass.
The Parable of the Precious Pearl, the Parable of the Leaven, the Parable of the Mustard Seed and the Growing Seed were also presented this spring. The kindergarten classes really enjoyed making bread dough with leavening to help them understand how the Kingdom of God grows with time.
As the Easter Season comes to an end, we will celebrate Pentecost and discuss the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.  
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Ministry would like to thank everyone who has shown support during this first year of classes.  It is truly a blessing to work with the children!  A Level II atrium will be built this summer to serve the first grade students for the 2016-17 school year.  Have a wonderful summer break!

During a typical atrium session, the whole group comes together for a lesson at the beginning of a session.  The Montessori method allows for the children to choose materials they are drawn to for their "work time" after the lesson.  They may choose material from the new lesson or any of the previous lessons.  There's many choices, but one interesting aspect is many children go back to the same work area each week and really grow spiritually in one particular area before moving on to another.  At the end of the session, after materials are cleaned up,  the class comes back together for a few more group songs before saying good-bye for the week.     

Following are pictures of the children

during their work time -

this is always a busy and productive time.  

There's lots of spiritual growth, learning, and discovery! 

Here's one of the preschool classes singing a song 

at the end of one of their atrium sessions.  

The children love to very carefully set up a beautiful altar.  


The cruets are prepared before Mass begins;

they love to prepare their own cruets.  

There are always children at the altar area.

Silver polishing - taking care of the things we are given

is an important part of stewardship.

Many children grow spiritually using their creativity.  

Cutting, pasting, poke art, tracing, etc.

Taking care of the world God has given us

Polishing plant leaves




Polishing plant leaves

 The kids can find and label the places

where Jesus walked in Israel.

They've learned about three cities:  

Nazareth, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem. 

 And, of course, all the children love working with

the Parable of the Good Shepherd materials!

The children began the season of Advent with a song and processional around the atrium.  They changed out the prayer table colors from green for Ordinary Time to purple for Advent, and each child got to take part in making the prayer table look beautiful.  Each week, their excitement grew as another candle was lit on the Advent wreath.  

They were invited to listen to prophesies from the Old Testament and discussed how people were preparing for a Messiah as we prepare for Jesus during Advent.  They listened to the prophesy of the light (Isaiah 9:1) and the prophesy of the names (Isaiah 9:5-6) and added prayer cards with these verses to the prayer table.  Many children made their own prayer cards to take home.  

The children spent a great deal of time studying and working with three Infancy Narratives during Advent.  They prayerfully listened to the each Gospel as it was read aloud and then used dioramas to reenact Sacred Scripture, making it child-centered and age-appropriate. 




The Annunciation to Mary                        The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth
Setting up the Prayer Table for Advent                       Setting up the Prayer Table for Advent
The Birth of Jesus and the Adoration of the Shepherds   The children found and labeled the important cities on the raised surface map of Israel:  Nazareth (where the angel visited Mary), Jerusalem (where Mary visited Elizabeth), and Bethlehem (the birth of Christ).
Children working with the materials of the Infancy Narratives     


  • God and the child have a unique relationship with one another particularly before the age of six.
  • The growth of this relationship should be assisted by the adult, but is directed by the Spirit of God within the child.
  •  Children need their own place to foster the growth of that relationship.
  •  The child’s spiritual growth is best served through tangible but indirect means.

The Atrium - A Prepared Environment:

The atrium (or prepared environment) is one of the elements that helps the relationship between God and the child to flourish. After a theme has been presented, the child is free to choose an activity that will make possible the inner dialogue with the “Interior Teacher.”

How does the atrium help to nourish this relationship? 

  • The atrium can be compared to a retreat house facilitating recollection and silence.
  • The atrium is a place for religious life, for community and worship—not a classroom for instruction.
  • The atrium is a place of meaningful work through which the child can have a conversation with God.
  • The atrium was the place in the early church where the catechumens were prepared. For the child, too, the atrium is a place of preparation for involvement in the larger worship community.


Our Atrium 

We are very blessed at St. Peter with an amazing atrium for the children to do their work.  Invite your child to share with you his or her favorite parts of the atrium and explain the work he or she does in some of the different areas.

  The Prayer Table (currently set up for Advent)
The Altar  

Liturgical Year, Liturgical Colors,

and Vestments of the Priest

The Mystery of the Incarnation:  Geography of the Land of Israel

Liturgical Year, Liturgical Colors,

and Vestments of the Priest

The Mystery of the Incarnation:  Geography of the Land of Israel

The Mystery of the Incarnation:  Infancy Narratives

The Mysteries of the Kingdom of God:  The Parables

The Good Shepherd

Practical Life

(pouring, spooning, sponging water, polishing)


Practical Life

(pouring, spooning, sponging water, polishing)








Mrs. Jenny Ostrom
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd