St. Thomas Church in Bardstown, Ky., is one of the most recent parishes to adopt the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.
The Montessori-based teaching method focuses on offering children an encounter with Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd. St. Thomas started offering the program to preschool-age children in September, said Olivia Seeger, the church’s director of religious education.
With the help of parishioners and the parish’s Boy Scouts troop, a room in the church was converted into an atrium, the space where learning takes place, she said.
Ten preschoolers are enrolled and meet on Sundays for an hour and a half. The young children are “loving” learning in the atrium, Seeger said, noting the Montessori method is sometimes underestimated because of the “freedom and independence” it encourages.
The children who come to the atrium at St. Thomas are “focused and solemn and you can tell they take their work seriously. They’re like little saints,” said Seeger. “It amazes me how much wisdom they have. You can feel the Holy Spirit working in their hearts. It feels like a miracle every time.”
Other parishes and schools in the Archdiocese of Louisville have adopted the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, including St. Raphael School, which offers it to students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz blessed St. Raphael’s atrium last month.