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Canton, OH’s Holy Assumption Church to offer training for “Catechesis of the Good Shepherd” Montessori Program


CANTON, OH [MW Diocese Communications] — Training for a Montessori-based Sunday school program for children ages three through six will be offered at Holy Assumption Church, Canton, OH June 11-16, 2018.  Teachers will be prepared for the “Catechesis of the Good Shepherd” Program, which the parish plans to implement as its religious education for its children.

Canton OHs Holy Assumption Church to offer training for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Montessori Program“Like all Montessori education, the program is geared to be a hands-on, discovery-based learning experience,” said Priest John Kennerk, Rector.  “Catechesis of the Good Shepherd takes place in a space called the Atrium, with materials that reflect the sacred objects of the Church and stories from the Bible.”

Father John sees a profound benefit to the program.

“The Catechesis program is an opportunity to instill within our children the great mystery of Christianity — that there is God and that He became a man so that we might be united with Him,” Father John explained.  “The program immerses the child in a sacred environment and allows them to encounter God in the stories of Scripture and the liturgical traditions of our Church.”

Father John’s wife, Matushka Michelle, agrees.

“I find the motto of the program to be very true — it is the mystery of the child meeting the mystery of God,” she said.  ”In the Atrium, the teacher acts as a facilitator who encourages children to interact with the environment.  In doing so, the child can experience and understand the sacredness of the Divine Liturgy.”

The materials in the Atrium are child size and handmade, Father John explained.  Each lesson has figurines and dioramas that tell the story, along with handwritten scripture books.  The Atrium has a very specific floor plan with designated areas for a prayer table, an altar, a baptismal corner and a geographical area that recreates the places where the Bible stories occurred.  Two Sunday school rooms at Holy Assumption Church were used to create the Atrium, which is almost complete.

The Catechesis program began in 1954 with Hebrew and Scripture scholar Sofia Cavalletti and her Montessori collaborator, Gianna Gobbi in Rome.  It has since spread to 37 countries, including the United States.  There are more than 1,250 atria in Orthodox Chrsitian, Roman Catholic, Episcopalian and other settings in the United States, Father John added.

The training in Canton will be facilitated by highly regarded catechist, Shelley Finkler from Anchorage, AK.  The training will take place from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. each day at the church, located at 2027 18th Street NE, Canton, OH.  Tuition is $300.00, plus a $35.00 registration fee.  Registration is open to all who are interested, and not exclusively for members of Holy Assumption parish.  The registration deadline is May, 15.  To register or to obtain more information, please call 330-455-9146 or send an email to Father John at mvkennerk@gmail.com.

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