This Week in the Atrium

This Week in the Atrium:


DATE:  March 10, 2019 - The Mystery of Christ as the Good Shepherd (Psalm  23:1).   “The Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need.”

During Lent the children reflect on the parable of the Good Shepherd.  The Christian message for the children is the covenantal relationship between God and us is His image as the Shepherd and His sheep.  The Good Shepherd guides the sheep to where they can find everything they need. He feeds, guides, and protects His sheep.  Our direct aim is to nurture the relationship between God, the Good Shepherd, and the child.  To reflect on the scripture passage announcing the loving guidance of the Good Shepherd.  Our indirect aim is to offer prayer language; to prepare the children for the remaining verses of this psalm; to deepen the child’s love for Jesus and to nurture thankfulness and praise.

DATE:  February 24, 2019 - The Parable of the Good Shepherd

Today we presente the parable of the Good Shepherd to the children.   The parable teaches us that Jesus wants a relationship with each of us and we are called to respond. He calls us by name, we are protected by Him, and each of us is of infinite value to Jesus, our Good Shepherd.  Lastly, we learned that the Good Shepherd loves us so much, that he lays down His life for the sheep.  As one flock, we are His Church, and we are not alone.


DATE:  February 17, 2019 - The Parable of the Precious Pearl

             Today we continue to introduce the children to the Kingdom of God through parables.  We read Matthew 13:45-46 and use the model of a merchant, his home & baskets of pearls to encourage the child to wonder how the Kingdom of God is like a precious, beautiful pearl which is worth searching and sacrificing everything for.

DATE:  February 3rd- The Mystery of the Kingdom of God: The Parable of the Mustard Seed

Scriptural Source: Matthew 13: 31-32

               Today we present the first of the Kingdom of God Parables to the children.  At Christmas we proclaimed Jesus as a King and therefore we now ask "What is His kingdom like?"   Our main focus is that through the Scripture, the children can explore and wonder about the Kingdom of God and that through seeing and touching the mustard seed which starts out small, they can contemplate how God's power transforms the tiniest of seeds to a large tree. This in turn   will nurture an awareness of God's creation and a respect for all of God's Kingdom.

Later in the year we will continue to explore the various ways in Scripture that Jesus reveals to us what His kingdom is like.


DATE:  December 16, 2018

                 Today is the Third Sunday of Advent!  Today we will introduce the children to the first of the Infancy Narratives - the Mystery of the Incarnation.  Mary was chosen by God to be the mother of His son Jesus.  We solemnly proclaim the scripture text of the Annunciation at the prayer table  and then nurture prayer and wonder as we "visit" the house of Mary and re-enact the moment of the angel Gabriel's appearance to her and the power of the Holy Spirit with our prepared materials.  The children are invited to work with the materials on their own as we continue to anticipate the celebration of Jesus' birth.

DATE:  December 9, 2018

                    On this Second Sunday of Advent we begin to introduce the children to the mystery of the Incarnation.  We read Isaiah and reinforce the idea that we are waiting and preparing for Jesus' birth at Christmas just as people waited before the time of Jesus.  We talk about what is a prophet and why we listen to their words. Jesus is the great LIGHT that is coming; before Jesus the people walked in darkness.  We light two candles on the Advent wreath.  We also ponder together who this child could be that was prophesied: a child called by many names such as Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Emmanuel.

We are waiting, along with the whole church, for God to keep his promise!

DATE:  December 2, 2018

                    Today is the First Sunday of Advent!  We begin our time in the Atrium by changing the prayer cloth at the prayer table from green (Ordinary Time) to purple (preparation) and by introducing the children to the Advent wreath and lighting the first candle.  We sing "Come Lord Jesus- come and be born in our hearts!"  We also worked today with the raised surface map of Israel and introduced the children to the concept that Jesus was a historical figure with three important cities in his lifetime; conceived by the Holy Spirit in Nazareth, born in Bethlehem, and died in Jerusalem.

DATE:  November 18, 2018 

                 A trip to the Church

                     Today we take the children into the Church.  Our goad is to use the cards we have been working with in the Atrium to identify objects in the Church - altar, candles, patien, crucifix, holy water font, and places of prayer.  This little field trip will make the objects so much more accessible for our children and allow them a chance to see part of our chuch they usually can only see from afar.  

DATE:  November 11, 2018 

                Presentation of The Sign of the Cross

                    Introduction to the first of the gestures (speaking without words) The Sign of the Cross.  The sign of the cross is a sign of our baptism into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  This outward sign shows that we belong to the Trinitarian God.  It is a gesture of prayer expressing our faith in the Trinity.  This gesture is to nurture the child's spirituality; to help nurture the relationship between Jesus and the child; to encourage fuller participation in the life of the Church.

DATE:  October 28, 2018 (Moment 1 at Prayer Corner) and                                                     November 4, 2018 (Moment 2)

                Presentation of the Liturgical Colors

                     In the Church, we mark the changing of the seasons with particular colors to help us remember and celebrate Christ's saving work.  In the presentation of the Liturgical Colors we aid the children in the knowledge of colors and prepare them for the liturgical year presentations.  By modeling the liturgical colors we engage the children to participate more fully in the Church year, knowing we are fed at Mass. All in all this presentation will foster prayer through concentration and movement.  We end with a song we sing about the colors of the light.

Date:  October 14 and 21, 2018

               Presentation of the Model Altar - Moment 1

                    The presentation of the Model Altar is part of the introduction to the life of the Atrium and the Church.  In moment one:  Jesus the Good Shepherd calls His sheep to come to a feast of his death and resurrection.  At this holy meal He is present to us in a most particular way in the consecrated bread and wine.  Therefore, the most beautiful vessels and careful preparations are made.  In this moment we introduce the names of the articles of the Mass and worship and the concept of feast and table.  This prepares the children for the mystery of the Eucharist, nurtures prayer language, and prepares for working with the cruets.   

Proclamation:  "Christ has died; Christ has risen."

Date:  October 7, 2018

                Prayer Corner and continuaton of Practical LIfe presentations:

                  After we have gathered the children and helped them to quiet down, we begin at the prayer table for a solemn reading of a verse from the Bible.  A Candle is lit for this reading which helps to highlight its solemnity and importance for young children.  The Children reflect on what they have heard.  The catechatical materials used are designed for the child rather than as teachings aids for the Catechist. All materials are constructed to engage the children's sensorymotor abilities and invite their interest.  They are composed of objects which concretize (in wood, plaster, cloth, etc) the themes from the Bible and liturgy and assist the child to personalize them.  Practical Life activities are an important part of the atrium as they anchor children in the ability to do these exercises alone and well. The exercises help the children to develop controlled movements as an aid to prayer and contemplation, it then becomes a spiritual work. They foster a sense of belonging to and caring for the atrium environment, and builds a sense of independence, self-direction and confidence.                    The Good Shepherd and the Child:  A Joyful Journey


Date:  September 30, 2018

                Introduction to the Bible in the Prayer Corner: 

                    If we understand prayer as listening and responding to God, then it becomes clear that, not only do we need to nurture children's capacity to listen, we also need to proclaim the Good News, that is, God's Word in the Bible and God's presence and action in the liturgy, for them to listen and respond to!  The child's response is their work in the atrium, working with materials that correspond to the presentation, to choose a practical life activity such as pasting or tracing, or it might be truly creative artwork.  The Good Shepherd and the Child:  A Joyful Journey

In the we welcomed Alli and Melody.  The children along with Ms. Eileen enthrowned the Bible and prepared a special place for the Bible on the prayer table.  Ms. Eileen proclaimed the word of the Lord, "I am the Light of the World" John 8:12  The children responded with their own thoughts and prayers.  The Children were invited to work with the materials at the prayer table, the practical life area, and their own artwork. 


Date:  September 23, 2018

                  Introduction to the Atrium; Orientation to the Atrium as a place of prayer.

                    "How lovely is your dwelling place..My soul longs..for the courts of the Lord. "              (Psalm 84:1-2)   In this sacred space we will move more slowly and intentionally, and we will speak with a quieter voice (except when we sing out with joy!).  In fact, the atrium is a place of prayer in which work and study spontaneously become meditation, contemplation, and prayer.                  The Good Shepherd and the Child:  A Joyful Journey

In the we welcomed Varen, Noah, Ana and Eva, Sawyer, and Lucy.  Ms. Eileen prepared the prayer table with the help of all the children. They responded with their own prayer to Jesus followed with a song of joy!