Discovering God through play
Are children innately spiritual?
Tapestry producer Rosie Fernandez investigates a program designed to introduce children to spirituality using Montessori teaching principles. It's called The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and is based on the belief that children are innately spiritual.
"The child himself will be our teacher if we know how to observe him." Sofia Cavalletti
Created over 60 years ago in Rome by Sofia Cavalletti, a Hebrew-scripture scholar, and Gianna Gobbi, a teacher who trained with Maria Montessori, it has evolved into a program that has found a home in various denominations within the Christian faith.
In Toronto, Kathleen Ennis and Anna Boyagoda run the programs through the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto. They also handmake many of the items the children interact with.
"Children have a unique relationship with God, particularly before the age of six." - Kathleen Ennis
[The Good Shepherd] ...was a very universal archetype, very powerful, and the antithesis of what I grew up with. I certainly am old enough to have grown up with the old white man with a beard who was probably getting mad at me a lot when I was little because of all my 'sins'. Whereas this is a completely different approach. A very warm, loving, relational approach.- Susie Whelehan
Fernandez visited an after-school session of The Good Shepherd at St. Justin Martyr Parish in Unionville, Ontario to find out how kids are responding to this approach
Inspired by the archetype of 'The Good Shepherd', writer and former kindergarten teacher Susie Whelehan regularly performs a musical show for children which presents God as a loving, protective presence.
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