Leader: Kyra Mathewson
What is the Church School Program?
Mission: To facilitate children on their journey of discovering The Lord through child-centered activities that lead to fuller participation in the Divine Liturgy and helps the children learn to love God.
Who: Orthodoxy is a way of life and the education of our children begins at birth and baptism. Our Catechists (teachers) have experience facilitating children of all ages and abilities.
When/Where: Classes take place year round, in coordination with the Liturgical calendar, immediately following Divine Liturgy in our social hall. Check the church calendar for the most up-to-date class schedule.
What is an Atrium?
Created to meet the spiritual and educational needs of children as young as three years old, the atrium is like a retreat house, a place set apart for the children, who receive a series of presentations (or lessons) there. The environment and the presentations are carefully designed to lead the child to contemplate and experience an aspect of God interiorly. Built on the belief that God is indeed already in conversation with the soul of the child, the atrium and its materials are provided to further the child's relationship with God in a way that respects the uniqueness of each one and his or her growing awareness of that relationship.
"You may be wondering how these materials help the religious life of children? If an adult hears a beautiful passage from the Bible, the adult might take a Bible, find the passage, and read it slowly again and again. He or she may think deeply about the words and perhaps speak to God in a thankful or hopeful prayer. But a little child, too young to read, needs another way. In an atrium the child can ponder a biblical passage or a prayer from the liturgy by taking the material for that text and working with it." (Source: http://www.cgsusa.org)
The atrium space is structured with child-sized shelves and tables on which rest beautiful, generally hand-crafted materials used first by the catechist in demonstration, then by the children as they freely choose which aspect of God they wish to pursue and experience further. Everything placed in the atrium is for the child's use, according to his or her developmental needs. This enables the children to develop their physical, intellectual, and spiritual capacities in a safe environment under the direction of trained catechists and their assistants. Those who instruct also listen and observe as the children come into contact with God at their own paces and rhythms, guided by the liturgical cycle of the year.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. - Deut 6:4-9
"Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions, which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle." - 1 Thess. 2:15
“Of all the holy works the education of children is the most holy." – St. Theophan the Recluse