The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is St. Andrew's Sunday School curriculum for children ages 3-10 years old. Our program is based on Montessori principles of individual hands-on learning, which helps young children to develop and enjoy a relationship with Jesus the Good Shepherd through prayer, movement, and stories about Jesus. Older children are exposed to the breadth and depth of the Bible and its purpose. They also actively explore prayer and worship.
Each age level meets in its own room, called an "atrium", in our newly remodeled Sunday School. The curriculum encourages children to explore and deepen their understanding of God and our worship. Children are taught and guided by a well-trained teaching staff.
The Good Shepherd Atrium is for children ages 3-6 (see note below). Children will use materials to learn about Jesus our Good Shepherd, his parables, the land of Israel, the altar, and how to pray with a group. The children will learn how to use the atrium materials carefully and live together in community, with lessons in "grace and courtesy" and in "practical life."
Note: Because this program is designed to tap into the spirituality that is already strong in children this age, children as young as three years old are invited to enroll--as long as they are out of diapers and willing to separate from their parents.
The True Vine Atrium is for ages 7-10, typically 2nd-5th graders. Children will explore the purpose of the Bible and using a Bible, Jesus' moral teachings, the Eurcharist, and the geography of the land of Israel and Jeusalem in more detail.
Timelines give us an overview of God's work in human history and God's plan to bring all things back into communion with God. Our joyful response to the gifts God gives is featured at this age.
This age is also using the Godly Play materials that were our primary curriculum in past years--all part of their work reviewing and understanding the the overarching narrative of the Bible from Creation, to Redemption, and the hope of "Parousia" when God will "make the whole creation new."
Intergenerational Worship Services
Intergenerational services with an informal interactive childrens' sermon are scheduled about every 6-8 weeks. Children and teens serve as worship leaders and participants. At other times during the year--at Baptisms, on Holy Days (especially the Feast of Christ the King), and on Boy Scout Sunday, our services involve the participation of our Sunday School and feature a childrens' sermon. .See the Church Calendar section of our monthly newsletter or this website for exact dates.
All who are baptized, regardless of age, are welcome to receive Holy Communion at St. Andrew's. This includes infants and toddlers, as well as older children. Our Sunday School program incorporates a great deal of experiential learning about Holy Eucharist, prayer, and participation in worship, so no additional instruction is necessary for children to receive Communion. However, we do offer a special "Communion Enrichment" experience. More information coming soon.
In A Manger
St. Andrew's Sunday School children get a special tour and make a take-home craft project during "In A Manger", our annual exhibition of over 150 Nativity Sets from around the world. The exhibition itself is a wonderful experience for our children--some Nativities are family heirlooms, many are folk art Nativity sets collected by parishioners and local residents, others are loaned by the parishioners of nearby churches.
The church community--young and young at heart--gathers to create traditional Advent crafts in December. Making Advent wreaths, candles, creches, and chains are ways for adults and children to prepare for the coming of Jesus and the celebration of Christmas.
An opportunity for the children of St. Andrew's to participate in reenacting the events of the Epiphany (the 12th day of Christmas), when we remember the coming of the three wise men bringing gifts (gold, frankincense, and myrrh) to the Christ child, symbolically revealing Jesus to the world as our Lord and King.
Acolyte Training & Service
Older boys and girls in the upper elementary grades are invited to train and serve as acolytes in the regular Sunday services. Those who choose to participate learn a great deal about the meaning and the art of the worship service and about the historical traditions of the Episcopal Church.