- Category: Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
Dimitra Dinos of South Africa wrote to Catherine, “What an inspiring way to introduce the topics. The parables, the Mystical Supper model, and the Jerusalem model are just amazing. After every lesson I am more and more inspired and excited to get started with the children. It is evident that you enjoy your work very much and that you put your heart into the presentations you do. It has really been a great experience for me. I feel confident that together with your instruction and the videos I should be able to carry out the lessons in the children’s room.”
As one OCSF graduate states (Anna Chilcote), “Sharing this with the children sometimes feels like all I'm doing is giving them language for what they already know, like all I did was create a place for them to express it. They get the opportunity to actively engage with the Faith and with Christ, while I get the opportunity to observe the simple and natural way in which they do so. We help each other love God, the Church He gave us, and one another in the Body of Christ, a little bit more every time we're together.”
An online version of the course reaches people in other continents who may not be able to attend a face to face course. Dimitra Dinos of South Africa wrote to Catherine, “What an inspiring way to introduce the topics. The parables, the Mystical Supper model, and the Jerusalem model are just amazing. After every lesson I am more and more inspired and excited to get started with the children. It is evident that you enjoy your work very much and that you put your heart into the presentations you do. It has really been a great experience for me. I feel confident that together with your instruction and presentations I should be able to carry out the lessons in the children’s room.”
Attending the Orthodox Spiritual Formation Class at Hellenic College was a life-changing experience for me and my family.
I first saw an advertisement for this course in the Orthodox Observer, and I was intrigued. When I read Catherine's website, I was moved by her description that if the children just color a photocopy in class at Sunday School, they only have a coloring experience.
I have two small children and while they really enjoy coloring in Sunday School, I want them to have so much more than that and someone just talking at them during lectures and rote memorization with no wonderment.
I want them to experience spiritual joy and thoughtful, personal prayer with God that is self-motivated, and meaningful to them - not just reciting a memorized prayer when the teacher tells them to; to be able to understand what is going on during the divine liturgy and to be excited to be experiencing it; to have a love of God and Jesus Christ that comes from within, not because someone told them they have to or are supposed to; to learn and acquire knowledge that is heartfelt, and not just be filled up memorizing with their head.
I homeschool and originally attended on behalf of my children's education, but I wound up learning so many things myself about the orthodox faith that I had never known before. At the class, I not only learned what to teach my children, but how to teach the lessons through creating an optimal learning environment in which the children absorb the material in the way that is most natural to them at this stage of their development. The class focuses on letting the children experience and practice their faith, rather than sit through a lecture which is the traditional way of teaching Sunday School religion.
I was able to incorporate lessons into our curriculum at home, as well as starting to share the knowledge with my Sunday School at church.
I would recommend this class to anyone who teaches children - either at home or Sunday School - and wants them to not just learn about their faith, but truly experience it.
I wanted to take an opportunity to say "Thank you." I recently found myself sharing a Montessori lesson with some colleagues who were intrigued by the work I am doing with the children. As I began to demonstrate the lesson I was immediately reminded of your careful attention to detail, isolation of movements, and patient-slow fluidity of movement. In my minds-eye, I was recalling your many lessons and trying to mimic your style and attention to detail. A calmness overtook me as I proceeded with purpose of movement. I have strived to maintain such integrity and purpose for every lesson with the children over the past 4 years, and am not altogether sure why this time the memory of training was so profound. But in any case, I am grateful for the memory. Again, "thank you" for sharing your passion for Montessori and your experience with children with me.