At SJMS, children K-8 attend religion classes taught from the Catholic perspective and attend one mass each month at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, on the other side of our parking lot.
Our religion curriculum is The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. This Montessori-based approach to spiritual formation for children was developed through years of patient observation to understand which religious themes seemed most essential at different ages and stages of development.
In the spirit of Montessori education, classes take place in a specially prepared environment, filled with hands-on materials. This is called the “Atrium.” Within this atrium, short presentations are given and much time is devoted to the child’s personal work. In this way, each child’s own gifts and callings are respected and celebrated. The adult is a co-listener and co-learner, with the child before the Word of God.
SJMS is a Catholic School that strives to be welcoming to people of all religious backgrounds. The religious orientation of the school is varied. While Christianity is the predominant belief, other faiths, including Judaism and Buddhism, are represented in the school population. As of September 2018, slightly more than 17 percent of the students and 46 percent of the teachers are Catholic.
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is the Religious Education program from first through eighth grade that is based on Maria Montessori’s principles of the prepared environment, respect for the child’s capacities, and patient observation of their developmental readiness. Our program provides children the guidance and vocabulary that enable them to become aware of their relationship with God and give expression to it. The curriculum is designed to dovetail nicely with their classroom work, providing a spiritual context for the wonders they explore on a daily basis.
Sacramental preparation is provided for Catholic students who request additional instruction to prepare for First Reconciliation, First Eucharist, and Confirmation. Although students receive the sacraments in their home parishes, preparation classes are provided at St. Joseph Montessori School. In a small group setting, these classes allow children to develop their understandings of the beautiful gifts Christ offers them in the sacraments.