The Atrium

Overbrook Catholic School roots children in Truth, inspires them to wonder, and challenges them to give their best to the world. That’s the promise all faculty and staff make to each other, to their students, and to the larger community. The heart of that promise is found in the sacramental life encouraged at Overbrook Catholic School.
Overbrook Catholic School is home to a beautiful Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Atrium. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a Montessori-based faith formation program rooted in Scripture and the Liturgy of the Catholic Church. With a Montessori approach to religious education, children are able to deeply engage in the curriculum, pursue their natural interests, and absorb material through hands-on learning and experiences, all intended to deepen their personal relationships with the Lord.
At OCS, as part of the religion program, students spend time in the atrium each week. During their atrium time, the children receive lessons tailored to their age and developmental needs, and then are free to work with materials from previously received lessons. The purpose of a child’s time in the atrium is the development of a strongly rooted relationship with God which will last them a lifetime.

List of 3 items.

  • Level 1 (ages 3-6)

    The child between the ages of 3-6 is characterized by a natural attraction to God and prayer. This is the time when the child’s relationship with God takes root and begins to grow. The key Scripture for this time is the Parable of the Good Shepherd (John 10:1-21), which speaks to the child’s heart that God loves and cares for His sheep, protecting them and leading them to good pastures. The child is also introduced to the Mass through the articles of the Mass (chalice, paten, altar) and the gestures (actions) of the Mass. It is a time for enjoying God and our relationship with Him.
  • Level 2 (ages 6-9)

    The child between the ages of 6-9 is characterized by a developing reason and moral sense. Lessons in the atrium for this age focus on God’s plan for us and the choices we make. The child’s interest in right and wrong is nourished through the reading of moral parables like the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37a), and the sayings, or maxims, of Jesus, such as the familiar Golden Rule: Treat others as you would have them treat you (Matthew 7:12). The children also continue their formation in the liturgy of the Church as they prepare to receive the sacraments of Penance and Eucharist for the first time. 
  • Level 3 (ages 9-12)

    As the child of the elementary years matures and the moral sense deepens, children begin to wrestle with the questions of sin and evil. This is a time when the more difficult moral parables, such as the Parable of the Debtors (Matthew 18:23-35) or the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), begin to interest the child, who is seeking to work out the realities of their own weaknesses and those they note in others. With guidance, they can begin to see and marvel at how God does indeed bring good out of evil. Meditation on the Parousia, when Christ comes again, becomes a source of hope for the child as difficulty will be resolved and all things are made new (Revelation 21:5).
At the end of their years spent in the atrium, the children have received a spiritual foundation that will give them a spiritual foundation for the difficult years ahead. They are Christians who know Jesus as one knows a dear friend, and who seek to follow Him in goodness, remaining close to Him in the sacraments of the Church.

St. John Paul II

“If we want to help the child grow near to God, we should, with patience and courage… seek to go always closer to the vital nucleus of things. This requires study and prayer. The child himself will be our teacher if we know how to observe him.” 

Sofia Cavalletti, co-founder of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
4210 Harding Pike Nashville, Tennessee 37205
Phone: (615) 292–5134 Fax: (615) 783–0560