Preschool students from Notre Dame of De Pere Catholic School and St. John Paul II Classical School are well on their way to learning about the Mass and God’s love in a successful program called the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. The program started three years ago at NDDP and has grown to include all four sections of the preschool population. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is a program for the faith and spiritual formation of the child. Its focus is to deepen the child’s existing relationship with God. It encourages a personal prayer life, full participation in the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church, and the development of a deeper understanding of Catholic identity and tradition. This is accomplished through the use of materials, prayer, song, listening to the Word of God and giving each child time to work with provided materials. There is a short group lesson and then time is given for individual prayers and play.
This CGS initiative at Notre Dame of De Pere is led by Mrs. Jane Charneski, Discipleship Coordinator and trained catechist teacher and assisted by Mrs. Jennifer Kopp, trained catechist teacher for Level I for NDDP three- and four-year-old students. One or two days each week, these students meet in the Atrium classroom, which is set up with child-sized religious education materials. The CGS program is a tie-in with the school’s community and curriculum. The liturgical calendar is observed with colors and songs, and Bible verses are read and reviewed from the weekly scripture from Mass each week.
Mrs. Charneski shares, “All four sections are thriving with little learners on their ourney of falling in love with Jesus.” The student and family response to this program has been overwhelmingly positive. Families are invited to observe or help out and to sit in on class periods to see the students in action. Many compliments and kind words have been shared throughout the years, and parents have truly loved the large candle ceremony at year’s end. Both schools are looking forward to training more instructors and assistants in the future as more sections are added.
Notre Dame of De Pere School is part of the Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) School System. It is a private Catholic school serving Preschool and Elementary through 8th grade (PK3-8) with open enrollment. NDDP provides an individualized education in a faith-based environment. Each child is supported not only academically, but spiritually. The best way to learn more about NDDP is to visit! Click here to schedule a tour.