Montessori Atrium – Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

Good Shepherd with sheep on shoulder

Good Shepherd

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) Program is a Montessori based Catholic religious education program which nurtures the child’s relationship with God, and educates the child in the faith.  Dr. Maria Montessori’s approach follows St. Thomas Aquinas’ understanding that “all our knowledge has its origin in the senses.”  The “Atrium” is a place of prayer, prepared especially for children to contemplate the life of Jesus and the liturgy of the Church with the use of many sensorial materials, including infancy narrative figures, a raised surface map of the Land of Israel, a model altar and a model baptismal font.  This concrete method of presenting the faith is similar to the way the Church teaches us through the sacraments, holy water, incense, and statues.

“I came that they may have life and have it to the full.” John 10:10

Level I (for 3-6 year olds)

For 2013-2014, Saint Louis offers several Level I Atrium sessions for children between the ages of 3 and 6 years old. Children must be potty trained and able to follow simple instructions.

  • Wednesdays 10am – 11:30am (1 opening in Spring 2014)
  • Thursdays 10am – 11:30am (FULL)
  • Saturdays 10am – 11:30am (1 opening in Spring 2014)

Level II (for 6-9 year olds)

For 2013-2014, Saint Louis also offers Level II Atrium sessions for children who are between the ages of 6 to 9 years old. Level II children must be at least in 1st grade.

  • Mondays 2:30pm – 4:30pm (6-9 year olds) – Openings
  • Tuesdays 4:15pm – 6:15pm (8-12 year olds) – Openings

Level III (for 9-12+ year olds)

Next year 2014 – 2015, we hope to offer a Level III Atrium session for children who are between the ages of 9 to 12+ years old.  If you know someone with wood-working skills, we need help making Level III materials. Next year’s Level III would be held on late Tuesday afternoon (before dinner).

 Fall 2013-Spring 2014 Atrium Documents

2013-2014 Atrium registration forms can be picked up at the Saint Louis rectory, the back of the church, or can be emailed to you.  For more information, please contact Maria Blazevich at (703) 765-4421 ext. 29 or send an email.

  • [wpfilebase tag=fileurl id=14 linktext='CGS Atrium Brochure' /]
  • [wpfilebase tag=fileurl id=19 linktext='CGS Atrium Handbook' /]
  • [wpfilebase tag=fileurl id=15 linktext='CGS Atrium 2013 Calendar' /]
  • [wpfilebase tag=fileurl id=16 linktext='CGS Atrium Registration Form' /]

To view the scope and sequential progression of presentations given for Level I and II, click below:

  • [wpfilebase tag=fileurl id=18 linktext='CGS Atrium Scope & Sequence' /]

To read the Saint Louis policy concerning registering for the Atrium during a sacramental year, click below:

  •  [wpfilebase tag=fileurl id=21 linktext='Letter To Parents Concerning Atrium Children Preparing For Sacraments' /]

Atrium Location

The atrium is located in the Northwest corner of the Saint Louis Church property near the intersection of Route 1 and Popkins Lane; it is the small white building between Msgr. Walsh Hall and the Adoration Chapel.  It is labeled Montessori Atrium.

Atrium Closure Policy

Atrium closures follow Fairfax County Public School and After School Activity Closures. Please see for Fairfax County Public School Closures. 

If Fairfax County Schools close, the Atrium is closed.  If Fairfax County Schools are delayed 1 or 2 hours, the morning Atrium session is closed.  If Fairfax Afterschool programs are closed, the afternoon Atrium session is closed.  If Fairfax Saturday programs are closed or delayed, the Saturday Atrium session is closed. Due to Religious Education schedule constraints, we are unable to make up missed days caused by inclement weather.


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Model Altar I

Model Altar I

Land of Israel Raised Surface Map with Labels

Land of Israel Raised Surface Map

Good Shepherd

Good Shepherd

Baptismal Corner

Baptismal Corner

City of Jerusalem

City of Jerusalem



Would you like more information about the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Montessori Atrium?

  • Saint Louis Coordinator of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Montessori Atrium

Maria Blazevich
703-765-4421 ext.29

  • Saint Louis CGS Montessori Atrium Building (703) 660-9270
  • National Organization of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
  • Local Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Training Opportunities

Montessori Atrium talks given by Maggie Radzik. Click on each link and press play:

Overview of the 4 Stages of the Development of the Human Person

The Prepared Environment


Overview of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

Atrium Wishlist

The Atrium needs the following items:

  • Narrow Wire Bottle Brush
  • Handheld Carpet Sweeper
  • Croatian Bible
  • Italian Bible
  • Any other international Bible (We already have Spanish, French, Polish, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean)
  • Artists – Can you paint artistically? We need help painting figures for new works in the level II atrium!

Thank you for helping us find these items and artists!!!