Curriculum


What do we Learn in Class?

Special Program: Catechesis of the Good Shepherd – (3-6 year olds)

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is an approach to the religious formation of children. It is rooted in the Bible, the liturgy of the Church, and the educational principles of Maria Montessori. Children gather in an “atrium,” a room prepared for them, which contains simple yet beautiful materials they use to help them absorb the most essential proclamations of the Christian faith. CGS prepares a lasting legacy of faith and love by rooting the youngest of our children in the awe and wonder of God through the mysteries of the faith in a way that is approachable to them. CGS is taught by trained catechists – Adam Janke, Teresa Janke, Amanda Venema, and Lori Mourey.

Preschool & Kindergarten

Our preschool students use the Image of God Series published by Ignatius Press. This vibrant hands on book allows 3 year olds and 4 years olds to learn about God in the same classroom using separate textbooks – that way your children can be enrolled in the class two years in a row without having to repeat lessons. Our kindergarten students also learn out of the same series using the kindergarten text. They are in a separate classroom from the preschool students.

Founded on two unifying key truths: God and creation.
Stresses the dignity of each child made in God’s image.
Presents the faith in terms and activities children understand.
Each lesson includes Bible stories, “Concepts of Faith”, home activities and fun workshops.
Includes teachers’ Pattern Packet.

1st Grade

Our first grade class uses the Faith and Life Series published by Ignatius Press. This content driven series helps parents teach their children the Catholic faith through our religious education program and helps children learn about God and prepare to receive the sacraments.

Scope and Sequence:

THEME: Introduction to the Holy Trinity through presentations on God the Father, the life of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, God’s plan of salvation and our part in that plan. Acquaints children with Mary, angels, and the saints. Children learn basic prayers.

SEQUENCE: Ch.1-8: The Old Testament, God our Creator; our home in Heaven lost through original sin; the world prepares for the Savior.
Ch. 9-21: The Incarnation, life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus.
Ch. 22-28: The Holy Spirit, the Church, and Mary our mother.

AIM: To introduce first-grade students to the Church’s faith regarding the Triune God, the life of Jesus, the work of the Holy Spirit, and the life of prayer, with a special emphasis on growing to know, love, and trust God.

2st Grade – 1st Confession and Communion

Our second grade class uses uses the Faith and Life Series published by Ignatius Press. This content driven series helps parents teach their children the Catholic faith through our religious education program and helps children learn about God and prepare to receive the sacraments. Students receive the sacrament of Reconciliation and the Eucharist in this grade.

Scope and Sequence:

THEME: Preparation for the first reception of the sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion, with the law of God and salvation history as background. The lesson emphasizes God’s mercy and love. Covers Creation, the Covenant with Moses, the Ten Commandments, Redemption, Forgiveness of Sins, and the Mass.

SEQUENCE: Ch. 1-16: God teaches us through his law; we obey through love.
Ch. 17-23: We find forgiveness of sins through Jesus’ sacrifice.
Ch. 24-34: We prepare for life in Heaven by reception of Jesus in the Eucharist and our life in the Church.

AIM: To prepare second-grade students for the sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion, and to help them appreciate God’s love for them shown in these two sacraments. Students will learn how to receive the Sacrament of Confession, the order of the Mass, and the basics of prayer.

3rd Grade

Our third grade class uses the Faith and Life Series published by Ignatius Press. This content driven series helps parents teach their children the Catholic faith through our religious education program and helps children learn about God and prepare to receive the sacraments.

Scope and Sequence:

THEME: God’s plan of salvation, from creation to the Incarnation and Redemption to the birth of the Church at Pentecost and our life in the Church. Special emphasis on the importance of Confession, Communion and the Mass.

SEQUENCE: Ch. 1-7: The Old Testament covenant with God.
Ch. 8-14: Obedience through love of God and his laws. In Confession we meet Jesus in his mercy.
Ch. 15-25: The life of Jesus and Jesus in the sacrifice of the Mass.
Ch. 26-30: Our part in the Church born of the Holy Spirit; our relationship with Mary and the Communion of Saints.

AIM: To show third-grade students that they belong to God’s chosen people and that the child’s family is an important part of God’s family, the Church. Also, to encourage prayer and love for God’s law.

4th Grade

Our 4th grade class uses the Faith and Life Series published by Ignatius Press. This content driven series helps parents teach their children the Catholic faith through our religious education program and helps children learn about God and prepare to receive the sacraments.

Scope and Sequence:

THEME: God’s plan to save his people from sin (Salvation History), how we participate in that plan, and the many ways God helps us in our pilgrimage on earth to Heaven through his word, his law, and his Church.
SEQUENCE: B.C.: Before Christ
Ch. 1-14: The fall and the first murder. The sin and suffering of mankind. God chooses his people and their leaders. A.D. In the Year of Our Lord
Ch. 15-30: History changes when Jesus the King comes. Through grace, especially in the sacraments, we receive the strength to do good.

AIM: To help fourth-grade students understand their purpose and goal in life, and to see God’s plan in history and society to lead us all to Heaven, our true, eternal home.

5th Grade

Our fifth grade class uses the Faith and Life Series published by Ignatius Press. This content driven series helps parents teach their children the Catholic faith through our religious education program and helps children learn about God and prepare to receive the sacraments.

Scope and Sequence:

THEME: A thorough study of the articles of the Creed as the basic belief of our Catholic faith, with a special emphasis on careful understanding of definitions through the words of the Gospels, and the prophets, and the prayers of the Church.

SEQUENCE: Unit 1: God the Father of All. The Old Testament and mankind’s participation in and loss of God’s life.
Unit 2: God the Son, the Redeemer. The fulfillment of God’s plan in Christ, God and Man.
Unit 3: God, the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier. Our call to holiness and witness in the Church.

AIM: To help fifth-grade students acquire a solid knowledge of God and his Church through the understanding of the Creed we profess, and the distinguished truths of our faith from errors that lead away from the love of God.

6th Grade

Our second grade class uses the Faith and Life Series published by Ignatius Press. This content driven series helps parents teach their children the Catholic faith through our religious education program and helps children learn about God and prepare to receive the sacraments.

Scope and Sequence:

THEME: The blueprint for a life of love: the law of God, especially in the Ten Commandments, and the presence of Jesus in the Holy Mass. The interaction of the challenges of God’s law and his gifts of grace that help us fulfill his law.

SEQUENCE: Part 1: The Ten Commandments. Forming the conscience and increasing closeness to God.
Part 2: The Holy Mass. An emphasis on the Real Presence and Christ’s sacrifice and explanation of the parts of the Mass.
Part 3: The Last Things. Death and God’s judgment of us, with an emphasis on the great happiness of Heaven.

AIM: To help sixth-grade students learn to love the moral law as Christ did and to cherish and love the Mass as our best prayer to God, and especially to revere and adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

7th Grade – Confirmation Year 1

Our seventh grade class uses the Faith and Life Series by Ignatius Press. These texts are created both for daily classroom work in a Catholic school, as well as weekly work in a catechism program. Our catechists follow the lesson plans for the weekly program. Students also begin their preparation for Confirmation in 9th grade this year, completing the handbook that is given to them.

In this class our catechist focuses on the following major themes:

THEME: Beginning with an understanding of God’s loving gift of the revelation of himself through creation, the prophets, the Incarnation, and the Church, grace is understood as central to our relationship with God. It unites us with him allows us to share in his eternal life. The lessons place special emphasis on the role of grace in developing the virtues, and especially on the transmission of grace through the seven sacraments.

Weeks 1-6 .. Part I: God Reveals Himself .. Chapters 1-6: The revelation of God through creation, the prophets, and to the chosen people.

Weeks 7-9 .. Part II: God Becomes Man .. Chapters 7-12: Jesus, true God and true man; priest and sacrifice for the Church.

Weeks 10-22 .. Part III: God Shares His Life .. Chapters 13-31: The operation of grace in our lives in developing the virtues and in being transmitted through each sacrament.

AIM: To help seventh-grade students treasure the sacraments as indispensable elements of a full Christian life of love and truth. To deepen an understanding of grace, how it is given, and its relation to practicing the virtues. To appreciate the gifts of faith and reason.

8th Grade – Confirmation

Our Confirmation class uses the Life Teen OnEight Confirmation program which is highly customized to meet the needs of our students.

8th grade spends most of its time exploring the topics of Salvation History, Introduction to Apologetics, Confirmation, and Martyrdom. They complete Confirmation projects which were started 2 years ago, and take part in a Confirmation Retreat as well as Catholic Saint Skits. The Confirmation class is taught by the Director of Religious Education.

Special Sacramental Formation Classes

Special formation classes are specifically designed to help students who join St. Mary and our Religious Education Program, but have not received the necessary sacraments that other students have already recieved. The program is specially taylored each year depending on the number of students and their ages we have. Older students who have not received Baptism or Confirmation may be asked to join RCIA.

Special formation classes for younger children will use the video and book series “Questions on God”. This 10 book and DVD series introduces children to salvation history, the Bible, the sacraments and Catholic worship and Catholic prayers.

Questions on special formation can be directed to the DRE or Pastor of the parish.