We are five weeks into the year and things are going well! The children are settling in, and the new space is working out beautifully. It is so nice to go to class and see everybody happily working. We thank you for allowing us to work with your children...it is truly inspiring to observe them in this environment, and to be with them as they encounter our Lord in their work.
Last Saturday, we had 4 ladies clean the house and about 15 parents and youth come to clean up the yard. How cool is that?!!!! Thank you so much to everyone who came out to help. Many hands make small work...that's what my grandma used to say.
We are presently working out a "Child Safety in the Atrium" plan. This plan will include injury protocol, front door and porch safety, and fire protocol and drills. Once completed, the plan will be emailed to parents.
Our new space for The Joyful Child Atrium is located at 151 N Hatcher Ave, Purcellville, VA 20132. We are busy working on the yard, getting rooms painted, and working our way through the paperwork. Our last hurdle is to pass the Occupancy inspections. Please keep this process in your prayers...it's our last hurdle in getting up and running.
Thank you to all the volunteers who have come out! Your help is much appreciated and needed.
We’ve been working with both parishes to work out an agreeable approach to sacrament preparation. Thankfully, the priests and DREs have been very open and helpful in this process. Both parishes have agreed to allow the children to do their prep in Atrium, along with a few requirements of their own. Jen can give you more details about the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program for sacrament prep if you are interested. Below you will find the details for each parish.
Saint Francis: (From Melissa Gobs) Father Escalante is happy to allow any families who would like to put their children in CGS (Catechesis of the Good Shepherd) to do so for First Communion Preparation provided the parents attend our sacramental parent meetings, students attend our retreats (there are 2 retreats 1 for First Penance, and the 2nd for First Communion), and that the students receive their sacraments with our group on the scheduled dates for First Reconciliation and First Communion. (I assume you will also have to pay the sacrament fee.)
Saint Johns: (From Diana Solomon) The children should be registered in the religious education program here at the beginning of their second grade year. They do not need to attend classes or do the home school program unless you would like to do it. The children will need to attend the Penance workshops and the First Communion Retreat, and parents will need to attend the parent meetings during the year. The children will learn and practice the mechanics of both Confession and First Communion at the retreats. On the registration form, they should use the "new" student form and write on the form where I can see it "Atrium" so I'll know who they are and that they only need to pay the sacrament fee and not be placed in a class.
One of our aims for The Joyful Child Atrium is to remain in solidarity with the parishes. We are very thankful that Fr. Mosimann and Fr. Escalente are willing to work with us as we strive to build the CGS program.
This week we have been participating in the Liturgy of the Light celebration. This includes the prayers of the Easter Vigil with the Easter candle, a procession, songs, readings, and then each child received their own candle to hold and contemplate with while singing songs of praise. It was beautiful to see the children being so attentive and prayerful. For those in the Wednesday class, you will get the Liturgy of the Light next week.
Secondly, we have posted the days/times for classes next year. You will find all this information under the "Atrium" tab, and then click on "Classes and Registration". The time has come to register and send in your deposit for your children. The early birds will get their choice of classes. If you find that the class days/times do not work for you, please let us know and we will see what we can do. If we get a flood of level I kids, it is possible that we will add another morning class for them.
All of you should have received an invitation for the upcoming Joyful Child Atrium Dinner being organized by Susie Twetten. If you don't have the email from her, check your junk mail. It's going to be a night of great fun for all the present and upcoming Atrium parents. Let us know if you did not receive your invite.
Parents, we are considering a site for the Atrium for next year that is in Purcellville. Renting commercial space is considerably more expensive than where we presently are, so we will be raising the fees for Atrium for next year. You can find all of the fee information on the registration page of the website. This is a brand new space, so we can have it built out to suit us beautifully.
Jen is considering offering a level II class for 9 to 12 year olds. Generally they would be in a level III class, but since all of them are still in their first year of Atrium, it would be appropriate to have them do the level II work. Having the 9 to 12's in a separate class from the 6 to 9's gives the older kids more investment in being there, and the conversations are different with the older ones. If this is something you'd be interested in, let us know.
We will also need to add more children to the program in order to support the program, so if you know of people who may be interested, please give them the name of the website so they can get the information they need.
If we go with this site, we will have two separate classrooms so level I and II can each have their own room. The level two classroom can be configured so that we have the possibility of renting it out to homeschoolers who are looking for classroom space. If this is something that interests you, please let us know.
This is also a good time to let us know if you are planning to attend the Assistant's training. You can find that information under the "More" tab, and then click on "Events".
At this point, before we swallow really hard as we sign the lease, we need to know what each family's plans are for next year in regards to Atrium. Please go to the "contact us" page, and in the comment section, write to us about your intentions. Include your children's names and ages that will be attending. If you are not sure, write that. We need to hear from everyone so we can get a clear number of who we are working with. Many children will be in full day school next year, so let us know if you'd prefer an after school class for them or a Saturday.
In summary, go to the "Contact Us" page and include names and ages of children coming back, Assistant Training, if you are interested in renting classroom space, if you'd be interested in a level II class for 9 to 12's, if you know of potential new families, and how much you LOVE Atrium. Thanks!
Over the next few weeks, Theresa and Jen will be meeting individually with you to chat about your child in the Atrium. You'll receive a call or an email to set up a time for this.
Overall, things are going very well. It takes time to acclimate to the routine and structure of how things work in the Atrium. We have many new children this year, and at this point most of them are settling and working well. One way you can help us is to remind them that Atrium is like children's church. We are quiet and we move slowly and carefully. This quiet time helps us pray. Our work is our prayer.
Thank you so much for allowing us to work with your children each week. They are wonderful, and they continue to teach us with their beautiful ways of seeing the world as children do.
We will be hosting two upcoming Open House events for the Atrium. Please pass these dates on to new families who may be interested in having their children attend Atrium next year.
Sunday, March 24th at 2pm
Thursday, April 18th at 7pm
For more information, please call Theresa Bruton at 540-882-3047
The Stanmeyer family has so graciously hosted The Joyful Child Atrium for its first two years. They have spent toil and treasure to provide us with a beautiful space and environment, and we thank them for helping The Joyful Child Atrium to get started, thrive, and grow. And grown it has! In order to accommodate the growth and to let the Stanmeyers have their private home life back, the atrium will be moving this summer. We do not have a final location yet, but we are hoping to land in Purcellville. As this process moves forward, we will keep you informed of the latest.
The level one children are deep into the Parables of the Kingdom of God. We've been having wonderful discussions about the Mustard Seed, the Pearl of Great Price, The Hidden Treasure, and now the Leaven. Through these discussions, your children have understood the Kingdom of God to be very beautiful, something that grows, and that it's worth giving up everything to have it.
This week we will be moving into another season of preparation (Lent), and our prayer table cloth will change to purple.