The Faith of a Child is an interesting article by Ann Garrido in "America" Magazine on the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, a method of teaching religion to children that uses Montessori-type materials and works on the assumption that "the child is someone who already has a deep relationship with God." In many ways, it is child-based learning, focusing on where the child is in his or her spiritual journey and what he or she wants to know. It makes use of hands-on materials so that the child can make the lesson his own.
As someone who is involved with religious education at my parish as well as in teaching my own children, I can definitely see the value in this approach. Providing the information a child is ready for and is asking about is so important. Children come up with all sorts of questions about God and heaven and it is of vital importance that we provide the information that they need. By the same token, preaching to a child about a topic he has no interest in is often a losing battle. I think that there is a place for both traditional instruction in the faith and this more child-centered approach. For more information on the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, please visit www.cgsusa.org . I would definitely be interested in reading some of the materials listed in their publications catalog.