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 Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a hands-on method of faith formation based on the Montessori method of learning. Unlike book-based curriculums that use a workbook model with minimal teacher training, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd utilizes a dedicated prepared space for children called the “atrium” and extensively trained catechists.  The atrium is filled with child-sized furnishings and manipulative models of people, places, and objects found in scripture and liturgy.

These materials are introduced to the children throughout the year. Each week, the children choose materials to continue their meditation about particular Scripture texts or signs from the liturgy. Because children learn by using their hands, working with materials allows them to enter more deeply into meditation, nurturing their relationship with God.

The deep religious potential of children first captivated two Italian laywomen, Sofia Cavelletti, a Hebrew scripture scholar and Gianna Gobbi, a Montessori educator, over 60 years ago. It is the joyful, peaceful response of the children themselves that inspired and determined the content of this unique program. Guided by the children’s own choices and work, Sofia and Gianna were able to select for each age group those Scriptures and liturgical signs that are the best developmental match.  

Over time the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd spread, first coming to the United States in the 1970s. Today, it is used in many dioceses and denominations across the nation, and in 37 countries.

We offer three courses to prepare adults to work with children in an atrium: Level I for work with 3-6 year old children, Level II for work with 6-9 year old children, and Level III for work with 9-12 year old children. Each course develops content offered in the previous levels, and is designed to attune participants to the religious life of the child and to provide specific methods and materials to foster that life. Course sessions include prayer, presentations of materials, related theology and methodology, discussion of album pages (lesson plans), and work in the atrium.

The National Association of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd supports the work of catechists throughout the United States and issues certificates upon completion of an approved course. These courses are offered by the Center of Children and Theology in cooperation with the Association. 

In addition, we offered the country's first Course for Work with Parents and Toddlers in July 2016. This will be repeated in July, 2017.

Course leaders Catherine Maresca and Davette Himes together have 40 years of experience in all levels of CGS, with atriums in both parishes and schools. 

Take advantage of our unique training environment: atriums for each level in a Montessori school on the park-like grounds of historic Rock Creek Cemetery.

Enjoy CCTheo's small course sizes, permanently available sessions for participants to make up or review course content, and course leaders who provide ongoing support and clarification via email.

Refunds, minus $50 administrative charges, will be available until one month before the start of the course.

 

Contact

Contact the Center for Children and Theology, cct@cctheo.org with questions about courses or call (202) 250-5905. 

 

CGS Level I (3-6) Formation Course Offered by CCTheo in partnership with All Saints Sharon Chapel

$0.00

Level I formation is designed to attune participants to the religious life of the 3-6-year-old child and to provide specific methods and materials to foster that life. Course sessions include prayer, presentations of materials, background information, discussion of album pages, and work in the atrium.

Parent Toddler Course

July 24-28, 2017 A course to prepare catechists to serve toddlers and their parents.
$350.00

This five day course will prepare catechists who have completed a 3-6 course to adapt the methodology and content of the 3-6 atrium for toddlers and their parents.

CGS Level II (6-9) Course

$0.00

Level II formation is designed to attune participants to the religious life of the 6-9-year-old child and to provide specific methods and materials to foster that life. Themes of the Level II course include Sacred History, moral formation, sacramental preparation, Eucharist, the Incarnation, and the Paschal Mystery.
Christian Family Montessori School in Washington DC
Course Leader: Catherine Maresca

CGS Level III (9-12)

$0.00

This course meets 14 Saturdays over a two year period, offering the materials and presentations of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd prepared for for 9-12-year-old children. The next course will begin in the Fall of 2017 if there is enough interest.

Christian Family Montessori School in Washington DC
Course Leader: Catherine Maresca