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The Center for Children and Theology was created to support the best theology the church has to offer children and the best theology children have to offer the church. Through our Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) training and other course offerings, we seek to serve catechists primarily, as well as parents and pastors, as they seek to nurture children’s spiritual life.

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.

Course leaders Catherine Maresca and Davette Himes together have over 55 years of experience in atriums for toddlers through age 12 in both parishes and schools.

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.

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.

We offer several courses to prepare adults to work with children in an atrium. 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.

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

For adults working with children ages 3-6 years old, we offer the following courses:

  • Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Level 1 is designed to attune participants to the religious life of the 3-6-year-old child and to provide the specific methods and materials to foster that life.
  • Atrium Essentials for work with 3-6-year-old children is currently a hybrid course with online sessions and practice in person in local atrium – not certified by CGSUSA.
  • Atrium Assistants Orientation is an online course that will cover the key points for an atrium assistant serving children 3-12 years old. There are currently 2 sessions available: Sept 2024 | Oct 2024

For adults working with children ages 6-9 years old, we offer the following courses:

  • Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Level 2 is designed to attune participants to the religious life of 6-9-year-old children and to provide the specific methods and materials to foster that life.
  • Level 2.5 Forum online is for catechists who have completed Level 2. This forum reviews the child, the atrium and themes for work with 6-9 children, looks at updates and some key presentation, and addresses questions of participants.
  • Atrium Assistants Orientation is an online course that will cover the key points for an atrium assistant serving children 3-12 years old. There are currently 2 sessions available: Sept 2024 | Oct 2024

For adults working with children ages 9-12 years old, we offer the following courses:

  • Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Level 3 is designed to attune participants to the religious life of 9-12-year-old children and to provide the specific methods and materials to foster that life.
  • Level 3.5 Forum online is for catechists who have completed Level 3. This forum reviews the child, the atrium and themes for work with 9-12 children, looks at updates and some key presentation, and addresses questions of participants.
  • Atrium Assistants Orientation is an online course that will cover the key points for an atrium assistant serving children 3-12 years old. There are currently 2 sessions available: Sept 2024 | Oct 2024

In July 2016, we offered the country’s first Course for Work with Parents and Toddlers, adapted from Level I for toddlers by Davette Himes. This was repeated in July 2018, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023.

  • Parent Toddler Course (online) This 7-day online course will prepare catechists who have completed a CGS Level I course to adapt the methodology and content of the 3-6 atrium for toddlers and their parents. 

CGS Level 1

How to make your social media content go viral

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How to make your social media content go viral

5 lessons - 4:11 hours
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Course 2

How to build a successful email newsletter

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How to build a successful email newsletter

5 lessons - 4:11 hours
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Course 3

How to use online reviews to boost your business

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How to use online reviews to boost your business

5 lessons - 4:11 hours
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Course 4

Best Practices For Linkedin Features Used For Social Recruiting

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Best Practices For Linkedin Features Used For Social Recruiting

5 lessons - 4:11 hours
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Course 5

How to build a social media crisis management strategy

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How to build a social media crisis management strategy

5 lessons - 4:11 hours
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Course 6

How to Launch a Successful Online Community

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How to Launch a Successful Online Community

5 lessons - 4:11 hours
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Hey!

I Am Steve Robinson.

With 18 years of digital marketing and customer experience expertise, I helped build and grow over 250 companies. In the constantly changing field of digital marketing, it is my mission to provide individuals and small businesses with the skills to master the critical tactics and strategies that will drive their business growth.

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