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What is Catechesis of the Good Shepherd?

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) was developed over sixty years ago by Sofia Cavalletti, a Hebrew and biblical scholar from Rome and Gianna Gobbi a Montessori educator.  The philosophy of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is that young children – even the very young - have a religious life. God is present to them in their deepest being and they are capable of developing a conscious and intimate relationship with Him.  Each session offers a weekly opportunity to work with specific materials designed to draw the child into the Biblical and Liturgical themes. Time for individual work allows the child to absorb and ponder past and current presentations as well as respond to God’s constant invitation to grow deeper in knowledge and understanding of His infinite love. 

Children are grouped by age:

Level I:  3-6 year olds   (PreK & K)

Level II: 6-9 year olds  (Grades 1-3)

Level III: 9-12 year olds  (Grades 4-6)

Each of these levels corresponds to the Montessori planes of development.  As the child grows in maturity, the essentials of our religious faith are presented in increasing detail and sophistication.  Children, in each level, gather in an “atrium,” a room prepared especially for them, where they can fall in love with Jesus, the Good Shepherd.  In the atrium, children live the central mysteries of our faith by working with and reflecting upon simple, yet beautiful, hand-made materials that help them absorb the most essential proclamations of our Christian faith.

Who Teaches the Children?

Saint Paul said, “It is Christ who teaches, not I.”  The catechist, one who echoes the Word of God, has a secondary role in the life of the atrium. It is the child’s own inner guide and teacher, the Holy Spirit, who directs the mind and heart.  The importance of the catechist is to place materials within reach and share scripture that fills a particular longing at each stage in a child’s spiritual life.

For more information about each level please click here.

To learn more about CGS please click here.

Parent resource on CGS please click here.

Click here for more information about the role of an assistant.

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