The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is an approach to children’s Christian formation that is based on the methods of Maria Montessori. In 1954, Hebrew scholar, Sophia Cavalletti, along with Montessori educator, Gianna Gobbi, began this program by observing children from ages three to twelve. Through their observations and work with the children they were made aware of the deep relationship children already have with God. Their goal was to help the children find God by themselves. We continue to strive for this today.
A dedicated space called “the atrium” is central to this formation program. In the ancient church, an atrium was the place where people would prepare themselves to enter the church from the outside world. Therefore, in our atrium the children are preparing for the church and developing a deeper relationship with God. Within this sacred space, children are given material that helps them discover the most essential meanings of Jesus’ message. This allows children the time they so desperately need to build personal connection with Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Along with song, prayer, Bible readings, and nomenclature of the church, the children are becoming fully prepared to be participants in the liturgy of the church.
There are three levels of formation in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd designated by age. Children develop and change as they age; therefore, the atria are divided as such. Level I, for 3 to 6 year olds in kindergarten, focuses on the great joy and love of the Good Shepherd. Level II, for 6 year olds in 1st grade to 9 year olds in 3rd grade, focuses on The True Vine and how children maintain their places on the Vine. Level III, for 4th grade and 5th grade, focuses on the History of God’s Kingdom throughout time, helping children to establish their places in this History. Each level builds on the former, creating links between Biblical text, the Liturgy of the Church, and the Life of God’s People.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” We understand in the atrium that we all must become like the children as we ponder and experience Jesus together.
For more information about Spiritual Formation for Children at Calvary, contact Alice Corkern, Children’s Christian Formation Coordinator email@example.com; 908.277.1814, x5.
More information about Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is available here.
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
Summary of Presentations
“Help Me Fall in Love with God”
Presentations are based on age-appropriate Scripture passages and liturgical signs that nurture the child's relationship with God. The program balances exposure to our liturgy and the richness of our communal sacramental life with reading the Bible.
With each presentation, the children are given specific materials to work with and ponder the meaning. These materials are always available to the children during their work time.
The following is a summary to the presentations offered in each level. Classes are structured to offer a time of prayer and song, a time for the “presentation” and a time for individual work by the child. The work of the children is their prayer and is the most important part of their time in the atrium.
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is offered at 9:30 am - between the 9:00 am Family Eucharist
(designed for families with children under 8 years old)
and the 10:30 am Holy Eucharist.
Clich here to Register
Weekday Atrium will be offered again this year as follows:
- Level I: Monday from 1pm to 2pm.
- Level II: Monday 3:30pm to 4:30pm.
- Level III: Wednesday 3:30pm to 4:30pm.
Please register if you would like to participate.
Click here to Register
Learning activities of all kinds