Director: Sondra Barton- (303) 499-8989 x205
What is Catechesis of the Good Shepherd?
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) involves children in a religious experience that delights and engages them, satisfying the need we all have to experience the very "heart of the matter" - our God who calls us into a covenant relationship with Him. CGS began sixty years ago and has been used with children all over the world.
CGS had its origins in the work of Maria Montessori, who, unknown to many, was a devout Roman Catholic. She saw the educational needs of the child to be both spiritual and didactic. Her understanding of children and how they best learn laid the foundation for the work of two other Roman Catholic Italian women, Sofia Cavalletti and Gianna Gobbi. In 1954, Sofia, a Biblical languages scholar, was asked to catechize a few young children of a friend. She was inspired by the joy these children displayed when presented with the Word of God to delve deeper into this meeting of the "mystery of the child" and the "mystery of God." Very quickly, she was introduced to Gianna, a Montessori Directress who had worked with Maria Montessori and had experienced Montessori’s ideas on the religious formation of children. They began a collaborative work that quickly spread to other catechists in other countries. Following the children's responses to various lessons they, with the help of catechists around the globe, learned there are particular lessons of our faith that children of certain ages are hungry to hear. When presented with these lessons they exhibit a response of joy and peace and the lessons seem to "take root" and grow in the spiritual life of the child. Interestingly, the response to particular lessons at particular ages is universal to children no matter their national, ethnic, or social-economic background.
CGS takes place in a prepared environment called an “atrium” which exists not to give a classroom experience but to allow a religious experience. The children are grouped according to Montessori’s understanding of “planes of development” which allow them to be in an environment for three years, facilitating a “spiral approach” to content rather than linear learning. We are happy to have atria at Sacred Heart of Mary that serves the religious needs of children aged 3-6 years (Level I), 6-9 years (Level II), and 9-12 years (Level III).
CGS at SHM Calendar for 2016-17