Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a Montessori-based approach to faith formation for children ages 3 to 12. It is theologically sound, systematic, and rich in Scripture, liturgy, and sacred history. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd takes place in an atrium, a sacred, hands-on space in which both children and catechists can hear, ponder, and celebrate the essential mysteries of the Catholic faith as revealed in scripture and the liturgy. The catechesis was developed in Rome over a fifty-year period by Dr. Sofia Cavalletti and Gianna Gobbi and has spread throughout the world.
The Archdiocesan Catechetical Office has established the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Level One, ages 3-6, as its preferred pre-school program. With the approval of the Archdiocesan Catechetical Office, parishes may choose to offer the other two levels of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd; Level Two, ages 6-9, and Level Three, ages 9-12. The catechist must receive the required formation appropriate to each level before beginning the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.
Formation is provided in the Archdiocese of New York for all three levels of catechesis. This formation covers basic biblical, theological and liturgical themes of the Catholic faith as well as the developmental and religious characteristics of the particular age group. It always includes a practicum in order to help the Catechist develop the knowledge and skills necessary to create and facilitate the ‘atrium’. The catechist learns how to be a co-listener with children to the Word of God because the Christian message is received in listening together to the Master Teacher. The formation courses are presented in a variety of formats: lectures, discussion, prayer and scripture reflection. Throughout each course, the catechist prepares a curriculum binder called an ‘album’, and makes materials that will be used by the child in the atrium environment.
The Level One Formation course consists of 90 hours of study. It prepares the catechist to work with children, ages 3 to 6. The catechist will become grounded in both theory and praxis in order to create a level one atrium in a parish setting. The foundation of the course is the parable of the Good Shepherd and the Covenant Relationship. Outline of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Formation Level One.
The Level Two Formation course consists of 120 hours of study. It prepares the catechist to work with children, ages 6 to 9. The catechist will become grounded in both theory and praxis in order to create and facilitate a level two atrium in a parish setting. The foundation of the course is the parable of the Vine and Branches, in preparation for First Penance and First Holy Communion. Outline of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Formation Level Two.
The Level Three Formation course consists of 160 hours of study. It prepares the catechist to work with children, ages 9 to 12. The catechist will become grounded in both theory and praxis in order to create and facilitate a level three atrium in a parish setting. The foundation of the course is the extensive study of the Old Testament, exploring more deeply the “plan of God." Outline of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Formation Level Three.
Would you like to know more?
For more information please contact:
Director: Early Childhood Catechesis
Archdiocesan Catechetical Office
1011 First Avenue - Room 1250
New York, NY 10022