Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (Ages 3-12)

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS)

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is a Montessori approach to faith formation with children (ages 3-12) that began in Rome over 50 years ago. In 1954, Sofia Cavalletti, a Biblical scholar, and her co-worker, Gianna Gobbi, a trained Montessorian, began to develop this approach to the religious formation of children. It is rooted in the Bible, the liturgy of the Church, and the educational principles of Maria Montessori.  Maria Montessori was a devout Catholic who believed faith formation has an essential role in the development of the child.


Schedule for 2018-2019 (Space is limited to 10 children per session):


Level I (Preschool-Kindergarten/Ages 3-5) 

  • Sunday: 9:30-10:30am
  • Sunday: 11:15am-12:15pm
  • Wednesday: 4:30-5:45pm


Level II (Grades 1-3)

  • Sunday: 9:30-10:30am
  • Wednesday: 4:30-5:45pm
  • Wednesday: 6:15-7:30pm

Level III (Grades 4-6)

  • Sunday: 9:30-10:30am
  • Wednesday: 4:30-5:45pm
  • Wednesday: 6:15-7:30pm


On Wednesday, CGS takes place September through April.

On Sunday, CGS takes place October through April.  Classes are held all but one Sunday a month.

Students must be the appropriate age by September 15, 2018 and must be potty-trained.


CGS Registration for Currently Enrolled CGS Families

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a beautiful faith formation program that uniquely builds upon itself as a child progresses through each level of the program. Because of this, it is essential that those currently in the program be given a chance to stay in the program, if they choose to do so, before it is opened to the parish as a whole.


CGS Parent Meeting

This year, we are hosting a meeting for families enrolling their children in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Our hope is to help parents understand more fully the unique approach of the CGS formation model.  If you choose to enroll your child in this program, it is mandatory that at least one parent attend one of the informational meetings.  These parent meetings will be scheduled for late summer.
At this time, we will explore with you the atrium and the Montessori approach used for the catechesis. You will also have an opportunity to see a presentation of one of the atrium works.


Catechesis of the Good Shepherd takes place is a specially prepared space called an Atrium.

  • The Atrium contains age appropriate materials that are simple and essential to the child’s development of a relationship with God.
  • The Atrium items are carefully selected or created out of wood, glass, metal and fabric.  Many of the materials will remind the child of what they see in church. 
  • Children are taught a sense of reverence for the Atrium and for the items it contains.  Expected behavior in the Atrium is peaceful and respectful, similar to what is expected at Mass.
  • In our busy, noisy world, many children find refuge in the quieter atmosphere of the Atrium.

A visit to an atrium session would be a good way to understand the experience of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. 


Each session consists of a presentation of new material, work time and prayer.  

  • Presentations include biblical geography, liturgy, the Nativity narratives, parables and practical life lessons. Older children are also introduced to Old Testament work.
  • The presentations are selected to coincide with the Church year. After the presentation the children may choose to work with the materials during their work time. All materials remain in the Atrium the entire year so children may revisit past presentations during their work time. The children are given time for repetition and contemplation but may only choose to work with materials that have been presented to them.
  • Communal prayer takes place during each atrium session.  The children gather around the prayer table and are encouraged to be calm and silent.  This habit helps develop an atmosphere to listen and talk to God.

Children who attend Catechesis of the Good Shepherd benefit greatly by also attending Mass regularly because many of their lessons are linked to liturgy.


Students in 2nd grade in the CGS program will need to attend 4-5 bible studies that take place outside of their regular class time for sacrament preparation for 1st Reconciliation and 1st Communion.

For a video link, visit Learn more about CGS.


For more information about Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS), please contact Christen Cota, Youth Faith Formation Director, at 515-440-1030 or