Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is a Montessori approach to faith formation with children (ages 18 months-12) that began in Rome over 60 years ago.

In 1954, Sofia Cavalletti, a Biblical scholar, and her co-worker, Gianna Gobbi, a trained Montessorian, began to develop this approach for 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 2022-23

CGS will begin September 14, 2022 & run through May 10th, 2023. Please view the Tentative Calendar for 2022-23 for a more complete schedule.

*Level I-morning is for ages 3-5 OR preschool – kindergarten and meets Wednesday mornings 9:45-11:45 am
*Level I-evening is for ages 3-5 OR preschool – kindergarten and meets Wednesday evenings 5:30-7 pm
*Level II is for ages 6 – 8 OR 1st grade – 3rd grade and meets Wednesday evenings 5:30-7 pm
*Level III is for ages 9 – 11 OR 4th – 6th grade and meets Wednesday evenings 5:30-7 pm, previous experience in CGS is required to enroll in Level III.

Program Notes

  • Space is limited to 10 children per session
  • Completing a registration request does not guarantee enrollment in CGS. An email confirmation will be sent to you with official enrollment notice by July 8.
  • Students must be the appropriate age by September 15, 2022 and must be toilet-trained.

CGS Registration Request for 2022-23

Fees

  • 1 child – $140
  • 2 children – $215
  • 3 children – $265

Fees will be invoiced via your FACTS account by October 18. If you do not have a St. Francis FACTS account, please review FACTS Instructions (PDF) for the steps to set one up prior to invoicing. If paying the registration fee presents a hardship for your family, you can complete the Fee Assistance Form.


Catechesis of the Good Shepherd takes place in 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. The 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.

Since many of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd lessons are linked to the liturgy, children benefit greatly by also attending Mass regularly with their families.

For more information about Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS), contact the Faith Formation at: 515-440-1030.


Volunteers

Many volunteers are needed to help Faith Formation programming run smoothly. Adult Catechists receive free Faith Formation (Family Formation, CGS, and Youth Ministry) tuition for their children. Teen volunteers receive service hours. Please view the list of Volunteer Roles Needed.

If you are interested in sharing your time and talents with our youth, please complete the volunteer registration or contact the Faith Formation Office at 515-440-1030.