Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is a Montessori approach to faith formation with children 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.

Registration for 2024-25


Level I & Level II registrants, please add your child to the CGS waitlist here. We were able to secure additional session times at the last minute and are unable to get them added to the registration before it goes live. To keep access to CGS as fair as possible with the last-minute atrium additions, we ask families to sign up on the wait list. We will contact families in the order they were added to the waitlist to fill open atrium spots. Spots fill quickly so get your name on the list early!

Level III availability is not affected by this change, so please register here, as normal. Only add your level III student to the waitlist if Level III is showing sold out on the registration form.

CGS sessions meet September – May. Space in each atrium is limited. Registration details (including pricing) can be found here.

*Level I-for ages 3-6 (must be 3 and potty-trained by the first session)
*Level II is for ages 6-9
*Level III is for ages 9-12

Session Times

Level I – Tuesdays, 5:30-7pm
Level I – Wednesdays, 5:30-7pm
Level I – Friday 8:15-9:30am

Level II – Tuesdays, 5:30-7pm
Level II – Wednesdays, 5:30-7pm

Level III – Wednesdays, 5:30-7pm

Helpful Links


Volunteer Opportunities

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 Kristi Quinlan, Early Childhood Faith Formation Coordinator or call the Faith Formation Office at 515-440-1030.


Many volunteers are needed to help Faith Formation programming run smoothly. View specific ways we can use your time and talents here.

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