26 November 2007

The Catechesis Of The Good Shepherd

I'm curious if anyone out there reading this is familiar with a children's program called The Catechesis Of The Good Shepherd. It's a Montessori learning method for ages 3-12. A brief description:

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a faith formation experience for children ages 3-12. Based on the premise that God and the child share a relationship, the curriculum is designed to develop the religious potential of every child and produces in the child the desire to draw nearer to God.

The work of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is done in an Atrium. The Artium is more a place of worship than a traditional classroom. It is an environment created so that children can develop a living, personal relationship with God. The Atrium is a place where Jesus Christ is encountered by reading and reflecting on the Bible, through prayer and singing and by exploring the liturgy of the Word.

The Catechesis was developed more than 50 years ago in Rome, Italy, by Dr. Sofia Cavalletti, a Hebrew scholar and theolgian, and Gianna Gobbi, a Montessori educator. Today, this Montessori method of Christian formation exists in more than 22 countries.

The curriculum focuses on three age levels. Level One is for children ages 3 1/2 to 6; Level II is for ages 6 to 9; and Level III is for ages 9 to 12. Each level explores the fundamental theme of Covenant as reflected in the Bible and as we live it in our liturgy. Each level introduces 30 to 40 age-appropriate lessons which build on previous teachings.

It is the children's Sunday School program at this Anglican church we're attending and I'm utterly unfamiliar with it and with the Montessori method of teaching. I want to make sure my kids will be getting meaningful instruction on God, Jesus, the Bible and so on at an age appropriate level. Any thoughts, helpful articles and especially personal experiences are heartily welcomed.



Qatfish said...

A lot of Catholics use Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, which is where I've heard about it, and you can find reviews of it around the web, like here: Catholic Catechetical Review.

I've known some people who use and teach this method really well, and others who aren't as wild about it. It seems to me that the key is the teacher/catechist(s). A catechetical program, if it's going to be any good, requires dedicated involvement and creativity.

If your catechist(s) is good, it would probably be a good thing. :)

Qatfish said...

Some other stuff I found:

'Taught not by memory, but by heart'
National Catholic Register: Catechism Investigative Series

Ragamuffin said...

Thanks. That's good info. It's extremely important that wherever we go, our children are really learning about Jesus and the Bible at a level that they can understand and enjoy.