Catechesis of the Good Shepherd - Age 3 through 6th grade
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd presents the most important realities of Christian faith to the youngest members of the Church. It assumes that young children have religious potential, and that God is deeply present to them. Catechesis simply offers the guidance and vocabulary to become aware of this relationship and express it.
This is done in a way which strikes even casual visitors as deeply soulful. In a carefully prepared environment, a trained catechist makes presentations to the child using a set of specifically designed materials that remind some people of the items found in a Montessori school. Materials may be models of items used in worship (an altar, elements of eucharist and baptism, liturgical colors, etc.) or items related to the proclamation of the faith (parables, prophecies, geography of Israel, and the life of Christ.)
The catechist makes presentations to the child, using the materials to convey the essentials of the faith in a manner appropriate to the child's development. The child is then invited to work with the materials themselves. The catechist does not give answers or impart information, but assists in the child's own discovery of the meaning. The motto of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is "Help me fall in love with God by myself." The Teacher is Christ.
In Level 1, ages 3 through Kindergarten, the controlling image is Christ the Good Shepherd who loves his sheep and gives everything he is for them.
Level 2, grades 1-3, continues the reflection on the moment of gift and begins to awaken in the child the question of their personal response.
Level 3, grades 4-6, carries the human response further to reveal the Plan of God as worked out in the Bible and human history.
At all 3 levels, the child encounters the essentials of the Faith. The Sacraments, the Bible, geography, prophecies and parables are presented in a developmentally appropriate manner. At the same time, the role of the catechist as facilitator of the child's own discovery remains throughout. Both the child and the catechist find their faith nourished in this process. In the words of Dr. Sofia Cavaletti, who developed the program, "The children themselves will be our teachers if we know how to observe them."
To learn more about Catechesis of the Good Shepherd click here to view the CGS website.
For more information about Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and the program at St. Bartholomew's, please contact Shelly Buchan (click here to email Shelly).