The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a Montessori-based method of religious formation for children, which traditionally begins at age 3. It seeks to create and facilitate a sacred, hands-on space for children called an atrium, where both children and their catechists can hear, ponder, and celebrate the essential mysteries of the Catholic faith as revealed in Scripture and the liturgy. 

Originally developed in Rome by Sofia Cavalletti and Gianna Gobbi over 60 years ago, the Catechesis continues to spread worldwide and is used with adaptations in various Christian traditions.

This course will enrich the participant through fostering a catechist's spirituality, grounded in theological and pedagogical formation, along with a study of Maria Montessori's vision of the human person.

In addition to providing the theory and praxis of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, the course will also prepare participants to develop and facilitate an atrium for 3- to 6-year-old children. 

After completing the course the participant will be certified as a Level I Catechist by the National Association of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.  

Course Dates: The training takes place in three sessions.

January 7-10, 2021
March 24-28, 2021
May 20-23, 2021

Hours:  Thursday 1 - 8 p.m.

Formation Leader: Mandie DeVries


$750 program fee (for noncredit participants)

$1,960 (for those wishing to earn 3 credit hours)

$960 for housing and meals for 10 nights in a single room

Participants may choose to commute or stay on campus any number of nights. Room and board is $96 per night in a single room.

Course Requirements

  • Attend all sessions (about 90 hours)

  • Complete all required reading

  • Complete observation in a Montessori 3-6 environment or a Level I Atrium (to be completed before the final weekend of the course) 

Required Texts

Cavalletti, Sofia. Religious Potential of the Child. Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 1992.

Gobbi, Gianna. Listening to God with Children: Montessori Principles Applied to the Catechesis of Children. Loveland, OH: Treehaus Publications, 1998.

Coulter, Patricia, et al. The Good Shepherd and the Child: a Joyful Journey, 2014 Edition. Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 2014.

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