The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS)
is a faith formation process that honours the spiritual values of childhood,
especially that of joy, and caters for children aged 3-12 years. The
proclamation and transmission of the Christian message takes place in the
Developed by Dr. Sofia Cavalletti and
Professor Gianna Gobbi in Rome, the CGS draws strongly on the discoveries of
childhood made by Dr. Maria Montessori and implements Montessori principles of
education such as the use of concrete materials, spontaneous choice of work and
freedom of movement.
Presented with a series of meditations and
model materials children are given the opportunity to deepen their reflection
on the mystery of God as revealed in Scripture, the Liturgy (Mass) and the
Sacraments through self-chosen activities such as drawing, painting, tracing,
handworks, writing and working with the model materials.
What is the Atrium?
The atrium is the specially prepared
environment for this catechetical method and may be likened to a children’s
retreat centre. It is the place where two mysteries meet; the mystery of God
and the mystery of the child.
Foundational Principles Underlying
·Rather than teaching about God,
the primary purpose of this catechetical approach is to introduce the child to
God and nurture the relationship between God and the child.
·The atrium is a quiet place of
prayer and meditation. It is holy ground where the child encounters Jesus the
Good Shepherd who loves them and knows them by name.
·In the atrium every work of the
child is either a passage to prayer or prayer itself.
·The materials in the atrium
have been designed to meet the needs of the child as they progress through the
different stages of development according to the research of Dr. Maria
·Catechists are invited by
Christ to become like little children. Together with the children they listen
to and ponder His Word. Catechists journey together with the children deep into
the heart of our God.
Level 1 (3-6 year olds)
Level 2 (6-9 year olds)
Level 3 (9-12 year olds)
Authorisation to be a catechist or helper
in a parish atrium
To be authorised to volunteer in an atrium
you will need to:
·Obtain a NSW Working with
Children Check Clearance Number (NSW WwCC Clearance Number)
·Fill in a CGS Engagement Form
(signed by the Parish Priest/Parish Administrator)
·Sign a Catechist Additional
For Parish Atrium Coordinators and
Treasurer (those handling any finances) there is the additional requirement of
completing an Informed Consent Form: National Police Checking Service. Atrium
Coordinator and Treasurer ONLY
need to be returned to:
Catechist Coordinator 16 Ash Street LEETON NSW 2705
To be a CGS catechist you need to undertake
training. Each of the three levels requires 12 days of training. Training can
be delivered over time in 3 day blocks or 6 day blocks. Catechists may choose
to complete Level 1 training and only work in a Level 1 (3-6) atrium. Often
catechists complete Level 1 training and don’t do Level 2 training for a few
years until the three year old children they started with are ready to move to
Level 2. You can set the pace of your training.
Training opportunities take place within
the diocese and in larger centres such as Chatswood (Sydney), Melbourne and
Brisbane. Training is advertised via email, parish bulletins, the Australian
National Association website, The Together etc.
Level 1 Part 1 (6 days)
Level 1 Part 2 (6 days)
Level 2 Part 1 (6 days)
Level 2 Part 2 (6 days)
Level 3 Part 1 (6 days)
Level 3 Part 2 (6 days)
Do I have to complete this training
in order to be involved in an atrium?
No. You may choose to be a helper in an
atrium. This means you assist the trained catechist, but you won’t present the
materials and reflections to the children. Helpers are an essential part of any
atrium and are always welcome.