What is Catechesis of the Good Shepherd?
Simcha Fisher, a Catholic author, describes the program thus in the National Catholic Register:
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd was founded in the 50s by two Italian laywomen, one a scriptural scholar and one an expert in Montessori education. Together they conceived of a simple, attractive method for sharing the richness of the Faith with children, who are uniquely capable of accepting the beauty of God's love. The program is presented in three levels, and includes time in the "Atrium," which is a quiet environment where children learn through tactile play.
Catechesis of the Good shepherd emphasizes quiet contemplation and -- imagine this -- "the enjoyment of God." The children hear Bible stories and watch them acted out with simple materials; they learn songs and prayers, and are encouraged to play quietly with simple and meaningful objects. One mother explained that CGS "cracked the code" of the Mass for her son, as he learned to become alert to the details of the liturgy: the significance of color, the names and purposes of the various vessels and tools on the altar.
In Level 1, ages 3-6, the controlling image is Christ the Good Shepherd, who loves his sheep and gives everything He is for them. The Good Shepherd knows his sheep and calls them by name. The child comes to discover who the Shepherd is and who the sheep are. The enjoyment of the gift of God's own self to the child is the foundation of further religious insight and moral development.
The motto of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is "Help me fall in love with God by myself.”