Catechesis of the Good Shepherd at Cardinal Bernardin Montessori Academy

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is the Montessori-based Catholic education program developed by Sofia Cavaletti, a Hebrew Scripture scholar, and Gianna Gobbi, former assistant to Maria Montessori.

This beautiful program is a very gentle and age-appropriate method through which the adult wonders alongside the child, and both more fully absorb liturgy, engage in prayer and deepen their personal relationship with Jesus, our Good Shepherd.

“Who am I?” “To whom do I belong?”

Children seek to answer the question, “Who am I? To whom do I belong?” Theirs is an orientation to God. Time in the Atrium is a time for them to soak in God’s love and enjoy their time with Him.

Order, simplicity, beauty in environment, cultivation of silence, proclamation of the Word, communal prayer and celebrations all nurture a spirit of prayer in the Atrium. Children have the opportunity to spend individual time at the prayer table, trace and create prayer cards, sing songs, and work with beautifully hand-crafted materials that help them come to know our Good Shepherd better and better. Week by week, each child receives more and more liturgical and scriptural presentations, each one inviting the child into wonder, awe and a prayerful response.

Coming to know God better through our work

In the Atrium, the work of the child is time spent with God, growing in his or her personal relationship with our Good Shepherd.

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd honors the philosophy of Maria Montessori through its child-centered approach, allowing the hand, heart and mind to lead children to God. All of God’s children are already in relationship with Him. They belong to God, and God belongs to them.

A joyful, Catholic way for children to grow spiritually

Meaningful work supports the dignity of the child and gives the child a sense of accomplishment and joy. All work in the Atrium is accessible and ordered, which allows children to care for and take ownership of the environment. Through their work, children personally engage in prayer, liturgy, the geography of Israel at the time of Jesus, baptism, parables and the infancy narratives.

Family opportunities to support the Atrium at the Academy

Volunteer! Parents are welcome to assist with Atrium work cycles, which take place at 8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Volunteers will help teachers walk the children from their classrooms over to the Atrium and assist children in the Atrium as needed. This is a beautiful way to help fulfill your parent volunteer hours and to grow in your understanding of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.
If you would like to donate materials to the Atrium, can sew or know of any wood workers who would be willing to help create materials for us, please contact Ms. Sarah at

Catechesis Resources for Parents

The National Association of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Website –

Introduction to Catechesis of the Good Shepherd –

“We Long for Joy” –


The Good Shepherd and the Child: A Joyful Journey, Revised and Updated,

by Sofia Cavalletti; Patricia Coulter; Gianna Gobbi; Silvana Q. Montanaro, M.D.; Rebekah Rojcewicz

The Religious Potential of the Child: Experiencing Scripture and Liturgy with Young Children, by Sofia Cavalletti

Listening to God with Children: The Montessori Method Applied to the Catechesis of Children, by Gianna Gobbi