If we want to help the child grow near to God, we should, with patience and courage . . .
seek to go always closer to the vital nucleus of things. This requires study and prayer. The child himself will be our teacher if we know how to observe him.
— Sofia Cavalletti

Become a Catechist

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a method of religious formation that honors the nature of the child and fosters the child’s relationship with God in a specially prepared environment. An Atrium is not a classroom, but rather a prepared place in which the child can live the spiritual life.

In cooperation with the National Association of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, CCMA offers instruction for those who wish to work as catechists in new or existing Atria. These courses form the adult to “listen to God with children” and offer training on how to prepare an Atrium environment. We offer four levels of formation courses:

Each formation course focuses on a specific age group and the child’s spiritual needs at that point in development. A Level I formation course is a prerequisite to the others, as it lays the foundation for understanding the spiritual needs of the child.

This beautiful method recognizes that:

  • The child already has a relationship with God, and it is the role of adults to provide the environment and language for this relationship to flourish.

  • In the Atrium, the only teacher is Christ; both children and adults place themselves in a listening stance before the Word and the mystery of liturgical celebration.

  • The child hungers for the most essential and central themes of the Christian tradition.

Why Choose a CCMA Course?

Our experience has shown that a solid understanding of Maria Montessori’s discoveries regarding the development of the human person and principles of education as they apply to the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is an important aspect of a successful Atrium. We want our catechists to be well prepared to meet the spiritual and developmental needs of the children they will serve. In this spirit, our courses place special emphasis on Montessori theory as it relates to the age of the child each formation course is directed toward.

Our formation courses also include additional, optional day(s) devoted to relevant practical life topics and extensions of presentations. Attendance at these seminars or workshops is not required for receipt of a certificate from the National Association of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, but we highly encourage catechists to take advantage of these offerings. Depending on the particular course, these sessions may be added on to the intensive week of formation or take place during the “off” months between parts of a formation course.