Frequently Asked Questions


  1. What are the origins of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd? The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd originated in 1954, in Rome and was inspired by the Montessori principles of education. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd soon spread to diverse social environments and, since 1969, to many different countries and cultures as well: Africa, Brazil, the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Germany, Paraguay, Australia, Austria, Poland, Norway and Canada.

  2. Is the opportunity for religious formation important for the child under 6? It has been observed that children, even from the earliest age, eagerly seek religious experience and find fulfillment in it only if they are helped to live this experience in its deepest, most essential elements, without any "childish" overtones. Wh​​​​en these conditions are present, young children live their relationship with God in enchanted wonder and profound joy, which gives peace in the satisfaction it could be said ​ of a deep and vital need. In our view, the "vital need" is for relationship, which the Bible expresses as "covenant". 

  3. What is the curriculum for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd? It is the joy of the children's encounter with God that has given birth to the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd which, always and everywhere, is nourished by the same joy. It has been observed that children of the same developmental stage respond to certain themes of the Christian message in the same way, though belonging to different cultural backgrounds. From this perspective, a curriculum gradually took shape that responds to the child's deep religious needs according to the various age levels. 

  4. I would like my child to attend an Atrium. Who do I contact? Each parish that offers the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd has a contact person/catechist that you would contact directly to find out if space is available and to make the necessary arrangements. For the lists of these parishes and their schedules in the Archdiocese of Toronto and in Canada, please see our Atriums in the Archdiocese page.

  5. I am interested in becoming a catechist with children in an Atrium. How do I participate in this formation? The Archdiocese of Toronto (Catechesis of the Good Shepherd) and the University of St. Michael’s College (Continuing Education Division) co-sponsor the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Certificate Program. This program welcomes all, especially those who accompany children on their spiritual/faith journey: parents, teachers, catechists, pastors, pastoral assistants, etc.

  6. Where do I begin? The adult formation program begins with Level I: Foundations Course: The Child from​​​​ Birth to Six Years. This course focuses on the needs and capacities, both developmentally and spiritually, of the youngest child. As well, Level I will provide an introduction to the Good Shepherd Catechesis. With this as the foundation, one may pursue the other two levels of the Certificate Program.

  7. And how do I register for the Level I: Foundations Course? For course schedules and registration information see our certificate program page.  You can also contact Anna Boyagoda, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Certificate Program at 416-934-3400, ext. 511 or aboyagoda@archtoronto.org.

  8. Where do I find out more about the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd? This approach to catechesis is described in the texts: The Religious Potential of the Child and The Good Shepherd and the Child: The Joyful Journey by Sofia Cavalletti (Liturgy Training Publications) and Listening to God with Children by Gianna Gobbi (Treehaus Communications). These also serve as the core texts for the adult formation program.

F​​or more information regarding any of the above, please contact Anna Boyagoda or call 416-934-3400, ext. 511.