Catechesis of the Good Shepherd: A Survey of Catechists Across Wisconsin
Haun, Kathryn M.
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The following research study collected and examined the current practices of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd catechists in Level I (ages 3-6) Atria throughout Wisconsin. Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS), founded by Sofia Cavalletti and Gianna Gobbi, is the religious formation experience of children using the principles of the Montessori method. Around the question of religious formation, we explored literature regarding the Moral Development, Spirituality, and Religious Education of young children. Finding little on the religious formation of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, while also considering the cultural practices and societal norms of local communities, we created a 22-question survey for CGS Level I catechists examining the qualities of the Atrium, catechist, prayer in the Atrium, and community support specific to Wisconsin. Using an online platform and distribution, we gathered surveys from 67 catechists from all five Roman Catholic dioceses in Wisconsin (Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, La Crosse, and Superior). Results focused on laying a foundation of baseline data of current practices. Results revealed that the current implementation of CGS is consistent with catechist training recommendations. Also, most dramatically, 100% of catechists regarded the catechesis as somewhat (31%) or strongly (69%) impacting the faith of the young child. Likewise, 89% of catechists also considered the experience strongly impacting their own faith. The mutual benefit reported for both adult catechists and children suggests that the effect of CGS in religious formation settings is compelling and worthy of investment and further study.
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd