Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

I decided to keep up with some religious education / experience for Caroline after our lovely Advent and Christmas routine. I’ve been reading about Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, which is predominately used in Roman Catholic churches (and was used by John’s mom when he was young) and Godly Play, the Protestant version of CGS that was developed by an Episcopal priest. Most of the Godly Play lessons I’ve seen are for older kids, independent readers, at least, but Catechesis of the Good Shepherd has a 3-6 age curriculum, fitting with the Montessori primary age ranges. For this primary age range, CGS does not emphasize rules or obedience or sin, but rather focuses on God’s love and the parable of the Good Shepherd. It makes perfect sense to me that before a child will follow the rules, she needs to know that she is loved unconditionally. (Seems that applies to both Christ’s love and a parent’s love, really.)

So, I have set up a little corner of our play area with a green runner for the color of the season of Ordinary Time, put a Children’s Bible and a retelling of the parable of The Good Shepherd, The Shepherd and the 100 Sheep, a good shepherd and 10 sheep for her to manipulate, along with a green candle for the season. Caroline has enjoyed playing with the shepherd so far. She says he is sad that his sheep is lost. (Does she totally get it, even at a 2 1/2 year old level?)

One thought on “Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

  1. {focuses on God’s love and the parable of the Good Shepherd. It makes perfect sense to me that before a child will follow the rules, she needs to know that she is loved unconditionally. (Seems that applies to both Christ’s love and a parent’s love, really.)}

    When I taught pre-school faith formation in the Catholic Church (when Katie was 3-4 and then 4-5, and even kindergarten age), the leader said that ALL she hoped to accomplish in these early years was to drive home the fact that God loves them, that Jesus is their friend and they have a special individual as well as family relationship with God/Jesus. That was it. The stories told, the games played the crafts constructed were all just to reinforce that very basic idea (and to make the church=nice happy place association).

    It was powerful teaching that age, because when you, as an adult put yourself down at that level–physically (on your knees or squatting in order to be eye level with the kids), cognitively and spiritually, it does something to your own soul. For me, anyway, it was a real re-visiting of my own personal relationship with Jesus. When you’re *that* focused on driving it home to others in the most simplistic ways imaginable, you can’t help but have some of it rub off on yourself.

    I think you’re right on with what you’re doing!

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