Dan Teller – Catechist
Dan received a B.A. in History from Trinity College in 1977. After working as a teacher-naturalist at outdoor education centers, he received his Masters in Montessori Education from Xavier University in 1984. He founded The Good Shepherd Catholic Montessori (then called Queen of Angels Montessori) in 1998 has always been active there as a catechist. He currently serves children in the Level II (6-9) and Level III (9-12) atria. Dan also serves as a formation leader, training adults as catechists in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.Dan serves as an ErdKinder guide, leading weekly woodworking and building projects with the middle school students. He and his wife Maureen have seven children and one grandchild. Dan enjoys woodworking, canoeing, hiking, and gardening.
Natalie Gunawan – Catechist
Natalie was born in Germany and grew up in Indonesia. She moved to the US at 16 and graduated from high school in Mobile, AL. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University and worked for P&G Japan upon graduation. During her overseas assignment in China, she encountered Montessori at her daughter’s pre-school and was intrigued by the philosophy. She decided to leave P&G to pursue a career in education. She received her Master’s Degree in Montessori Education from Xavier University, and she has taught at Xavier Lab School and Pleasant Ridge Montessori. Natalie has completed Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Level I and II training. She works in both the Level II and Level III atriums at GSCM. Natalie enjoys playing tennis, travelling, cooking, gardening and volunteering for non-profit organizations.
The Catechesis Of The Good Shepherd
A Genuine and Profound Formation
The Good Shepherd Catholic Montessori brings a specifically Catholic dimension to Montessori education through the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS). CGS responds to the child’s silent plea at every age: “Help me come closer to God by myself.”
CGS uses Montessori teaching principles to present the most essential realities of the Catholic faith to even very young children. Specially designed materials and inspiring presentations help children explore areas of faith formation appropriate to their developmental age, such as:
- The Life of Christ
- The Wonder of the Kingdom of God
- The Plan of God/History of the Kingdom of God
- Moral Formation through Parables, Virtues, Maxims, and Service
- The Holy Bible, including Old and New Testament Studies
The outcome is a profoundly personal and joyful expression of faith, unique to each child’s relationship with God. To learn more about the Spiritual Formation Goals for The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, click here.
The Good Shepherd Catholic Montessori is the only school in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and one of just a handful of schools nationwide that completely integrates Montessori education with the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for all children ages 3-12.
All students, regardless of creed, are provided with the same spiritual formation through CGS. Catholic students preparing to receive the Sacraments in their home parish are provided with additional religious instruction, again drawing from the rich materials of the catechesis.
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is an approach to the religious formation of children ages 3 to 12. It originated in 1954 through the work Dr. Sofia Cavalletti, a Biblical scholar trained in Catholic theology, and Gianna Gobbi, a Montessori educator. After 50 years of working with children all over the world, these women found that whatever their culture, children respond in the same way to certain elements of the Christian message. This observation has shaped the core content and methodology of the catechesis.
Scripture, liturgy, salvation history, and sacramental signs provide the content of the catechesis – with a special emphasis on scripture. The methodology of the Catechesis utilizes Montessori teaching principles to help children develop an informed and genuine relationship with God. In its Guidelines for Catechesis, the Archdiocese of New York endorsed this approach “because of its substantial theological content, and because of its sound principles and proven methodology.”
The children experience a formation that is profoundly biblical and sacramental … and prayerful as well. The kind of knowledge that Jesus wills for His disciples is not a limited, academic knowledge, but a knowing that addresses the whole person – heart, soul, and mind. Therefore, while the children receive a thoroughly informed formation, the primary aim of the catechesis is to lead the child to an authentic, prayerful relationship with God.
Underlying the entire catechesis are the following principles:
- God and the child have a relationship that catechesis seeks to serve with reverence and respect.
- The child is capable of perceiving the greatest realities of faith, and must never be talked down to.
- The catechist is a servant of a message that is not his or her own, and together with the child must humbly listen to God’s word.
- The child must be given the opportunity to discover the truth on as deep a level as possible.
- Prayer, contemplation, and silence are natural components of the child’s religious life, and must be honored.
- Providing a joyful journey for the child and the adult is the essence of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.
Portions of the text on this page are taken from the booklet, “The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd”, published by the National Center for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Oak Park, IL.