O'Shea, G. (2017). A comparison of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and Godly Play. British Journal of Religious Education, Online First.
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and Godly Play are the two best known variants of Montessori style Religious Education programmes. While they have much in common, there are also obvious differences. This article offers a brief outline of the distinctive features of each programme, including some analysis of their effectiveness in terms of contemporary educational research. The article identifies four areas of significant difference, namely, the understanding of the Imago Dei, the stance taken towards sacraments and sacramentality, pedagogy and the conduct of the sessions themselves. The author argues that these differences create a natural constituency for each programme. Godly Play with its heavy emphasis on the Scriptures as ‘story’ and the interpretation of the Imago Dei in terms of a ‘symbolic/language’ mediation of divine reality fits in well with the insights of mainline Protestant and Evangelical Churches. Catechesis of the Good Shepherd interprets the Imago Dei in terms of sacramentality and ontological similarity – grace building on nature through the use of the material/spiritual composition of the human person. This is better suited for use in Catholic, Orthodox and Anglo-Catholic contexts.
Cavalletti, Berryman, religious education
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