Refining our use of Montessori Pedagogy in the Atrium

May 2024

by Catherine Maresca

Nurturing the Whole Child is the recently published new edition of Gianna Gobbi’s book  Listening to God with Children. Its introduction is an important reminder that the work in the atrium is about both content and method. As we begin our formation in Level One courses we receive a foundation for both the theology and pedagogy of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. But we are eager and blessed to hear about Jesus, and sometimes wonder about the introduction of practical life, grace and courtesy, the work cycle, and independence in the atrium. We may be a few years into our atrium work before we are ready to take seriously the way of being with children modeled by Maria Montessori and carried into CGS by Gianna Gobbi.

Any point along this journey is a good one to read or reread Gobbi’s book. The two editions are nearly identical. The newer one has an additional chapter about catechetical materials, and some biographical material in the Appendix. But the heart of the book is the same, and worth rereading in either edition until it has become part of your practice. 

Other books among my favorites that address the Montessori method in helpful ways include:

For 3-6

The Good Shepherd and the Childopening chapters.

The Secret of Childhood by Maria Montessori

Montessori Insights for Parents of Young Children by Aline D. Wolf

For 6-12

To Educate the Human Potential by Maria Montessori

From Childhood to Adolescence by Maria Montessori

Most of the books by Montessori are translations of lectures in courses. The Chapters are short, and a mixture of theory and content. But her ability to integrate human development with both knowledge, respect for all of creation, and the individual child’s call to contribute to the world is almost breathtaking. 

Be sure to read and enjoy one of these books this summer and consider how their insights can refine your time with children at home and in the atrium.

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