Skip to main content

Religion and Our Montessori Home

I have often been asked how to approach religion in our Montessori home. For those of you that don't know, we are practicing Roman Catholics. Our faith in a big part of our every day existence and our Montessori lives. Maria Montessori was also Catholic and has hugely informed our approach toward religious education. And honestly, it's not easily explained because our religious education is happening every second of the day as we live our lives. It is giving our children the opportunity to fully participate, to the best of their abilities, in the meaningful practice of our faith. 

As always, Maria explains the approach much more eloquently than I could. In her book, The Child in the Church she says, "People are constantly asking me about this question of religious instruction - whether it should be long or short, determined by the teacher, or left the choice of the children, and so on. They nearly always speak of it as if it were a special school 'subject.' My answer to all this is that I should not regarded as a 'subject' at all. The preparation of the child for his full participation in the life of the church is a much wider thing than the learning by heart of certain intellectual truths. It is a life in itself."


This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.

Basically, we want to create opportunities for real participation beyond simply memorizing rules or scripture. My goal as a Montessori parent is always to give meaningful example, rich language, and the opportunity to participate. Practically, what does this look like? 
  • Children participate in Mass with us - from birth 
  • Creating opportunities for holiday participation at their level of understanding
  • Reading about our faith through children's books 
  • Incorporating our faith into the Montessori Great Lessons (for older children)
  • Child led prayer area in our home
  • Praying with and in front of our children
  • Montessori based formal religious education starting at 3
  • Living our faith in our actions

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a Montessori approach to religious education which we participate in. I am trained in Level 1 (3-6 year olds) and have led an atrium (the religious prepared environment) for the past 6 years. CGS was created by a Gianna Gobbi and Sofia Cavalletti based on Montessori's understanding of children and their spiritual life. The atrium has 3 levels - 3-6, 6-9, 9-12 - which each meet the unique developmental needs of the child during this stage. The materials are all hands on, the language and methods used are all adapted to the children's needs and understanding. The goal of the atrium, is not just to learn about Church or our religious beliefs but to give children the space to foster a meaningful relationship with the Good Shepherd.  


We are fortunate enough to have a church community that has all three levels for children and my kids all start to participate at age 3. I have lots more to share about CGS if that's something people would like! 

If you are looking to learn some more specifics about Montessori and religion these books have been helpful for me.
I'm sure there are tons of other great books, I am far from an expert in this area. If there are other areas of religious formation that you would like to know about, please let me know and I can write more about our experience. 

I also want to acknowledge that this is all coming from a Christian perspective, which is not at all required in a Montessori home. There are many people from many faiths and traditions that practice Montessori and they are certainly all valid.  

A look at how we incorporate our Catholic faith with our Montessori family including how we use Catechesis of the Good Shepherd at home.


---

Comments

Katie said…
I’d love to hear more about this Nicole! I volunteered in an atrium when I was in college and through it I fell in love with Montessori.
Teanna L said…
This is so great to hear Nicole, I didn't know you were a catechist, but it makes so much sense!! I will be a catechist in my son's atrium for the first time this year. Would love for you to continue sharing more about CGS.
Unknown said…
I would like to learn more about it...so please write a bit more about how you incorporate it in your family. Thanks for all your great tips and recommendations...it has made this Montessori journey so much easier!
Rebecca said…
I'm interested in how you incorporate your faith when talking about the Great Lessons. Also, I'm a Protestant, and I was able to watch a video of the lesson of the Good Shepherd from CGS. I was mesmerized. I wish I could learn more about it, but I'm coming up short with resources. Do you have any suggestions?
I would love to hear more, too! Thank you for the resources and for sharing your Faith

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2020

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure! 2020 UPDATE: This list is updated for another year! Enjoy a variety of Montessori friendly finds from both major retailers and smaller shops!  So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created toys, but only works for classroom settings. While there are many works that I recommend for home school use, you won't find these

Montessori Toddler: Favorite Toys and Activities 18 to 20 months

I've been putting off this post for a little while because I felt a little disappointed that I didn't have more to share. See, Teddy just isn't that into materials, especially those on the shelf. He tends to return to a couple of favorites over and over again and ignore all other attempts at shelf work. But, really that's my own adult feelings getting in the way of Teddy's own interests, and developmental path.  It's also me subconsciously valuing fine motor skills and stillness as more important than gross motor play and movement. I working hard not to do that, and want to normalize that all toddlers are different. All children have different interests and that concentration doesn't have to mean sitting still for long stretches of time.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. With all that said, here are some of Teddy's favorites over the last couple of months. Favorite Montessori Toys 18 to 20 Months I'm listing the toys that have be

Sensitive Periods from Birth to 6 - A Chart and Guide

Dr. Maria Montessori spent her life observing, studying, and writing about children. During her lifetime of work she discovered that young children move through a series of special times when they are particularly attracted to specific developmental needs and interests. She called these times, sensitive periods. During the sensitive period, children learn skills related to the sensitive period with ease. They don't tire of that work, but seek it, crave it and need it. When the sensitive period passes, this intense desire is gone, never to return.  That doesn't mean the skill is lost forever once the sensitive period is over. Instead, it just means that it will take a more conscious effort to learn. As Dr. Montessori explains,  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. "A child learns to adjust himself and make acquisitions in his sensitive periods. These are like a beam that lights interiorly a battery that furnishes energy. It is this sensibility which enables