Good Shepherd Publications | Level I Recommended Reading

Nurturing the Whole Child

Nurturing the Whole Child


Montessori Principles Applied to the Catechesis of Children
By Gianna Gobbi

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More About Nurturing the Whole Child

In Nurturing the Whole Child: Montessori Principles Applied to the Catechesis of Children, Gianna Gobbi draws on a lifetime of experience with children, having apprenticed with educator Dr. Maria Montessori, and collaborated with biblical scholar Sofia Cavalletti to develop the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS). With a deep understanding of the way children hear God speak to them personally and with profound simplicity, Gobbi explains how Montessori principles are practically applied with children in the context of religious formation. This work is the fruit of entering gently and respectfully into the child’s joyful encounter with the mystery of God’s silent self-revelation made tangible through ancient biblical images, liturgical signs, and celebrations. Originally presented in Italian as a series of lectures for the formation of catechists in CGS, “la dispenza di Gianna” has been translated into English and edited for publication. This book is an important addition to the CGS library and a valuable reference in the formation of catechists in CGS. Parents of young children attending the CGS atrium will also find this book an informative resource on the nature of children and their prayer life.

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We believe God and the child have a unique relationship with one another. Children need their own place to foster the growth of that relationship. The growth of this relationship is assisted by the adult, but is directed by the Spirit of God within the child.

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What is the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd? The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd was born from the joy of the children’s encounter with God. It has been observed that children of the same developmental stage, even those from widely varying cultural backgrounds, respond to elements of the Christian message in the same way.

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In Catechesis of the Good Shepherd adults are given the opportunity to embrace a method of catechesis (or religious education) that will deepen one’s relationship with God. Catechist formation in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is both instructive as well as experiential. It captivates both the head as well as the heart.

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We read in the Gospel of Mark that Jesus sent his disciples out in pairs, two by two; the journey was not meant to be a solitary one. It is essential for us as catechists to support one another as we prepare materials, work in the atrium, and observe the child. We come together in unity, as members of CGSUSA, to share the joy of this work.

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Through their joy, their wonder and awe, their capacity for love and prayer, and their radical simplicity, children offer us adults a glimpse of what it means to fall in love with God. This has been the work of CGSUSA for over 30 years: to advocate for the child’s joy.

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