Today’s Google doodle profiles Maria Montessori, who would have celebrated her 142nd birthday, if she was alive today.

It spells Google — if you squint really hard

Clicking on the doodle brings up results which include this short profile from Wikipedia:

Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and educator, a noted humanitarian and devout Catholic best known for the philosophy of education which bears her name.

Montessori’s pedagogy is derived from her observation of children’s learning, and the fact that it is still in use a century after it was developed it is testimony to Montessori’s empirical skills.

I am not — I must confess — very familiar with the Montessori method as it applies to general curriculum. But I am familiar with, and very impressed by, the Montessori method as it applies to religious education.

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd programme is developed for children aged 3 to 12. Students are introduced to scripture and liturgy by the use of models: 3D models in the case of liturgy and historical events described in scripture; and 2D models in the case of the parables.

This short video shows the long and the short of it:

Godly Play is a “rival” catechesis which also derives from Montessori’s pedagogy. There are significant differences between the two programmes, which are very clearly enumerated by the US Guild of the Good Shepherd.

But the two programmes also share many similarities. Here’s a clip of a GodPlay lesson on a parable which is also representative of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd:

Even though it was a bit like watching Play School, which normally bores me, I found this video very absorbing. I think I know why. The catechist reminded me of Edith Ann — Lily Tomlin’s vaguely menacing Sesame Street character. Edith Ann always captivated me — and still does — so even though it has nothing to do with Maria Montessori, I’m going to throw her into this post too.

I don’t know if it’s last week’s children’s trivia, or tomorrow’s 31st birthday, but my mind is presently flooded with childhood memories! And that’s the truth. Pfbpfbpfbpfb.