The catechetical materials are like a second incarnation as they concretise the religious realities, both from the Bible and the liturgy which are proclaimed or lifted up in the atrium. These realities are made tangible and visible for the child who can absorb them when working with the material. The material also helps the adult in presenting but the most important thing is always to remember that the material is for the child to use and is not primarily a teaching aid.
The 32 points of the Characteristics of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd state that catechists are meant to prepare the materials themselves as much as possible while collaborating with others in areas that are beyond one’s abilities. The reasons why the catechists are requested to make the materials with theirs hands are:
to absorb the content more deeply
to combat hurry, consumerism and even excessive “efficiency”;
to pace oneself more to the rhythm of the child and thus also, or so we believe, to the working of the Holy Spirit
to try to reach the integration of hand, mind, and heart
During CGS trainings, catechists can understandably feel overwhelmed by the amount of time and the skills needed to create an atrium and it can be a great comfort to know that there is help at hand.
The suppliers of materials listed below have attended trainings and are aware of the need for catechists to get involved in preparing the materials and will therefore usually leave the wood unpainted and ready to be assembled. They have also taken great care in making materials that are faithful to the models created and tested over the years by Sofia Cavalletti and Gianna Gobbi, and updated by the Consiglio when needed.
In the UK:
Anna and her husband Chris make materials for Level I and level II as well as toddler atriums. They ship to the UK and all over Europe. Items are all hand made to order. More information here.
Vincent has been attending all 3 levels of training and worked in an atrium setting in a Montessori school for the last 4 years. He makes material with a brand new laser cutting machine. He launched his own business in September 2019. He can ship all over Europe too. The English version of his website is here.