Atrium Information

Atrium Directress

Mary Jo Klein earned her diploma in Primary Montessori Education at Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center in Evanston, Il. She received accreditation in Godly Play training through The Center for the Theology of Childhood and is working toward accreditation in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. She has been active in her Catholic church community through work on Liturgy and Christian Formation committees, as well as Parish Council. Mrs. Klein has worked at Milwaukee Montessori School for fourteen years. Her oldest son, Francis, graduated from MMS in 2008 and is currently attending UW-Madison. Her second son, John, graduated from MMS in the spring of 2012 and is attending Pius XI High School.


Patti Wenzel minored in Religious Studies at Wisconsin Lutheran College and has taught Sunday School, hymnology and choir at a variety of congregations over the last 25 years. Mrs. Wenzel is married to a Wisconsin Synod Lutheran minister and has raised three children, Martin - –26, Walter - 23, and Kathryn -– 20. She has been at Milwaukee Montessori School for one year, serving as the school’'s Registrar and as a substitute teacher in the Toddler Program.


Questions & Answers

How will this program benefit my child?
Maria Montessori strongly believed in fostering each child’s spiritual development. Drawing upon Holy Scripture, the Church liturgy, and Montessori methods of education, the directors will present lessons that engage the children in reflection, and guide their response using the materials, while nurturing the child’s natural sense of wonder and love for God.

My family is not Christian. Is this program right for my child?
The Atrium is a Christian-based program and children from any faith interested in learning more about the outlined curricula are warmly welcomed. Litergical lessons are based on Catholic practice but religious commonalities are emphasized throughout the lesson.

How does this program differ from traditional religious education?
Our program, based in the Montessori educational method, caters to the individual child in a child-friendly environment. The work they choose following presentations will help them learn the language of the spiritual materials, the history of the people in the stories of the Bible, and how these things are relevant in their lives. Each Atrium session also allows children time for responding to God’s Word as well as joining others in prayer. The program is a perfect compliment for preparation for First Reconciliation or Communion. It helps children recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit in daily life as well as in the sacraments, and provides a solid foundation for faith formation. First Communion and First Reconciliation preparation are available upon the approval of the child's member parish.


Quiz Yourself

  1. What season of the church year is represented by the color red?
  2. What were the three major cities in Jesus' life?
  3. What were the gifts of the Magi?
  4. Name three parables that explain the Kingdom of Heaven?
  5. What do the four candles in Advent represent?

“I would have a separate room dedicated to the supernatural. Everything in this room would have a bearing on the spiritual life, and the general effect would be that here the soul of the child and all his activities would be centered in the life and personality of our Lord." -Maria Montessori, The Child in the Church

Milwaukee Montessori School
345 North 95th St, Milwaukee, WI 53226
T: 414.259.0370 F: 414.259.0427
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