What we seek to avoid are the cheap substitutes which are so highly prized in our society today, as they have been throughout the history of western civilization: superiority, pride, competition, control, praise, rewards and punishment. What Dr. Montessori discovered was that what had always seemed to be necessary to bring out the best in human nature often brings out the opposite. Yet even in our Montessori communities around the world, we struggle moment by moment, day by day to keep those practices out of our schools and our families.
Archive for Montessori Blog
For the older child, when we walk into a classroom we expect to see a wide array of work areas including tables, chairs, floor mats, pillows, quiet corners, etc. Yet, when thinking of children under one, we don’t typically understand that as much emphasis should be placed on preparing them a ‘work area.’
One of the self-calming tools I have sometimes given children is the practice of “mindful walking.” This method has historical roots in the contemplative traditions of Asia, but it is in no way esoteric and is easily understood by children.
Somehow our culture has convinced students that learning only happens by force and only inside a classroom. Learning is something you only do because you have to, never for fun or because you just want to. What a shame…especially when Montessori education offers a time-tested and proven method that supports a child’s natural curiosity and love of learning!
At a recent school event, a parent asked about music in the Montessori classroom. It’s a legitimate question, as sometimes we are so excited to share with parents the math or language or science or geometry materials, that we forget to talk about art and music, although we hold them in equal esteem with the more purely “academic” pursuits.
I am capable of being the finest example of your best attributes and values expressed in my very own way. If you will prepare a home environment carefully and thoroughly for me, keep my materials and tools in order and good repair, set the limits clearly and firmly, give me long slow periods of time to work on my secret plan, I will do the work of developing a new human being, me!
An increasing number of apps targeted at young children are in the digital storefront; is there value for them? Does your 3 year-old have to have their own iPad? What would pioneering educator Dr. Maria Montessori think about these doo-dahs?
As they find activities that meet their inner need for self-development and as their space and autonomy are respected, a sense of calm and purposefulness settles over the classroom. Perhaps it is magic, after all.
The Montessori primary program is designed as a three-year cycle. Much of the material and exercises in the first year or two not only help the child achieve a direct, immediate goal (such as dressing and cleaning after themselves, or learning the sounds of each letter of the alphabet), but also serve an indirect purpose of laying the foundation for future work and learning.
Elementary children need to experience themselves as increasingly powerful agents in the world. As their personal power increases with age and maturity, they begin to encounter all the classical questions about power with which humanity has struggled and continues to struggle. At the root of these questions is the fact that power and its uses define relationships.
As the director of a Montessori school, one of the most frequent questions I get from parents is, “What should I be doing at home to help my child academically?” My answer is always the same: “Talk and read with your child.”
He was a sweet child with an angelic face, this new six year-old from another Montessori school. And he was so eager to please. How was I to know that he—during the very first week of school–would treat the parents at departure to the most spectacular display of temper I’d ever seen, complete with language I’d never in my life heard used against me, by anyone, much less a sweet child!
Since my first son’s birth 3 years ago, I have gravitated towards Attachment Parenting. Yet, I have started to question: is it compatible with Montessori?
The only expression that we’ve found to be adequate enough to address this complex issue, is the phrase, “You did it!” It seems to say everything.
I like to think that maybe she found the experience inspiring nonetheless, and that perhaps the Montessori children had taught her just a little bit more about creativity…