Recent Articles
Feb
2

A Closer Look

A Closer Look

“We would like to read two poems, if you are available,” one of them says. I come from behind my desk to sit and listen. One of the poems is about dolphins; the other is about insects. The children read aloud, taking turns with the verses. Clearly, they have made a plan and practiced how they will work together as readers.

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Jan
27

A Classroom Without Walls – Deepening Children’s Connections With Nature

A Classroom Without Walls – Deepening Children’s Connections With Nature

As a classroom teacher, I remember fondly our studies in Human History: first examining and classifying the human animal; then drawing connections between our closest living relatives, and most recently to the epic stories of the earliest of humans and how they changed with and adapted to their dynamic living environments to suit their needs.

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Jan
24

The Late Bloomer

The Late Bloomer

Zach is a bit of an anomaly. He is incredibly smart in many areas, but was a late bloomer, at least when it came to reading. He didn’t read well until the 2nd or 3rd grade. But, as Montessorians often know to expect, at some point in that year something “clicked on” and he began reading voraciously– his sensitive period for reading was just a bit later than most children. He was soon reading chapter books, and by 5th grade was reading at a high school level. In high school he probably learned more from his independent reading than from school. He continues to read everything from science fiction to science journals and everything in between, and is one of the best-read people I know.

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Jan
6

Skipping Stones

Skipping Stones

It is only after much exploration of the fractions as shapes, that we move on to defining, naming and writing them. “When we break a unit into pieces of the same size we call those fractions. When we divide the whole unit into two parts, we call each part a half. This is the family name. We write the family name ‘half’ as a 2 under a line. The number under the line, that tells us which family we are talking about, is called the denominator.” In this way we proceed, slowly and with much repetition, to teach the names of the fractions, three at a time.

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Jan
6

Our Community of Paradoxes

Our Community of Paradoxes

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.

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Jan
6

The Montessori Movement Mat – The Child’s First Working Table

The Montessori Movement Mat – The Child’s First Working Table

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.’

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Dec
15

Emotions Like Clouds, Thoughts Like Rain

Emotions Like Clouds, Thoughts Like Rain

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.

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Dec
4

I Hate School

I Hate School

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!

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Dec
4

Montessori Music

Montessori Music

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.

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Dec
4

Owner’s Manual for a Child

Owner’s Manual for a Child

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!

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Oct
2

We Are Montessori

We Are Montessori

The We Are Montessori Project aims to celebrate Montessori alumni and bring more awareness to the benefits of Montessori education. The project allows alumni to express their personal Montessori stories and is the perfect place to connect with fellow alumni, share your favorite memories, and inspire others to explore Montessori education.

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Oct
2

Montessori 2.0

Montessori 2.0

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?

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Sep
25

The Magic of Grace & Courtesy

The Magic of Grace & Courtesy

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.

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Sep
25

The Three Year Commitment

The Three Year Commitment

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.

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Jul
17

Boys and Gun Play

Boys and Gun Play

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.

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