Recent Articles
Mar
9

I Thought I Was a Montessori Teacher

I Thought I Was a Montessori Teacher

Finishing up, I asked Francesca, “Any questions?” Her glazed eyes were a clear indication of my inability to reach over and around to her side of the bell curve. I knew what I was doing, that’s for sure. “So, what am I supposed to do?” she asked with a deep-seated bleariness. “Here,” I said, “start by building a square with these pegs…” and I went back to the beginning of the lesson, and eventually, step by step, we began to rebuild the lesson I’d just presented.

This was my pattern during those first months as a first-year teacher. I’d determine a lesson needed to be given. I’d make the presentation. The kids would look at me, “What are we supposed to do?” “I just showed you…” Eventually I realized there was something missing. It was Mrs. Honneger who had said to me, “If the children aren’t doing the work it means you made a mistake.” “Me?” “Yes, you! Not them, not the material, you are the mistake!” Well, I never.

Read More
Mar
2

Children Centered Learning – Learning Centered Children

Children Centered Learning – Learning Centered Children

Sebastian was a very particular child. Prone to believing he was right and making his opinions known to all, he was a student for whom daily struggles were common: arriving on time, staying on task, choosing challenging work, doing work that was not always his choice, sticking to a schedule, etc. For a teacher still […]

Read More
Feb
24

Montessori Birthday Celebrations

Montessori Birthday Celebrations

The first time I saw a Montessori birthday celebration was when I observed at a school during my training.  I immediately fell in love with the idea.  I loved the simplicity of it, along with the introduction to a bit of science and history.  I witnessed several birthday celebrations while working in the classroom, but […]

Read More
Feb
16

Too Young, Too New to Mediate

Too Young, Too New to Mediate

“Oh, no,” I thought, “they’re too angry to listen to her. What will they say? What will they do? It’s true, we do just sit down together at a time like this and take a deep breath before we try to speak, but they are not going to listen to her.”

Read More
Feb
10

Failure – A Better Teacher Than Success

Failure – A Better Teacher Than Success

Consider the child’s experience of a cube. Does she learn more by seeing a flat, screen image of a cube (actually a two-dimensional hexagon), or by lifting a polished wooden block that measures 10 cm on each side and weighs 50 grams? After observing the way young children learn, Dr. Montessori told us, “Never give more to the mind than you give to the hand.”

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.’

Read More
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.

Read More
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!

Read More
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.

Read More
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!

Read More