During my pregnancy I crafted a series of Montessori mobiles that are designed to isolate certain concepts (black & white, primary colors, gradation, etc.) and to stimulate the visual sense of newborns. When my son, Zachary, was 7 weeks old, I introduced the third mobile in the series: the Gobbi Mobile. It is designed to isolate the gradation of one color – in this case the color blue.
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.
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.
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…
The Silent Journey & Discovery is a powerful event for many parents. Unfortunately, most parents did not attend a Montessori school as a child; although they can read about Montessori philosophy, attend parent nights and observe the classroom, it can be difficult, at times, for them to really understand the experience that their child has every day at school. The J&D provides and opportunity for parents to explore the entire continuum of the school and experience first hand, just like their children, the amazing things that an authentic Montessori program has to offer.
While one may not see “play” in a Montessori classroom, the spirit of play is very much still there.