Friday, December 19, 2014

Montessori Parenting: Gift Giving


“It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put in giving.”
— Mother Teresa

I met a fifth grade boy recently who was happy to share his feelings about the upcoming holidays. “I’ve given up on Christmas,” he said. “I’ve come to realize that, no matter what I ask for, what I really want I just won’t get. I asked for an Xbox last year and got a book. Whenever I ask for video games, my mom tells me to go outside and play. Why doesn’t she understand I just want to be like the other kids?”

I have to admit, his cynicism tugged at my heart strings. I know his mother, and I know and respect the reasoning behind her parenting decisions and their family values. I know, too, that she feels guilty at times over values, wants, and needs.

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Friday, December 19, 2014.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Modeling Kindness During the Holiday Season


“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a Store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!”

— Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

When I was growing up, my mother and grandmother had a little impish elf among their holiday décor. He sat quietly on the shelf, watching the holiday festivities, without being an interactive part of our holiday.

Today, the popular ‘elf on the shelf’ that appears at the holidays is used as a sort of secular advent countdown to Christmas. Often, children are told that the elf is there watching for their good behavior. While the elf is supposed to ensure that the children are behaving well, he is notorious for getting into mischief himself. Children wake up daily to see what kind of trouble the elf has gotten into overnight.

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Friday, December 12, 2014.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Absorbent Mind: Chapter 23: Cohesion in the Social Unit

Montessori absorbent mind social cohesion ch 23 children painting together

“The great task of education must be to secure and to preserve a normality which, of its own nature, gravitates toward the center of perfection.”
— Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, p. 239.

In Chapter 23, Dr. Montessori explains that the fundamental difference between her method and conventional methods is based on the social cohesion found within the environment. This cohesion, she tells us, springs spontaneously when we allow the child to develop based on their needs. These needs are inherent in all children and are set forth by nature. “It is the society of little children who are guided by the magical powers of nature. We must value it and treasure it, because neither the character nor the social sentiment can be given by teachers. They are the products of life.” (p. 234)

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Wednesday, December 3, 2014.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Montessori Values – Thanksgiving Every Day

Montessori values thanksgiving every day girl giving boy sunflower

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”
— Cicero

In the Montessori community, the lessons of Grace and Courtesy are integral at every level. From young infants to adolescents, children are taught to live together in community. Grace and courtesy goes beyond the common social niceties of “please” and “thank you” by demonstrating the value of courteous and empathetic behavior and communication as a vital life skill.

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Wednesday, November 26, 2014.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Absorbent Mind: Chapter 22: Social Development

NAMC Montessori absorbent mind ch 22 girl with geometric solids

“…no one acting on the child from the outside can cause him to concentrate. Only he can organize his psychic life.”

— Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, p. 222.

I have been involved with Montessori education for over 13 years. When I talk to prospective teachers or parents, I find that they always ask the same questions. They want to know about the materials, the idea of mixed age grouping, the ideal class size, the amount of adult involvement, and the concept of freedom. In chapter 22 of The Absorbent Mind, Dr. Montessori addresses all of these questions.

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Tuesday, November 18, 2014.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Redirecting Versus Distracting in the Montessori Environment

NAMC Montessori redirection vs distraction boy on swing with muddy feet

What is the difference between redirecting and distracting children from unwanted behavior? The biggest difference is in the approach. Redirection involves guidance; distraction merely diverts attention.

Let’s look at a few examples and see if we can tell the difference:

1. Baby Sarah gets upset and cries when Mommy leaves for work. As Mom closes the front door, Sarah’s caregiver gives Sarah a toy and says, “Look at this pretty toy.” Redirection or distraction?

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Friday, November 7, 2014.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Guiding Children with Learning Disabilities in the Montessori Environment

“Help me to help myself.” — Maria Montessori, The Child in the Family, p. 72.

namc montessori children with learning disabilities silhouette sunset

In her book Children Who are Not Yet Peaceful, Donna Bryant Goertz says, “We wisely welcome into our classrooms that small number of children whose behavior strikes us as eccentric, complicated, challenging, or confusing. These children are the indicators of how well the classroom is meeting the needs of all the children. They react when others don’t — and react overtly in ways that cannot be ignored. We have found that to assimilate these children and support them in their personal transformation, the class must be providing the maximum benefit to all children.” (Goertz, 2001)

If we truly believe that all children can and have the right to learn, then there is a place for all children in your Montessori environment, including those with learning disabilities or who are “at risk.”

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Monday, October 27, 2014.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Absorbent Mind: Chapter 21: Children’s Possessiveness and Its Transformations

“The child is the spiritual builder of mankind, and obstacles to his free development are the stones in the wall by which the soul of man has become imprisoned.” — Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, p. 221.

NAMC Montessori absorbent mind ch 21 possessiveness child with ladybug

When my son was a toddler, he was intrigued by the minutiae of his environment. Ants crawling along the pathway were fascinating to him. Their tiny parade seemed to race from one place to another. As his tiny foot lifted in an attempt to learn what would happen if they were crushed, I gently stopped him, saying, “Ants are living creatures. Let’s watch where they are going instead.” Following their linear progression, we quietly observed them carrying food back to their nest.

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Thursday, October 16, 2014.
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As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.

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