Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Although many Montessori teachers like to scurry observers out the door before false fatigue sets in, it would be beneficial for parents to observe this phenomenon. Parents might start to feel uneasy about the change in energy and noise level, but the children's true work begins during this peak after false fatigue.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
- The child's exploration is not disruptive to the class.
- The child is not being destructive to the materials.
Gauge what your reaction would be to the following situations. Would you allow the exploration to continue, or would you ask the child to put the work away?
1. A child is using one of the red rods as a sword.
2. Two children are mixing up the pieces to the frog puzzle and the bird puzzle to make the exercise more difficult for themselves.
3. A child is making quiet animal noises while using the farm.
4. A child has set up the brown stair, and is now standing on them and using them as steps.
5. Two children roll the sphere from the geometric solids as fast as it will go across the entire classroom.
Well? What do you think? Of course, every situation is different and oftentimes I gauge my response by the reaction from the other children. Typically, here is how I would respond:
1. I would ask the child with the "swords" to please put them away, that game might be fun for a playdate after school.
2. I would certainly allow this exercise to continue. What a great extension to the work.
3. As long as the animal noises are not disruptive to the class, I would enjoy observing the child with the farm.
4. I would ask the child to come down from the brown stair because that is destructive to the work. I would further his interests by comparing and contrasting the brown stair to the stairs in our classroom.
5. Rolling the sphere is lots of fun and a great excercise in teaching the principals of that solid. However, I would be sure the children use it on the mat only. Their choice would have been both destructive to the sphere and disruptive to the class.
I observed one of these activity experiments today with GG and the farm. He had received a lesson on male/female/offspring with the farm and was told he could now creatively work with the farm on his own. I became mildly concerned when I noticed the grammar symbols being placed on the farm, simply because this child has not yet been introduced to that lesson. The children are aware that they are not to get out work without a lesson because they could potentially hurt the work or hurt themselves (we do use glass and other breakable objects). I was about to put a halt to the use of grammar symbols when I heard him speaking quietly to himself, "Look, horses, you have now entered Egypt! Look at those beautiful pyramids!" Now how could I put a stop to that!?!
Sunday, September 20, 2009
- Primary- 3-6 year olds
- Lower Elementary- 6-9
- Upper Elementary- 9-12
- High School- 15-18
There is a communication and harmony between the two that one seldom finds between the adult and the small child...It is hard to believe how deep this atmosphere of protection and admiration becomes in practice. They do not help each other as we do...They respect one another's efforts, and give help only when necessary. This is very illuminating because it means they respect intuitively the essential need of childhood which is not to be helped unnecessarily.
People sometimes fear that if a child of five gives lessons, this will hold him back in his own progress. But, in the first place, he does not teach all the time and his freedom is respected. Secondly, teaching helps him to understand what he knows even better than before. He has to analyze and rearrange his little store of knowledge before he can pass it on. So his sacrifice does not go unrewarded.
Third-Year Student Presenting Hand Washing Work
Third-Year Student Teaching the Parts of the Butterfly
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I just adore this book, probably more than the children! This little girl goes for a walk with her father in the city and in a park. Her daddy's shoes go "clip, clop, clip, clop" and her sneakers are silent! The author goes through and describes all of the sounds that they here. The children love to hear me imitating a pigeon in the city and a duck at the park!
After we read the story, we went out into the community for a "listening walk". The children walked silently as they listened to the world. Afterwards, we sat outside and wrote down a list of the sounds we heard. Here are a few noises that were noticed:
- the wind in a tree
- GC's rain jacket
- a UPS truck
- a cricket
- my flip flops
- a hawk
- a garage door
I know the activity made an impact on some of the children because they made comments throughout the day about the fish tank noise or the sound of someone sweeping up after snack. It's important for children to become aware of their surroundings and to refine their senses. That is, after all, one of the goals of primary Montessori education!
Monday, September 14, 2009
I offer you peace;
I offer you love;
I offer you friendship;
I hear your cry;
I see your beauty;
I feel your pain;
This caring flows from my spirit within;
I salute that spirit in you.
Let us work together for peace.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
For my take on the subject, you can read this post. I'm really pleased to say that I don't have ANY praise junkies this year. Current moms and dads, you should pat yourselves on the back (...or is that too much praise?) for using process-based instead of product-based praise at home. For example, "You spent a lot of time on that painting." Instead of, "I think that painting is the most beautiful painting in the whole world!".
What are your thoughts on this topic?
Friday, September 11, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
- LD- "School is awesome."
- NC- "I don't know why my brother says he doesn't like school, I LOVE it!"
- UP- "Thank you for that lesson."
- EK- "Why is it time to go home already?"
- HM-"I had fun today."
- GG- "I can't wait to come back the day after tomorrow!"
I guess the proof is in the pudding! Every year, it amazes me how different each session can be. This year, it seems the morning group is more serene and reflective. The afternoon group was energized and creative with the materials. The classes will change their dynamics throughout the year, I'm sure, but I'm baffled by the difference in these two groups. Send me a comment over the next few months and remind me to post about the differences in the two classes. We'll be able to reflect on those differences and try to figure out why the changes occurred.
I want to tell all of my children this year that I'm so proud to be your teacher, and I look forward to a peaceful, joyous school year.
"Rolling a Mat"
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
9. Get involved by volunteering your time, observing the class, attending workshops and coming to parent/teacher conferences.
8. Follow your child's interests by taking him/her to local museums, libraries and parks.
7. Give your child uninterrupted quality time with the television, radio and computer shut off.
6. Laugh with your child--it's a great way to relieve stress and ease tension.
5. Allow plenty of time for your child to play creatively- try not to interrupt this experience. Oftentimes, children are learning a great deal through play.
4. TRUST your child with freedom (within limits). Try not to hover like a helicopter parent.
3. Set guidelines for your child and follow through- each and every time.
2. Get your child involved in daily household chores in a positive way, without bribery or rewards. Steer clear of sticker bribes, our goal is for our children to be intrinsically motivated.
1. Do not force academics at home unless your child is seriously in need of academic support. Instead, spend quality family time together.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
However, I must admit that we generally neglect contemporary works of art. I found this great website called "Feed Your Soul- The Free Art Project" designed to introduce new works of art to a large audience. These pieces are available to download and print for free. Simply click on "downloads" to view the entire list of art. I think this one is my favorite, those owls are just so sweet:
I plan to print and frame a few to scatter around the classroom. I'm eager to discuss them with the children and even more excited to hear their conversations and critiques. I could write a book about some of the 3-year-old's conversations I've overheard. Enjoy!