Friday, November 30, 2007

Montessori Inspired Age Appropriate Toys (Birth to 3 Years)

NAMC Montessori Inspired Age Appropriate Toys 0-3 infant playing

It’s the holiday season, and if you’re like me, you’re making your list and checking it twice, making sure that everyone is taken care of with just the right gift. As my son gets older, it seems he’s harder to shop for. He’s outgrown the need for so many toys, but he’s not yet at the stage where getting clothes is cool. Thinking back to the countless hours I've spent at large retail toy outlets trying to decide on the perfect holiday toys, I decided to take a look at what toys are developmentally appropriate as well as educationally sound at the various developmental stages. I’ll begin with ages 0-36 months.

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 30, 2007.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Purpose of Play in the Montessori Method

NAMC montessori purpose of play infant and mobile

When I think back to my son’s early years, I find myself smiling at thoughts of him learning to catch a ball and the sheer joy on his face when he did so. Or tummy-time spent playing with rays of sunshine filtering through the windows. These moments are etched deeply in my mind as moments I spent watching him grow and develop.


Play time is a universal need of infants. For infants, learning always occurs through experience, and play is a natural instinct which combines learning with pleasure. Throughout most of childhood, play is the way children learn about themselves and their environment. For infants, in order for learning to have a significant impact, they must touch the object they are examining: they feel it, taste it, and examine it with their hands.

Have you ever tried playing with a tired, hungry, or fussy infant? It’s not much fun for you or the infant. (Or for you, frankly.) That said, infants will only play when they’re having fun. Therefore, learning must be fun and enjoyable for infants to develop.

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 28, 2007.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Montessori Prepared Environment: The Montessori Teacher

NAMC montessori teacher greets girl montessori prepared environment

Close your eyes and visualize a Montessori classroom before the children enter on the first day of school. What did you see? Beautiful materials on well-organized shelves? Real plants and fresh flowers? Beautiful, delicate objects within the reach of children? Rolled rugs? Child-size furniture? Lots of natural light? Before the children enter, however, there is one more preparation to make. You must prepare yourself as the Montessori teacher.

Although the teacher is in the background of the Montessori environment, the preparation of the teacher is of vital importance. After all, the Montessori classroom is constant in the lives of children, yet the atmosphere of the classroom can change on any given day. Why? Because of the teacher. When children enter the classroom, they immediately know what kind of day it’s going to be based on the reception they get from the teacher. Did she smile and shake their hand? Or did she rush past them on her way to the copy machine?

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 23, 2007.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Montessori Prepared Environment: What is Control of Error?

NAMC montessori prepared environment control of error cylinders

Maria Montessori observed that given the opportunity, children would rather correct themselves than depend on an adult to do it for them. She believed that making mistakes was a natural part of learning and that developing self-correction skills helped develop confidence and decision-making skills.

A Montessori classroom only works if the materials it holds are complete and used appropriately. A prepared physical environment includes incorporating a control of error in the children’s works. The materials and presentations contain a control of error which makes the child use his/her reasoning abilities and promotes independence. This allows quick feedback for the child by allowing him to self-correct. The responsibility for learning rests with the learner.

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 21, 2007.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Celebrating Thanksgiving with Montessori Activities

NAMC montessori activities thanksgiving pinecone turkeys

In 1621, the English colonists, better known as Pilgrims, at Plymouth and the Wampanoag (People of the First Light) Indians of North America shared a feast celebrating both the survival of the Pilgrims during their first winter in the New World and the relationships between the colonists and the Indians. Historians call it the 1621 Harvest Celebration, but we know it as “Thanksgiving”.

On September 6, 1620, the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth Harbor in England, bound for Virginia. Violent storms blew the ship off course and the ship landed in what is currently known as Cape Cod, Massachusetts, on November 9, 1620. Having spent two months at sea, the colonists found themselves in the midst of a harsh New England winter. This made it very difficult to find food and shelter. While the Pilgrims struggled to build homes, they continued to live aboard the Mayflower. Many colonists, already weakened by their strenuous journey, perished during the first few months. By spring, less than half of those that set out for the New World remained.

Continue reading for extensive history to share with your Montessori class, as well as some fun thanksgiving activities to enjoy!

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 16, 2007.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Montessori Prepared Environment: Purpose, Set-Up and Classroom Features

NAMC montessori prepared environment classroom peace place
One of the factors that contributed to the success of Montessori education was in Montessori’s scrutiny of the traditional educational environment. At that time, schoolrooms held adult-size furniture that was usually arranged in rows and bolted in place. Closets and shelves were placed at adult height so even the simplest of tasks had to be carried out by adults.

Montessori’s analysis led her to create schools that were truly suited for children. By adapting the environment and surroundings to the child’s size and nature, the Montessori classroom became a place where children could relax and learn. She had carpenters build child-sized tables and chairs which could easily be moved about without adult help. She also brought in rugs and mats because she’d observed that young children like to lie and work on the floor.

Learn more about what makes the perfect Montessori prepared environment, and how it helps children achieve success and joy in learning.

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 14, 2007.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Reading Aloud to Children: Reading the Montessori Way

NAMC montessori teacher reading aloud to children
So, when do I start reading aloud to my Montessori child? The answer is simple: as soon as possible! After all, Maria Montessori believed that the sensitive period for language development is between birth and age six.

What better time to start reading aloud to your child than when he is in the sensitive period for language acquisition?

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, November 8, 2007.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Reading Aloud to Children: Tips for Happy, Successful Readers

NAMC montessori reading aloud to children tips for happy successful readers
Last week I wrote about the joys of reading aloud to my son, Nathaniel. Even when you have a child who seems to devour books, reading is not always easy for them. Here are some possible roadblocks and solutions to reading aloud to all ages.

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, November 5, 2007.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Celebrating Veteran's Day with Montessori Activities

veteran's remembrance day star decoration namc montessori activities
In many parts of the world, military veterans are honored on November eleventh. This day, known in the United States as Veteran’s day and as Armistice or Remembrance Day in other areas, is the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I in 1918.

In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first day commemorating the Armistice. The original idea was for a day marked with parades and public meetings, with a brief suspension of business beginning at 11 am. Unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day is largely meant to celebrate and thank living veterans for their service, sacrifice, and dedication.

Although most federal holidays are celebrated on Mondays so as to gain a 3-day weekend, Veterans Day is always celebrated on November 11 to preserve the historical significance and importance of the date.
There are several activities that you can do in your Montessori classroom to help children recognize and learn about Veterans Day.

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 2, 2007.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Reading Aloud to Children: Modeling and Bonding

boy with book NAMC montessori reading aloud to children learning to readThis is a story I share with all my Montessori parents and colleagues when I hear them say “But my son / daughter / student is old enough to read alone. I don’t need to read to them aloud anymore”.

My son’s love for reading began the day he was born. As a young mother, I read novels as I nursed my infant son. As he grew older, I found myself unable to read while I nursed because he started playing with the pages. I read to him before nap time and bed time. I remember reading Anne of Green Gables aloud to him after dinner as he bounced in his “bouncy seat”. About the time he was 9 months old, I remember calling to complain to my mother in New Jersey, “All he does is bring me books to read. He doesn't want to play with his blocks or trucks. He just wants to read!” My mother wondered aloud what I was complaining about! I even remember hiding his favorite book, Steve and the Mighty Loader, high up on my bookshelf in hopes that I would get a break from reading it a dozen times a day!

We loved reading together. As he grew older, I remember snuggling up on his car bed with him to read. I can still picture him in his blanket sleepers, his hair wet from his bath, sucking his index finger, and waiting for me tell him a story. After I’d finish, I’d turn on his tape player and he’d fall asleep to tales from Beatrix Potter, A. A. Milne, and Thomas the Tank Engine. These were precious memories that bonded us together, mother and son.

When my son was in second grade, he was quite capable of reading on his own. I thought I was doing him a favor by letting him read to himself at bedtime.

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, November 1, 2007.
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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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