Friday, February 29, 2008

Modeling Peace Between Parents and Teachers in the Montessori Classroom

modelling peace between NAMC montessori teachers parents classroom girl with flowerMontessori teachers are models of peacemaking and compromises. We teach our children to choose their words carefully, keeping in mind the feelings of others. We actively promote and encourage peace in our Montessori classrooms by having a peace corner or peace rose as a symbol of working together to work out problems. We make sure our language is positive and inclusive of all children. We encourage active listening by utilizing the “one voice at a time” rule and incorporating a talking stick/stone during class meetings or peace negotiations. As such, it is important to not only model this with our students but with parents, fellow faculty and staff members.

Last week was Teacher Appreciation Week at my school. It came at an awkward time as there were a few parents who were upset about the proposed calendar for next year. Some parents and teachers had hurt feelings, and there was even talk among faculty about boycotting the Teacher Appreciation luncheon. All in all, the peaceful feeling of a Montessori community was suspended.

It was a difficult time. It is so crucial to have a community where open communication is not just talked about, but truly plays an important role. When there is not open communication, the children are the ones who suffer the most.

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, February 29, 2008.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Staying Healthy in the Montessori Classroom

staying healthy NAMC montessori classroom girl coughing
Ahhhh…February. While the cold and flu season officially begins as early as October, it seems to really culminate during the month of February. Cold temperatures have forced children to be inside for months and the germs seem to be passed from one child to another. Sneezes, coughs, runny and snuffly noses have added to the noise level in my Montessori classroom.

We encourage the children to use whisper voices, but honestly, there is no such thing as a whispered sneeze. For the last few weeks, I’ve had at least one child tell me every day they don’t feel well enough to stay at school. Usually, a snack or a hug helps, though I have sent children home with 102F temperatures, stomach viruses, and bone-rattling coughing.

Your Montessori school should have an illness policy in place for parents to refer to when deciding whether or not to send a sick child to school.

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, February 28, 2008.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Peaceful Home - A Montessori Way of Life

NAMC montessori values peaceful home life boy and girl with flower
Montessori education doesn't begin at 8:30 am and end at 3:30 pm. Montessori is education for life. Therefore, it is crucial that the behaviors that we expect in our Montessori classrooms are reflected in our homes as well. Many parents have asked me "What's your magic? My children behave so well for you, but at home, it's a completely different story. What works in your Montessori classroom, doesn't work at home."

 My question is "Why not?" I don't profess to have a magic wand and I don't rule with an iron fist. I do have clear cut, well-defined classroom expectations (see, I don't even use the word "rules") that my class develops at the beginning of the year. If what you're doing doesn't respect self, others, or the environment, then it's not acceptable behavior.

Over the years, I've helped parents realize that they, too, can have a peaceful environment at home. Here are a few tips:

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 Sunday, February 24, 2008.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Montessori Philosophy - Building Character Through Work

NAMC montessori practical life character work child and mother baking
The child can only develop by means of experience in his environment. We call such experience work. —Dr. Maria Montessori

For the past two weekends, we've been building a fence in our backyard. Its primary use is to contain my son’s miniature daschund, Toby. The project has been a real family affair, involving my husband, my son, my parents, and me. But getting my almost-12-year old son to help was a much bigger task than I had anticipated.

Looking back to when I was growing up, I remember many weekends where my father and grandfather would work together on home improvement jobs. If either of them had a job to do, the other was right there beside him, helping. They didn't have to ask; it was assumed.

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, February 18, 2008.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentine's Day in the Montessori Classroom: Why Should We Celebrate?

why celebrate valentine's day NAMC montessori classroom student with heart
I’ve heard a lot of grumbling about Valentine’s Day this year. People are complaining about the cards (“What’s the point? They just get thrown away.”). There are complaints about feeling obligated to bring in treats (“Who needs more sugar?”). They complain about the phoniness of it all (“The kids only want the candy”) or about whether preschool and elementary children should be exposed to the notion of “romantic” love. I’ve even heard teachers grumbling about the hassle of having to make Valentine’s bags, the chaotic excitement of the build up to the BIG day, and about the mess the room will be in once the children go home!

Part of our job as Montessori teachers is to hold fast and true to what is precious to children. If children delight in receiving a card that says “I think you’re a great friend,” then we should delight along with them and provide them the opportunity and environment to do so.

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, February 13, 2008.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Guide to Painting in the Montessori 3-6 Preschool/Kindergarten Classroom

montessori students painting procedures guide
Who doesn't remember painting as a child? I remember the excitement of being able to use watercolors during the summer, at home with my mother. Back then, we had “magic” books where you painted the pages with water, and they became colored as the ink was released. In school, there was such wonder and joy when we saw our teacher bring out the paint bottles. We knew that any time the paint was out it was a special day, indeed!

Painting in the Montessori classroom is a fun, yet serious experience. To the Montessori teacher, painting for self-expression is the secondary goal. The first goal of painting is practical in nature. For the 3 to 6 year old child, painting is a way to strengthen muscles and refine motor skills. It improves concentration and coordination. The process of setting up and cleaning up is also a way to promote independence.
Like all works in a Montessori classroom, painting is broken down into a series of procedures as well as levels.

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 Sunday, February 10, 2008.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Measuring Student Achievement in the Montessori Classroom: Grading

student achievement NAMC montessori classroom grading boy with plants
Many parents today have concerns about the level of education their children are receiving. There is much competition between schools to uphold high educational standards, with schools, teachers and students being held accountable. Student test scores are being published in local papers, and schools are pitted against each other as to which one holds the highest scores. Schools with lower test scores are sometimes penalized by having funds withheld.

With this focus on grading so focused on, how do teachers in the Montessori classroom measure student achievement...and how can they explain it to parents?

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 Sunday, February 3, 2008.
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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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