Thursday, January 29, 2009

Montessori Students and Community Service: Volunteering and Compassion

NAMC montessori students community service volunteering compassion wheelbarrow
Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

The day before his inauguration, Barack Obama set an example for the American people by doing community service. Visiting wounded soldiers, painting a wall at a teen shelter, and visiting other volunteers, he modeled before the nation his “call to service”.

I feel so proud of those of us who are dedicated to Montessori education. After all, we've been teaching service and service learning all along. We model and teach our Montessori students to be stewards and caretakers of the Earth and its inhabitants. By doing so, we create caring, empathetic students who are capable of thinking beyond themselves. It was Dr. Montessori’s vision that a peaceful world, created by children, would make the world a better place. Montessori teachers know that by performing community service, we are helping develop and educate the whole child. Students learn the joy of giving of themselves, and develop compassion because of these real, practical life volunteer experiences.

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, January 29, 2009.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Chinese New Year Activities for the Montessori Classroom

chinese new year activities montessori classroom culture curriculum chopsticksCelebrating cultural differences in the Montessori classroom helps children understand that humans have different backgrounds and heritages as well as different ways of looking at the world. Helping children learn about different cultures prevents them from forming false opinions or even worse, false stereotypes for those with whom they may not be familiar. It also helps children of these cultures form positive self-esteem and pride in their heritage.

In my recent blog about celebrating Chinese New Year, I promised some activities that you could use in your Montessori classroom to encourage cultural awareness for children of 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 Thursday, January 22, 2009.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A History of Montessori Education and Obama’s Educational Reform

obama's educational reform NAMC montessori education history girl and teacher
This week marks a historic first in the United States. It is estimated that 2 million people will have been in attendance to celebrate the inauguration of Barack Obama, the nation’s first African American president. Around the world, television broadcasts will have been seen by countless others. It is a time of change and hope for the American people and the world. At a time of political and socio-economic challenges, the world waits to see what the future holds.

It promises to be a time of reform and brave changes. As Montessorians, I know that we are concerned with what Obama’s educational reform will look like. During his campaign, Obama spoke of reform with his “Zero to Five Plan”.

Unlike other early childhood education plans, the Obama-Biden plan places key emphasis at early care and education for infants, which is essential for children to be ready to enter kindergarten…Obama and Biden will quadruple Early Head Start, increase Head Start funding and improve quality for both…Obama and Biden will also provide affordable and high-quality child care to ease the burden on working families.
- Barack Obama and Joe Biden: The Change We Need Education. 2008.

This is good news for early childhood educators. Spending for early childhood education was cut during the Bush administration.

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, January 20, 2009.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Celebrating Chinese New Year in the Montessori Classroom

NAMC montessori classroom culture curriculum chinese new year fireworks
“Miss Michelle, do you know what the largest country in the world is?” Seeing this as a great way to promote research skills, I encouraged my students to go find out for themselves. They soon came back to report that China is the largest country in both area and population. Inspired by their research, several children soon became entrenched in finding out more about China.

As I watched them pour over atlases, picture books, National Geographic magazines, encyclopedias, and the Internet, it reminded me once again of Montessori’s underlying principal of Cosmic Education. This quintessential approach involves helping children of all ages develop the insight and awareness that everything in the universe is connected and interdependent. While the people, cultures, and traditions may be vastly different, their fundamental needs are all the same. Montessori believed that our job as teachers was to educate children to be responsible citizens of the world who would find ways to live in social, cultural, and environmental harmony. The quest for knowledge leads to the exploration of the eternal childhood questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What is my role in the world and universe? This quest then leads to wonder about other people and cultures and their place in the universe as well.

Cultural Geography is the study of specific places and peoples and the connections between the two. By celebrating holidays and festivals in your Montessori classroom, you are bringing the traditions and cultures of people around the world into your classroom. Chinese New Year is one such holiday that is enjoyed by children of 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 Tuesday, January 13, 2009.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Montessori Curriculum Resources - NAMC Scientific Method and Technology Manual

Montessori Curriculum Resources NAMC Scientific Method and Technology Manual boy microscope
Recently, my son greeted me with “Mom! I need you to sign my sheet for the science fair”. As I looked over the permission slip, I noticed there was a space where he needed to fill in his topic. When I asked what experiment he would be testing, he looked at me with a young adolescent stare and shrugged his shoulders. “I dunno”. Rather than get upset with his lack of preparation, I suggested we take a look through my NAMC science manuals.

Although he’s in 7th grade, I began by giving him my lower elementary manual to look through. He methodically turned the pages, engaged by the variety of experiments and really took his time reading and looking at the pictures. Then, he took a look through my NAMC Upper Elementary - Scientific Method and Technology manual. He read through it, closely studying the section on science experiments and experimental variables.

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, January 5, 2009.
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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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