Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Exploring North American Independence With Montessori Activities

NAMC montessori activities north american independence american flag
Even though I don’t teach during the summer when it would seem most likely to teach Montessori students about US Independence Day, every year it seems to find its way into our year. Students often associate US Independence Day with fireworks, picnics and popsicles. This association is helpful when you are teaching American History and need to reference Independence Day. I've had parents tell me that something that was said in the classroom about the holiday made its way into the conversation the following July at the family picnic.

North America has distinct summer Independence Day celebrations that are the perfect time to get students learning with interesting activities.

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, June 30, 2009.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Parenting for Independence the Montessori Way: Fostering Self Discipline and Confidence

"Little children, from the moment they are weaned, are making their way toward independence." Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind
NAMC montessori practical life activities parenting independence confidence tying shoes
Maria Montessori understood that in order to be free, one needs to be independent. She also said that learning to be independent came before freedom. Teachers and parents that are new to Montessori sometimes misunderstand this concept, and expect a child to become independent by granting her/him freedom of choice without limits. Instead, fostering independence first will lead the child toward a sense of freedom and self-esteem.

We often talk about the Montessori prepared environment. This not only encompasses the physical setting, but includes the all-important preparation of the parent, caregiver, or teacher. In the Montessori environment, independence is an ongoing, organic process, and the Practical Life curriculum is integral to this. Material and activities that encourage the child to “do for him/herself” and foster developmental progress, confidence and self-esteem are the cornerstones of the Practical Life curriculum. As a child learns to pour water, lace shoes, put on a coat, clean his/her work space, prepare a snack, and consider others in his/her Montessori classroom or home community, independence takes root and grows.

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, June 26, 2009.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Going Out, Montessori Style: Dragon Boat Festival Experiences and Activities

NAMC montessori going out culture curriculum activities dragon boat festival
My Montessori students have always loved learning about the celebrations and traditions of other cultures. No matter what age, cultural celebrations are a hit with kids and a surefire way to help cultural and history studies come alive. I had not heard of dragon boat racing and the accompanying festival until this year, but I know my students will have a lot of fun learning about this tradition. Though dragon boat racing is often done in June, our city will be having a dragon boat race on August 22 this year. I am already planning to invite my Montessori students and their parents to meet me there for a class outing!

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, June 23, 2009.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Summer Solstice the Montessori Way: Classroom Curriculum Activities

NAMC montessori classroom activities summer solstice sunset
Songs, poems, dances, science activities, seasonal food, sunrises and sunsets – what a great way to enjoy and learn about the earth’s solstice! Whether you are in the Northern Hemisphere and celebrating summer, or the Southern Hemisphere celebrating winter, there are plenty of fun activities to mark the occasion in your Montessori classroom.

The summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere (and winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere) takes place on June 21. Also known as the first day of summer and the longest day of the year, the summer solstice is an opportunity to incorporate a little learning about the Earth, the Sun and our natural world.

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, June 19, 2009.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Celebrating Father’s Day With Montessori Classroom and Family Activities

NAMC montessori classroom family activities father's day three generations of men
The United States and Canada celebrate Father’s Day every year on the third Sunday in June. Many countries also celebrate fathers on this day, while others do it at different times throughout the year. The first Father’s Day was on June 19, 1910 in Washington. Mrs. John B. Dodd proposed the holiday because she wanted a way to honor her father, a widower who had raised six children. Towns and cities in other states began to celebrate a day for fathers. A National Father’s Day Committee was formed in 1926. In 1956, Father’s Day was recognized by Congress in a Joint Resolution and in 1972, President Richard Nixon established Father’s Day as a national holiday to be celebrated on the third Sunday in June.

Father’s Day is a wonderful time for Montessori students to show their appreciation for all of the father figures in their lives. This can include fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, godfathers, and uncles. Children might want to discuss why fathers are important and special. You may also want to have a discussion about the prominent males in a child’s life and famous fathers from history. Montessori teachers can help their students prepare gifts and plans for celebrating before summer break.

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, June 15, 2009.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

US Flag Day, June 14: Montessori History Lessons and Activities

NAMC montessori history activities US national flag day american flagFlag Day in the United States is celebrated annually on June 14. It commemorates June 14, 1777, the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 that officially declared the Stars and Stripes as the national symbol. Legend has it that in 1776, George Washington asked Betsy Ross, a seamstress in Philadelphia, to make a flag from a sketch that he gave her. The idea of an official day to celebrate the national flag appears to have taken root in the late 1800s. In 1885, Bernard John (BJ) Cigrand, a Wisconsin school teacher, placed a flag on his desk on June 14, the 108th anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777. He called the day the flag’s birthday, and asked his students to write essays about the flag, and continued for many years to advocate for “Flag Day”, or “Flag Birthday”. Over time others, including New York City Professor George Bolch (1889), principal of a free kindergarten for the underprivileged, and organizations in New York, Philadelphia and Illinois, began to commemorate this day, particularly in public schools.

The entire week of June 14 is now considered National Flag Week, and during this time American citizens are encouraged to display the American flag at home. Government buildings are also expected to fly the flag. There are often local events, parades, and special themes that cities and towns organize for Flag Day. Organizations such as the National Flag Day Foundation and historic sites such as the Betsy Ross House will also hold special events and observances. This week is a wonderful opportunity to create related activities that make US history come alive for your students!

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, June 11, 2009.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Summer Vacation and Going Out: A Montessori Practical Life Experience

NAMC montessori practical life going out summer vacation family hiking
“Miss Michelle, can we go to…?” These types of questions always remind me of the importance of independence, even among the youngest of Montessori children. In a previous post, I reflected that “Maria Montessori recognized that children in the second plane of development (ages 6-12) are in need of a dual environment: that which is found within the Montessori classroom and that which is found outside the Montessori classroom.” The same can be true within the family as well.

Summer vacations are, in a sense, a familial “going-out”. Because Montessori children may be used to planning their going-out excursions for the classroom, be sure to include them in the planning of your next family vacation.

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, June 9, 2009.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Mystery Bag Sensorial Activity Ideas for the Montessori Classroom

NAMC montessori sensorial activity ideas mystery bag girl looking in
The Mystery Bag is a versatile and essential material in the early childhood and lower elementary Montessori classrooms. The Mystery Bag is simply a bag (or box) in which the Montessori teacher places objects that the students cannot see. The students then use their sense of touch to explore the object without removing it from the bag. Eventually, depending on the lesson, the students or the teacher will reveal the object.

It can help to develop the sense of how things feel (stereognostic sense) and refine all of the senses overall. It stimulates and cultivates the student’s intellectual curiosity and has endless options for use in the classroom (i.e., the type of bag or box used, the items placed in the bag, the curricular area being taught). Even a toddler will enjoy exploring objects and vocabulary with the Mystery Bag material.

In the Montessori early childhood classroom, one lesson idea for the Mystery Bag begins with the teacher placing objects in the bag, such as a large sea shell, a piece of coral, and a sand dollar.

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, June 5, 2009.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Celebrating Cultural Diversity in the Montessori Classroom - Heritage Survey Activity

NAMC montessori classroom culture curriculum activities fundamental needs of humans
Once a Montessori teacher has told the stories of the Five Great Lessons in the lower and upper elementary Montessori classrooms, she will often move on to the presentation of the Common Needs of People (sometimes referred to as the Fundamental Needs of Humans). This series of lessons is meant to show students that throughout history, humans have demonstrated the same common needs:
  • need for food, shelter, and clothing
  • need to defend oneself from danger
  • need to move from place to place
  • need to receive care when ill
  • the need to communicate
  • the need to express oneself (through artistic works)
  • the need for meaning in their lives
(NAMC, Lower Elementary History Manual, page 126)

Maria Montessori believed it was important to study what humans have in common to instill in the child a greater sense of belonging to the universe. Humans all over the world share the same common needs. By examining the similarities and differences of humans around the globe, we build a sense of connection to all human beings, thus creating a deeper sense of cosmic community.

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, June 3, 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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