Friday, October 30, 2009

Maslow and Montessori: Hierarchy of Human Needs and The Prepared Environment

[The child] learns everything without knowing he is learning it, and in doing so he passes little by little from the unconscious to the conscious, treading always in the paths of joy and love. ~Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind
NAMC montessori prepared environment maslow's hierarchy of human needs grandfather and girl
Abraham Maslow developed a humanistic approach to psychology in the early 1940’s. Rather than focusing on behavior as a result of stimuli and reinforcement or the psychoanalytical idea of unconscious instinct, Maslow focused on the capability of humans to reach their fullest potential. Rather than looking and trying to make sense of the dysfunctional brain, he searched for what it was that made humans exceptional. In a sense, he looked at what it was to be human.

Maslow created a set of hierarchical needs that best describe the growth of the human psyche. By analyzing the environment, he synthesized that given the right environment, humans will develop to their fullest potential, that of self-actualization. If the environment is not right, therein lies the potential for damage to the human spirit. This idea meshes very well with Montessori Education. Read on, and we will explain how Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs can be used within the Montessori prepared environment.

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, October 30, 2009.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween and Dia de los Muertos in the Montessori Classroom: Montessori Appropriate Activities

Most Montessori schools where I have worked did not want classroom celebrations of popular holidays. It was not that these schools wanted to ignore the existence of these holidays; they simply felt the Montessori classroom was not the appropriate place for the commercial “candy fests” that most of the holidays- especially Halloween- had become. A cultural lesson about the history and meaning of the holiday was considered acceptable.

There are many ways to explore spooky holidays like Halloween and Dia de los Muertos in the Montessori classroom, with Montessori appropriate activity ideas such as the ones we've collected for you here!

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, October 27, 2009.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Elementary Montessori Practical Life Activities Explained: Independence and Responsibility

The essence of independence is to be able to do something for one's self. -Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind.

NAMC montessori elementary practical life activities explained independence responsibility boy helping bake
When my son entered his first Montessori classroom at age 5, he was drawn, as if by a magnet, to the Practical Life area of the classroom. I have to admit, the small pitchers, the child-size brooms and dustpans, the apple and banana slicers in the snack area, the bright colors and increasing difficulty of the dressing frames held a certain fascination with me, too. It is not hard to understand why this was his favorite area in which to work.

I began teaching in the Montessori upper elementary environment two years later and was surprised and saddened to see that my classroom had no Practical Life materials. When I approached my level leader, she told me that by upper elementary there really was no need for Practical Life activities. I politely yet resolutely disagreed.

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, October 23, 2009.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Are We Following Montessori Principles? Observe Your Montessori Classroom and School With This Checklist

NAMC montessori principles observe school with checklist teacher and student
Many of our NAMC students and graduates around the globe are interested in eventually opening their own Montessori schools. In fact, this was the main reason I completed the NAMC 3-6 training. I realized that if I was going to be the administrator of a Montessori school, I needed to know personally about the Montessori philosophy and method if I was going to hire and retain the best teachers and attract families.

Striving for and maintaining the Montessori “standard” is an ongoing commitment and practice for any Montessori school. Whether you are an experienced Montessori teacher or a Montessori administrator it is a good idea to occasionally take a look at your current program and make sure you can find evidence that what is happening in your school accurately reflects the Montessori philosophy of education as well as your school’s mission statement. Montessori teacher candidates and prospective Montessori parents are encouraged to visit several Montessori schools and make formal classroom observations so as to witness the Montessori philosophy and method in action. Using a checklist such the one below should help you get a sense as to whether or not the school is adhering to Montessori’s own principles.

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, October 21, 2009.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Environmental Stewardship Activities: Montessori Cosmic Education

It is the child who makes the man, and no man exists who was not made by the child he once was. – Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind. 1995. pg. 15
NAMC montessori cosmic education activities environmental stewardship boy looking at frog
Very few of us live in an environment that is not man-made. In fact, many children do not know where the food they eat or the fibers of the clothes they wear truly comes from. In an effort to educate the child so as to promote responsible environmental stewardship, educators and parents play an important role in helping children to understand, love and respect nature.

Children between the ages of 6 and 12 are characterized by having both physical and intellectual energy. They are interested in many things and have a great capacity for imagining. They are seeking the answers to their questions: Who am I? What am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? Montessori believed it was crucial at this age to present the universe to children in an effort to help them find the answers to their questions. This was the basis of her “cosmic education” - to teach them that Planet Earth is a gift to each and every one of us.

There are many things you can do within your Montessori environment to promote and encourage stewardship of our planet. Some can be done at the classroom level and some involve the greater Montessori community. The more you model and practice ecological respect and responsibility, the more people you will touch who may follow your example.

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, October 16, 2009.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Importance of Pouring Water: Montessori Preschool Practical Life Activities

To have a vision of the cosmic plan, in which every form of life depends on directed movements which have effects beyond their conscious aim, is to understand the child’s work and be able to guide it better. - Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind
NAMC Montessori preschool practical life activities pouring water girl using pitcher
To the untrained eye, the Montessori Preschool/Kindergarten (ages 3 to 6) Practical Life activities appear to be, well, child’s play. On closer examination, however, the Practical Life activities present themselves as a highly logical, sequential chain of activities that indirectly lead the child to grander things.

Take the simple task of pouring water, for example. At first glance, it comes across as ‘no big deal’. After all, the child is only pouring water. Take a closer look. Did you realize that the activities for pouring liquids come after the Montessori child has learned to transfer and pour solids? Why?

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, October 14, 2009.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Diwali: Hindu Festival of Lights - Montessori Curriculum Activities and Reading

NAMC montessori curriculum activities reading diwali hindu festival of lights
I must confess that I had not heard of the festival of Diwali until I viewed a television program episode that featured it. After that introduction, I began discussing Diwali with my Montessori students. They really enjoyed comparing Diwali to other cultural celebrations, and were delighted to find some similarities to ones they were more familiar with, like Hanukah.

Diwali is celebrated for five days. It follows the lunar calendar, and takes place on the fifteenth day of Kartika (the Hindu month that corresponds with October/November). Diwali means “rows of lighted lamps” and the celebration is known as the Festival of Lights.” People create rows of lights to commemorate heroes in Indian mythology who have triumphed over evil. Small oil lamps called diyas are lit in homes, gardens, outside walls, etc. There are many interesting Montessori activities to explore Diwali that you can share with 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 Friday, October 9, 2009.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Canadian Thanksgiving: Montessori Curriculum Activities for All Cultures

NAMC montessori curriculum activities canadian thanksgiving cornucopia
Even if you don’t teach in a Canadian classroom, it could be beneficial to introduce your students to Canadian Thanksgiving. Not only would a study of this holiday be a lesson in Canadian history, it is exposure to the idea that more than one country celebrates Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving in Canada is always the second Monday in October, and this year will fall on October 12. There are multiple traditions which are believed to be at the root of Canadian Thanksgiving. The first tradition came to Canada with the Europeans. Farmers in Europe celebrated their thanks for an abundant harvest during the fall season. They would sometimes fill a curved horn with fruits and grains. This cornucopia (“horn of good plenty”) is still seen today during Canadian thanksgiving celebrations.

Another influence on Canadian Thanksgiving happened in 1621 when the U.S. pilgrims celebrated their first harvest. This celebration was brought to Nova Scotia around 1750. Around that time, French settlers were also holding similar feasts. Canadian Parliament, in 1879, originally declared November 6 the national holiday of Thanksgiving, but over time the date changed, and in 1957, became the second Monday in October. Many people believe that Thanksgiving is earlier in Canada than the U.S. because Canada’s harvest is earlier.

Talking about Canadian Thanksgiving in the Montessori classroom isn’t just a chance for a history lesson, it is also an opportunity to use the celebration to help teach the character education and virtues your students have been working on all year.

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, October 6, 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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