Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Motor Skills and Movement in the Infant / Toddler Montessori Prepared Environment

NAMC montessori prepared environment infant toddler movement motor skills baby grabbing plant
The first thing you’ll see upon entering a Montessori Infant/Toddler environment is its use of simple, natural materials which are meant to promote learning and development while encouraging a sense of calm, peace, order, beauty and security. Children are not bombarded and over stimulated with bright colors, loud sounds, and perpetual movement. Nor is their movement restricted by infant swings, cribs, high chairs, or bouncy seats.

Movement is encouraged and the Montessori environment is specifically designed to accommodate the variety of developmental movement milestones that occur within the first three years of life. Learn more about how the Montessori prepared environment is set up to encourage and stimulate movement and motor skills for the infant or toddler.

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, March 31, 2010.

Monday, March 29, 2010

World Health Day: Activities and Ideas for the Montessori Classroom

NAMC montessori activities world health day ideas boy carrying water
World Health Day provides great learning opportunities for Montessori students of any age. Personal and global health action is directly related to the Montessori philosophy and curriculum for Cosmic Education and Peace. Every year, The World Health Organization sponsors World Health Day on April 7, and develops an annual theme around which the day is focused. This year’s focus is on urbanization and health. The World Health Organization has sponsored a campaign entitled “1000 Cites---1000 Lives.” Events are being organized globally to help encourage urban areas to open up their streets for health activities.

Use World Health Day to engage your Montessori students in discussions, ideas for activities, and further exploration of the importance of good health from a personal, local, and global perspective. Here are a few ideas to kick start your own approach to teaching the importance of good health in your Montessori classroom.

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, March 29, 2010.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Montessori Musings: Development of Movement and Motor Skills in Children

Only through freedom and environmental experience is it practically possible for human development to occur. ~Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind.
NAMC montessori development movement motor skills in children infant
When my son was born fourteen years ago, I remember my mother and I watching him sleep quietly in his crib. She commented on how he never kept still, even in his sleep. As helpless as a newborn seems, they have many reflexes and protective movements. As the baby grows and develops, the inherent need to be independent manifests itself in many new ways. Holding the head up, rolling over, sitting up, creeping, crawling, standing, walking and running are all nature’s way of helping babies establish their independence. Being able to move freely, without artificial aid is the child’s first step toward independence.

Montessori understood that children must experience the world through their senses in order for the brain to develop. Being able to see, hear, smell, feel, and yes, taste their environment, is critical. Through movement and sensory input, children develop neural pathways, shaping their emerging minds and gaining control of their bodies. The Montessori philosophy embraces the idea that in order to fully engage with the environment, the child must be free to move.

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, March 26, 2010.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Celebrating Easter in the Montessori Classroom

Although not all Montessori schools celebrate Easter, it is an important religious and cultural holiday for many Christian people. Easter can be studied in the Montessori classroom along with other major holidays throughout the year.
Easter is the most important liturgical holiday in the Christian church, signifying the resurrection of Jesus. The term Easter, however, comes from the pagan Germanic goddess, Eastre, who was celebrated at the spring equinox. It is said, that three days after his crucifixion, Jesus rose from the tomb and walked amongst his disciples.

Easter (and the holidays related to it) does not have a fixed calendar date. This is an excellent teaching moment in the elementary Montessori classroom. The dates of Easter are based on a lunisolar calendar, which uses both the phases of the moon and the time of the solar year, as is the Hebrew calendar.

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, March 24, 2010.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Virtual Field Trips: A New Approach to Montessori Going Out Activities

NAMC montessori going out activities virtual field trips the louvre
In a survey conducted by the American Montessori Society (January 2010), 89% of Montessorians said that it is acceptable for students to use the Internet in the Montessori elementary classroom. When asked, many of NAMC’s students agree as well. Most of the time, people talk about using computers to learn keyboarding skills or to enhance research. But what if I told you computers can be used to take children to places they would normally be unable to explore due to geographical or fiscal restraints? I’m talking about using the computer and internet for virtual and interactive field trips.

We have compiled a huge list of Virtual Field Trips for your Montessori classroom, as well as a guide on how to properly integrate them into your lessons.

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, March 22, 2010.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Peaceful Montessori Classroom: Prepared Environment Design

The necessary condition for the existence of peace and joy is the awareness that peace and joy are available. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Present Moment Wonderful Moment: Mindfulness Verses for Daily Living.
NAMC montessori prepared environment peaceful classroom shelves
Visitors who enter my Montessori classroom often remark at how peaceful it seems. They are amazed that 32 children can all be working on 32 different lessons, with some sitting on the floor, some at tables, some working with materials, some reading aloud, and some eating snack, and still there is a sense of peace and calm within.

When we speak of a prepared Montessori environment, we often think of the preparation of the teacher and the materials. But it goes much deeper than that. Before we put materials on shelves, before we cut paper and sharpen pencil crayons, before we fill small pitchers with colored water, we prepare ourselves and the Montessori physical environment.

There is no prescription for a ‘typical’ Montessori classroom. The teacher’s own personality is reflected in the choice of decor. However, there is one prevailing thought; we create a space that both calms the soul and satisfies the innate desire for order.

When creating a peaceful environment, consider the following:

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, March 17, 2010.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

World Water Day: Montessori Classroom Activities and Opportunities

The child is endowed with unknown powers, which can guide us to a radiant future. If what we really want is a new world, then education must take as its aim the development of these hidden possibilities. ~ Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind. This year’s World Water Day, March 22, is a great springboard for Montessori activities in cultural geography. Students of all ages can participate in activities that develop an understanding of the geography of water, and the 2010 motto, “Clean water for a healthy world” can serve as a catalyst for further exploration of the importance of clean water for people around the world.
NAMC montessori classroom activities opportunities world water day boy in raincoat
World Water Day is a globally-recognized initiative that grew out of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The decade between 2005 and 2015 has been named “Celebrating Water for Life: the International Decade for Action.” There are a number of activities and learning opportunities for you Montessori classroom centered around World Water 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 Tuesday, March 16, 2010.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Montessori Grace and Courtesy: Learning Through Community Service

NAMC montessori grace and courtesy learning through community service child and grandpa
Often, when we think of the lessons of grace and courtesy in the Montessori environment, we think of teaching and modeling socially acceptable behaviors and customs. Another aspect is the emphasis of learning to give back to humanity and the earth. In essence, it’s learning to serve others.

Community Service (also called Service Learning) projects integrate the academic and behavioral lessons learned with the Montessori concept of Cosmic Education. By teaching civic responsibility, children of all ages learn the value of being a contributing member of society. They see firsthand that they are able to strengthen the bonds within their own communities. Both beneficiaries and students are transformed by the power of the service.

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, March 15, 2010.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Montessori Grace and Courtesy in Lower Elementary Classrooms

Social peace and harmony can have only one foundation—man himself. This is the task of education. We must make it possible for the individual to be free and independent. ~ Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind.
NAMC montessori grace and courtesy in lower elementary classrooms stacking hands
To be graceful is to be pleasing, agreeable, and demonstrate goodwill. The Montessori elementary classroom is ripe for teachable moments in grace and courtesy that will help a child in situations throughout his life. With these lessons, the Montessori environment is productive and supportive.

The Montessori academic course of study in the lower elementary classroom revolves around the idea of Cosmic Education, or the idea that everything is connected and interdependent upon one another. Just as the universe is seen as a whole community, the lower elementary Montessori classroom is a community of learners which follow very clear ground rules that ensure the success and freedom of all students.

The mantra to “follow the child” is ingrained in the Montessori teacher. The Montessori environment is specially prepared with focus on the individual. Students have the freedom to move about the classroom, exploring and learning as their interest is piqued. Even so, individuals find themselves in the center of the Montessori community. To ensure success, Montessori teachers establish very clear ground rules.

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, March 10, 2010.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Cooking for St. Patrick’s Day and Other Montessori Classroom Activities

NAMC montessori cooking activities st. patrick's day four leaf clover
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated every year on March 17th and has been observed by the Irish as a religious holiday for over a thousand years. This day honors the anniversary of Saint Patrick’s death in the fifth century and is the day of his religious feast - Saint Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland. To explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish people, he used the shamrock and this is why the color green is associated with St. Patrick’s Day. Ireland is also known as the emerald isle.

Having your own St. Patrick’s Day feast in your Montessori classroom is a way to incorporate the history of the holiday with the practical life and math skills involved with cooking. Depending on your schedule and students, your feast can be as elaborate or as simple as you would like!

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, March 8, 2010.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Montessori Leadership Guide: Recruitment for Montessori Schools

NAMC montessori leadership guide recruitment for schools cylinder blocks
This time of year is ideal for inviting parents in your community to an open house to learn more about your Montessori school and programs. Here are a few reminders and tips for making a great first impression with families that could potentially join your Montessori community.

In previous blogs, we have discussed the importance of defining a vision and mission for your Montessori school, including identifying the guiding principles behind this. Your open house provides the perfect opportunity to communicate these important messages and build your identity within your community. Be sure to display your mission and guiding principles prominently in the entrance to your school, on all public documents such as brochures, newsletters, parent handbooks, websites, and even registration forms. This is also an ideal time to update your public documents with information, images, and messages that clearly illustrate your position as an important member of your community, your programs and schedules, and your success as an educational institution.

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, March 5, 2010.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Women and Montessori Education: International Women’s Day Activities

NAMC Montessori activities international women's day International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on March 8th. First celebrated on March 19, 1911, International Women’s Day is officially recognized by the United Nations and many governments. China, Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Vietnam and many other countries consider International Women’s Day to be a national holiday.

The first Women’s Day was created to help further the role of women in society and government and specifically address the right of women to vote and have a role in Parliament. International Women’s Day has historically been an opportunity for protests, activism, raising awareness and celebration. In the United States, this day can be part of a month-long celebration of Women’s History Month.

Education is key to the fabric of any society, and offers a strong theme for the further study of International Women’s Day. For the Montessori elementary teacher, this provides an opportunity to share with your students the history of struggle and achievement of women in order to receive an equal education through activities and discussion.

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, March 4, 2010.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Montessori Grace and Courtesy: Lesson Resources for Infants, Toddlers & Preschoolers

So in the child, besides the vital impulse to create himself, and to become perfect, there must yet another purpose, a duty to fulfill in harmony, something he has to do in the service of a united whole. ~ Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, pg 57.

NAMC montessori grace and courtesy lesson resources toddlers infants preschoolers
The lessons in Grace and Courtesy are a cornerstone in the Montessori methodology. Indeed, these lessons can be expanded to include courtesy to those outside our immediate community in the form of community service. There is a natural need in every human being to find one’s place in the cosmos by finding fulfillment both inside and outside oneself. Montessori believed that it is the duty of every person to work toward and be part of something great which not only serves individual interests but those of all humanity. To understand this great relationship, children must be nurtured in the ways of grace, courtesy and service in order for it to flourish and grow throughout their lives.

Within every young child is the need for order. The initial lessons of Grace and Courtesy center on building the Montessori classroom community, and are often presented in the context of the Montessori Practical Life curriculum. They answer the child’s questions of how they fit into and participate in their environment. Using clear language and modeling, Montessori teachers present these lessons to provide structure so the child can know her place, not only in the Montessori environment, but in the world at large.

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, March 3, 2010.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Montessori Environmental Living Programs Explained: Stewardship and Cosmic Education

It [Education] is not acquired by listening to words, but in virtue of experiences in which the child acts on his environment. ~ Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind
NAMC montessori cosmic education stewardship environmental living programs walking a trail
Dr. Montessori understood that learning is always more meaningful when a personal connection is made between a new concept and life experience. When a student is able to make real life connections, his interest and willingness to learn more and accept new challenges increases. His learning opportunity is further aided when he sees materials and concepts in new and diverse situations.

In the Montessori environment, the concept of “going-out” is related to the acquisition of culture. Montessori was a firm believer in the need for elementary-aged students to benefit from the firsthand experience of outside activities involving society, culture, and the natural world. Dr. Montessori stated that “The senses, being explorers of the world, open the way to knowledge.” By providing opportunities that engage the student in a holistic manner, we are enabling an immersion of lasting sensory experiences. Environmental living programs are an amazing combination of going out, Cosmic Education, Montessori and stewardship values.

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, March 1, 2010.
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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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