Thursday, April 29, 2010

Montessori Education for Children With Sensory Processing Disorder

This is the first of a four-part series. We hope that it will be of value to our Montessori community of readers.


NAMC montessori education for children with sensory processing disorder girl on tire swing
One day, when my son was two years old, he suddenly announced that he didn’t eat meat anymore. “I’ll eat it again when I’m a man.” My husband and I were pretty shocked, but thought it was just a phase he was going through and pretty much laughed it off. After all, we weren't vegetarians and toddlers explore and exert their independence through the things they can control, like choosing which foods to eat. As a Montessori mom, I decided to follow my child, and to carefully observe as he made this choice.

Almost overnight, his once wide range of tastes became very narrow. He cut off most food with the exception of foods with sharp, pungent tastes (extra sharp Cheddar and Parmesan cheese, natural peanut butter, and ketchup) and crunchy textures (bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots, grapes, romaine lettuce hearts). We thought he was experiencing the “picky eater” stage and would soon outgrow it and become the grazing omnivore once more.

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, April 29, 2010.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Montessori Education Builds Development Needed Before Reading

Children must master the language of things before they master the language of words. —Friedrich Froebel, Pedagogics of the Kindergarten, 1895.

NAMC montessori education builds development reading boy with workbook
Holding to the basic tenets of the Montessori philosophy, theory and method can be a challenge in a world that is growing exponentially in the arena of technological innovation. There is constant pressure to educate young children in ways that are removed from their natural tendencies, and that are contrary to the Montessori way. One example of this is in the area of early reading programs.

Reading is a complex process. It involves auditory and visual discrimination in addition to cognitive construction. Montessori educators understand that children must reach certain developmental milestones in order for learning to become their own. The Montessori teacher prepares the environment to support this development, and her role as observer and guide is key in nurturing this independence. Continue reading as we provide some helpful information in this regard.

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, April 28, 2010.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Developing Clothing Guidelines for Outdoor Play at Your Montessori School

NAMC montessori school clothing guidelines for outdoor play boy in raincoat
Whether your Montessori school’s geographic location has both extreme winters and summers or your climate is more moderate, by offering written clothing guidelines for outdoor play Montessori schools can help parents prepare for, and students enjoy their outdoor experience at school. Following are a few ideas to help you create a guideline that can be referenced by parents. Outdoor play is an important part of Montessori education, and it's important to make sure that every child is properly clothed to be safe, healthy, and have fun in any weather.

When developing the outdoor clothing guidelines for your Montessori school, it can be helpful to differentiate between the various age levels of your Montessori students. Distributing this information communicates your care and concern that children come prepared for outdoor activity and inclement weather.

Developing Clothing Guidelines for Outdoor Play at Your Montessori School

NAMC montessori school clothing guidelines for outdoor play children in snow
For the winter months, your Montessori early childhood students should come to school every day with a warm coat, snow pants (if appropriate for your area), hat, gloves or mittens, scarf and snow boots (if appropriate for your area). For warmer weather, Montessori preschoolers should have jackets, rain gear and appropriate boots for wet weather. I have worked in Montessori schools where rain coats and rain boots were kept at school, since rain can be especially unpredictable.
 
The guidelines for your older Montessori students can be more tailored for specific conditions. For example, lower elementary Montessori students can wear a jacket and hat on warm days (below 50 degrees F) and boots, snow pants, hat, coat, and gloves or mittens on snowy or cold days (below 32 degrees F). If it is raining or below -10 degrees F(including wind chill), students stay inside. Soggy, wet or mucky conditions require boots, coat and a hat.

Clothing guidelines for upper elementary students in the Montessori school may be similar to the lower elementary guidelines, with some minor adjustments. For example, if it is below -15 degrees, you may choose to keep upper elementary students inside.

Remember to check your state’s temperature requirements for children’s outdoor play as you prepare your guidelines, and suggest that parents label their children’s outdoor clothing.

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, April 26, 2010.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day Montessori Practical Life Activity: Solar Cooked Stuffed Apples

NAMC Montessori practical life activity solar cooked apples earth day

It’s Earth Day 2010, and to mark the occasion, one of our recent Montessori teacher training program graduates has a great activity idea that she is graciously sharing. Whenever you work with food, please prepare in advance any adjustments to accommodate allergies, proper handling of material and food, and lessons in safely using utensils and appliances.

Following is all of the materials and ingredients needed, as well as steps for the full presentation. Enjoy environmental stewardship for Earth Day with healthy, tasty treats!

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, April 22, 2010.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Montessori Math Materials and Curriculum for all Age Groups

The highest form of pure thought is in mathematics. ~Plato

NAMC montessori math materials curriculum explained all ages boy using pegboardMaria Montessori believed that human intelligence is no longer based on natural intelligence, but on mathematical intelligence. Humans have moved beyond the innate survival instincts of early humans and moved toward an analytical awareness of the world. Math is more than math facts and computations. It deals with shape, space, patterns, symbols and the relationships found therein.

Montessori education is unique in that it prepares a child for learning to think mathematically from the youngest of ages. Montessori materials are designed to help children succeed in becoming confident, intelligent adults with a passion for life long learning. Continue reading to learn more about Montessori education and the mathematical mind.

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, April 21, 2010.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

May Cultural and Practical Life Activities in the Montessori Classroom

NAMC Montessori cultural practical life may spring activities catching a frisbee
May is a wonderful time of year. Particularly for those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, Spring comes into full swing, bringing the joy of a new growing season and all its bright colors.

In the Montessori classroom, there are many learning opportunities associated with nature, and it is a great time to organize “going out” activities for your Montessori students. No doubt teachers and students alike are definitely ready to take the classroom outside on sunny spring days, and what better time to explore first-hand learning opportunities in botany, zoology, and physical education as well as cultural geography activities such as mapping out your schoolyard? Don’t forget this is also an important time of year for environmental allergies, and plan to accommodate student needs accordingly.

May Cultural and Practical Life Activities in the Montessori Classroom

NAMC Montessori cultural practical life may spring activities girl with tea party invitationThere is also a wide variety of cultural and practical life activities that can be incorporated into the Montessori curriculum for any age group, such as a Spring Tea for parents/grandparents as the school year begins to wind down. Perhaps your Montessori school is near a seniors’ residence – your students could prepare a short choir performance for an afternoon visit. Organizing a classroom Spring Clean is another practical life activity that engages students in the care, beauty and order of their environment.

Other May celebrations provide cultural and artistic learning opportunities for your Montessori students as well. Previous NAMC blogs offer activity ideas for May Day (May 1), Cinco De Mayo and Kodomono-hi (May 5), and Mother’s Day (May 9 this year). The NAMC Lower Elementary Advanced Practical Life manual provides Spring Tea 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, April 20, 2010.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Guide to Creating a Montessori Parent and Faculty Resource Center

NAMC montessori guide to parent faculty resource center choosing a book
Though creating a parent and faculty resource center at your Montessori school may seem daunting, the process can be surprisingly simple and the benefits numerous. The Montessori resource center can function as both a research center and a lending library. If your school’s resources allow it, this area could also offer computers and audio-visual supplies for use by Montessori students. Having a collection of books, periodicals, pamphlets, CDs and videos on campus will encourage parents to educate themselves on the Montessori method, and provide resources for parenting challenges. The resource center can be a place where you direct parents after parent-teacher conferences and other significant conversations.

We have a number of suggestions to help you create an effective Montessori Parent and Faculty Resource Center, so you can provide a better understanding of the Montessori method and philosophy to everyone, including yourself!

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, April 14, 2010.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Daily Preparation Routines for the Montessori Teacher

It is my belief that the thing which we should cultivate in our teachers is more the spirit than the mechanical skill of the scientist; that is, the direction of the preparation should be toward the spirit rather than toward the mechanism. ~Maria Montessori, The Montessori Method.

NAMC montessori teacher preparation routines prepared environment peace drinking coffee
A few years ago, on a particularly stressful morning, my son and I were late leaving the house. The road on the way to my Montessori school had a steep hill and in my haste and state of preoccupation, I neglected to watch my downhill speed. Sure enough, I caught a glimpse of flashing lights in my rearview mirror. The first thought through my mind was “Wow, someone got caught”. Then, I realized that someone was me. I was humiliated. My first speeding ticket ever and with my son in the car.

On top of that, while I was being written up, my husband drove by and saw the whole thing. Needless to say, I arrived at work shaken up and extremely late. My Montessori students were due to arrive any minute and I was not in the right mindset to greet them. I quickly made a cup of tea, turned on some soothing music, and sat at a table for a few moments of silent meditation.

Preparing for your day as a Montessori teacher is crucial part of preparing the environment. It is much more than just opening the door to your classroom a few minutes before the children arrive. When we enter that door, we need to leave the ‘emotional’ clutter behind. You may be running late, ran out of milk for breakfast, been up all night with a sick child, received a distressing phone call in the middle of the night or be overdrawn at the bank. Whatever the challenge, while this is important to you, being in the moment for your Montessori students is at the heart of the matter.

Here are a few preparation ideas for Montessori teachers/parents to consider:

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, April 12, 2010.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Personal Preparation and Development for the Montessori Teacher

The teacher, when she begins work in our schools, must have a kind of faith that the child will reveal himself through work. She must free herself from all preconceived ideas concerning the levels at which the children may be. ~Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind.

NAMC montessori teacher personal preparation development helping childWhen Montessori spoke about the spiritual embryo of the child, she also addressed the spiritual preparation of the teacher. In fact, she emphasized the spiritual preparation of the teacher over the necessity for academic training. She said that teachers must divest themselves from thoughts of what is “normal” behavior. She trained Montessori teachers to recognize in themselves their own limitations and prejudices as those negative characteristics are readily identified and absorbed by the child. She cautioned Montessori teachers to give up their need to control and to learn to support the child and the learning community. She taught teachers to approach the developing child with reverence and humility. The dynamic and the relationship between the Montessori teacher and child depends upon the attitude with which we approach the child.

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, April 9, 2010.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Montessori Elementary: Developing Independence, Movement, and Motor Skills

Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

NAMC montessori elementary developing independence movement motor skills boy and koala
A few years ago, I received my certificate to facilitate Positive Parenting courses, developed by Lynn Lott and Jane Nelson of Positive Discipline. In my first small group session with parents, I always ask this question:
“Imagine it is 20 years from now and your child is coming home for Sunday dinner. What are the qualities you wish to see in your adult child walking through your front door?” I let them brainstorm for a few minutes and then we collectively come together and write our responses paper for everyone to see. Generally, the qualities identified look something like this:
  • happiness
  • success
  • pride
  • honor
  • love
  • honesty
  • self-worth
  • independence
When this is shared, I then ask the most important question: “Is what you are doing now as a parent developing these character traits in your children?”

Independence is a skill. Like learning how to swim or ride a bike, it is not something that comes naturally or develops overnight. What it looks like and what it means to be independent needs to be modeled and practiced repeatedly, until it is mastered. Parents (and teachers) who wish to smooth the way and all obstacles may also be removing the precious experiences which help children grow.

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, April 8, 2010.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Montessori Preschool: Developing Independence, Movement, and Motor Skills

NAMC montessori preschool developing independence movement motor skills child getting dressed
My son turns 14 this month. As a Montessori mom and educator, with each passing year I am reminded of the stages of development he’s gone through. As high school looms in the not so distant future, visions of driver’s education flash before my eyes as I prepare myself for the day I hear “Let me take the car, Mom. I can drive there by myself”.

“I can do it myself”. A big statement at any age, but never so big as the transitional stage between toddlers and preschoolers. Their fierce drive to be independent permeates and dominates their world. From eating to dressing, from toileting to pouring juice, the preschool child faces each new challenge as one to be attempted, practiced, and mastered. Success now ensures success for life.

Dr. Montessori stated that, in our attempts to aid or help the child, we were really hindering the child’s development. While we would like to shield our children from making mistakes or would like them to hurry and let us help them dressed so we are not late leaving the house, they will not learn the skills necessary to be independent if we do for them what they are capable of doing for themselves.

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, April 6, 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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