Thursday, September 30, 2010

Montessori Preschool Insights and Reflections on Independence

NAMC montessori preschool independence boy pouring beans This year long series looks at the experiences of teachers, parents, students, and Montessori education itself, as we follow a student through his first year at a Montessori Preschool. The Montessori Insights and Reflections of a Preschool Student’s First Year is a collection of useful stories, tips, and information that has arisen from one real student's Montessori journey, viewed through the eyes of his Montessori Teacher, Bree Von Nes.

Jordan’s Increasing Sense of Independence

It is great to see Jordan starting to take more of an interest in the Montessori Practical Life area. His comfort level in the classroom is increasing and he is beginning to relish in his new found sense of independence.

I presented the screwdriving work during our Montessori circle time and he was the first child to raise his hand to indicate he was ready to go to work.

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, September 30, 2010.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lessons in Montessori Grace and Courtesy: Parent Tips for Cyber Bullying

NAMC montessori grace and courtesy parent tips for cyber bullying
In Part 1 of this series, I wrote of the dangers of cyber bullying and the importance of talking about this to your children and students. Today, I’d like to speak about other ways Montessori teachers and parents can keep children safe.

The other night, we had to attend a meeting regarding appropriate computer and internet usage so my son could receive his school laptop. Call me old fashioned, but I was appalled at the number of teens who were texting during the presentation. The lack of respect given to the speaker and the content of the presentation was unnerving. One girl, sitting directly in front of me, was texting on two devices at the same time. As soon as she finished with one, she picked up the other one. During the entire half-hour presentation, there was not a minute that she was not texting. And what she was texting was not nice. (Yes, I looked!)

Here is a comprehensive list for Montessori parents, to help you understand how to avoid and deal with cyber bullying.

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, September 23, 2010.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lessons in Montessori Grace and Courtesy: What is Cyber Bullying?

NAMC montessori grace and courtesy what is cyber bullying boy on computer
My son began high school a few weeks ago, and like many parents of freshmen, I worried about harassment and bullying from other students. Luckily, it seems that my son has not encountered any of the initiation rites that seemed so rampant when I was in high school. Instead, he gets his own personal laptop issued by the school district to use throughout the school year. And that brings to mind texting, emails, IMing (instant messaging), and social networking. In a word – my mind is on cyber bullying.

I read some alarming statistics today:
  • 42% of kids have been bullied while online. 1 in 4 have had it happen more than once.
  • 35% of kids have been threatened online. Nearly 1 in 5 have had it happen more than once.
  • 21% of kids have received mean or threatening email or other messages.
  • 58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online. More than 4 out of 10 say it has happened more than once.
  • 53% of kids admit having said something mean or hurtful to another person online. More than 1 in 3 have done it more than once.
  • 58% have not told their parents or an adult about something mean or hurtful that happened to them online.
Based on 2004 i-SAFE survey of 1,500 students grades 4-8 (http://www.blogger.com/www.isafe.orgblogger.com/www.isafe.org) What is even more alarming is that this survey is six years old; today’s statistics are even higher.

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, September 22, 2010.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Montessori Prepared Environment: Subject Areas and Classroom Design

NAMC montessori prepared environment subject areas classroom design culture and geographyThis year long series looks at the experiences of teachers, parents, students, and Montessori education itself, as we follow a student through his first year at a Montessori Preschool. The Montessori Insights and Reflections of a Preschool Student’s First Year is a collection of useful stories, tips, and information that has arisen from one real student's Montessori journey, viewed through the eyes of his Montessori Teacher, Bree Von Nes.

Classroom Design

Although each Montessori environment is special and unique, they do resemble one another with respect to how the environment is arranged. Every Montessori preschool classroom is divided into the five main Montessori subject areas: Practical Life, Sensorial Development, Language, Mathematics, and Culture & Sciences, and my classroom is no different. Additionally, there is usually an area set aside for artistic projects and outdoor area for play and further experiential learning.

The Montessori preschool classroom in which I teach is situated in the lower level of a home and is such a bright, beautiful space. There is the cubby area to the right of the main entrance where the children keep their shoes, coats and slippers. A large area rug in the classroom delineates where we have circle time and shelving units around the perimeter of the area rug hold an assortment of sensory manipulatives. These include blocks, puzzles, sorting activities, matching activities, pattern blocks, etc. Each main subject area of our classroom has between two and four special shelves and they are arranged as follows:

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, September 21, 2010.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Montessori Stages of Play: Students Meeting New Friends

NAMC montessori stages of play students meeting new friends boy interrupting This year long series looks at the experiences of teachers, parents, students, and Montessori education itself, as we follow a student through his first year at a Montessori Preschool. The Montessori Insights and Reflections of a Preschool Student’s First Year is a collection of useful stories, tips, and information that has arisen from one real student's Montessori journey, viewed through the eyes of his Montessori Teacher, Bree Von Nes.

Start of School Insights: Meeting New Classmates

It is always interesting to see how new students adjust and interact with one another in a new social environment and there is never a dull moment. Some children naturally gravitate to one another while others shy away from their new classmates and want to work by themselves. Age is also a variable with regard to peer interactions as the majority of first year Montessori preschoolers (2 & 3 yrs) are typically not at a point developmentally where they are eager to interact with their peers at a cooperative level.

This is one of the reasons why young preschoolers enjoy the Montessori Practical Life activities so much as they enable the youngest preschoolers to refine their fine motor control while becoming completely absorbed in the various activities. Young Montessori students enjoy working independently and feel so proud of their big work!

There are five main stages of play, and each stage is very much apparent in a Montessori preschool 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, September 17, 2010.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Meeting a New Montessori Teacher: Helping Students Feel Comfortable

NAMC montessori teacher helping students feel comfortable girl labeling farm
This year long series looks at the experiences of teachers, parents, students, and Montessori education itself, as we follow a student through his first year at a Montessori Preschool. The Montessori Insights and Reflections of a Preschool Student’s First Year is a collection of useful stories, tips, and information that has arisen from one real student's Montessori journey, viewed through the eyes of his Montessori Teacher, Bree Von Nes.

Start of School Insights: Meeting a New Teacher

Every child reacts differently to meeting a teacher for the first time and it is important that we respect each child as well as their unique needs. Some children are extremely excited to begin Montessori preschool and have no problem adjusting to their new teacher, while others are very apprehensive and react by crying, clinging, withdrawing and even exhibiting extreme shyness.

When my Montessori preschool students arrive on the first day of school, I always greet them at the door with a warm smile and a positive comment about the day ahead to try and make them feel comfortable. I always extend my hand and invite them to shake my hand, but I never force the issue if I can see the child feeling uneasy. Some children require much more time than others to adjust to their new Montessori classroom environment and need their space before feeling comfortable.

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, September 16, 2010.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Developing and Presenting Montessori Activities Around Student Interests

This year long series looks at the experiences of teachers, parents, students, and Montessori education itself, as we follow a student through his first year at a Montessori Preschool. The Montessori Insights and Reflections of a Preschool Student’s First Year is a collection of useful stories, tips, and information that has arisen from one real student's Montessori journey, viewed through the eyes of his Montessori Teacher, Bree Von Nes.

Jordan’s First Week
NAMC montessori activities developing presenting around student interests
The end of the first week arrived at our Montessori Preschool. Jordan has become so much more comfortable with his surroundings and is already remembering the rules of the classroom with ease. He entered the Montessori classroom Friday morning with a big smile on his face, a confident handshake and a story about getting dressed all by himself. He informed me that he took his pajamas off (the tricky kind) without any help at all and that he managed to get his socks on too! Already I can see him starting to relish in his new-found sense of independence. He hung up his own coat today without asking for help and persevered for several minutes trying to get his slippers on, until an older classmate offered to lend a hand.

Jordan is still most comfortable working on a floor mat with the foam blocks, the farm blocks and the various building sets that we have available and has not yet shown any interest in the Montessori Practical Life activities. I am hoping to spark his interest in the next couple of weeks by creating a few Practical Life activities that incorporate fish, as it seems to be something he is really interested in. As I have mentioned before, Jordan finds great comfort in watching the classroom fish and he talks a lot about fishing with his Dad.

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, September 14, 2010.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Jordan's Montessori Preschool Experience with Separation Anxiety: Insights & Reflections

NAMC montessori preschool experience with separation anxiety unhappy boy
This year long series looks at the experiences of teachers, parents, students, and Montessori education itself, as we follow a student through his first year at a Montessori Preschool. The Montessori Insights and Reflections of a Preschool Student’s First Year is a collection of useful stories, tips, and information that has arisen from one real student's Montessori journey, viewed through the eyes of his Montessori Teacher, Bree Von Nes.

Jordan’s Experience with Separation Anxiety
One never knows how a child is going to react to their first few days at Montessori preschool, especially if it is their first time being away from home. For Jordan, one of my three-year-old students, he had never been in any sort of daycare or preschool setting before, so this week is his first experience in a classroom setting, meeting a teacher and meeting peers his own age. Fortunately, Jordan had no problem saying goodbye to his Dad at drop off time and was excited to show me his new indoor slippers for the Montessori classroom. The aspect that troubled Jordan was seeing some of the other children upset.

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, September 13, 2010.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Separation Anxiety and the New Montessori Preschool Student: Tips for Parents and Teachers

Coping with Separation Anxiety

NAMC montessori preschool separation anxiety tips for parents teachers
The first few weeks of Montessori preschool are always a time of adjustment and many students (and parents) feel a sense of separation anxiety which is perfectly normal. Separation anxiety is often caused by fear of the unknown when it comes to a new situation or it can relate to something that is happening at home or to something that the child has just experienced before arriving at school. No matter what the cause, it is heart-wrenching to everyone involved and as teachers we need to be able to nurture the child who is upset, provide support to the parents who feel like they are abandoning their child and also, help the other children feel at ease as they may start feeling anxious with seeing one of their classmates so distressed. As a parent of three, I have experienced my own share of separation anxiety and it is extremely challenging. It is one of the hardest things to deal with as a parent, and can be very stressful as a Montessori classroom teacher as well.

 I have included below, a number of strategies to help Montessori parents and teachers. Remember, separation anxiety is a phase, it is perfectly natural and it will pass.

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, September 10, 2010.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The First Day of Montessori Preschool - Apprehension and Adjustment

This year long series looks at the experiences of teachers, parents, students, and Montessori education itself, as we follow a student through his first year at a Montessori Preschool. The Montessori Insights and Reflections of a Preschool Student’s First Year is a collection of useful stories, tips, and information that has arisen from one real student's Montessori journey, viewed through the eyes of his Montessori Teacher, Bree Von Nes.

Jordan’s First Day of Montessori Preschool

NAMC montessori preschool first day boy looking at fish
The first day of school arrived, and everyone was full of excitement, anxiety and anticipation. It was wonderful to see all of the returning families and the smiles on the faces of the children warmed my heart! I missed them so much over the summer and it felt great to have them back and eager to be the “big helpers” in the Montessori classroom. Just as thrilling for me was the experience of welcoming all the new students and their families to our Montessori school.

As always, I greeted students individually at the door with a handshake and a warm hello and welcomed them to their Montessori preschool. One of my new Montessori students, Jordan (age 3) entered the classroom looking quite shy and apprehensive. It was clear that he was not yet comfortable shaking hands, so none of the teachers including myself pushed the issue. Jordan was overwhelmed with all of the new faces and I thought he might need a little space to adjust.

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, September 8, 2010.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Montessori Circle Time Routines for the First Day: Shelves, Mats, Tables and Work

NAMC montessori circle time routines first day shelves tables mats work
Circle Time on the First Day – Establishing Routines Part 2

This is the second of a two-part series on Circle Time on the first day of the school year. Part 1 is about greeting and getting acquainted on the first day.


Orientation to Open and Closed Shelves
I might then explain to the young students that there are many special ‘works’ in the Montessori classroom, but there are some very important rules that they need to remember about these works. I would then physically show them the ‘open’ and ‘closed’ shelves so that they know exactly which shelves I’m referring to. This year I have done something a little different and instead of writing the word, ‘closed’ on the shelves that house the Montessori learning material, I have placed a visual sign showing a picture of a teacher working with a child. I feel it is a softer, more subtle way to remind the children that the ‘works’ on those shelves are special. I plan to show the children the sign at circle time and explain that if they see this sign on a shelf, it means that the works on that shelf require a special lesson and they must be done with the Montessori teacher.

There are only a few shelves that require this sign at the beginning of the school year; all of the other shelves are “open” and include entry item activities that do not require a formal presentation, and that the Montessori preschool students may use whenever they wish. The returning students are usually the first ones to receive lessons from the closed shelves, as they may already be familiar with the material. I also remind my Montessori students that each work is for one person at a time, so students may have to wait their turn if the work they wish to do is being used by a classmate. I explain that it is important to be patient and to wait until the work is returned to the shelf in the same manner in which it was found.

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, September 7, 2010.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Montessori Circle Time Routines for the First Day: Welcome Songs

Circle Time on the First Day – Establishing Routines Part 1

NAMC montessori circle time routines first day welcome songs studentsThe first day of school is about establishing routines in the Montessori preschool classroom and we all know that preschoolers love routines! Preschoolers thrive on understanding how their day will unfold and predicting what will happen throughout the day. The first week of school can often be a little scary and stressful for some young Montessori students because they aren't yet able to predict how the day will unfold and it is the Montessori teacher’s responsibility to make the transition as simple and stress-free as possible!

Each Montessori school structures their day slightly differently. I prefer to begin my day with a circle time to get acquainted and to orient them to the Montessori classroom. I love gathering the children together and helping them to feel a real sense of community, and I try my best to show them that this is their Montessori classroom. I delight in hearing them share stories that are special to them, sing songs, ask questions and bond with one another. The first week, my aim is to make my circle routine in the Montessori classroom as predictable as possible and I share below a basic outline of what I typically do, as well as some great songs and activities for your 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 Thursday, September 2, 2010.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

How to Incorporate Montessori Entry Items in Your New Montessori Classroom

Entry Items for the Start of School – Part 2

NAMC montessori entry items how to incorporate into classroom girl playing on mat
As mentioned in Part 1 of this two-part blog series, I emphasized the importance of preparing and introducing “entry items” in the Montessori classroom to make the first day of the school year an enjoyable and successful day for my new and returning Montessori students.

Entry items are manipulatives (non-Montessori) that are already familiar to most preschoolers, such as puzzles, blocks, elastic band board etc. and I do like to keep them as natural looking as possible. Entry items don't require a specific presentation, aside from the basics of how to carry the activity to a table or mat and tidy it up upon completion. Even thought they aren't traditional Montessori materials, they should still be displayed in a Montessori manner - each item should be placed in a basket or on a tray and placed neatly on the “open” shelves.

On the first day of school, I take the children on a tour of our Montessori classroom and show the students which shelves are “open” and which shelves are “closed”. I have the children stay at circle but look with their eyes as I move throughout the room and stop in each subject area. For the first few weeks, I put a little sign on the closed shelves to serve as a visual reminder and I always make a point of showing each child what the closed sign looks like and explaining the purpose that it serves.

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, September 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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