Thursday, January 27, 2011

Collaboration Among Montessori Teachers: Cooperation and Teamwork With Co-Teachers

NAMC montessori teachers collaboration cooperation teamwork co-teachersThe teacher … must acquire a moral alertness which has not hitherto been demanded by any other system, and this is revealed in her tranquility, patience, charity and humility. Not words, but virtues, are her main qualification. ~ Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child

Teamwork with Co-Teachers
Collaborating with your Montessori co-teachers and colleagues is a vital part of improving and enriching your classroom instruction and management. Collaborating with other adults is also a fine example of peace education for your Montessori students. This two part post will give you some great ideas on how to collaborate and cooperate with your fellow Montessori Teachers to constantly work at improving the harmony and effectiveness of your lessons and 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 Thursday, January 27, 2011.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Introducing History and Passage of Time in a Montessori Preschool: The Birthday Walk and the Clock

NAMC montessori preschool introducing history passage of time birthday walk clock with globeIntroducing History in a Montessori Preschool – Part 3 of 3

Everything must be taught, and everything must be connected with life… - Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child

The Clock – Relating The Passage of Time to the Daily Routine
Learning about the clock and recognizing certain times is also a beneficial way to explore the passing of time in the Montessori preschool environment. My Montessori students can see on our classroom clock that circle time begins every day at 9:00 a.m. and the music comes on around 11:30 a.m. to signal clean-up time. Usually around 11:15 a.m. each morning, students begin to ask me if they can turn on the music so that we can clean up for circle time. It is amazing how quickly they begin to understand the routine and the schedule of the day; it provides them with a sense of security that they can predict what is going to happen throughout the day. At 11:45 a.m. we eat our lunch and at 12:00 p.m. we get ready to go outside. Many of the older Montessori preschool students pay close attention to the clock and if I happen to lose track of time, they are very quick to let me know!

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, January 24, 2011.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Introducing History and Passage of Time in a Montessori Preschool: Learning About Seasons

Introducing History in a Montessori Preschool – Part 2

NAMC montessori preschool introducing history passage of time learn about seasons looking at blossomsA child, who more than anyone else is a spontaneous observer of nature, certainly needs to have at his disposal material upon which he can work. ~ Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child


Learning about the Seasons
Another way to promote an understanding of the passage of time is to learn about the seasons and how they change throughout the year. I live in an area of North America that has four distinct seasons, so the children in my class are very fortunate to be able to understand the unique changes to each season in a very experiential way.

In the spring we go outside to observe the buds on the trees and the bulbs sprouting up from the ground. We do planting activities in the Montessori preschool classroom and enrich our Nature Table with a variety of items to reinforce the current season. In the summer, we play outside, we water the garden, we run through the sprinkler and we even arrange a few beach days. In the fall, the children take great delight in raking the leaves and observing the leaves changing colors. We bring leaves in from outside to make collages and I show them how to do leaf rubbings. In the winter, we have the opportunity to explore ice and snow and the children love wearing their winter clothes to school to play in the snow with one another. They are able to use child-size snow shovels, they learn to make snowmen and they enjoy looking for icicles in the school yard.

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, January 21, 2011.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Montessori Elementary School Studies: Civil Rights

NAMC montessori elementary school studies students civil rights jumping
World-shaking forces are now making the realization of human unity an urgent necessity. The time is past when some racial groups or nations can be civilized, leaving others servile or barbaric. Persistence in these outworn ideas can lead only to further wars and self-destruction, and how can a general change of thought be effected but by the teacher; not as tyrant or missionary, but as essential leader in the rising generation? ~ Maria Montessori, To Educate the Human Potential

Dr. Montessori’s To Educate the Human Potential was first published in 1948. Imagine the experience of a world war as a frame of reference for this strong message. Montessori’s belief that education is essential to peace is as relevant today as it ever was. Those who struggle for human and civil rights around the globe would likely agree. Montessori strongly advocated that educators play a very important role in guiding future generations toward peace. The early part of the new year turns the focus on international leaders in civil and human rights.

In a 2008 broadcast on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the late Professor John Hope Franklin talks about the civil rights movement today. He states that although we have become accustomed to it, and that we do not have one particular person who is the face of civil rights movement such as Dr. King, there are many organizations existing today that subsist under the general title of “civil rights”.

With your elementary Montessori students, explore and discuss the definition of civil rights, historical events related to civil rights, and organizations today that work for civil rights, both at home and abroad. Study your country’s constitution as it relates to civil rights (e.g. US Constitution, Amendments 13, 14, 15 and 19). This is a great springboard to further historical, cultural and peace education projects and studies.

Some helpful links:
Related NAMC blogs:
The NAMC Elementary manuals provide activities and extensions in this rich, integrated curriculum.

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, January 18, 2011.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Introducing History and Passage of Time in a Montessori Preschool: The Calendar

NAMC montessori preschool history and passage of time circle time calendarIntroducing History in a Montessori Preschool – Part 1

Teaching history in a Montessori preschool/kindergarten classroom means helping children understand the passage of time.  It is a difficult concept for little ones to grasp, but there are many interesting ways we can explore the passage of time in a Montessori environment. One of the best ways to begin the introduction to time and history is to work with The 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 Thursday, January 13, 2011.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Montessori Classroom Design: Fostering Independence in the Prepared Environment

NAMC montessori classroom design prepared environment fostering independence
As Montessori educators, one of our most important roles is to foster independence in our students. It is important to evaluate your Montessori classroom periodically throughout the year and ask yourself if you have established an environment that nurtures your students in their growing independence.

When your Montessori students arrive in the morning, do they have a place to hang their coats? If they switch to indoor shoes, do they have a “home” for the shoes they are not wearing? Can they easily put on their indoor shoes? The start of the school day is only the start of the opportunities the Montessori classroom provides to students for building independence.

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, January 12, 2011.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Art of Observation in the Montessori Classroom - Helpful Tips For Parent Observers

NAMC montessori classroom parent observer girl watering helpful tips plantsThe Art of Observation for the Parent - Part 2

A teacher is destined by his own special work to observe…man when his intellectual life is awakening.  ~ Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child

The above quote is very much applicable to parents and teachers. Being able to observe your own child in a Montessori environment is very special and can be both eye opening and entertaining. I remember years ago observing my daughter and expecting to see her working with the Pink Tower which she always talked about, or doing her beloved ‘spooning’ work or the ever-popular ‘color mixing’ work, but clearly she had a different agenda! She was so aware of my presence in “her” Montessori classroom that she wasn't herself at all and ended up spending the entire time building a block tower. 

I must say it was a lovely tower, but certainly not what I was expecting. It did, however, give me the opportunity to see the other 19 children bustling around the classroom, busy with their work and it was amazing! It truly warmed my heart and I felt so appreciative for the Montessori teachers, the materials and the environment, and I completely understood why my daughter looked forward to Montessori preschool each and every day. I tried observing at a later date and made a point of being as unobtrusive as possible and it made a world of difference. Finally, I had the opportunity for a true glimpse into how my daughter spent her time at Montessori preschool... and I was so pleased with what I saw.

Here are a few thoughts for parents to consider before attending a pre-arranged observation of their child’s Montessori classroom in action.

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, January 7, 2011.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Art of Observation in a Montessori Classroom - Sensitive Periods, Productivity and Humor

NAMC montessori classroom art of observation sensitive periods productivity examining pinecone 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.

The Art of Observation - Part 1 
A Montessori directress is a skilled observer who uses her knowledge and training to provide children with the necessary guidance to facilitate individual development. A directress frequently observes her Montessori students to determine where they are at developmentally and to guide them to appropriate lessons and activities. The Montessori directress also observes her students to determine what, if any, changes need to be made in the environment to facilitate student growth and development. Perhaps an area is too open or too narrow … a skilled observer will notice if the Montessori environment can be altered to promote safety, encourage ease of movement and overall, create a more productive work space. 

Another important part of being a skilled observer is being a meticulous note-taker and doing so through checklists, narrative reports, jotting down quick comments through the day, etc. It is so important to regularly track a child’s progress to ensure you are in tune with each child’s individual needs and to help paint a true picture of where each student is at in all aspect of his/her development.

Over the years I have had the opportunity to observe many children, including my own in a Montessori environment and I can honestly say that I always learn something new! Observation gives the Montessori teacher a chance to see where a student is developmentally and what skills he or she is working to perfect.  It is such a gift to be able to step back and observe without distractions and I think one of my favorite aspects of observing in my Montessori preschool classroom is being able to hear the interesting and often humorous exchanges between the children.

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, January 5, 2011.
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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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