Friday, August 5, 2011

This is a sweet photo of a student who just baked banana bread.  She is in an all-day program, and baking is the best thing that ever happened to all-day Montessori.  It is such a wonderful opportunity for the child to either contribute to the environment or to the family dinner or breakfast.  We all want to feel like we have contributed in a meaningful way.  The perfect project and, for me, the perfect snack at the end of the day.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Value of Humility

I have been considering the subject of compromise and humility lately.  At the Aspen Idea Festival, David Brooks spoke about how we as a nation have turned away from the idea of humility, and into a nation concerned with self-empowerment.  The sixties and seventies spawned the "me" generation.  It seems everyone these days thinks they are above average in most ways.  Most Americans feel that compromise is for those who are unsure or  possess a weak opinion of themselves.  There is a lot of ego involved in this self-confidence -- in effect saying, "I'm right and you're wrong".  Yet, our forefathers compromised heavily to create our nation. They were humbled by the task and held the notion that we were all created equal, with valid points of view. We show our intellect when we acknowledge that others may have ideas that are relevant, and perhaps, ideas that even lead us to change our outlook.  We show our compassion when we give up a little for the greater good.  I know that in our Montessori schools we present the art of compromise every day.  We respect others and their opinions.  Sometimes, the solution the children arrive at involves giving up a little, and acknowledging the needs and wants of others.  Most often, we become aware that everyone possesses wants and needs, and the trick is discerning the difference.  See the David Brooks speech below.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Another Year

What a great school year we had!  I have only been off two days and I am already missing all the funny and thoughtful things the children say and, of course, all their hugs!  Here are the graduates and a few of their activities:  baking, writing, enjoying our feast together, celebrating birthdays, and visiting the elders.  They are a strong and self-assured group, more than ready to make the world a better place!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Preschool Pays Off

Today in the Minneapolis StarTribune there was an article on a study the University of MN did on preschool efficacy.  Again, as in other studies,  the importance of preschool to later adult success was noted.  It is obviously necessary to find a way to offer all children the opportunity to go to a quality preschool.  When these studies are coupled with the brain research studies that are mapping the young child's brain, the evidence points to a Montessori approach.  We have a responsibility as educators to find avenues that lead to at least the possibility of a Montessori early childhood experience for all children.  Here is a link to the article:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Whole, Wide World

I wanted to share this with you to note my sister's work.  Years ago, after she returned from a Peace Corps assignment she made this scaled copy of the world.  While she was in Cameroon, she helped paint a larger version of it on the side of her village school.  It makes me happy to see this painting in our Casa.  It almost feels like the earth itself is looking over, protecting, and blessing our environment.  It also is a great reference tool and conversation starter.  What a very cool planet we live on.  That is my assistant of nine years with two of our children in the photo.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sunnier Days

Being that it is "supposed" to be spring, we have been working on the flower in our Casa.  One of the children took this work a step further.  I have classified cards of the scientific names of flower shapes.  This child did watercolor renditions of the flowers and labeled them.  As much as it has rained this spring, this work brought a ray of sunshine to the day.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Back on the Farm

A few pictures say it all.  We had a great day out in the country.  The children saw, fed, touched and interacted with chickens, cows, sheep, lambs, HUGE dogs, pigs, and also cooked and planted seeds.  All in a day's work on the farm.