Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Food and Friends

This week has been all about food.  We really loved our Indian Rice Pudding (Kheer) with the yummy coconut milk.  We made a cherry galette from France and pitted all the cherries ourselves.  We also made some very yummy hummus which we served in scooped out cucumber slices with a garnish of scallion and red pepper.  We also concocted some silly things, like fish from sugar snap peas, with olives for eyes and yellow peppers for fins, and strawberry mice.  In the midst of all of this, our school is getting new flooring and we had to switch rooms!  You know how important the sense of order is to children and adults alike when you have to set up a room that has all the materials and shelving shoved in one corner--with the children in attendance.  Everyone is doing well though, and we love to eat!  We are trying to take time with our meals and our treats--enjoying the company of our friends, and the exquisite taste and smell of our delicious food.  We sometimes rush through our meals in the United States, and forget to give our food and our companions the respect they both deserve.  Good food and good company is a gift.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Thanks to one of my assistants I had the opportunity to witness the transformation of egg to caterpillar to butterfly.  I felt like cheering as the newest caterpillar made his way to the top of the habitat and began his journey to complete change.  It reminded me of how Maria Montessori used this phenomena to explain the growth of a child from one plane of development to another.  She said that each plane was not a linear ascent but a complete and dramatic change in the child.  It can be easy in our daily life to forget this fact.  We see the children grow and change almost imperceptibly.  Yet, think of the child at age 3 and then again at age 6.  The child who could not hold a pencil can now write a story.  The child who could not walk across the room without bumping into every shelf now skips and processes.  The child who had trouble enunciating is now telling jokes--and they make sense!  What a joyful process we are privy to witnessing.  In the ordinary flow of life we get to see the miracle.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mini Summer

We created a miniature garden today in our summer program, as the weather prevented us from going outside. The paths got a little full of turquoise stones but I'm sure they will be less intense as the plants and moss grow in.  We used found objects and some cuttings from plants.  The children chose the rocks and shells, and we had some lively discussions over placement.  The swing needs a bit of work, but, as always, the process is the thing! Now, who will live in the house?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Transforming Words

I'm looking for a book for our fall parent book club.  My fall-back book is How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk.  That book was my crutch when my children were small.  I'm reading Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves by Naomi Aldort.  I've heard good things about it, and I am hopeful it will be a good Montessori fit.  Aldort states, "It is our own mind-talk that prevents us from understanding the child and from knowing how to respond.  A child's actions are not bad or good; they are simply expressions of emotional and physical needs or they are innocent play.  Yet, our mind quickly evaluates a child's actions, and we respond not to the child, but to our own interpretations of her actions"  (Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves).  We in Montessori know the value of observation freed from preconceived ideas.  The book then identifies the five primary needs of children and how to respond to children authentically, with non-judgmental communication.  The book cover says it is for parents of babies to teens.  I'll keep you updated.  Let me know if there are any books out there you love that would be appropriate for a parent book club.  Thanks in advance!