Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Our school and an assisted-living community have a long-standing relationship. At our orientation, the wonderful activities director talks about the elders and the changes they may be going through. The children try a walker, a wheelchair, and some funny glasses to approximate what an elder may be experiencing. They learn to be quite respectful and empathetic to their new friends. Here is a really short video:
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
The children are always drawn to beauty. Maria Montessori observed this years ago but it still feels like a revelation each time I see it in practice. Sometimes I've wondered if I'm too concerned with each little detail but when I see the children notice a lovely button, a carefully painted leaf, or a graceful pattern on an apron, I'm glad I took the time to beautify the environment. The children also show loving care to a healthy green plant, or a flower. My wonderful assistant provided the flowers that one girl is arranging and the other is "pounding." Using a small floral craft hammer she imprints the flower onto a piece of muslin. It is then suitable for framing, or making a small pillow or pincushion. Montessori writes, "The human hand allows the mind to reveal itself." In these children what I see revealed is diligence, cooperation, artistry, and so much more. How beautiful is the mind of the child!
Sunday, September 12, 2010
There is new brain research using magnetic resonance imaging that can predict a person's maturity. The possible uses? Well, if you could identify an immature portion of the brain, you could use techniques that help that part of the brain mature. Ultimately, the research could provide imaging useful to treating autism and other brain disorders at a young age. So far, the research begins at age seven but is continuing. You can read the whole article in the current issue of Science magazine, however, it is a bit dense:
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
I don't know a lot about the movie "Race to Nowhere" but it has piqued my attention. Someone in the trailer asserts, "We need to redefine what success means for our kids." I've long thought that the educational system in the USA needs a complete overhaul, and I don't mean more testing. Of course, I believe Montessori is the best alternative route for us to follow. If we need creative,collaborative, resilient, motivated problem-solvers to ensure our economic future, look no further than Montessori graduates. We can't raise a generation of children afraid to make a mistake. Mistakes take us to the next level, which is sometimes a level we couldn't earlier even envision. Albert Einstein famously said, "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." Take a look at this trailer and see what you think.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
I am a music lover. I study voice, play the piano and play the guitar (at school only for the guitar part!). I have spent years doing musical theater and I have also dabbled in strings. Now, I found the perfect book to explain the beauty of music to the children. The Blessing of Music by Welleran Poltarnees has absolutely stunning reproductions of art that capture the feeling of music. One line reads, "It [music] is a language for feelings that have no other expression. . . " Another line reads, "[Music] brings us into closer harmony with the universe, and with our deepest selves." The artists range from Klimt to Larsson to Degas, among others. The art ranges from the late 19th century to the early 20th. Not only does the book capture the blessing of music in words, it does so in illustration as well. I am so excited to find this book that I had to share it with you!