Thursday, October 28, 2010


We've been working really hard on coming up with a better lunch procedure.  My school planned a visit to Chicago to visit Countryside Montessori, and I remembered I had viewed a video of their All Year Montessori lunch procedure. I re-watched it and liked it, and decided to have my children watch it.  They liked the ideas they saw, and we are now implementing this procedure.  It is not without its difficulties, but it is working better that what we were doing, which was having each child clean their own plate, cup and flatware, and then sweep and crumb their own area.  I love the communal spirit of the new procedure.  Our children bring their own lunch to school, so that aspect is different.  We also do not have any napping children this year.  We do empty the food from the lunch boxes onto the plates, and throw any trash away before we start lunch.  We also use tablecloths, cloth napkins, a full set of flatware, and glass plates and cups.  Before we eat we say together:  "We wish for peace, food, happiness, and love for all the children of the world."  I added the Countryside video to my video bar, and also have it here for your viewing pleasure.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Little Mysterious

These photos are from a day we spent at a farm.  We went on a hayride, picked pumpkins and other gourds, found out why certain vegetables and/or fruits sink or float, and walked in a corn maze.  It is always a beautiful thing to get outside and connect with nature.  This place is a small organic farm that is filled with love.  Definitely a happy place.  When I look at the photo of the child in the corn maze I wonder if that is how the whole world seems to a small child-- giant and a little mysterious.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Work the Natural Way

I love the old photos of Montessori children working outside.  We often bring our work outside and the beautiful fall has prolonged our use of the outdoor garden.  In winter we do get the chance to use the area but in a different way.  Notice our corn in the background.  We were able to use the corn for activities in the room.  We have yet to dig up our sweet potatoes but Thanksgiving is around the corner!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Who Needs Flour?

This young man and another young lady were baking today.  They were pretty much on their own, as my fabulous assistant was gone.  When the baking trays were removed from the oven, the scones were pretty much a lump of raisins with butter bubbling all around them.  "Hmmm,"  I said,  "What do you think happened?"  After some discussion, they realized they had not added the flour.  "Do you want to try again?"  I asked.  "YES!"  they beamed.  The second time around the scones were perfect! I'm so glad they had the opportunity to experience a mistake.  I'm also glad they had the time to work on their skills.  We are often in such a hurry, or so overly solicitous that our children never experience failure.  This was a happy failure on all sides.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Turning the Key

We had our first "Parent Partnership"  meeting last Thursday.  We are focusing on Alfie Kohn's book, Unconditional Parenting, but also leaving time for guest speakers and Montessori education.  We will meet once a month.  We devoted the first third of the meeting to finding out what parents are looking for and to an overview of the book.  The last two-thirds of the meeting was an overview of the environment, with lots of pictures.  I sense that the Alfie Kohn material will provoke a lot of good discussion, as parents who were already reading the book had some emotional responses to the material.  Of course, the parents love seeing photos of their children doing the work in the environment and learning why it is important.  We showed many photos of children concentrating.  Concentration is so amazingly important to the child.  Once the child begins to concentrate, the real work of developing the intelligence can begin.  We guides have the responsibility to find the work that helps the child turn the key and open the door to concentration.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Where Did All the Acorns Go?

We went on a lovely walk today to look for acorns for a project.  It was a beautiful day, with a light breeze and sunny skies--but no acorns!  Usually, we are inundated with acorns but not this fall.  Any theories?  Too many squirrels?  Global warming?  Oak tree pests?  Let me know.  I love acorns.