Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanks For Patience

We had a great Thanksgiving Feast this year.  The children prepared baked macaroni and cheese, fruit salad, baked potatoes, turkey loaf, cranberry sauce, corn, and had ice cream for dessert.  We made new tablecloths (although we didn't finish the napkins), little pilgrim hat place cards, candles and arranged mums in vases and pumpkins.  I had planned for us to sing our Thanksgiving song before our meal but one of the older children said, "Let's hold hands and each say what we are thankful for."  The list included the usual things:  family, friends, food, love, etc.  However, one child added that she was thankful for patience for her mom.  Rather a sophisticated idea for a four year old!  Patience is indeed a blessing. 

Monday, November 22, 2010


I had to share this quick video with you.  On Saturday, we had an International Family Fun Fest that featured six countries (one from each continent), and Switzerland was one of the countries.  We were lucky enough to find Swiss Alphorn players to demonstrate their instruments. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Two Cool Things

Isn't this the coolest use of the pentagon?  One of my artist friends told me it is extremely difficult to envision an existing object in a totally new way.  The soul of an artist.  The second cool thing was the answer one of my children gave to a visitor.  The visitor wanted to do a difficult activity, and my student told her it was probably a bit too hard.  When the visitor said, "But I'm five!" my student said, "It doesn't matter how old you are, it matters what you know how to do."  Enough said.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Channeling Beethoven

I had to pass on this video I found on Yahoo.  As a parent, musician, and Montessori guide I find this child to be amazing.  The full embodiment of emotion, physicality, and interpretation here is astonishing.  This child embodies Beethoven, and perhaps is even channeling him!  I've had musical children in my environments but this child is exceptional.  I hope he is composing music--he needs our Montessori music materials and we may need to add conducting to our repertoire of presentations!  I love how he is moving and exercising so intensely, yet remains firmly planted on his little conducting stand.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Nature Rules

The children at our school have a wonderful manufactured playground, yet often choose to play in the woods and on the stumps of trees.  I think it is one more case of that which is authentic and real always trumps manufactured and simulated.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Humans Love Each Other

This is a sample of writing from a developing author.  I love using pictures to inspire the children's writing.  The top one reads, "Humans are mammals.  Humans love each other (did you translate that)?  There is a maturity in the insight that although humans are mammals, love elevates us.  The other reads, "Cats love milk," (again, I'm sure milk sometimes sounds like "melc").  I'm excited to read this child's writing as her small motor skills develop, and her ability to compose continues.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Helping Children Flourish

We had our second parent education meeting and book club on Thursday.  We are discussing Alfie Kohn's book Unconditional Parenting.  As one parent noted, his approach is very different from what we've been taught about parenting in the past, which tends to be very behavior-oriented. In other words, many parenting directives are intended to get children to comply with our expectations, as opposed to focusing on what the child needs or is feeling. We discussed our long-term objectives for our children, and examined how our contributions can help lead to those outcomes.  We asked ourselves, "How do we help a child develop traits like independence, happiness, patience, responsibility and confidence?"  Certainly not by getting the child to always do only what we want.  If we place a premium on obedience, we may be helping produce a child who is blindly obedient not only to us, but to others.  We may also produce a child who believes they are loved only when they act the way we demand, or when they perform well in school or at sports.  We discussed the importance of unconditional love, or loving a child for who they are, and as they are.  This sort of love is not tied to what they do.  This love allows a child to flourish, because they are freer to accept themselves and others as fundamentally "good" people.  However, unconditional parenting is not about letting children do whatever they want.  Kohn says, "It's very important (once the storm has passed) to teach, to reflect together . . . Whatever lesson we [hope] to impart [is] far more likely to be learned if the child [knows] that our love for her [is] undimmed by how she had acted."  We are covering Chapters 2 and 3 next month, which focus on giving and withholding love, and too much control.   

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Line

 We love to walk on the line.  Dr. Montessori noted how children loved to perfect their balance and carriage by balancing and walking on the natural lines in nature.  As we Montessorians know, she incorporated this phenomena in the environment with a walking line, painted or laid down with tape.  The children develop control of their body, balancing with grace.  Eventually, other challenges are added, such as holding a full glass of water without spilling, or balancing a bean bag on the head while walking on the line.  My own children love to walk to music where they walk, march, run on their tip-toes, process and skip.  Hopefully, we will progress to the aforementioned challenges as the year goes on.  I notice that the children are refreshed and focused after walking on the line.  Maybe it is time for all work places to have a walking line!