When you enter our school there is a long set of stairs for the children to navigate. In the winter, it can get slippery. We've tried lots of surfaces, and the one we have now works pretty well, but I'm always nervous about the children. When we were looking for solutions, I semi-jokingly suggested a slide. Evidently, great minds think alike. I viewed this video on Dan Pink's website.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Earlier in the year I wrote about boys being left behind. On NPR I heard Hanna Rosin being interviewed about an article she wrote titled, "The End of Men" for the Atlantic Monthly. While it is unclear why boys and men are lagging behind women, there are several hypotheses. One is that the supposed female right brain dominance is simply more suited for the social and managerial skills needed in today's economy. Another is that with the elimination of many blue-collar type jobs, college is the clear path to middle-class and upper-middle-class life, and women find more success in college. Some posit that schools throughout life are simply more amenable to female skills and less so for males. Montessorians believe that society benefits when all are valued and feel fulfilled. Let's figure this out. Women and men have much to offer. As societal norms change, let's find the change we need to help all people thrive. More widespread Montessori education is part of the answer, as the environment supports all kinds of learning styles. Read the article at: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/07/the-end-of-men/8135/1/. T-shirt available at: www.zazzle.com.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
I've been considering as of late what makes a good Montessori teacher. We can all agree that the teacher must be trained in the materials and the theory. The teacher must understand child development. The teacher must communicate effectively with the parents. The teacher must be able to present the materials effectively, and keep adequate records. But what is the element that elevates an ordinary teacher to extraordinary? Dr Montessori says, "To stimulate life,–leaving it then free to develop, to unfold,–herein lies the first task of the educator. In such a delicate task, a great art must suggest the moment, and limit the intervention, in order that we shall arouse no perturbation, cause no deviation, but rather that we shall help the soul which is coming into the fullness of life, and which shall live from its own forces. This art must accompany the scientific method.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Saturday, June 5, 2010
A colleague of mine observed in the Casa on Tuesday and what she said struck a chord with me. She said, (and I paraphrase), "If every parent in Montessori could see your older children, they would all stay for the third year." She was most struck by the children's independence, their problem-solving ability, and their "living-out" of the grace and courtesy lessons. She noticed it with all the children, but especially with the older ones. One child offered her tea, without any prompting. The child made it herself, and when my colleague went to wash her dishes said, "You don't need to do that; I'll take care of it." Another child deflected a not-so-nice comment with grace and ease. An indication of their independence was my comment, "I can't get anyone to take a presentation this morning--they are all so busy." To me it seemed a chaotic morning, because as those last days of school wind down the energy level and noise level seems to rise, but to her, it was a community living with purpose and love. I will miss our lovely graduates, with their unique personalities and gifts. I know that regardless of where they go for first grade and beyond, the foundation they have laid will serve them well.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
There is a mom's blog called "Sleeping With the Laundry," the name of which, depending on my mood, I find funny or sad (been there, done that, and I can't believe I'm admitting it, although my name would be "Napping With the Laundry"). The blog is also now an iPhone app, for those of you with that capability. At both school and home, I felt like I was literally sleeping with the laundry, so we had a laundry folding party for the school laundry. The children fold laundry every day but it felt special when everyone pitched in. So many projects are like this--heavy work for few hands, and light work for many hands. It was satisfying for all of us to get our laundry under control, and we had fun doing it! Now I need a Montessori laundry folding party at my house--any takers?