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5 Things Everyone Should Know about the Montessori Method

For the past 35 years I have been told that I talk too much.  That problem intensifies when I am passionate about something.  Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out how I can explain the beauty of the Montessori Method to families who tour, members of our community and the greater world in a concise and succinct manner.  Task failed until last week.

Julie Bragdon, assistant head of school at Montessori School of Denver recently published an article in the Spring 2014 edition of Montessori Life entitled “What Every Family Should Know about Montessori.” Thank you Julie Bragdon for helping edit my conversation into the following five steps.

1. The Montessori method is child-centered.  Children stay engaged and learn more.

2. Each child is encourage to reach his full potential which is entirely different than they can do whatever they want, a Montessori myth.  A child in the Montessori classroom doesn’t have to stick with herd and a teacher doesn’t teach to the middle.

3. Hands-on learning occurs through special materials that provide a control of error so that students can monitor and adjust their own learning. Children become comfortable with persevering after making a mistake which inspires them to tackle continually challenging work.  The method  encourages children to learn through immersion, independent investigation, and multi-sensory learning.  These buzzwords are now a part of best practices in traditional schools.  They have been part of the Montessori Method since 1907.

4. Students complete their work in a variety of environments instead of being forced to stay in a desk.  Even before brain-based learning and embodied cognition, Dr. Montessori recognized the connection between movement and learning.  The Montessori classroom allows for that movement.   Most adults don’t enjoy staying trapped at their desk all day.  Why would we want that for our children?

5. The Montessori Method stays true to the belief that children learn best in a respectful, supportive environment. Teachers guide instead of dominate.  The sage on the stage is no more, and feedback is authentic. Children are social creatures and have the opportunity to learn with and from each other.

We all want our children to be happy, successful, and prepared for the “real world.”  The Montessori Method allows us to give the “real world” to our children inside the classroom with a loving teacher and a beautiful environment.  Take time this month to share with friends why you chose a Montessori education for your child.  Invite them to Fill the Chair and see the magic of learning at MSH firsthand.

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March 11, 2014 5:05 pm  |   Category:   |   Comments Off

Toddler II March Blogpost

Hello everyone! Hopefully we are through with the cold weather. Over the past two weeks we have finally been able to enjoy our playground before and after lunch. In March, we will observe how tiny seeds become seedlings. We have already germinated peas. Now we are going to germinate tomatoes, spinach, beets, and radishes.

Our big Multicultural Festival is around the corner on April 5. This month we will be busy preparing for that. We are representing the continent of North America. This month, we will study North American food, animals, and some popular festivals celebrated here. I know it sounds like a lot, but our kids have been really interested in learning about the continents and their native animals. They learned them so well, and I am so proud of them! The students have been making some beautiful flags of North American countries. As a classroom, we are going to make a poster about North American animals. We are very excited getting ready for the festival.

We have added some new things to our morning group time over the last few weeks. Every Monday, two children dust the shelves and tidy the classroom for job time. We also have started meditation with our peace jar after group time. It is unbelievable how much concentration they can have now! It is our pleasure to watch them grow.

Our Spring Break is March 24–28. No regular school will be available during the Spring Break, but all day extended care will be provided. If you are interested, please sign-up outside our classroom.

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March 10, 2014 5:04 pm  |   Category:   |   Comments Off

Primary III Blogpost

Hello Everyone! We finished up our human body curriculum last week. I hope the children shared with you what they learned about their bodies and how to keep their bodies healthy. Thank you so much for taking the time to come and observe our classroom. I hope you enjoyed visiting, and please come again anytime. Even though we exchanged some school days for snow days due to the winter storm, we still managed to make it back in time to celebrate Valentine’s Day. We exchanged our Valentine’s Day cards and also had some special visitors come to class and make beautiufl clay bead necklaces with the children. Thank you so much to Laticia and Matt for helping with this. If your child has been telling you they love you in Chinese and you are wondering where they learned this, it is because Xin (Cindy) Jia has been coming into our class on Thursdays to teach our class some Chinese.

This year, our class will be representing the continent of Asia for the Multi-Cultural festival, so March will be a fun- filled journey to Asia. We will be making maps, flags, tasting different types of foods, learning  about amazing places and taking a look inside life on the other side of the planet. Also this year, our classs will create a video about Asia to be presented at the Multi-Culti festival in April. Hopefully March will lend us some spring weather, so we can get outside and start getting our hands in the dirt to prepare our spring garden. We will be starting our seeds in the classroom this month, too.

We will end this month’s blog with a short story told by our kindergarten students – enjoy the creative silliness: Once there was a man, a monkey, and cookies. The man and the monkey lived in a pancake house in the town of Funnyness. There they lived happily eating cookies. One day when they were cooking a giant cookie, a magical thing happened, and the cookie came to life. The cookie said to the man,”Whoosh! I am hot!” The man was so shocked that he offered the cookie a dip in his cold pool. Meanwhile, the monkey was busy eating a banana breakfast, and when he smelled the cookie he got  hungrier, but not for bananas. The cookie saw the hungry monkey and ran away to find a cookie school where there were a lot of other cookies. Now that the cookie was safe, the man and monkey decided to just go to the grocery store.

We are always so greatful for the support that our community gives. There is a lot of love being passed around here!

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“It is the child who makes the man, and no man exists who was not made by the child he once was.” – Dr. Maria Montessori

March 10, 2014 5:03 pm  |   Category:   |   Comments Off

Toddler I February Blogpost

Maria Montessori wrote, “The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say, The children are now working as if I did not exist.”

We love every moment in our classroom.  Each part of the school year is something to cherish, and there is always something to celebrate.  However, second semester is an especially magical time in our toddler classroom.
We often comment to one another throughout the day that we can meld into the background and the children would not even notice.  Watching them put into practice everything we have spent hours repeating over the past few months not only gives us a sense of accomplishment, but it subconsciously gives them one as well.

They are now independent.  They can work through the class day with minimal instruction from us.  If they spill something they know where the sponges are to clean it up.  When they are hungry, they no longer tell us.  Instead they check to see if there is room at the snack table themselves and they make their snack on their own.  They now know where everything belongs, and when a new student enters our classroom it is the children who help them to phase-in.  Their classmates help them to know where to place work on the shelf.  If a new student spills something, our other children are so eager to help them to clean it up.  They are a fully functioning family unit.  Caring for each other is a part of their daily routine.

The natural rhythm, which develops is a joy to behold. We are so very fortunate to be able to witness what our little people are capable of doing every day.

~Written by Becky and Lacey in celebration of Montessori Education Week

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February 25, 2014 4:29 pm  |   Category:   |   Comments Off

Elementary I February Blogpost

We are so grateful to have the kindergarten students visiting our classroom! They are all so sweet! I cannot wait to have both first and second graders in our class next year. We also enjoy having parents come and observe. Please let us know if you have not had a chance to come visit this month, and we can set up a time in March.

Thank you to everyone who helped collect dog and cat food for the King’s Community Kitchen project through the Huntsville Humane Society. Service projects are so enriching for the children.

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Our class also participated in the annual Great Backyard Bird Count. We are an official participant in research through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society! Very exciting!

We will soon begin studying all about South America for the Multicultural Festival.

We are continuing to read the Junior Great Books Series. We just got a new environmental education book,Growing Up Wild, and have started using it today!

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February 18, 2014 4:27 pm  |   Category:   |   Comments Off