Posts Categorized: General

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving Montessori Community,

I hope you had a restful and joyful holiday this Thanksgiving. This time of year, I can’t help but be filled with gratitude for you, our Montessori Community.

Gratitude to our current families. Thank you for choosing MSH as partners in your child’s education. Thank you to our volunteers supporting our classrooms, strategic planning, and campus beautification. Our mission to instill a lifelong love of learning wouldn’t be possible without you. Thank you.

Deep gratitude to our donors. Alumni and current families who accept the call to sponsor Montessori strategic growth and sharing a vision of Montessori for every child. Thank you for your financial sacrifice.

Finally, thank you to our teachers and administration. You wow us with your devotion to Montessori and our children on a daily basis. Thank you for your sacrifices and professional dedication.

With Deep Gratitude,

Kit Fry
Board Chair
Montessori School of Huntsville

Join our community of generous donors.

November 22, 2018 11:01 pm  |   Category: , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Comments Off on Happy Thanksgiving!

Give a Whoop!

Our Brews-to-Benefit with the International Crane Foundation at Straight to Ale on 19 November 2018 is just around the corner. Join us for a good time with games, trivia, a silent auction and loads of good company. Especially if you are there.

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Silent Auction

Here is a peek at some of the silent auction items generously donated to our causes. Thanks for taking a look and thank you to our generous donors.

Huntsville Botanical Garden Family Membership – $100 Value

Being a member at Huntsville Botanical Garden has many, many benefits, one of which is being able to receive discounted tickets, or special ticket preferences, to some of their most popular events. The membership is good for 12 months. Huntsville Botanical Garden is open to the public year-round and is enjoyed by more than 350,000 visitors annually. From seasonal festivals to workshops and classes, they strive to give members countless reasons to return again and again.
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November 15, 2018 4:26 am  |   Category: , ,   |   Comments Off on Give a Whoop!

Dr. Robert & Nenita Fry Seed the Montessori Families Endowment

On September 25, 2018, Dr. Robert & Nenita Fry generously seeded our first endowment, the Montessori Families Endowment Fund. In 52 years of operation, this is the school’s first endowment and we are so thrilled to be able to facilitate the use of these funds to educate Montessori students at the Montessori School of Huntsville. We are so grateful to them for their incredible generosity and commitment to scholarship through this long-term investment.

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Photo by Tyler Light Photography. From right to left: Mrs. Nenita Fry, Dr. Robert Fry, Jr., Ms. Jennifer Stark, Head of School, Ms. Leela Pahl, Director of Admissions.

I have put together a few thoughts on why Nan and I were more than willing — no we were excited — to be instigators in a project such as this. We both agreed that what we had seen with Sebastian and his sense of what learning was could and should be made available to as many as possible. Nan related that she wanted to be an encourager in this process as there were numbers of tikes that needed this to flourish in our society. I had felt that program was easily a throw-back to older education methods that had made our country strong in the past, while still being Avant Garde with a modern technique. We were thrilled to be able to pick up the banner and help renew the flow of funding for a future of children that perhaps needed and desired this means of education. Why not join in with a proven program which can enable rapid learning and a love of discovery of reading, math, art, and language while teaching peaceful objectives? Better teaching, a better world. – Dr. Robert Fry, Jr.

Robert, Nenita, and Sebastian

Dr. Robert Fry, Jr. and Mrs. Nenita Fry are the loving grandparents of Sebastian Fry. Sebastian joined the school first through Ms. Becky and Lacey’s Toddler classroom and is currently loving math in his second year of Ms. Shree’s Primary 2 classroom. Photo by Tyler Light Photography.

The Fund is managed by the Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville and donations from anyone can be made through our secure Bloomerang donation form by selecting the endowment from the drop-down menu. Donations are tax-deductible and the principle is protected per the policies of the community foundation. Thank you for considering joining Dr. Robert Fry and Nenita Fry as long-term supporters of the Montessori mission through a donation to this fund. Our small community of Montessori families are the most generous and enthusiastic in Huntsville. Thank you for being one of them.

February 4, 2018 2:54 am  |   Category: , , ,   |   Comments Off on Dr. Robert & Nenita Fry Seed the Montessori Families Endowment

Potential Possibilities

by Carrie O’Shea, Primary III parent

It is true that we cannot make a genius. We can only give to each child the chance to fulfill his potential possibilities. –Maria Montessori

 

As the years pass and I grow in parental maturity (if there is such a thing), it seems I find more to love in the teachings of Maria Montessori. I’ve always looked to her as a personal hero; -the kind of person who’s focus on peace, humility and kindness is a soothing balm in a time of endless schedules and impatient demands.  Without careful reflection, it seems the nature of humanity to enslave ourselves to these loud voices in our lives, spurring ourselves onward in search of a better, faster, more productive, more intelligent version of ourselves and too often we take our children into this trap, wrapped up behind us in a bewildered tangle of childhood lost. As I’ve grown as a mother, I’ve come to appreciate the folly of these actions. In the rushing, pushing demands of soccer and dance, perfect straight A’s and perfect straight teeth, piano lessons and math enrichment sessions, it seems our children lose something of themselves in our race to improve them.  Not that any of these things are bad in the right setting, but what self-determination can there be if your life is a planned module? What identity can you have for yourself, if you spend all your time living another person’s vision for your life?

Fortunately, there is an answer to these questions and that answer is Maria Montessori. Against the race of self-assisted perfectionism, her ideology stands as a gentle reminder that slow, quiet reflection is really the only way to peace. We cannot expect a child to matriculate into geniusdom any more than we can expect a seed to germinate before it’s time. There is a process to life and that process takes time.  The above quote is a wonderful example of this and additionally, a quiet reminder that when patience and care are invested into the life of a child, a miracle results; -the miracle of a child becoming that person who he or she was meant to be.

It takes a lot of faith, patience and care for a parent to sit by and watch as their child develops unassisted by their grandiose plans, – at least, it has for me. But giving my child the ability to develop unimpeded by the pressure of performance has provided a blessing I couldn’t have imagined, – the choice of her own free-will. They ask me for opportunities to do something they love! That’s a big difference! I no longer have to do the “parental dance of suggestion,” listing all the academic and extra-curricular activities needed to fill their minds as well-rounded individuals; now, they find what they love on their own! Instead of pestering my older child to do her math “homework,”  I smile as she checks books out of the library on the expression of Geometric series in nature.  Instead of wrangling my five-year-old into the car for a third weekly dance practice, I smile as a small reminder is all that’s necessary for her to run into the car with her tu-tu.  There is time to develop what they love and as a parent, I know my children will do just that if I give them my trust. That trust started with Montessori as our foundation and the gentle education I received as a parent, just as much as what my children gained as students. It has shaped the course of our family and for that, I am extremely grateful.

As parents, Maria Montessori arms us with the courage to believe that our children can be something great, if only we believe they will be.

 

March 30, 2017 5:31 pm  |   Category: ,   |   Comments Off on Potential Possibilities

Let’s Think Bigger About Montessori

I want to talk about Montessori in a way that’s less sensational, less sexy, less focused on immediate marketing strategies. I want to start a conversation about a Montessori education and it’s possible impact on the aging process.

On November 11, 2015, I had a stroke. I was 33; this was very unexpected. My stroke was mild and I liked to think my recovery was going very well, thanks to my amazing support system and speech therapist. However, I spent several weeks with moderate-severe Aphasia.

Aphasia happens during any brain injury to any one (or many) specific parts of the brain that control language. Aphasia doesn’t affect cognitive intelligence, but it affects one’s ability to communicate. There are many different types of Aphasia. In my case, for the most part, I could understand others, but could not adequately speak back.

During my time struggling with the depths of Aphasia, visual imagery was my primary way of understanding the world. While I have always strongly tended toward visual thinking over linguistic thinking, the absence of language altogether was immensely frustrating and debilitating. (As a Montessori toddler teacher, I have new compassion for this common struggle among toddlers!)

During this time, I could recall blank sentence diagrams. One of my favorite teachers I have ever had was Mrs. Esneault. Many years ago, she was my English teacher for both 7th and 8th grades. (She must be good, because I’m a math girl at heart.)

I don’t think it was a part of the curriculum she was asked to teach, but Mrs. Esneault taught us how to diagram sentences. When words were coming back after my stroke, I could tell that my sentences were just on that straight line, like this:

eden-sit

And I was missing those diagonal lines altogether, like these:

folder

And I knew I did not have a handle on these little spaces, missing here:

doctor

I practiced diagramming sentences along with my intensive speech therapy and I strongly believe this aided my recovery.

BUT ONLY BECAUSE I HAD BEEN TAUGHT IT BEFORE.

All this got me thinking more about Montessori education (as if I ever need an excuse).

Montessori does more than offer two places to put something in your brain, like words and a diagram.

Montessori is tactile;
it’s visual;
it’s baric;
it’s kinesthetic;
it’s auditory;
it’s stereognostic;
it’s linguistic.

In short, that new sucker is “in there”.

In fact, many of Dr. Montessori’s original material designs were for the mentally handicapped or brain-injured children.  It was only after these children ended up scoring as well as conventionally-educated “typical” children did she begin to ask:  what’s going wrong everywhere else?  (Kramer, R., 1976)

In addition to the pictures of the sentence diagrams, I could recall two Montessori language symbols.  These two:

                  CONJUNCTIONS                                  PREPOSITIONS
conjunctionsprepositions

(I only know some basics about Montessori elementary grammar — it’s not my area.)  But, these were some of the types of words I was having the most trouble with!

I can only imagine if instead of a brief fling with learning about Montessori grammar, I had spent years feeling the 3-D representations of the parts of speech, moving the shapes that represent the parts of speech, using grammar boxes, moving the cards, writing my own sentences, and using colored pencils to denote my own handwritten sentences with symbols, how all of that would have affected my stroke recovery.

grammar-symbols

… not to mention how my brain circuitry and word recall would have been different had I spent my early years choosing objects and pictures to spell with the moveable alphabet?

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Imagine what my brain would have kept then!

So, I get it:  when we are choosing a toddler program or a preschool or even an elementary school for our children, none of us think — well, what if my child has a stroke in their 30s?  How will this preschool education impact that?

It’s not something we generally think about.
However, every single one of us ages.
You just aged right now. And now.

And, yes, of course we want to plan to make sure our children get a solid education now.  We want them to be capable of achieving their dreams!

Dr. Montessori says that it is the young adult in the ages of 18 to 24 who is finding out where his/her interested and education intersect with the world’s needs.  We all envision our children asking these questions and struggling to find the answers to them.

But, life doesn’t end when we find our occupation.

I’ll say that again, because I think sometimes we are in too much of a hurry to notice it:

Life doesn’t end when we find our occupation.

We have vibrant family and like-family lives until the very end.  I just have to believe that a Montessori education provides much, much more than an education that will give a child a future productive career.  I believe it will give them a healthier brain.  A healthier brain to enjoy their children, their grandchildren, and their great-grandchildren.

So, I’ll admit:  this isn’t the best advertisement for prospective parents looking for a place for their child to learn their ABCs.

But, I would like to encourage you to think BIGGER about what it is you want for your children.  For all of our children.

Small disclaimer:  My joy in Montessori is even bigger than healthy brains, although that is a recent event.  A Montessori education is much, much more than *simply* a multi sensory education and I feel that I’d be misrepresenting Montessori if you left thinking this.

Montessori education educates the whole child and embeds peace education from the very young in the effort to bring about greater harmony.  Hoping for a better, more peaceful world is why I chose a Montessori education for my children and why I want it to be available for more children worldwide.

Brandy Lighthall
Hampton Cove Toddler Lead Teacher

References

Kramer, R. (1976).  Maria Montessori:  A Biography. New York:  Capricorn Books

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January 3, 2017 6:00 am  |   Category: ,   |   Comments Off on Let’s Think Bigger About Montessori