Posts Categorized: General

The Joy of Lifelong Learning

Almost daily on our family Facebook feed you see the wonder and joy of learning on the faces of our students. Our future is in such good hands with the young leaders developing here at the Montessori School of Huntsville. Last week I saw the same light shining out of some students who are a few years older, eight of our amazing teachers and staff who attended the American Montessori Society’s annual conference. Every day of the conference each of us would greet one another with a flurry of “I just attended the best workshop.” The theme of this year’s conference “Unity in Diversity” touched deeply on our mission here at MSH to “develop independent learners, critical thinkers and tomorrow’s leaders.” Just as our children immerse each day in a prepared environment in which they learn from both older and younger classmates, we were in a beautiful convention center surrounded by Montessori educators who were eager to share their experiences and their inquiries about teaching and learning.

With so much negative press about today’s schools and teaching, it is so refreshing to be in an environment where teachers are willing to give so freely of their time to hone their professional skills. Not only did these eight teachers give up four days of the their spring break, many of our other teachers have given weeks and weekends of time to further their Montessori training or have spent evenings at school participating in webinars and book studies to grow expertise in providing students with the best possible learning experience. I am so proud of their commitment and grateful to be part of this community. Our focus on perfecting our craft has been a hallmark of this year and fundamental to our continued advancement.

If you have time, engage with our teachers to discover what they have learned this year. Ms. Alicia will be happy to talk with you about the emerging concept of a natural playground. Ms. Harber would love to share the insights she’s gained from hundreds of hours of work she has dedicated to her work with the Center for Montessori Teacher Education in North Carolina. Ms. Brandy can share such interesting details of how the toddler brain develops. These are only three examples of the myriad of learning experiences our teachers participated in this school year. I hope that you see the benefits of their lifelong learning reflected in the eyes of your child. Thank you for your support of these opportunities. We do it all with love for your children.

April 8, 2014 5:12 pm  |   Category:   |   Comments Off

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.

jayati_Sophie

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

2014-2015 School Year Enrollment

Dear MSH Families,

Thank you for your commitment to the Montessori School of Huntsville.  We are grateful for the opportunity to educate your children and help them realize their rich potential.  I can hardly believe we have arrived at re-enrollment. Time certainly flies when you are having fun guiding children through the learning process.

We never cease to be amazed by the progress made by students and teachers each year. This year has truly been a year for growth. Our toddler program has nearly doubled, and our elementary teachers have enjoyed the opportunity to add to their already substantial training. In our primary classes, lead teachers have been especially pleased with the progress made by our kindergarteners in their focused small groups. In addition to expanding our outdoor classroom in the months to come, we’ve added wonderful materials to our classrooms thanks to your generosity.

We understand the financial commitment you make when you enroll your child at MSH.  We have worked very hard this year to continue to act frugally while still providing teachers with the materials they need to provide exceptional instruction. In order to improve the salaries of our teaching staff and continue to improve our classrooms, you will notice a slight increase of three percent in tuition.  Elementary parents will note there is no longer an increase for upper elementary tuition.

We will continue the opportunity for families to curb their tuition cost through the student referral program. A family who recruits a new enrollee to the program will receive a tuition reduction of $100.  More information about this program is enclosed on the attached fee list.  Word of mouth is our greatest recruitment tool, and we want to offer recognition to those families who encourage others to experience the rich opportunities here at MSH. We are also exploring ways to provide financial aid to families who qualify.

We know all our parents work hard to provide the very best learning experiences for their children.  We strongly believe that a Montessori education is the best opportunity you can give your child. It prepares children to deal with a complex world in a competent and confident manner; both academically and socially. We hope you will find that MSH is the best educational environment and will join us for another wonderful year of learning!

February 10, 2014 4:25 pm  |   Category:   |   Comments Off

Joy in Work

Hating Mondays is such a cliché in our culture.  How many of us start the work week with joyful anticipation? Work has become such a “four-letter word” for many adults.  Here at the Montessori School of Huntsville work is a happy concept.  Work means creativity, engagement, and interaction with our physical and social environment all the way from our youngest toddler to our most senior staff member.

The staff here at MSH has been reading (or re-reading) The Absorbent Mind by Maria Montessori.  We think it is important to engage with Dr. Montessori’s original writing to stay true to the method and to interpret how her theory fits in our ever-changing world.   Dr. Montessori has a wonderful insight about children’s learning, “The child’s is a type of life in which work, the fulfillment of tasks brings joy and happiness, where as in the field of adult, work is something which is usually a painful process.”

Many times through the day you will hear teachers say “May I help you choose some work?” or “Be sure to select challenging work.”  We find joy in our work and we want to instill that sense of joy in your children.  For our children we want work to be an opportunity for them to engage creatively and productively and work to be a joy, both now and later in the “real world.”

January 10, 2014 4:19 pm  |   Category:   |   Comments Off

Toddler Thanksgiving Applesauce Recipe

Toddler Thanksgiving Applesauce Recipe

  • 1 bag of granny smith apples peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of apple juice
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Place all of your ingredients in a crockpot and mix thoroughly. Cook on high for 6 hours or until apples are tender. Turn off and allow the sauce to cool completely before mashing with a potatoe masher. Eat and enjoy!

Becky, Lacey, and our Toddler Class

PicMonkey_Collage_applesa

December 5, 2013 4:16 pm  |   Category:   |   Comments Off