Posts Categorized: Toddler

Spotlight on Ms. Lacey!

Ms. Lacey is a Lead Infant and Toddler Guide at MSH. Lacey received her Montessori credential from the Greater Cincinnati Center for Montessori Education. In addition to leading in the toddler classroom, Lacey guides infants and their caregivers in our Montessori Mornings program.

 

 

Q: How long have you been at MSH?

So, long. I started the beginning of February 2006, so 13 years.

Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Knowing that I have these tiny people I get to spend my day with. I get the gift of watching them become some of the most amazing people.

Q: What appeals to you most about working with infants and toddlers?

There is something so magical about infants and toddlers. They are so pure, honest with every emotion. They have the most genuine expressions because they have not yet learned how society expects them to feel, they just express freely. They share joy, sadness, love, frustration, all while learning who they are in this big world around them.

Also, witnessing a child move from the unconscious absorbent mind into the conscious absorbent mind is fascinating. 

Learn more about the absorbent mind and the child.

Q: If you had to choose one, what is your favorite Montessori quote?

“The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind.” Dr. Maria Montessori, Education and Peace

Q: Given a chance, who would you like to be for a day?

I would love to be a Toddler, in my environment. I would love to truly feel what it is like to be in our space as one of them. Imagine how much more we could learn if we saw through their eyes and in the thoughts of the Infant or Toddler.

Q: What advice do you have for parents just beginning their Montessori journey with their child?

Trust your child. Follow your child. Observe your child and their daily environments. Allow time and room for ‘mistakes’ or messes. They are ok; they are how children and people learn.

Q: Where do you see Montessori in the next 100 years?

I would LOVE to see Montessori becoming the mainstream and norm for public education. I know it would take so much work, but with the changing times and such progressive thinking about education and respect for children, it could happen.

Thank you, Lacey! 

 

 

March 14, 2019 9:54 pm  |   Category: , ,   |   Comments Off on Spotlight on Ms. Lacey!

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!

Education of the Senses

by Ms. Becky
Toddler Co-Lead Teacher

A child does not learn because he is taught by a teacher.  A child learns because he wants to learn.  A teacher cannot will a child to learn.  What she can do is prepare an environment, which invites him to want to learn.  An environment that does this is one that is rich in stimuli.  This kind of environment will kindle his desire to learn and explore through his senses.  A material that evokes a child to use his senses “provokes auto-education” (Montessori 169).

In her book, The Montessori Method, Maria Montessori writes that her materials “are adapted to cause the child to exercise the senses” (168).  Montessori taught that children in their early primary years, ages three to six years, were in a state of absorbent mind.  In this state they are taking in everything that surrounds them.  They are sponges soaking up the world to which they are exposed.  During sensitive periods children are apt to be drawn towards using one of their senses over the others.  This is why it is crucial for a teacher to prepare an environment rich in sensory experiences.  This type of environment can cater to all of the children in it, and to whichever type of sensitive period each one may be going through in their individual way.

Academic work has its own place and time, and it will come eventually.  However, a child in these years “is attracted more by stimuli than by reason” (Montessori 144).  If the child is rushed past what he is craving it will be hard, if not nearly impossible, to back track at a later time to fill in the gaps.  When given the proper environment in which to learn through his senses a child may choose to experience a material repeatedly.  Through his senses he takes in any task he is doing, and it is also through his senses that he experiences self-correction.

I had the opportunity to observe in a primary classroom.  I watched one of my students from the previous year, who was newly three, take a final knobbed cylinder block from the shelf.  She sat on her rug and repeated the exercise from start to finish five times before returning it to the shelf.  Each time she began she removed all of the cylinders and placed them on her rug.  One by one she picked them up and dipped her finger inside of the holes along the block.  It appeared that she was testing the depth of the holes before placing the cylinder she held in her hand in the hold she thought it might fit.  When one was too tall or too short she took it out and continued her task of looking for the perfect fit.  I am not aware if she had had a lesson on this material or not, but her concentration and method of correcting herself caught my attention.  “A man is not what he is because of the teachers he has had, but because of what he has done” (Montessori 172).

Bibliography

Montessori, Maria.  The Discovery of the Child.  New York:  The Random House Publishing Group, 1967.  Print.

 

March 27, 2017 10:10 am  |   Category:   |   Comments Off on Education of the Senses

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?

photo 3

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

Big Step Toward a Diaper-Free Life

“Toilet training, like every developmental milestone, is the compilation of numerous neurobiological processes affected by social opportunities, cultural expectations, and temperamental tendencies (Schonwald and Rappaport 2008).”

Being diaper-free is a big step toward conquering one of the obstacles of life. It is a developmental milestone for a toddler. As a parent or teacher, we have to look for signs to help them get rid of diapers when they tell us they need to change their diaper because it is wet. Research shows that 20-26 months of age is the ideal time for toilet training, however every individual is different. Eventually everyone will be toilet trained. In my experience, if the child is attending school during the toilet training process, the school and home need to play the same role. Because we are fortunate to have multi-age class, I pair them up with a trained child so the trainee child gets his motivation from his companion.

Some parental guidelines are:

The child needs to develop basic dressing/undressing skills.
The child needs to take the diaper off and put the underwear on to feel the wetness. This way they learn the consequences.
Consider the clothing which is child friendly so that the child can easily manipulate his pants and underwear by himself which requires minimum assistance.
Maintain a bathroom schedule.
Mentally prepare for some messy situations like accidents.
During this time you may also see some emotional changes happening to the child.

If you are further interested, many developmental behavioral pediatrics have their publications available, such as the following articles:

1. B. Taubman and N. J. Blum. “Toilet Training,” Encyclopedia or Infant and Early Childhood Development, 2008, pp 356-364

2. A. Schonwald and L. A. Rappaport. “Elimination Condition,” Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, 2008, pp 791-804.

Jayati Bhattacharjee
Toddler Lead Teacher

October 26, 2016 4:11 pm  |   Category:   |   Comments Off on Big Step Toward a Diaper-Free Life