The month or so between Halloween and the Winter holidays is, for many teachers, a time of chaos and unpredictability. Schedules are awry. Noses are sniffling and everyone seems to be under the weather, and the actual weather is a rollercoaster of warm days and cold, sprinkled with seasonal allergies. All the normality and calm that you'd been so relieved to have finally observed in early October is hiding, swamped under piles of special winter projects, mittens and party day
“Time Out.” “The Naughty Chair.” “Take A Break.” It’s got lots of names, but it generally works the same way. The child breaks a rule. The parent or teacher sends him or her to a special chair or bench to “think about it,” until enough time has passed that the child is welcomed to return to the regular activity. Some argue that “time out” is a chance for an overexcited child to calm down so he or she can make more appropriate choices. Others argue that it’s a necessary penalt
A father I was chatting with recently pointed out the irony of my web-based-recommendation that we unplug and go outside more. I get it. The screens in front of us are important, critical tools in how we engage professionally, economically, civically. That's true and it's not changing. But as more and more research points us to the ways in which those same tools are interfering with who we want to be and the relationships we want to maintain, we need to talk about when, how a
There are some parts of the Montessori classroom that seem to get all the attention: the beautiful Practical Life materials, the engaged constructions in the Sensorial area, the precise Math lessons or the carefully sequenced Language materials. But there's another area of the classroom that's often overlooked: the Cultural Materials.
The Cultural materials introduce the child to his or her place in the world, offering the child opportunities to learn about place and commu
"The vision of the teacher should be at once precise like that of the scientist, and spiritual like that of the saint. The preparation for science and the preparation for sanctity should form a new soul, for the attitude of the teacher should be at once positive, scientific and spiritual. Positive and scientific, because she has an exact task to perform, and it is necessary that she should put herself into immediate relation with the truth by means of rigorous observation...
It's November... about eight weeks or so into most classroom's academic year, and the time when we start to think of the environments settling in. The tears of the first few days of school may be less often. Hopefully, by now, the children have practiced rolling their rugs and carrying their chairs. The Pink Tower is off the shelf most days and the Practical Life area is abuzz. Maybe there's even some cool Math and Language happening. Or not. Maybe it's still louder than you
It's already November, when school routines feel a little more settled and we're starting to feel more at ease. Just as the air starts to turn to autumn and the classroom starts to feel a little less panicked every day, we're hit with the Autumn Rush, that wild time between Parent-Teacher conferences, Halloween and Thanksgiving, when all of a sudden, the routines that we've implemented so carefully and the predictability that we know our classrooms demand is flustered and fli
Just as the Montessori classroom allows ample practice for the physical skills children will need to master holding a pencil, we also offer practice for the discernment skills children will need to remember and replicate the shapes of letters. Throughout the classroom, integrated into lessons across the curriculum, you'll find opportunities for children to develop the hand-eye coordination, the fine motor control and the visual discrimination they'll need when they first begi
Math is a language of the spirit. Really. When Montessori acknowledged that the tendency toward the construction of the mathematical mind was universal among human development, I don't think she meant rote memorization of times tables or the order of operations. We are not driven to develop our stockpile of memorized equations. But we are driven to understand the universe, to identify and define that which is universal, to develop precision and accuracy and balance and beauty
Montessori adolescent environments are strikingly distinct from traditional Middle Schools. While traditional classrooms may be doubling down on homework, desks in rows and fifty-minute classrooms, Montessori Middle Schools recognize that the rapid and diverse physical development of learners at this age is inconsistent with desk and book-based learning. That is not to say that Middle Schoolers are incapable of big thoughts and intellectual engagement. Quite the opposite... M