Yes, gender stereotyping is still very much alive today. So, what can we do to create a healthy awareness, especially with young children who are in their early formative years? Here is how one school is making a difference in a fun, interactive, and powerfully effective way. (click image for video)
For Classroom or Home
Here's a great idea shared by Sharlene Neill, UMA student from Roseville, CA. Handmade, creative, and inviting!
Supplies and construction:
"The buttoning frame is on the shelf with the shapes already buttoned from the last child. They will use two careful hands to walk it to the table. They will then unbutton the shapes placing each one on the table. After all the shapes are removed and placed on the table, the child then chooses where they would like the shapes to be buttoned back on the frame. The buttons vary in size. So children can choose what size they are comfortable with or try one a little more challenging."
Thank you Sharlene for sharing!
by John Shepard
Today's article, finishes our initial look at some wonderful quotes of Dr. Montessori which reflect her understanding of the characteristics of what she called normalization.
The first one here, "willing compliance" or "obedience," was believed to have three levels to its development in the child. A very young child starts out obeying simply because the request is something they also want (first phases/level). The second phase is when the child obeys out of habit or, again, because s/he will get the result they desire. The third phase, which Dr. Montessori considered the highest motivation for obedience, is when a child does what they are asked because it is purely and simply the right thing to do! The child knows it and wants to do it. Coupled with this is the child's own self respect which enables him to respect not only him/herself but the rights of others and their needs. Unlike blind obedience, this is what Dr. Montessori called joyful obedience.
Joy, I believe, is the very essence of real learning. Without it we diminish the importance of ideas, habits, and work. More than that, we otherwise insult the very nature of ourselves as inquisitive and thoughtful human beings who have purpose and value.
Now, for the quotes. Here are some of my favorites:
"The second level is when the child can always obey, or rather, when there are no longer any obstacles deriving from his lack of control. His powers are now consolidated and can be directed not only by his own will, but by the will of another."
"He responds promptly and with enthusiasm and as he perfects himself in the exercise, he finds happiness in being able to obey."
"Social grace, inner discipline, and joy. These are the birthright of the human being who has been allowed to develop essential human qualities."
"Any child who is self-sufficient, who can tie his shoes, dress or undress himself, reflects in his joy and sense of achievement the image of human dignity, which is derived from a sense of independence."
The journey continues...
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Big Words. Big Changes.
by John Shepard
Okay, I'm going to start off by using a familiar word within the Montessori community: Normalization. It may sound a bit scary as if all children should fall in line and goose step to the same beat. But it's not. It's a word borrowed from anthropology and relates to how one becomes a contributing member to society.
For Dr. Montessori, normalization involved seeing certain characteristics in children as they "normally" developed. For her, normalization was the greatest result of our work with the child. Through careful observation, Dr. Montessori saw that when the children first enter the classroom, they often don't exhibit these normalized characteristics yet, but hopefully, will over time. This early condition may be described as the child's unnormalized state. (For more on normalization, see lecture given by Dr. Rita Shaefer Zener, on the AMI 3-6 course Nakhon Pathon, Thailand, April 2006. Published at Michael Olaf)
Now for the good part! A profound influence on the child happens through properly preparing a reality-based environment and putting into play the Montessori philosophy. In time, voilà, new characteristics unfold! Each child will freely choose his/her work and begin to concentrate and work together respectfully and peacefully in the classroom. While normalization will happen at different times for different children, the end result is that the child shows the ability to concentrate on purposeful activities. The key to seeing normalization in the child and the classroom: CONCENTRATION
So today, here are five of these new characteristics of the normalized child and a quote for each one by Dr. Montessori.
"If a child’s cycle of activity is interrupted, the results are a deviation of behavior, aimlessness, and loss of interest…So whatever intelligent activity we witness in a child – even if it seems absurd to us…we must not interfere; for the child must be able to finish the cycle of activity on which his heart is set."
"This inner drama of the child is a drama of love. It is a great reality unfolding within the secret areas of his soul and at times completely absorbing it. These marvelous activities wrought in humble silence cannot take place without leaving behind ennobling qualities that will accompany the child through life. All this happens quietly and unnoticed as long as the child's environment adequately corresponds to his inner needs..."
Tomorrow, I will finish up with several other new characteristics of the child in the normalized classroom.
Montessori and the Child
By John Shepard
Yesterday, I wrote on why quotes are helpful and one of my favorites from Dr. Montessori, who had many memorable ones. Dr. Montessori immersed herself in understanding the child and, in particular, how a child learns and develops. Here are a few on the results of her research and discoveries about the child.
"As soon as children find something that interests them they lose their instability and learn to concentrate."
"Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment."
"Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed."
“The things he sees are not just remembered; they form a part of his soul.”
“Respect all the reasonable forms of activity in which the child engages and try to understand them.”
"These words reveal the child’s inner most needs: 'Help me do it alone.' ”
Do you have a favorite Montessori quote? Share it. Leave a comment. Thanks.
Why are quotes helpful?
By John Shepard
This week, we are taking a reflective look back at some of the great quotes of Dr. Maria Montessori. There are so many that help us grow in our thinking and understanding, as teachers/instructors and as human beings.
Quotes are helpful for several reasons. They help draw out the inspiration that is already within us and stimulate those meaningful words which are often on the tip of our tongue but are never quite spoken. Quotes are tried and tested over the years helping us focus on what is important. They can rekindle meaningful relationships and prompt us to be more disciplined. Quotes also remind us of others who, just like us, have experienced both failure and success and from those moments have learned pivotal lessons for life.
Perhaps best of all, quotes are short and to-the-point, leaving us a great deal to reflect on and ponder.
So to begin, here is one of my favorites that remind me of my own inner preparation in life:
"The real preparation for education is the study of one’s self. The training of the teacher is something far more than the learning of ideas. It includes the training of character; it is a preparation of the spirit.” Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, pg. 131
What is one of your favorite Montessori quotes? Perhaps you have several. Add yours in the "Comments" and may each of these gems help inspire us!
By Presidential Proclamation
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 3, 2016, as National Teacher Appreciation Day and May 1 through May 7, 2016, as National Teacher Appreciation Week. I call upon students, parents, and all Americans to recognize the hard work and dedication of our Nation's teachers and to observe this day and this week by supporting teachers through appropriate activities, events, and programs.
Click the apple, above, for the full proclamation - a worthwhile read.
Find out how healthy, happy, and invigorated learning happens joyfully and easily, in Finland. (click photo)
Discovery Montessori School
SUBSTITUTE NEEDED NOW
Our 2 early childhood classes continue on a school year schedule until June 17. One class has anticipated travel by each of the team teachers. One may be on an emergency trip for the rest of April. The other is on a planned trip for her family during most of May.
Class meets 8:30-3:30 Monday to Friday. Teacher schedules are 7:45-3:45.
Our immediate need is for a classroom assistant who can fill in for either teacher. We would hope for someone with classroom experience and most of the Montessori teacher course as a foundation. We can consider a part time schedule on some days or a shared position as long as we can build some continuity. The other school staff can do some shifting of responsibilities to provide support of the class and of any new substitute.
SUMMER SESSION TEACHERS & SCHOOL ASSISTANTS
Our Summer Session will start June 20-July 1 – include summer staff planning from July 5-8 – and continue July 11 to August 19. We expect to rotate staff during part of the summer and include introduction of any new teachers for the 2016-2017 School year. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone who seeks a school year position.
We continue one early childhood class with ongoing and new children, providing lessons to continue skills and also introductory experiences for the new children. Gardening is a part of our summer learning.
The other class in our summer session is our Summer K group of graduates. They meet with their own teacher in their own classroom and take their own outings. This is a transitional experience toward their departure to elementary school in the fall. The lead teacher and assistant would be working with these children at the upper level of Montessori early childhood materials and incorporating a broader experience in their curriculum.
OUR SCHOOL SETTING is in a church building with playground and garden on site and the public library across the street. We are on the #24 bus line and make several simple outings for walks and into Discovery Park. We provide a Happy Feet soccer experience for our summer children in the sports field across the alley.
Our school seeks to expand the cultural experience of children through a diverse and talented staff. We also offer supervision of internship for teachers pursuing a credential.
Please contact the school by email or phone to request an interview.
We thank you for your interest in our school,
Salaried Montessori Internships
Shining Stars Montessori Academy, located in Washington, DC, is seeking a Primary (ages 3-6) Lower Elementary (6-9) and Upper Elementary (ages 9-12) interns to join their expanding staff. Candidates must be enrolled in a Montessori certification program and eligible to work in the United States.
Compensation: Salary for this position is competitive and commensurate with prior experience. In addition, a comprehensive benefits package is included.
How to Apply: