*All that is the highest ability, thought. and action in me, greets all that is the highest ability, thought and action in you*

Friday, August 24, 2007

Peace Education

I took a very wonderful class from Lori at USA Montessori on Peace Education.
(http://www.usamontessori.org/) I highly recommend it.

Lore believed that the preparation of the teacher was as important as fulfilling the other academic requirements of the Montessori Education. In one of her modules was a quote of Maria's:

"Spirituality implies a sacred connection with all of life and a oneness with the universe. This means that every act of carelessness, selfishness, indifference, hatred and violence toward nature or toward other human beings is actually an act against ourselves, our families and our culture. Therefore, spirituality summons us to the highest of human virtues, such as love, caring, generosity, responsibility for our actions, forgiveness, compassion and openness for one another. It leads us to sharing rather than accumulating, to cooperation rather than competition and to peace rather than violence."
--Nurturing the Spirit in Non-Sectarian Classrooms by Aline D. Wolf

I think of this quote because I have met several fellow Montessorians (and people in general) that seem somehow detached from the big picture Maria had for future unity and peace on earth. These types of experiences have always puzzled me and I have always felt a need to somehow seek an answer to what lies within the human spirit that we may be so detached from the feelings and needs of others.

Today in the organizing of thoughts, advise, materials and links to share, I ran across a profound quote that I feel satisfies this question and I hope that I may have a better understanding to this detachment I pondered in others:

"When an obvious truth cannot be seen, we must retire, and leave the individual to mature. A struggle 'to bring about perception for evidence' would be bitter and exhausting."
-Spont. Act. in Ed. p.237

There has been many discussions on just how long will it take for Montessori to mainstream itself into the world that we may finally see the fruits of Maria's labor...I do so wonder, if it was already there......would we have the ability to recognize it?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Art of Story Telling

My girlfriend took a few classes and story telling is truely an art form. As a Montessori Educator you tell a lot of stories to the children to peak interest in the materials and to introduce history via the great lessons.

Once you settle on a story, you will want to spend plenty of time with it. It will take a considerable period of time and a number of tellings before a new story becomes your own. Read the story several times, first for pleasure, then with concentration. Analyze its appeal, the word pictures you want your listeners to see, and the mood you wish to create. Research its background and cultural meanings. Live with your story until the characters and setting become as real to you as people and places you know. Visualize it! Imagine sounds, tastes, scents, colors. Only when you see the story vividly yourself can you make your audience see it!




Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Normalizing the Child

It took me a while to really understand the meaning of this term.

It is the wonderful transition a child makes when they are centered, peaceful, and have learned the ability to be focused and do independent work. Here are several ideas that have been discussed on the groups I am on that has helped the transition for some children:

Walking the line (within a group or alone)
Watching a 2 minute timer while sitting in your lap
Washing Walls
Re pot Plants
Plant seeds and be responsible for them
Clean Materials on the shelves in an orderly fashion
Silence game
Having the child be your shadow
Talking in a very quiet voice
Showing intentionality of movements of person or apparatus

Some children have sensory integration. "Some need to gain better control of their gross motor coordination before being able to control the movements of walking on the line. Perhaps they need more physical activity before they can settle down."

Some activities that I have found helpful include more complex practical life activities:

Carrying water in a bucket from one place to another
Lots of large scale scrubbing, such as playground equipment
Lots of movement of the whole body
Extensions of the broad stair that require the child to carry the prisms across the room, like to "hide" the prisms around the classroom and then send such a child to find each one in order and carry it back (in a nice, controlled manner) to the rug.
Finding classroom items to match the color tablets is another good exercise that incorporates movement.

Other Suggestions:

"When a child lies down in the path of others, say something like, "Johns work today is to find a way to cooperate with his friends. Please work with him on this material so he can learn how to get your attention in a different way."

"Of course, any of these activities should be ended if it is too much activity for the child and it causes him to be disruptive. Start small (just moving a short distance, for instance) until the child is ready to move about the room without being disruptive."
"Practical Life Works"

Monday, August 13, 2007


Feeling the need to be able help fellow homeschool Montessorians I have decide to join the ever increasing numbers of bloggers.

Perhaps having a site that allows me to organize all the wonderful resources I have accumulated over the years, will help to ease the ever growing frustration I have of the disorganized mess of living in a household full of men and not having 48 hours in a day to accomplish everything I would love to do.

I hope that I may pay it forward, as I have had the fortune of having incredible mentors, both Montessori, Homeschoolers, Teachers and Friends. May I help half of the people that these wonderful spirits have helped.