Friday, February 5, 2016

Organizing a Montessori Day



Let's highlight a previous Nugget: Montessori Keys: Montessori as an Approach to Life


When we are teachers in Montessori schools, we strive to educate the parents on the fullness of Montessori, so they can have a Montessori-inspired home. This is best for the child, to be in a variety of environments where his needs and tendencies are respected and addressed while also tending to the needs and tendencies of the other people in that social structure (family, school, etc.).


When we are homeschool parents (whether trained Montessori teachers or not), we find that our work cycle naturally extends beyond the 3+ hour work cycle in the morning and (for 5 year olds and older) any second work cycles of the day. It becomes a 24/7 work cycle.

In our homes, or in Montessori schools that have the blessing of having children longer, we find that our work cycles become entirely natural.

We adults provide key presentations, that don't take just too much of the child's time; and we find we have time to be outside, to do art, to just sit and have a natural conversation, to plan that trip to the library, better yet for the older child to plan the errands needed. The children may choose to work with a Montessori material or apply a concept learned through Montessori experiences at any time of the day or night. I recall a 4 year old young man who awoke in the middle of the night to use the toilet, then proceeded to work on the puzzle map of Africa - the hardest of the set - he found it relaxing and found that he was indeed capable of working on it by himself. Why the middle of the night? Who knows! His mind was more relaxed; no distractions of noise and people and lights; no pressure from the adults around him (since they were allegedly sleeping, not (ahem) videotaping from around the corner).


In a home environment, the keys can be presented at any time. Maybe there is a dedicated school time - that is fine too - just remember what all happens at schools: snack, bathroom breaks, chatting with friends, watching the class fish, caring for the other animals, watering plants, gardening, working outside AND inside, food preparation, and more! The children do not have their hands on the materials every moment! So it is ok at home to have a variety of things happening - just provide the keys. The keys lay a foundation and a structure - and enjoy the freedom of time for exploration!


Friday, January 22, 2016

Snake Game post update!

The snake games have come up in conversation quite a bit lately. I updated this previous post with more detailed photographs and descriptions:
Motnessori Nuggets: Snake Games Part 1



All Montessori Nuggets on Snake Games

Monday, January 11, 2016

Peace Education in Montessori


Peace Education does not have to be a separate curriculum from the rest of the Montessori experience.

When we do separate it out, we minimize the value of the work Montessori did in observing human nature and providing for specific needs at specific planes of development, fulfilling those needs in a way that causes a child to reach his greatest possible potential, which will feed those needs and tendencies towards generosity and community.


Montessori's Own Writings: 


Other Authors: 
  • Lena Gitter: Montessori's Legacy to Children
  • Edwin Mortimer Standing: Maria Montessori - Her Life and Work
  • Montessori Nugget on Peace Education

Friday, January 1, 2016

Culture in Montessori

The Montessori approach to education and life really holds the corner on authentic culture!

We provide the children with keys to the world (primarily through the sensorial materials) in the first plane of development: 0-6 years old (infant, toddler, preschool, kindergarten) --- and keys to the universe at elementary (cosmic education), with the adolescent really finding his place in the history of the world by participating with society and working with the earth itself.

Through providing these key experiences, the child's time is freed up to explore his own personal interests, fully and thoroughly construct himself and, varying at the different ages, to explore the culture around him: first the culture of his own family, then that of the immediate community and/or school, then that of the entire world. By elementary, we are delving into the cultures of civilizations past and present.


How? 

Through Exercises of Practical Life: first from the child's own culture, then expanding out to include experiences from other cultures.

Through Sensorial experiences: first explore consistent key materials on weight, length, volume, smell, sight, color, etc. And then through the child's work with the sensorial aspects of the world: the sandpaper, continent/painted, climatic, and oceans globes; the puzzle maps for the world, each continent, and the child's own country; exploring the flags of various countries, their meanings and histories.

Through the Language experiences: cultural folders for exploring by continent, then by theme within a continent - striking about conversations about what we see in the photographs. Studying biomes and climates of each area, how that affects the local people's choices of lifestyle.


And that is just for the 3-6 year old!!!
A Montessori Nugget with a brief description of where to find cultural aspects in the AMI-style 3-6 albums.



At elementary, we study civilizations of the past, use history question charts to guide our research into past cultures, as well as present cultures.

In geography, we look at economic geography in an interesting format - looking at trade products and usages; we look at the lifestyle of people in various regions of the globe, based on climate. We learn about the rays of the sun, the tilt of the earth - and the affect on climate - and the ensuing affect on the people. Indeed, everything we do in geography (earth studies) leads to the affect on the local people in each region.

In biology, we look even further into biomes and how those affect all the living creatures, including the people.

In language, we explore a variety of literature, learning about peoples of other areas and times, with dramatic performances and other experiences to highlight the beauties of a variety of cultures.

Music should be listened to that comes from a varietoy of cultures. Art experiences are keys-based, so that a child can read about an art form and have the basic skills already in place to follow their interests and explore the art of all cultures and all times.

We look at the history of mathematics and the contributions of a variety of people to our understanding of math and geometry....

and even language history and development - how cultures have affected one another's languages.


There is so much more I am not including! Children really do come out of a Montessori education with a strong sense of culture; a strong sense of being part of something bigger than themselves, where they play an important role; and a strong sense of *culture.*



Other Montessori Nuggets mentioning Culture - a non-inclusive list: 
Elementary Geography Table of Contents - with notes of where to find Geography in Primary albums
Broadcasting Seeds
Art Presentations at all ages
Fifth Great Lesson - Story of Numbers
Benefits of the Prepared Environment
Great Lessons and Keys Lessons - Some Thoughts (Cosmic Education)
What Do We Provide Our Children?
Spiritual Preparation of the Adult - Who Owns the Learning?
Peace Education in Montessori
A portion of the Primary Biology Introduction
Cursive or Print Part 3
Handwork in Montessori