Subscribe to feed Viewing entries tagged Parent Education

Montessori: Your Daily Dose of Resilience-Building by Melissa DeVries, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

Posted by Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 05 February 2014
in School News

Montessori:  Your Daily Dose of Resilience-Building

Raising children in the twenty-first century is a most rewarding challenge. In modern society we have increased access to mass media and greater sprawl within families. Youth are increasingly influenced by sources of information beyond parental control. Thus, our task as parents is to figure out how to balance sheltering our children while still preparing them for the future.

Research has identified many key elements that predict better quality of life in adulthood; academic achievement, absence of medical and mental health problems, financial stability, and rewarding social connections with others. Yet most of us at one point or another face situations that create vulnerabilities in these areas. So this begs the question, how do we bounce back? And more importantly, how do we teach our children to demonstrate the same perseverance when faced with stressors?

Everyday I work with families who are striving to bolster the skills and abilities of their children. They seek to help them to adapt to current stressors and challenges, and to acquire characteristics likely to help them lead a successful life in the future. My method of teaching is based on building resilience.

Drs. Goldstein and Brooks, authors of Raising Resilient Children (2002) stated, “Resilient children can cope effectively with stress, pressure, and everyday challenges. They appear capable of bouncing back from disappointments, adversity or trauma. They learn to develop and set realistic goals for themselves and those in their lives. They are capable of solving problems and interacting comfortably with others. They possess self-discipline and a sense of self-respect and dignity.” Temperamental differences can play a role in how resilient children are, but this mindset can also be taught in everyday interactions.

One of the most inspiring lessons I have learned through teaching others is that there are so many consistencies between the guideposts of Resilient Parenting and the tenets of the Montessori Method. Let’s examine a few:

First, resilience-minded parents teach their children to solve problems and make decisions. This allows children to have a sense that they can control what happens to them. This mentality fosters independence and a sense of responsibility. The Montessori classroom allows children to develop self-reliance by making choices and dealing with the consequences of their choices. Children develop awareness and trust in their decision-making through the feedback loops of choices and consequences.

Second, resilience-minded parents discipline in ways that promote self-discipline and self-worth. This helps children to appreciate mistakes as opportunities for learning rather than indications of failure, furthering the child’s emerging sense of ownership and responsibility. Positive feedback, encouragement, natural and logical consequences are all powerful teaching tools. The Montessori classroom also encourages children to learn from mistakes and successes by allowing for independent decision-making. Children make choices and experiment within a well-prepared environment that promotes creativity, confidence, and a sense of purpose. It is appreciated that children need time and practice to master new skills and that unnecessary help actually hinders development. Montessori truly embraces the “help me help myself” attitude.

Numerous other similarities can be drawn out between the Montessori Method and resilient parenting practices such that I consider Montessori a model of resilient education, with well-trained teachers to serve as additional charismatic, influential adults in our children’s lives during the school day. As parents, we are in a unique position to extend these teachings. Parents can adopt a mindset of resilient parenting “to foster strength, hope and optimism in our children” everyday.

Melissa DeVries, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

Please join us on March 4th from 6:30pm - 8:00pm as Melissa DeVries, Ph.D., an MCS parent and our school psychologist, shares more about raising resilient children and how a Montessori education supports resiliency.

Becoming a Montessori Parent by Edward Fidellow

Posted by Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Monday, 25 November 2013
in Parent Education

 

Becoming a Montessori Parent

by Edward Fidellow

This Montessori parent, and school administrator, joins her three Montessori children on a field trip this fall.

There are seven simple steps to becoming a Montessori parent. When we say simple we don’t mean that they are not challenging. It is a lot like the definition of bull riding. “The object is to keep the bull between you and the ground.” Simple – but challenging.

The first step to becoming a Montessori parent took place when you enrolled your child in a Montessori program. That in itself is a challenge. Most of us weren’t raised in a Montessori school. The whole concept is foreign and takes a bit of courage to step out of the norm and our comfort zone. We may have chosen the program because it wasn’t like our school experience (which is why we chose it.) Or we chose it because we saw something unique in a Montessori child we knew. Or we were just plain lucky and stumbled on to a Montessori school and were fascinated by what we saw. Even then we had to deal with the question, “If this is so great, how come the whole world isn’t lined up outside the door to enroll?” (Which is the same question Montessorians keep wondering about too!) But you made a complex and challenging decision to become a Montessori parent. And here you are. So how do you get the best out of your decision? You go to step two.

You begin to understand the core philosophy of what Montessori is all about. Fortunately, you don’t have to become a Montessori teacher to be a good Montessori parent. (You don’t have to know how to manipulate all of those materials and you don’t have to keep fifteen children from climbing the walls.) The most significant Montessori concept is to respect the child. I can almost hear the wheels turning “Of course I respect my child, I love them very much that’s why I have them in Montessori, I want the best for them.” Of course you love them – but respect is different. Respecting the child is first, to respect the nature of children. Children are not mini adults waiting to be molded. They are like tadpoles and caterpillars that have their own form and function of life waiting to become what they are intended to be. We are often impatient for them to become because we don’t realize that childhood – with its curiosity, playfulness, messiness and all – is part of the process of them transforming themselves into the adults they will become. We have to respect that process – which doesn’t mean they always get to do what they want. One of the operative words in Dr. Montessori’s writing is the word “train”. We do need to train our children but we need to train ourselves “not to destroy that which is good” in the nature of our children. The second part of respect is to respect the personality of your child. Your child is not a blank slate. They are already imbued with the unique characteristics of who they are. The artistic bent is already there. The math bent is already formed. The leader, the follower, the giver, the taker, the extrovert, the introvert are already dna’d into your child. Right or left handed, right or left brained are already formed.

So how do you cooperate with nature? You become an observer. That is the next step in becoming a Montessori parent – you train yourself to observe. What does your child gravitate to? What gives them great joy? What occupies them endlessly? These are all clues to who your child is becoming. You are fortunate that you have a trained helper in your child’s Montessori teacher. Your next parent conference should ask more than what has she done but who do you see her becoming. It is hard to cooperate with nature if you are not aware of the nature of your child.

Our third step is to become their champion. I know. I hear you say, “Of course, I’m their champion. I love them.” And so you do. But are their goals your goals? Translation: Do you have goals for them that do not take into account who they are. (There are many jock fathers who do not have jock sons.) Yes, you have many wonderful goals for them to be caring and loving, honest and faithful, upright, truthful, etc – and these are worthy, significant and meaningful goals which they should attain to. But the expression of their lives – career, vocation, work – is best met and fulfilled according to their gifts. When your five year old says, “I want to be a fireman.” He may be reflecting the latest book or television program he’s seen. However, if you continue to ask the why questions, “Why do you think that would be a good job? Why do you think that you would enjoy that?” you may discover that your child is not drawn just to the excitement but to the fact of wanting to help people or he likes the aspect of being part of a team. All are important clues to his personality. Your child needs you to champion and encourage his personality (especially, if it is different than yours.)

The fourth step is to practice what they learn at school – grace and courtesy. Please and thank you, may I, excuse me, please forgive me and a host of other considerations practiced (and modeled) at home will go a long way to giving your child every advantage in life. People respond favorably to a child with great manners.

Fifth, practice independence. Independence is the ability to be self-governing and that comes from making choices, living with the consequences and having responsibilities. As often as possible give your children choices. “What do you want for breakfast, cereal or eggs?” “Do you want two spoonfuls of carrots or one?” (Don’t offer choices where there are no choices. “Do you want carrots? They say no and you serve them anyway.) Give your children chores they can accomplish – making their beds, putting dirty clothes in the laundry, dishes in the dishwasher, etc. Chores build responsibility; responsibility builds independence; independence builds confidence.

Sixth, give them the gift of time. Give them time to accomplish their chores. Give them time to be children. Give them time to breath. Give them your time.

Seventh, practice humility. They have a lot to learn from you. What is easy for you as an adult is mystifying and beyond challenge for them. Let your words be seasoned with grace. Look for the good in what they do. Their motives are often pure; their actions imperfect. Yet, we have a lot to learn from them also. And when you are wrong (when, not if) practice the humility of saying, “Please forgive me.” It will not destroy your authority or their respect for you. It will teach them one of the great lessons of life – when you fail, whether it’s in a relationship, school, career or life – own the failure and start over again – to succeed another day.

Becoming a Montessori parent is to become the best parent you can be.

Silent Journey and Discovery

Posted by Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 30 October 2013
in Parent Education

 

 

is coming up next Saturday, November 9th from 9:00am to 1:00pm.

Sign up in the office, space is limited.

Attendance is free of charge, brunch will be served &

child care will be provided to those who sign up in advance.

 

Join us to experience our classrooms, from Toddlers through Middle School, to see for yourself how the lessons learned in our early programs set the tone and lay important foundations for later learning. This is a wonderful opportunity to gain a sense of how the Cosmic Montessori Curriculum unfolds for the child.

Read about some parents experience of the Silent Journey and Discovery from previous years:

Having not grown up in a Montessori environment, it has been difficult for me to understand what exactly a day in the life of my Montessori students is like.  I try to take in as much as I can at pick-up and drop-off, with the occasional visit and guided lesson by my children, but there is no way to fully understand without an experience like the Silent Journey and Discovery.  It was an eye-opening voyage that I would recommend for every parent, and prospective parent.  I want to do it again.

Going through a classroom from each cycle really makes the whole Montessori experience come full circle from seeing how the Toddlers get their first understanding of space and shape, to Early Childhood and their practical life lessons, to Lower Elementary and their grammar materials which encourage socialization, to the Upper Elementary complex math problems, to a Middle School student-led Socratic discussion.  We only saw the tip of the iceberg, but the hands-on learning experience helped personify the school life of our children.  I was struck by the thoughtful organization of each room; how comfortable and serene a small space can feel.

I also enjoyed the roundtable discussion following our classroom journeys.  We were able to get some insight from teachers, staff, students and other parents.  Because Montessori isn’t the “traditional” schooling for kids in our country, there are obvious concerns and hesitations with going outside the “norm”.  Many of my concerns were put to ease and I feel my children are on the correct path for them at this time.  I appreciated the book recommendations and feel they will help in understanding the Montessori Method and perhaps assist me with decisions for my family down the road.

My kids have been at MCS for three/four years now and I feel like I have finally been able to look beyond the curtain of their daily journey, something that every parent should see and experience.  Now, when my kids and I have our chats at the end of the day, I can ask even more detailed questions and have a bit more understanding as to how their day went.  That is priceless.

Thanks again to all who helped facilitate the Silent Journey and Discovery.

-Carrie Christensen, mother to Lucas and Emily

 

The Silent Journey and Discovery was a very emotional and powerful experience for me.  I did not attend a Montessori school as a child so I am only familiar with the Montessori philosophy through what I have read and observed in the last two years.  It gave me a great appreciation and understanding of the different developmental levels of the works.  I loved seeing the progression and advancement of the works through Toddler, Early Childhood and up through Middle School.  The grammar and math works were thrilling to learn and experience.  The focus on the sensorial aspects of each work creates a love of learning.  In addition to receiving an amazing education the students are also learning how to be independent, respectful and loving human beings.  I think every MCS parent should participate in the Silent Journey and Discovery to really understand and appreciate the experience and education we are giving our children.  I know that it made me realize that I will do everything in my power to continue my daughter’s Montessori education.

-Tonia Hashimoto, mother to Savvy Williams

Upper Elementary - Introducing: "Uinta"

Posted by Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Monday, 21 October 2013
in Classroom Updates

The Upper Elementary program is an essential piece of the complete Montessori education design. During the Early Childhood years and Lower Elementary years, students are learning through their hands-on materials and environmental experience, but as they approach the second developmental stage, they enter a more abstract process of cognitive learning and memory.  Upper Elementary is the next step; it is a program which serves the child in his reach for a more complex intelligence.  The UE program incorporates many areas of interest, including advanced literacy, cultural and historical studies, mathematical applications, core sciences, service, and applied life skills.  The program invests in the child with regard to individual study habits, identifying personal strengths, developing and following core values and creating a sense of true community within school boundaries and beyond.

Language is a principal focus of the Upper Elementary program.  The students learn through prepared lessons on vocabulary, grammar and word study; and are able to practice with Montessori prepared materials such as the Parsing Symbols, Sentence Analysis Charts and Synonym Matching cards.  Students learn through their engagement in independent reading, journal and report writing and prepared oral speech. Group reading and literary analysis on written style, genre and technique provide students the opportunity to develop their own spoken language through impassioned discussion and group collaboration.  Practiced writing skills are put to use each year as students select and promote campaigns for school improvement; this process allows for students to exercise responsibility and social awareness within their own environment.


The science curriculum for Upper Elementary has been tremendously influenced by weekly excursions hosted by the "Great Outdoors" program.  As a core resource to our students, the programs allows students to study through field trip experiences to local ecosystems on hikes, day trips and expeditions.  This program combines classroom and field studies through observation of local biomes and water systems, and participates in environmentally conscious service projects throughout the year.  As Miss Amy tells us, the UE students have recently been studying the hydrosphere, which has included experiments that investigate the water cycle (making clouds and watching plants transpire), water as a resource (making our own mini-well and water wheels), and learning about water's physical and chemical properties (performing pH tests and learning about density).  In the Great Outdoors program, they have kicked off the year studying watersheds by exploring the high places and learning about headwaters, what defines a watershed, and learning how to map out an area.  Together, they have explored many beautiful places in rain, sun and hail, such as Bloods Lake (Guardsman Pass), Provo River Falls (Uinta Mountains), and Silver Lake (Big Cottonwood Canyon).

With a class culture geared toward service, the students participate in many programs that enhance the spirit of their home community.  In light of a school-wide study on watersheds, the "GO" program recently adopted a segment of the Jordan River, which students help maintain and keep healthy in their bi-annual visits.  Upper Elementary students are also responsible for the school's recycling campaign, for which they collect, manage and deposit all recyclable materials on a daily basis.  UE students also participate in the school's fundraising efforts and events to support our COEEF (Children of Ethiopia Education Fund) stewardship, and our Navajo Grandmothers within our Adopt A Native Elder program.

The Upper Elementary students have been collaborating for the last few weeks, and are proud to be the titleholders of a new class name. Through a collective process and much deliberation, they have selected ‘Uinta’ to be representative of their class study and culture.  Unique to Utah, The Uinta mountain range is the tallest in Utah, with Kings Peak being the highest point of our state.  Our Upper Elementary students are well paired for such a title, as they hold themselves to a high standard in academics; but also in personal integrity, responsibility and proactive service.  The Uinta class is diligent, with collaboration and dedication being key concepts in the success of the overall class.  We are looking forward to another year of excellence in Upper Elementary.\

Written by:  Kellie Gibson, September 20, 2013

Maria Montessori - Her Life & Legacy

Posted by Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 17 October 2013
in Parent Education

 

As we are so deeply indebted to the great work and legacy of Maria Montessori, and in light of her birthday on August 31st, we would like to honor Dr. Montessori by telling her story.  Born in a small town of Italy to parents, Renilde Stoppani and Allessandro, Maria forged her own educational path, even in childhood.  Throughout her youth, she acquired a very ambitious taste for science and mathematics, which was extraordinary for a girl during the time.   After attending a tech school, Maria Montessori decided to study medicine.  Throughout an intricate and complicated series of events (including a letter of recommendation for college acceptance by the Catholic Pope himself), Maria went on to Medical School to become the very first female Doctor in Italy.

During Maria’s residency, she spent time working with children in a psychiatric hospital.  She had not been working there long, when a nurse who was watching the children in the ward said to her: ‘Look, I can’t believe that they are picking crumbs up off the floor to eat!  How horrible.’  Maria said to the nurse: ‘They aren’t eating the crumbs, they are studying them.’ In a bare, sterile psychiatric hospital, where the walls were white and there was not a single toy or object for a child to engage with, Maria Montessori discovered her first realized observation: the necessity of environment.

Dr. Montessori was stirred by this, and a miraculous turn of events then followed.  After some time, she redirected her research to completely service children.  In time, Maria’s method became world-famous.  She traveled to teach it, winning many hearts with her curriculum.  In 1913, Maria published her first book on children "The Advanced Montessori Method", selling 17,410 copies.  She even attended the 1915 World Fair in San Francisco to share her research and teaching method.  Maria continued to share her knowledge for many years in her own country, until her teachings were banned from Italy due to world conflicts with Fascism.   She was forced to leave her home, but she continued her work in Amsterdam, and later in India, where Maria would stay for over 10 years.  Even after World War II broke out, Maria stayed to complete her work of the early childhood years in her study of the “Absorbent Mind, “ and her extensive study of infancy and the development of the “Cosmic Curriculum.”

By 1946, over 1,000 people had been educated by Dr. Montessori.  Maria continued to travel through Europe, Africa and Asia, lecturing until the age of 81.  Maria Montessori has been nominated for two Nobel Peace Prizes for her contribution to education, but also for her overall effort to improve conditions for women and children around the world.

We owe so much to this extremely brave woman, who endured conflicts of career progression, family separation, gender bias and war to bring her teaching methods to light. Maria Montessori was a leader in every step she took, and her work produced amazing outcomes.  Maria sought to educate children, but she also saw a magic in them.  Within each child, she saw: the need, the power, the magic… to learn.

By Kellie Gibson, September 5, 2013

A Closer Look at our Early Childhood Program

Posted by Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 17 October 2013
in School News

The Early Childhood classroom is made up of several major components which construct the foundation for a Montessori education, the first of which is the Prepared Environment.  Doctor Montessori said: "Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment. "  A prepared environment refers not only to carefully selected materials set about a well-organized classroom, but to a lively and a passionate space, dedicated to the child in love and gratitude.  Peace and order are essential to the classroom, as is respect for the success of each individual learner.  The teacher becomes the essential link in this carefully prepared framework, as she provides a crucial connection between the child and the environment which will deliver his true self.

A second component of the Early Childhood Montessori classroom environment is the mixed-age group model.  The assembly of this division is in line with Dr. Montessori’s research on what she called the four planes of development.  This becomes a great benefit to each child, and it is due to the model’s dependence on the principle of imitation.  Children learn by example, so we can attest.  What is it about the multi-aged classrooms that benefit both the younger and the older child?  It is a unique opportunity to seek out answers in an experienced and collaborative group of community learners.  The younger students learn as they go, they grow gradually more accustomed to the culture and expectations of their class society, while at the same time developing their concentration skills.  The students in their second year practice learned concepts and develop greater intellectual and social aptitude.  The older students truly become leaders, remarkably responsible and well-prepared to impart their own understanding to a younger child.  This creatively established education model allows the child and their peers another strategic avenue to take on challenge.

These components serve the great development of Maria Montessori’s discovery of “The Absorbent Mind.”  This, we know is the child’s own capacity.  It is an intellectual capacity, but it incorporates an emotional, physical and social intelligence.  In the Early Childhood years, it becomes a conscious acceptance of one’s own environment, in which the child takes in, or “absorbs” what they need, and in fact a great deal more, to survive.  The Absorbent Mind involves each child’s potential to understand the complexities and qualities of their own world.

Competency is learned, and confidence is earned.  It is the child’s choice to truly become a Montessori learner.  It is the purpose of our work to lay the foundation, where a child may develop within their own character, with reason and grace.  The children we serve are brave, intelligent and generous on their own accord; however it is by the spectacular design of our own Maria Montessori, that they make themselves independent.

By Kellie Gibson, September 5, 2013

Welcome to the Toddler Environment

Posted by Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Monday, 07 October 2013
in School News

This year, our teeny Toddlers from our Suns, Moons and Stars classes are making great strides in a school-wide practice of "Grace & Courtesy."  Our Toddlers are learning some of the most important life lessons of all, and that is how to be thoughtful of our friends and those we love.  Grace and Courtesy are learned through sharing a toy, taking turns on the slide, and being patient while a friend finishes a special work.  These lessons are also incorporated during lunch and snack time when children say "Please" and "Thank you" or "No, Thank you" while practicing table manners.  There are so many opportunities to exercise the principals of Grace and Courtesy both at home and at school, and we encourage parents to practice with their children.

As we settle into a new school year, our Toddlers are learning to adapt to new environments.  Being away from Mom and Dad can be tough at their tender age, but our teachers are working with the young ones to help them become comfortable at drop-off time.  Currently, our Toddlers are learning about their school environment, in the classroom and on the playground.  They are having fun with the new materials that our teachers have set out for the new school year.  Our Toddlers are also learning friends' names this week, with songs from our wonderful teachers.

A health update on our friend Nico-  He was delayed in his intensive chemotherapy, because his blood count was too low.  As of a few days ago, Nico was back on the regime and all is going well.  His parents, Jeff and Shannon are hoping that he will have completed this series within a month from now.  We are all hoping that Nico can come back to school sometime in October.  Get well, Nico!

Written by Kellie Gibson, August 30, 2013

MCS Introduces Installation of Solar Panels

Posted by Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 11 September 2013
in School News

In early September 2013, Montessori Community School of Salt Lake City will complete installation of one of the largest private solar energy systems in the state.  When completed, the large 52.2 kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) array, will create enough electricity to provide most of the school’s energy needs throughout the year.

To add to the energy efficiency of the system, 197 Enphase micro-inverters (one per solar panel) are used to optimize energy output by working independently to harvest each panel’s potential, thereby mitigating the affects that periodic shade, snow and other factors may have on the collectors. A monitor screen in the school will be able to track the system's performance in real time as a learning tool for students and as a special interest feature for parents and interested public.


Dr. Bob Buchanan and his wife, Robyn Eriwata-Buchanan, who own and operate the school, applied for Rocky Mountain Power’s Solar Incentive Program earlier this year. Through this annual program, Rocky Mountain Power provides a rebate of a portion of the overall costs to selected residential and commercial electricity customers who install solar collectors. The system, which was designed and installed by Intermountain Wind and Solar, one of the region’s largest solar installers, is expected to operate for maintenance-free life of more than 25 years. Using quality American-made 265 Watt SolarWorld solar modules and an innovative tilted racking system manufactured in Utah County by TRA, Montessori’s new net-metered system is a renewable energy landmark for students, teachers, and the community atop this historic school building. These photo voltaic solar panels will provide an estimated 90% of the schools power and the remaining 10% will be supplemented by Rocky Mountain Power's Blue Sky Renewable Energy.

 



The project has a three-fold purpose, to reduce energy usage for the school, provide renewable energy education for its students, and raise community awareness of renewable energy options. The installation is expected to reduce the school building’s electrical energy use by more than 95 percent each year, and demonstrates the Buchanans' efforts to promote and support renewable energy in Salt Lake City.

As always, Bob and Robyn's vision is an inspiration to the Montessori Community as we have the opportunity to be a part of this incredible process. The project not only reinforces our commitment to green education but also allows our students the opportunity to learn and observe, on a daily basis, the science behind the process.

Warm appreciations and congratulations to Bob, Robyn, Rocky Mountain Power, and all others involved in this process.

Tis the Season for Potty Training!

Posted by Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 20 June 2013
in Parent Education

If you are the parent of a Toddler the good news is the days of diapers will soon be over.  The bad news is, it won't happen overnight.

There is a huge difference between Toilet Learning and Toilet Training.  The ultimate goal of toilet use is that little ones become independent.  Training a child usually results in the child training the adult to watch for signs that indicate we better get to the bathroom NOW.  Of course, toilet learning does not happen overnight but works for the purpose of children becoming independent in their toilet use.  It empowers the child to be involved in the process.

 

 

 

What Can You Expect From Your Child Developmentally?

Around 12 months children commonly become interested in the bathroom.  Playing in the water, exploring, and watching parents or siblings is common.

Around 15 months children become interested in wearing underwear and is dressing and/or undressing themselves.

Between 13 - 15 months children may become interested in sitting on the toilet.

Around 18 months children enter a sensitive period in which they can most easily gain control of their much more developed nervous system.  Most children have both the physical ability and the interest to control their bladder and bowel.  This is an ideal time (if the child has shown previous appropriate signs) to put the child in underwear.  It can be helpful to introduce toileting before the "Terrible Two's" set in.

 

How do I know if my child is ready?

Physical signs of readiness include:

  • Can stay dry for longer periods of time (2+ hours or overnight)
  • Knows the feelings that signal they need to use the bathroom
  • Can pull pants up and down independently
  • Can get themselves to the toilet independently (walking)
  • Can get on and off the toilet independently
  • Recognizes when they are having a bowel movement
  • Briefly postpones urges when awake
Mental and Language readiness include:
  • Can follow simple directions
  • Can point to wet or soiled clothes and asks to be changed
  • Pays attention to physical signals when they are otherwise engaged (this is a challenge for most children and the common result of accidents)
  • Knows the words for using the toilet and can tell as adult
  • Has asked to wear underwear
  • Understands the purposes of the toilet
  • Prefers clean diapers and likes to be changed immediately
  • Understands key words such as potty, dry, wet and clean
  • Understands the connection between using the toilet and having dry pants
  • Able to communicate either with words or with gestures
Emotional readiness includes:
  • Seeks privacy when going in diaper
  • Shows interest in using the toilet - may want to put paper in and flush (even if they haven't been able to "go")
  • Shows curiosity at other people's toilet habits
  • Has decided he/she wants to use the toilet
  • Not afraid of the toilet
  • Wants to wear underpants and use the toilet
What is the best way to approach toilet training?
Be matter-of-fact
Avoid the power struggle
Overlook failures
Avoid pressure or punishment
Don't lecture
Avoid constant reminders
Relax
Avoid extreme excitement or anger
How do and I start and when is the right time?
Start slow at child's first interest
Allow child in the bathroom with you or siblings when you use the toilet
Start with simple things like:
Dressing/undressing
Practicing flushing
Change diapers in the bathroom
Change diapers standing up (when possible)
Are there times I should avoid Toilet Learning?
Any major changes in the child's life:
New sibling, new school, new house
Switching from crib to bed
Weaning of bottles or pacifiers
Major illnesses
Sleep deprived
Any other stressful situations
What should I do when my child has an accident?
Accidents WILL happen....but it's okay, its a learning process.
The time line will be different with all children. For some it will happen quickly and for others it will take more time.
Some children wet the bed up until 8 years old, this is normal and no cause for concern.
BE PATIENT!
BE CALM!
Allow children to change their own clothing with minimal help when they have an accident.
What are the best diapers to use during the Toilet Learning process?
Once your child has begun the process of using the toilet and has been introduced to cloth underwear it is important that you don't go back to disposable diapers except at bed time.  Pull-ups are a glorified diaper and because they look and feel to the child like a diaper they prevent a child from adjusting sensorially to underwear.


How should I reward my child when they are successful using the toilet?
If a child gets a reward for doing something that is a normal part of development, it can lead to a child expecting a reward for any accomplishment.  Sometimes, rewards put undo pressure on the child and cause anxiety.  It is beneficial for children to learn to follow their internal instincts, reach  milestones individually and at the appropriate and normal stage in their development, and learn early to appreciate the intrinsic value of accomplishments.

What if my child is afraid?
Fear is a normal reaction for children when it comes to Toilet Learning.  It is important to address fears before beginning Toilet Learning.
When you do decide its time to start the process its important to make sure that all of the child's care givers are on the same page.  The routine should be consistent for the child no matter who is caring for them.  Send your child with a lot of extra clothing when they are with a care giver.  Also, be sure that your child is dressed in clothes that they can get on and off themselves.  (Avoid belts, too many layers, etc.)
YOU CAN DO THIS!
  • BE PATIENT!
  • BE CALM!
  • FOLLOW THE CHILD!
  • ALLOW THE PROCESS!
  • RELAX!!!
Thank you to Alia Boyle Hovius for gathering and sharing this information.

How To Get Your Child To Listen....Jane Nelson

Posted by Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 20 June 2013
in Parent Education

Now that summer has arrived and you are spending more time with your children I thought this video might be of use....ENJOY!

 

Jane Nelson E.d. D., a parenting expert, shares ideas that support Montessori's respect of the child.

 

Silent Journey & Discovery

Posted by Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 14 February 2013
in School News

We had a wonderful Silent Journey and Discovery experience this month. Fifteen parents were in attendence.  We started in the lobby where we shared the routine and schedule and then headed into the classrooms.  Upon entering each new environment, attendees spent the first few minutes of their visit to access the environment in relation to the students at that level. With some prompting they looked at the nature of the materials in the space.  Then, when the bell rang, they were invited to sit down and engage with the classroom materials.  After visiting each classroom and working with the materials, attendees participated in a student-led Socratic Dialogue.  Following a wonderful lunch, we had an open discussion about the experience as a whole and staff members answered specific questions about the materials, the curriculum, and the Montessori philosophy.  Thank you to those who attended.  We are looking forward to hosting this event again in the Fall and we hope more of our parents will have the opportunity to experience this wonderful event.

 

SJ&D participants engage with materials from the Practical Life, Math, Language and Sensorial materials in an Early Childhood environment.

 

Upper Elementary teacher, Margaret, gives these parents a lesson on the Division Board during their visit to the Lower Elementary environment.

 

Parents work independently on Checkerboard Division in the Upper Elementary environment.

 

Participants explore the Middle School environment where they read about Middle School students experiences of different learning cycles.

 

Middle School student, Maddi Schmunk, and Upper Elementary teacher, Margaret, prepare for the Socratic Dialogue.  Maddi chose the topic quote and led the discussion beautifully. The topic of discussion was quote, "It's better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life" by Sister Kenny.

 

Socratic Dialogue

Two parents who attended the Silent Journey and Discovery share their experiences below:

"The Silent Journey and Discovery was a very emotional and powerful experience for me.  I did not attend a Montessori school as a child so I am only familiar with the Montessori philosophy through what I have read and observed in the last two years.  It gave me a great appreciation and understanding of the different developmental levels of the works.  I loved seeing the progression and advancement of the works through Toddler, Early Childhood and up through Middle School.  The grammar and math works were thrilling to learn and experience.  The focus on the sensorial aspects of each work creates a love of learning.  In addition to receiving an amazing education the students are also learning how to be independent, respectful and loving human beings.  I think every MCS parent should participate in the Silent Journey and Discovery to really understand and appreciate the experience and education we are giving our children.  I know that it made me realize that I will do everything in my power to continue my daughter’s Montessori education."

Tonia Hashimoto

Mother of Savvy Williams, Blue Class

 

"Having not grown up in a Montessori environment, it has been difficult for me to understand what exactly a day in the life of my Montessori students is like.  I try to take in as much as I can at pick-up and drop-off, with the occasional visit and guided lesson by my children, but there is no way to fully understand without an experience like the Silent Journey and Discovery.  It was an eye-opening voyage that I would recommend for every parent, and prospective parent.  I want to do it again.

 

Going through a classroom from each cycle really makes the whole Montessori experience come full circle from seeing how the Toddlers get their first understanding of space and shape, to Early Childhood and their practical life lessons, to Lower Elementary and their grammar materials which encourage socialization, to the Upper Elementary complex math problems, to a Middle School student-led Socratic discussion.  We only saw the tip of the iceberg, but the hands-on learning experience helped personify the school life of our children.  I was struck by the thoughtful organization of each room; how comfortable and serene a small space can feel.

 

I also enjoyed the roundtable discussion following our classroom journeys.  We were able to get some insight from teachers, staff, students and other parents.  Because Montessori isn’t the “traditional” schooling for kids in our country, there are obvious concerns and hesitations with going outside the “norm”.  Many of my concerns were put to ease and I feel my children are on the correct path for them at this time.  I appreciated the book recommendations and feel they will help in understanding the Montessori Method and perhaps assist me with decisions for my family down the road.

 

My kids have been at MCS for three/four years now and I feel like I have finally been able to look beyond the curtain of their daily journey, something that every parent should see and experience.  Now, when my kids and I have our chats at the end of the day, I can ask even more detailed questions and have a bit more understanding as to how their day went.  That is priceless.

 

Thanks again to all who helped facilitate the Silent Journey and Discovery."

Carrie Christensen

Mother of Lucas, Oquirrh Class and Emily, Blue Class

Social Skills in the Montessori Environment

Posted by Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 05 December 2012
in Parent Education

Through the years I have commonly been asked about Montessori students and their development of social skills. Some parents, when considering a Montessori education, become concerned that because of the size of the facility, the mixed age groupings, or the limited number of classrooms that their child will somehow be "missing out" on some aspects of social development. The short answer is that although there might not be as many children on our campus, the opportunities to develop socially are unlimited in the organization of the classrooms and curriculum.

 

Montessori herself said that "Social life does not consist of a group of individuals remaining close together, side by side, nor in their advancing en masse under the command of a captain like a regiment on the march, nor like an ordinary class of school children. The social life of man is founded upon work, harmoniously organised and upon social virtues - and these are the attitudes which develop to an exceptional degree amongst our children. Constancy in their work, patience when having to wait, the power of adapting themselves to the innumerable circumstances which present themselves in their daily contact with each other, reciprocal helpfulness and so on, are all exercises which represent a real and practical social life and which we see, for the first time, being organised amongst the children in a school. In fact, whereas schools used to be equipped only so as to accommodate children, seated passively side by side, who were expected to receive from the teacher (we might almost say in a parasitic manner), our schools, on the contrary, have an equipment which is adapted to all those forms of work which are necessary in an active and independent little community. The individual work in which the child is able to isolate himself and to concentrate, serves to perfect his individuality and the nearer man gets to perfection, the better is he able to associate harmoniously with others. A strong social movement cannot exist without prepared individuals, just as the members of an orchestra cannot play together harmoniously unless each individual has been thoroughly trained by repeated exercise when alone."

As her philosophy developed, many standards were set into place which help a student develop socially. Some of those include:

 

  • Grace & Courtesy: An essential part of the Montessori curriculum is the opportunity for children to develop skills of grace and courtesy. Children learn to interact appropriately with one another through dialogue with adults, they learn to greet and host guests into their classroom, and they learn to dialogue with their peers in classroom meetings. As early as three years old students use the "peace table" as a place to they learn to recognize personal feelings and express themselves. They often share a "peace object" of some kind (ie; rock, flower...) that can be passed back and forth as they work to solve problems with their peers. As part of the Grace and Courtesy curriculum, children prepare and share snacks within the classroom. They are given lessons on appropriate meal behavior and sometimes teachers will join students at the lunch table to model appropriate meal behavior.
  • Small Group Lessons: Though many lessons are presented to students individually, at all levels students participate in small group lessons. These lessons allow students to express their thoughts and ideas in a safe environment. As they dialogue with one another regarding their thoughts about a particular subject, teachers can assess conversational skills as well as how much or little a child may be grasping an important concept. When a child is uncertain or misunderstands a concept, teachers will represent material in a different way or within a different setting rather than reprimanding or shaming a child for misunderstanding. In these group lessons, students learn to listen to and respect other children's perspective.
  • Care of Environment: At entry into a Montessori environment children are given lessons on care of the environment around them. They are taught that the space in which they learn is their space, it belongs to them. They are taught the value of community and learn their role in a community. They are also taught to respect and value the roles of their peers within the same community.
  • Freedom to solve problems: Along with lessons on how to solve problems, children are given the freedom to actually practice the skill in a safe environment with caring and observant adults nearby. Montessori believed that children like to work out their own social problems and she said, "When adults interfere in this first stage of preparation for social life, they nearly always make mistakes....Problems abound at every step and it gives the children great pleasure to face them. They feel irritated if we intervene, and find a way if left to themselves." In order to accommodate this freedom, teachers use lunch, recess, and transition times to continually model appropriate social interactions. The time for lessons does not stop once the bell to step outside the classroom rings.
  • Lack of Competition: Mixed age classrooms, individual progression, and self-correcting materials are all contributors to the ability to avoid competition among children in a Montessori environment. Students have a natural tendency to assist one another and collaborate. Oftentimes only one material of its kind will exist within a classroom, teaching children patience as well as allowing them to plan ahead, and accommodate change. Montessori said, regarding classroom materials, "The chid comes to see that he must respect the work of others, not because someone said he must, but because this is a reality he meets in his daily experience."
  • Self-Correcting Materials: Work in the environment is set up to allow the child to use the materials to check their work. As students discover mistakes for themselves, the ability to correct becomes innate and they do not lack confidence for fear of being told they are wrong. It also allows the children to have purposeful movement.
  • Celebration of Individuality: As students are allowed the opportunity to choose what to work on and how long to spend on an activity and the ability to not be rushed to understand concepts, they are able to celebrate their individuality. Some children will grasp a concept more easily than another, some students will embrace one subject at a different time than their peers and as they work with those sensitive periods they grow as individuals. Then, within their roles as an important part of the classroom community, they are able to share concepts with others.

 

In these ways and others, children in a Montessori environment are given the very best opportunities for appropriate social development.

How is Montessori designed to prepare children for the "real world?"

Posted by Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 04 December 2012
in Parent Education

Thank you to those parents who recently attended our Elementary Admissions Information Meeting.  Remember, if you have a child who is moving into 1st or 4th grade next year, this meeting is MANDATORY for both parents.  Also, if you are currently still in process of deciding whether your Kindergartner or 3rd grader will continue with us next year, we recommend you come to the next meeting where Margaret, our Elementary and Middle School Program Head, will answer your questions regarding curriculum as well as social develpment of Elementary age students.  Many of the attendees of our meeting last Friday were especially excited by the brief overview of the Montessori Math materials.

During the meeting some questions were raised about Montessori students transitioning to schools with a more traditional approach to education.  Tim Seldin wrote an article entitled "What are the real benefits of sending a child to Montessori?" which sufficiently explains the ways in which Montessori children are prepared to transition to other environments.  I recommend this article for any parent who has a child enrolled in a Montessori program or who is considering a Montessori education for their child.  Read Tim Seldins article here...

We invite any parents with questions regarding enrollment for your child next year to make an appointment with either your students teachers or a member of our Administration where we will be happy to address any questions or concerns you might have.  Also, dont forget that our next Elementary Admissions Information meeting is coming up this Friday, December 7th @ 8:30am.

 

This Upper Elementary student works on the Peg Board during work time.

 

Gift Ideas for your Montessori Child

Posted by Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 28 November 2012
in Parent Education

One question that regularly comes my way this time of year is "what should I get my child for Christmas?"  Finding developmentally appropriate gifts that will keep our children happy and entertained, but still support their growth, can be challenging.  If you are anything like me, you don't want to spend a bunch of money on toys that will end up broken, lost, or forgotten by days end.  Below we've listed some of our favorite resources for finding the perfect gift for your Montessori child....

Small Hands is a wonderful resource for choosing gifts that support the Practical Life skills your child is working on regularly in the classroom.

Daily Montessori shares information about choosing the right gift for children at the right age.

Jessica Mueller shares some wonderful gift ideas for Infants, Toddlers, and Pre-Schoolers on her blog "Our Montessori Home."

Montessori by Hand shares a great list of children's books.

Support your Upper Elementary or Middle Schoolers love of science with some of these aweseome items from Science Discovery and Fun.

 

Best of luck on your search for the perfect gift!

"There is no bad weather,only bad clothing."

Posted by Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 24 October 2012
in Parent Education

Montessori Community School has always made it a priority to integrate nature into our program. Students are offered a wide variety of opportunities to extend their learning beyond the physical classroom and, in keeping with the Montessori philosophy, students are invited to experience nature as a hands on experience.  We love the phrase "there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing."  The Portland Montessori Collaborative posted the following on their website and we are proud to say, "We couldn't agree more!"

We believe in integrating the outdoor classroom into every child’s experience at school. The outdoor environment is a place for big body play, where we value natural opportunities for children to challenge themselves physically. Children will find compelling reasons to hone large motor skills through joyful interaction with a landscape similar to that found in nature. In the outdoor classroom, open ended and collaborative play are valued, documented, and encouraged. Opportunities to practice practical life skills like woodworking and caring for plants and animals are available. A relationship with the plants and animals that live in our creek side ecosystem is developed through a process of ongoing, child-led/adult fostered investigation. There is dedicated time outside every day, rain or shine.  We believe that ‘ there is no bad weather, only bad clothing’, and children come to school well equipped to enjoy their time outside regardless of weather.

Read more from The Portland Montessori Collaborative at pdxmc.org.

Practical Life in the Montessori Classroom

Posted by Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Monday, 22 October 2012
in Parent Education

Practical Life is an essential part of the Montessori curriculum.  Students begin as early as 18 months old working on daily living skills.  The areas of a Practical Life environment include; care of self, care of environment, grace and courtesy, and control of movement.  Activities are carefully designed to not only prepare the child to LITERALLY become independent in all areas but also to develop the mathematical and language areas of the brain. This is accomplished when a teacher in the environment sets up each activity and presents it methodically, paying careful attention to every detail.  For example, a lesson on table washing would be presented to a child starting to scrub the table at the top-moving from left to right and top to bottom.  The child moves cross-body as their washing hand literally crosses from the left side of the body, past the center, and to the far right, preparing the brain for reading. This also increases cross lateral movement which not only works as a pre-reading skill but also increasing coordination.

This student chops fruit for a smoothie she will share with her classmates.

This student practices yoga as part of the Practical Life curriculum. His focus centers on building concentration and coordination, two important elements of Practical Life.

 

This boy works on transferring objects from bowl to bowl; building concentration, coordination, and order while also developing small muscle control, an essential part of writing preparation.

All of the activities in a carefully prepared Practical Life environment allow the child to build multiple skills.  For example a child working on sorting objects, stringing beads or tweezing objects is repeatedly practicing and preparing their prehensile grip. Anybody who has ever spent time with children inside the home can relate to the young child's desire to participate in household chores...dishwashing, food preparation, sweeping, mopping...the list goes on and on.  In a Montessori classroom, children have the opportunity to practice these skills along with many others in an effort to gain independence.  They might repeat activities over and over, building their ability to concentrate, as they become more efficient at each skill.

As children move on to elementary and beyond, practical life becomes more about participating in real life situations.  They work together as community members to maintain the learning environment, oftentimes extending the learning environment to areas outside the classroom.  They take the practical life skills that they so carefully and repeatedly practiced in their younger years to become contributing members of their classroom and school community.  As parents understand the skills that their children have worked so hard to acquire, they too can invite children to work as contributing members of their household.

 

Lower Elementary students work in the kitchen.

 

This Upper Elementary student cares for Murphy, the corn snake, in her classroom.

Beyond the elementary experience, children at MCS take their practical life skills to the next level as Middle Schoolers in planning, preparing, and carrying out classroom and community events. Join us in the lobby every last Thursday of the month for Montessori Market, an event organized by the Middle School students.  Students learn the steps in building and maintaining a business as they work together as a team, increasing their opportunities for appropriate and essential social interaction.

"The exercises of practical life are formative activities, a work of adaptation to the environment. Such adaptation to the environment an efficient functioning therein is the very essence of a useful education."  Maria Montessori

Check back for more information coming later in how you can organize your own home to support the Practical Life curriculum in your child's Montessori classroom.

Preparing Your Home Environment

Posted by Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson
Britney Peterson has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 17 October 2012
in Parent Education

A huge thank you to our Toddler Teachers for presenting a wonderful Parent Education Night to the parents of our Toddler students last night.  We were pleased that so many of our parents came out to learn more about the Montessori Toddler Environment and ways they can support the curriculum in their homes.

 

 

Read the article below for more information about preparing the home environment for your little ones....

Birth To Three...Preparing the Environment

Learning comes from a natural interaction with the environment much more than from listening or watching another. For this reason the preparation of the environment is extremely important.

Read the full article

montessori.edu

Do Montessori Schools Have An Edge?

Posted by Robyn Eriwata-Buchanan
Robyn Eriwata-Buchanan
Robyn Eriwata-Buchanan has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 20 September 2012
in Parent Education

 

 

New research suggests that children who attend Montessori schools may have an edge over other children in terms of both academic and social development.

The 5-year-old Montessori students were found to have better reading and math skills than their peers who attended traditional schools and they scored higher on tests measuring social development, researchers reported.

The 12-year-old Montessori and non-Montessori students had similar reading and math scores, but the Montessori children tended to score higher on tests measuring social and behavioral development, researcher Angeline Lillard, Ph.D., tells WebMD.

Read the full article

CBSnews.com

Google's co-founders credited Montessori for their success

Posted by Robyn Eriwata-Buchanan
Robyn Eriwata-Buchanan
Robyn Eriwata-Buchanan has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 13 September 2012
in Parent Education

Google on Friday honored Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori with a homepage doodle celebrating her 142nd birth anniversary.
Google's co-founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, both went through the Montessori education system and have credited it for their success.
"I think it was part of that training of not following rules and orders and being self-motivated, questioning what's going on in the world, doing things a bit different," Page said in an interview with ABC (below).

PCMag.com Article