Twin Parks Montessori Schools - Preschool Manhattan, Upper West Side, New York City (NYC)

Kathy’s Insights

Insights on the Montessori method and Early Childhood Education from Dr. Kathy Roemer

Kathy’s Insights

Tiger Moms and Montessori

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Have you read “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” by Amy Chua?  It is a quick read; at times you want to laugh, but most times you want to rescue Amy’s two daughters from their over-the-top and verbally abusive mom! Amy was there for her children, with a heavy, overbearing presence.   She did sacrifice her time for them – and reminded them of her suffering often.   But she did not allow them to find a passion on their own, something to fulfill their own inner drive.   Amy did not see mistakes as opportunities for learning. Only perfection satisfied her.  Nor did she see the value of social opportunities for her girls to learn the basics of negotiation, cooperation and problem solving with other children without parents’ direct guidance.  That is exactly what David Brooks’ comment about the benefits of attending a sleep over with 14-year-old girls was all about!

Many American readers are outraged by this Tiger Mom, but also defensive.  We are not comfortable with these tiger cubs ruling our world.  Are our children being raised to be prepared and be successful in this competitive global world? Children who are raised in a supportive, nurturing family where discussions take place and decisions are made collaboratively are well equipped to be divergent thinkers and problem solvers.  Authoritative, not authoritarian parents produce children who are willing and able to take cognitive risks.  In these families, mistakes are one way to learn and grow.  That is one reason the Montessori method is booming in China.  The Chinese government has discovered that an education system focused on teaching students through rote learning and hours of homework and practice is not producing creative thinkers.  Creativity, innovation and collaborative learning are skills that are needed in the future global world.

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Babies Read Statistics?

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Patricia Kuhl’s talk on the linguistic genius of babies really states a case for continuing the dual language at home if you have that option. Babies read the “statistics” of language spoken to them and that sets the stage for their receptive and expressive language capabilities. Doesn’t work with TV or listening to a recording – only with face to face exposure!

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Do You Feel You Are Enough?

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I love TED.com. I have heard so many interesting talks on TED. This morning, I listened to Brene Brown talk about her study of human connections and our ability to empathize, belong, and love. And that in order to be connected we have to show our true selves, practice gratitude and joy and embrace our vulnerability.

Our strive for perfection is heaped on our children. When in fact, children are hard-wired for struggle when they arrive. To paraphrase Brene, our job is not to keep children perfect so they make the tennis team in 5th grade and Yale by 7th grade. That is not our job. Our job is to know our children are imperfect and are hard-wired for struggle, and WORTHY OF LOVE AND BELONGING. And we need to love with our whole hearts even though there are no guarantees. That is the hard part for parents. I know that is true!

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Divergent Thinkers

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You must watch this interesting video by Sir Ken Robinson. It has fascinating graphics unfolding while Sir Ken is talking about the need for education reform today more than ever before. Stick with it until he gets to the point about divergent thinking or the essential capacity for creativity and developing original ideas that have value.

At age 5 most people explode with creativity. They believe there are more than one solution to a problem or question. By age 13 this is dramatically reduced!! What is the reason? We need to encourage more creativity in our classrooms throughout a student’s education!

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This Awesome Day

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Last weekend I attended a conference for leaders of Montessori schools. The keynote speaker was Dr. Ned Hallowell and the topic was “Crazy Busy”. The conversation really resonated with me because we all operate with an incredible fast pace, daily. If you are doing what you really enjoy or what matters to you, then life is great. If you do not have time to think, then when do you reconstitute yourself? We all become humorless or operate with partial attention when we don’t take care of ourselves. We need a plan to protect what matters most. Like taking time to connect with our children. One of my greatest happy times now is being with my adult children. A few hours with them makes me smile for days!

This morning I watched a TED talk featuring Neil Pasricha’s blog 1000 Awesome Things. Neil talks about connecting to our inner 3 year old selves! At Twin Parks I am surrounded by 3 year olds and I can tell you that the positive energy that radiates from them as they discover life’s wonders for the first time is AWESOME!

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Privacy: Has It Vanished Like Last Year?

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Last week I was watching a news segment about websites that give access to our personal information for all the world to see just by entering our names and hitting the search button! Really personal information like income, price of home, family members, your age. . . I was always taught that it is impolite to ask a person’s age, wage, and religious affiliation. Those days are long gone!

A fellow Montessorian send me a link today that may help us maintain a little privacy, at least from one site. Follow these instructions to remove your information:

There’s a site called spokeo that’s a new online USA phone book w/personal information: everything from pictures you’ve posted on FB or web, your approx credit score, home value, income, age, family member’s names. Remove yourself by searching your name, find your page, copy the URL then go to the bottom right of the page & click on the Privacy link to remove yourself. Copy & re-post so your friends are aware.

Without knowledge of these sites, how are we to know where our personal information resides?

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A New Beginning…

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This new year brings the beginning of our new school, Central Park Montessori School at 1 West 91st Street. Workmen are finishing up the last construction details, the teachers are participating in professional development, unpacking boxes of furniture and materials and our administrators are settling into a new home. Like our other two schools, we are fortunate to be close to a wonderful city park. Central Park has 3 playgrounds within walking distance of the new location. Soon we will be welcoming our new infants and toddlers! It is a wonderful beginning, indeed!

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