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

Dr. Deak’s Fantastic Elastic Brain

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After spending the afternoon of Thursday, April 28th in discussion with Twin Parks Montessori School’s teachers regarding how individual’s brains input information, Dr. JoAnn Deak spoke to a packed audience of parents and educators at Twin Parks Montessori School’s newest campus, Central Park.

Dane Peters, Head of Brookyn Heights Montessori School, Dr. JoAnn Deak and Dr. Kathy Roemer

Dr. Deak told the attendees that there are many ways that boy’s and girl’s brains are hard-wired differently.  I came away with a better understanding of how some parts of our brains are still primitive and reactions often depend on gender -  especially in regards to how we respond to loud noises and voices.  Most boys respond to and like louder noises – imagine that!

Dr. JoAnn Deak - challenging ourselves, and hard work stretches our brain muscle, like rubber bands! You have to work it!

“The positive emotions (love, joy, satisfaction) do not show much gender difference in feeling them but they do in expressing them.  But the negative emotions DO show gender difference”  For most girls negative emotions are expressed with Fear, Anxiety and Depression and for most boys negative emotions are expressed with Anger.       Dr. JoAnn Deak

On Friday morning Dr. Deak gave a book talk to students and shared her Mom’s Choice and Nautilus winning book, The Fantastic Elastic Brain.  The take-away message was if students challenge themselves, try hard and practice, they will help their brains grow and they will be able to accomplish many things.

Dr. JoAnn Deak describing different parts of the brain to Twin Parks Montessori students.

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Many Ways To Love A Child

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Jennifer Rogers is a Montessori teacher now but started out with a MA in Theological Studies from Emory University.  In her work with countless children and parents she offers her 7 Ways to Love a Child.

One:  Eat together

Two:  Keep it real

Three:  Mentors and partners

Four:  Read together

Five:  Welcome failure

Six:  Assign chores

Seven:  Maintain authority

I would add to that.

Eight:  Keep a watchful eye on internet usage

Nine:  Share hobbies with one another

Ten:  Laugh together!

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What about the Montessori Mafia?

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The title Peter Sims chose for his article in the WSJ Ideas Market blog certainly caught some attention.  The Montessori Mafia made reference to several innovative people who attribute their individual success in part to their early Montessori Education.  Sims mentions Google founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and  video game creator Will Wright.

There were over 130 comments posted, a portion of mine follows:

• In the beginning, Dr. Montessori worked with the “unteachable” children in a sanitarium and the children of the very poor. This proved to be a useful laboratory as she used her scientific method of observation to deconstruct the basics of how individuals learn. Her students surpassed the results of children in the traditional classroom of Italy in 1907. Montessori then continued her work with tenement children who were left to their own devices while their parents worked. Soon, the children were teaching their parents how to read.

• Maria Montessori brought her method to the US in 1913 between the Great Wars and was hailed as what would be considered a “super-star” in today’s terms. Her method was supported by then president, Woodrow Wilson, and was selected to be implemented in the NYC public school system. How different things may have been if this had come to pass. NYC’s first Montessori public charter school will begin in the fall of 2012 in the Bronx, NYC.

• A premise of the Montessori philosophy is to teach the whole child; to create a supportive environment where the child’s natural passions and curiosity are continually being challenged. In this setting mistakes are welcome and considered opportunities to learn.

• Montessori classroom materials are carefully laid out to assist children in purposeful actions that are self directed. The entire philosophy is child-centered from the size of the furniture to the daily schedule. Montessori teaching methods build from the tactile/concrete to the abstract, from the sensory to the cognitive, from large motor skills to small, problem solving in all subject matters including math, science, reading and inter-personal relationships is promoted.

• Children are taught in multi-aged groups. Children are able to find their place in the continuum of learning. In some curriculum areas they can excel and move forward and in other curriculum areas they can spend extra time if needed. The success of the Montessori approach is that it utilizes the natural way we are wired from birth to actively be engaged in learning as opposed to being passive in a teacher-directed environment often found in traditional education systems.

• The Montessori method has been in use for over 100 years and many of the methods have been incorporated into “traditional” classroom curriculums and has influenced the educational approach of leading private schools like Dalton and Caedmon.

• Montessori programs can be found throughout the world. For this reason, many Montessori classrooms are very international in appearance. Diversity of culture, economics, and family structure add to the universal appeal and create a multitude of learning opportunities. Montessori educated students are prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st century as global citizens.

A future innovator in the making!

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Maya Angelou, a Montessori Mother

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One of the greatest women of our time!

When Maya Angelou spoke to 3,500 Montessori educators at Madison Square Garden in 2007 it was to celebrate 100 years of Montessori education.  Maya is an inspirational speaker and person.  She can recite poetry, sing songs and speak as if you are in her living room and she is telling you a story.  She told us that Montessori teachers were “rainbows in the clouds”.  What a gifted person and  mother who chose Montessori education for her children.

My sister sent me some Maya Angelou-isms today and I thought that I would share a few with you.

“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles three things:  a rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights.”

“I’ve learned that people will forget what  you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

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Montessori Past and Present – Kramer and Povell

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Last night Central Park Montessori School hosted the first in a series of lectures celebrating its opening.  Rita Kramer, author of Maria Montessori A Biography and Dr. Phyllis Povell, author of Montessori Comes to America the Leadership of Maria Montessori and Nancy McCormick Rambusch, spoke to parents, teachers, community members and educators.

Rita Kramer and Phyllis Povell

Dr. Phyllis Povell, Dr. Marlene Barron, Maria Gravel, Dr. Kathy Roemer, Carole Korngold, Marie Dugan and Rita Kramer

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