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

Creativity, what’s it to you?

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According to  Wikipedia:

Creativity refers to the phenomenon whereby a person creates something new (a product, a solution, a work of art, a novel, a joke, etc.) that has some kind of value.

If you ask Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (chick-sent-me-high), author of the book Creativity:  Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, you will find information about 90+ highly creative individuals, presented factually and interestingly.   Mihaly said that “it is easier to enhance creativity by changing conditions in the environment than by trying to make people think more creatively.  . . . a creative accomplishment is almost never the result of sudden insight, a lightbulb flashing on in the dark, but comes after years of hard work.”

Examine your work environment.  Do you have opportunities to try new things and obtain additional training?  Are there high expectations for your work, resources, and recognition?  How would it feel to answer yes to all of those questions?

Consider Google’s practice of “20-percent time“.  Google employees are allowed to spend one day, 20%, a week working on projects that aren’t necessarily in their job descriptions.  They are able to work on a pet project, solve a problem, or fix something.  Can you imagine if your employer offered this opportunity to you?  What project would you work on?

In our Montessori classrooms we allow children large blocks of uninterrupted work time every day.  During this time children are able to repeat activities as many times as it takes to internalized the concept.  Children can make choices of work to do which allows them to  take ownership of their learning.  This also fosters opportunities for children to have the joy from discovery and experience creativity.


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How do you know if your child needs tutoring?

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I was asked this question today.

When should parents consider tutoring for their child?

I think there are three primary reasons parents consider tutoring for their child.

1.  there is evidence of a learning difference – in which case you get all the help available

2.  the child is doing average work and is capable of more or is not receiving the information in a way that she connects to – her amygdala is not stimulated

3.  parents want a super star (see Tiger Moms and Montessori posted Feb. 24, 2011) and tutoring is a plus option

What should parents look for to decide if a child is having difficulty?  If all variables are equal and the child is:  not hungry, not tired, has a prepared workspace with light and tools, and has had a vision and hearing test and all systems are go – how do you know?

The best way is through observation.  Spend time watching your child while she is doing academic or multiple stepped tasks at home. Is your child frustrated/delighted/distressed?  How much time is she spending on the same activity?  Is she focused and attending to the task at hand?  Does she understand the purpose of the task?  Is she avoiding or escaping from the task?  What is your “gut” telling you?  (that is your amygdala talking!)

What should you do if you think that something is amiss?  Make an appointment to talk to her teacher (not a quick minute at drop off or pick up time).  Share your observations, “this is what I am seeing at home, what are you seeing at school?”  Your child’s education depends on the partnership you have with your child’s teachers.  Educators do consider parents to be their child’s first teachers.  Together, you will be able to find the best solution in school and at home.  Tutoring maybe an unnecessary option.

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Exciting Times for Montessori for New York City

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Last week I had the opportunity to participate in two exciting Montessori events that directly effect New York City.  The week started with the inaugural meeting of the Center for Montessori Education in the Public Sector. You can read more about this meeting in my blog posted on October 4, 2011.  Scroll down.  You will see it.

On Thursday, October 6, 2011 I was invited to participate in the Panel Discussion as part of the Ribbon Cutting at the New York City Montessori Charter School.  In addition to myself, the following people spoke:  Teri Canaday from the Montessori Center in Jackson, TN, Dirk Tillotson Director of the NY Charter School Incubator and Joanne Falinsky, the Education Consultant for Charter and public schools.  AMS Executive Director, Richard Ungerer facilitated the panel.  We discussed the goals of education, Montessori education, and the marriage between a charter school and Montessori education.  It was a very informative session for the parents, educators and community members who were in attendance.

What this means for us is that there are more choices for parents when considering elementary school.  This new charter is the FIRST Montessori Charter in the state of New York, and it is located in our city!  More children will be exposed to Montessori education and more politicians will be exposed to the benefits that a Montessori education can provide.  Yes, it is an exiting time for Montessori in New York City!

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Montessori Families

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Yesterday I attended the first planning meeting of the Center for Montessori Education in the Public Sector at the American Montessori Society’s offices downtown. The attendees represented a national cross-section of private and public school Montessori leaders who share the common goal of providing Montessori education to more children. We all believe that Montessori education is a viable option for education reform in the United States.

Another  interesting belief we all share is that in addition to educating students, Montessori education transforms families.  Not only do the children benefit from their experience with Montessori, but parents, grandparents, and caregivers who take a role in parenting do too.  The basic principals of Montessori philosophy are transferred from school to home providing the consistency that all young children need for healthy development.  When this transformation happens perspectives and attitudes about how children learn are incorporated in everyday family activities.  Parents set their pace and expectations to be more in tune with how learning takes place and how children are able do more for themselves on their journey to independence.  Families enjoy meal times together and spend more time reading with their children.

Preschool Manhattan and Preschool Upper West Side

Children love to be a helpful member of the family!

Preschool Manhattan and Preschool Upper West Side

Low hooks help develop a child's sense of order.







Montessori claims that the child’s need for order is one of the most powerful incentives that dominates early life.  Children do need assistance in creating order for their belongings.  Parents assist this growth by providing low shelves for toys, low hooks for outerwear, a place designated for shoes, and tools for cleaning up within reach of small hands.  These small additions to our homes makes family living enjoyable.

Preschool Manhattan and Preschool Upper West Side

Everything has a place on a low shelf!

Preschool Manhattan and Preschool Upper West Side

Low shelves become places to put away children's work.

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