Insights on the Montessori method and Early Childhood Education from Dr. Kathy Roemer
Dr. Kathy Roemer is Executive Director of Twin Parks Montessori Schools in New York City, which include Park West Montessori, Riverside Montessori, and the newest, Central Park Montessori. Dr. Roemer has 28 years of experience as a Montessori teacher, director, consultant and past President of the American Montessori Society Board of Directors (AMS).
Learn more about Kathy here.
One of the opening quote shared by Dr. Lydia Soifer in her 2014 Wonderplay conference was.
Language is the essential condition of knowing, the process by which experience becomes knowledge. M.A.K. Halliday, 1993
Dr. Soifer a language and cognition specialist who works with parents and schools on the development of the whole child, individually and in group, presented at Twin Parks Montessori Schools. Watch this video on language development. Coming soon. . . audio of Dr. Soifer’s talk, Play with me, it will make me smarter!
Earlier this week I was standing at the bus stop by our school and I observed one of our toddlers. He ran down the stroller ramp, stopped at the bottom, and threw his arms in the air. His expression was priceless-a smile spreading from ear to ear. It was evident that he was proud of his accomplishment and was demonstrating the universal body language of “victory.” His dad was not far behind and when I expressed my joy at witnessing the obvious pleasure, he told me that his son naturally uses the “starfish pose.” “What is that?” The informed dad shared this video with me. Watch it to learn more about our natural body language and how small adjustments can influence our self- confidence.
One of the greatest strengths of a Montessori program is the opportunities for children to learn how to be a productive member of a thriving community. Social emotional learning is the “process through which adults and children acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”
This is a commonly asked question when children are learning to be independent and self sufficient. Students in Montessori classrooms often change from outdoor to inside shoes throughout the day. This practice helps them to develop their self-care skills which is a major concept in a Montessori environment. When teachers notice that a child has put shoes on the wrong feet, he/she will not correct the mistake and deflate the new sense of accomplishment. Although not perfect, it is a huge task for a 2-6 year old child. Allowing children to learn first hand from their mistakes and with adult time and patience shoes will soon be on the correct feet.
In the meantime, you can get a big sticker and cut it in half. Put one half in each shoe. Show your child that when they are aligned to go on the correct feet, the stickers will join to make a whole.
We use our words to express our feelings, our needs and to converse with others. The words we say to young children are extremely important. Before birth, infants are hearing and learning words that the immediate family is speaking. Within the first few months of life, children decipher the sounds that belong to the language of their birth. A baby can learn any language that is spoken to him/her from birth, it is the language spoken most that becomes most important.
This New York Times article titled, “Quality of Words, Not Quantity“, Dr. Hirsh-Pasek says that it is not just shoving words in it is about having fluid conversations around shared rituals and objects, like a pretend tea party or using a banana as a phone.
Direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults. We city dwellers have to think and plan to incorporate nature into children’s schedules. We are fortunate to have many natural parks in and around NYC to take advantage of. We can’t just send our children out to play, we have to accompany them. What a benefit since being in nature is good for all! And what better time than when the leaves are beginning to change in the autumn?
On September 11, 2014, we thought about what we were doing on that day many years ago. I was in Memphis, head of Lamplighter Montessori School. We invited the then Executive Director of the American Montessori Society, Michael Eanes, to spend two days with our school community. I was ready to pick him up at his hotel when I was alerted to the first crash into the tower. I remember watching horrified as the second tower was hit. Words cannot express the impact it had on our school community in Memphis, many miles from NYC. Michael was worried about his staff back in NYC and his family in Connecticut. It took 4 extra days for him to be able to get back home.
Today, I received this story of The Survivor Tree. May it bring you as much peace and hope as it did for me.
Adults listen to music for a variety of reasons: to lift our spirits; soothe our frayed nerves; and move us to dance. Can listening and playing music benefit your baby? We know that singing to and playing lullabies for babies helps to sooth infants. Although Baby Einstein was debunked as a way to increase cognitive abilities, research has shown that learning to play a musical instrument definitely helps with higher level thinking, memory, and problem solving required for mathematics. Click here for more benefits.
There are many ways to encourage musical play with children. For centuries babies have been given rattles and shakers to hold and enjoy shaking. Pots and pans or any unbreakable container with a wooden spoon will produce beats and eventually rhythm. Using call-and-response sessions between you and your baby will show him/her how to shake or drum in response. At your next gathering of other parents and babies you can host a jam session!
Watch this video to see how one family is encouraging music in their house.