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

Grit: Ongoing Converations at Twin Parks Montessori School

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Twin Parks Montessori School’s Education Team, including all teachers are talking about the predictors for long term success in schools for children today. Our previous conversations included working memory. Now our thoughts and conversations are focused on “grit”. Grit is the ability to work hard for the long haul. It is learning to wait, following through, trying hard. Living life like a marathon rather than a short run. Watch this talk by Angela Lee Duckworth about the key to success: Grit!

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How can we develop future leaders?

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Do you consider yourself a leader?  If so, how did you become one? What did you experience in your childhood that helped you become a leader?

While reading an article by Kathy Caprino in Forbes online, titled, 7 Crippling Parenting Behaviors That Keep Children From Growing Into Leaders, I discovered some ways that I hindered my own children while they were young. It is still hard for me as a parent to be aware of my adult children’s disappointments or struggles without wanting  to “fix” or help with their challenges.

Quoting Caprino, here are some things we should do to promote leadership in our children:

1. Talk over the issues you wish you would’ve known about adulthood.
2. Allow them to attempt things that stretch them and even let them fail.
3. Discuss future consequences if they fail to master certain disciplines.
4. Aid them in matching their strengths to real-world problems.
5. Furnish projects that require patience, so they learn to delay gratification.
6. Teach them that life is about choices and trade-offs; they can’t do everything.
7. Initiate (or simulate) adult tasks like paying bills or making business deals.
8. Introduce them to potential mentors from your network.
9. Help them envision a fulfilling future, and then discuss the steps to get there.
10. Celebrate progress they make toward autonomy and responsibility.

Take a look at this video Stuart Brown: Play is more than just fun

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Dr. Virginia Varga Speaks to Parents

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On November 11, 2013, Dr. Virginia Varga came to Twin Parks Montessori Schools and worked with all of the infant and toddler teachers. The main topic was concepts that we teach our youngest students. Dr. Varga then spent the evening with parents. She spoke about what children learn. Dr. Varga also answered a myriad of questions from the parents in attendance. Her presentation was audio recorded and posted on vimeo. Please listen at your leisure.

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What Does Your Child Want To Be When S/he Grows Up?

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Great question! When I was asked this question as a child my answers varied. Sometimes I wanted to be a detective, sometimes a teacher, all the time surrounded by people who cared about one another. Well, I did become an archaeologist (a detective of sorts) and I did become a teacher. Does it always work out that way? What did you want to be when you grew up? Ask your children that question and let’s compare notes!

In the meantime, watch this 13 year old dude talk about his aspirations!

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Giving Thanks

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This year, more than ever, I have seen evidence of people giving thanks for all of the wonders in their lives.  From count down posts on FaceBook – one for each day of November to children talking about what they are thankful for.  This is truly the time we set aside for counting our blessings.  When I think about the thing I am most thankful for it is the opportunity to be with my immediate family – my husband and two adult sons for a long weekend.  I am anticipating a lot of baking, eating, movies, games and conversations together.  Next, I am thankful for the community of Twin Parks Montessori Schools – the teachers and staff who are my colleagues, the parents who are our partners in development of the most precious children in our care.  Thank you for being a part of my life!

Children giving thanks

Children giving thanks

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What is an Iconic Sage? Dr. Virginia Varga

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A dictionary will tell you that an icon is a person who is the object of great attention and devotion and that a sage is a wise person. The person who fits that description is Dr. Virginia Varga. Dr. Varga is the infant and toddler core curriculum instructor for adults who are in the process of becoming a certified Montessori teacher. With over 40 years experience in Montessori Education, she is truly a pioneer.

We are hosting Dr. Varga for a day long professional development opportunity for teachers and an Parent Education evening on Monday, November 11, 2013 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. Please enjoy this glimpse of what Dr. Varga has to offer and a flyer with details about our event.

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Critical and Innovative Thinking Skills Important for the Future

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Recently a colleague shared a Time magazine article with me. It was interesting to reflect on how the common core of a college education has changed over time, including required reading of the Great Books and learning specific facts of math, history, geography, etc. The decisions a school or college makes about what to include in their general education curriculum reflects the outcome of the students’ knowledge base. How do schools and colleges produce a generation of graduates who will create wealth and jobs? Learning how to discuss, think critically and be creative will help graduates do well and do some good as well.

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Emotional Intelligence

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Teaching emotional intelligence has been a hot topic on many education news feeds. Emotional intelligence (EI) is extremely important for adults in the their workplace and for children in schools. EI is often more important in determining success than personality traits are. A person who is social, energetic and outgoing is not always the one to use sound judgment on a regular basis.

Emotional intelligence is not related to an I.Q. or ERB test score. Rather, it is the ability to read between the lines, size up a situation and to use intuition. How are children getting the key emotional and social skills and competencies they need for life – being able to handle anxiety and anger, to empathize, to work things out? School is often the place to help with learning these life skills. Twin Parks Montessori Schools offer many opportunities for EI skills to develop and flourish.

Watch this short video on Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children

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Maya Angelou Speaks about Resilience

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One of my favorite moments of being a Montessori educator was when Maya Angelou was a keynote speaker at an American Montessori Conference in NYC in 2007. I chaired the conference and helped to organize our speakers. We had 3,500 people in the Madison Square Garden Theater and you could have heard a pin drop when Dr. Angelou took the stage. It was like sitting in a living room with a loving, wise grandmother. Maya quoted poetry, told stories and shared her thoughts on education. As a mother who chose Montessori for her children she told us that Montessori teachers “were rainbows in the clouds.” What a special moment.

Maya Angelou, a remarkable woman.

Maya Angelou is feature in this months Educational Leadership journal in an article titled, “Handle with Care: A Conversation with Maya Angelou.”

Listen to an audio excerpt of this interview:

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