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

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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Montessori Methods in the Work Place

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At Twin Parks Montessori Schools, we are enjoying a wonderful first week of school. Our students are learning to feel comfortable in a new classroom with new teachers, independently taking care of their possessions, and making wise decisions as they navigate, explore and discover innovative materials. The classrooms are carefully prepared by skilled teachers who though observations of students enables teachers to provide both comfortable and challenging experiences.

Children who learn in a Montessori classroom when they are young learn to be mindful of others and more about themselves as learners. Many hone their executive functioning skills such as problem solving, using memory to understand relationships, planning, fostering passion and getting into the flow of self actualization.

Recently several companies are attempting to create an open-work place – referred to Montessori-like work places. There have pros and cons and questions about the success of this model in the office. Although it sounds intriguing and fun, I question the long-term productivity of the venture. There is an age and attitude limit to the success of changing an adult’s work paradigm. If your entire education experience is spent in a traditional, direct-instruction classroom, a work environment that is collaborative, creative and passion-driven is not appropriate.

Work Place or Play Space?

One of the parents at Twin Parks Montessori School shared this article with me. Read for more information about some Montessori-like work places.

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Adults need more sleep!

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As parents and educators, we are often concerned about the amount of sleep our children get each night. Sleep coaching is available to help parent train their children to self sooth and sleep more restfully and longer. But what about adults? Sleep deprivation is a fact of life and we assume that it is ok for most of us continue to go about our lives in this state.

Listen to Adrianna Huffington talk about how to be more creative, more entertaining and successful by getting enough sleep. Let’s all work harder to shut your eyes and discover the power of sleep!

Adrianna Huffington Speaks About Sleep

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Mid Summer’s Eve

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While I contemplated the title for this post, I was reluctant to use the words “end of” indicating that summer is soon behind us. This is the time of August when many people enjoy time away from work, whether it is for a vacation or stay-cation. Summer camps are ending and we have a few more weeks before school begins. This is one of the few time of the year that I can leave the city and not worry about Twin Parks Montessori Schools in my absence. I am looking forward to the biggest decision to be which book I am going to read during my time off!

For parents, you may be deciding which books to take along to read to your children. Maybe a choice will be a story about starting school like, I Am Too Absolutely Small for School by Lauren Child, The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn, Little School by Beth Norling, or for those going on to kindergarten, Sam and Gram and the First Day of School by Dianne Blomberg.

Our current newsletter offers some helpful information about preparing for those first few weeks back to school. To quote education director, Candace LaDouceur, :

It is important to remain positive when speaking about school with your child. Even if you are feeling nervous, look to convey a happy and optimistic feeling during this new experience. Your words, tone a facial expressions can influence your child’s attitude and confidence about school

But surely there is plenty of time to get ready for the new school year. On this Mid-Summer’s Eve, I want to be content to relax in the beautiful weather and go where my feet take me. No big plans, no worries, to live for the moment.

Sun is shining, the weather is sweet, make you want to move your dancing feet.
from the song, Sun is Shining by Bob Marley

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