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

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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How do you encourage your toddler to talk?

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Toddlers enrolled at Twin Parks Montessori Schools learn new words everyday. It is not because the adults are talking all the time, it is because they engage in shared conversations, read to and observed. Observation enables the adult to see and interpret subtle non-verbal cues from the child and respond appropriately. Teachers also use pictures and objects to teach new vocabulary.

Read this interesting passage by Janet Lansbury, REI Associate and Parent/Infant Class instructor to learn more.

Montessori Infant Toddler

Pictures help build vocabulary!

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We are thankful for our Twin Parks Montessori School Teachers!

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During the summer months Twin Parks Montessori School administrators prepare for the next school year. Today I was writing my back to school letter to our teachers, searching for inspiration and words of wisdom to help fire the passions in them. I feel so fortunate to work with such a dedicated, special group of adults whose personal goal is to guide the education and development of young children. I found this TED video about Rita Pierson, a 40 year veteran teacher who says every child needs a champion. We definitely have champions at Twin Parks!

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Love languages of children

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A colleague of mine share a book titled, The 5 Love Languages of Children.  It is part of a series written by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell.  The book has family stories about parents and children.  It describes the 5 love languages that helps children understand parents’ love.  They are:  physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts and acts of service.

images 3 Love languages of children

Touch is one of the 5 Languages of Love

“Love looks out for the interests of another; so does discipline.  So discipline is certainly an act of love.  And the more a child feels loved, the easier it is to discipline that child.” (page 127)

images 1 Love languages of children

Working together demonstrates an act of service.

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