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

The Importance of Talking to Our Children

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“If everyone talked to their young children the same amount, there would be no racial or socioeconomic gap at all.” This controversial claim was made in a New York Times article, “The Power of Talking to Your Baby,” by Tina Rosenberg. Some excerpts from this article based on the research of Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley at the University of Kansas:

“Children whose families were on welfare heard about 600 words per hour. Working-class children heard 1,200 words per hour, and children from professional families heard 2,100 words. By age 3, a poor child would have heard 30 million fewer words in his home environment than a child from a professional family…. Hart and Risley… found that parents talk much more to girls than to boys (perhaps because girls are more sociable, or because it is Mom who does most of the care, and parents talk more to children of their gender). This might explain why young, poor boys have particular trouble in school.

And the disparity mattered: the greater the number of words children heard from their parents or caregivers before they were 3, the higher their IQ and the better they did in school. TV talk not only didn’t help, it was detrimental.”

Children need to hear an abundance of a varied vocabulary.

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Sticks and Stones

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Today started with me accomplishing a major goal – by cleaning the 55 gallon fish tank at Park West Montessori School.  I inherited the fish tank from my son who was tired of moving it up and down apartment stairs when he moved.  We take care of some of his original cichlids, a plecostomus and a speckled cat fish.  We also have several generations of cichlids because they have live births fairly often. Cleaning the tank also means catching some mid-sized, “teenager” fish to donate to the fish store.  After all, we have to make room for the new babies!

After I finished this arduous task, feeling good, I sat at my computer with the clean tank in the background, reading email.  I opened this TED video and wanted to share it with you (note: not for children).

It made me laugh and cry. I also want to apologize to the teenager fish and let them know that even though they were singled out to weed from the tank, it is truly not personal.  With their youth and size, they have the best chance to flourish in another tank in another school or home.


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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.

Children love family montessori

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)

Montessori children love

Working together demonstrates an act of service.

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Conversation With Arnie Duncan Regarding School Safety

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Today (2/12/13) I had the privilege to participate in a telephone conversation with Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan, David Esquith, Director of the Office of Safe and Healthy Students, and other non-public school leaders across the country.  Secretary Duncan reviewed President Obama’ plan to help keep our children safe including:  higher regulation on high-capacity guns,  have stricter background checks, review of violent video games, and to school measures to keep our children safe and not afraid in school.

There are 4 buckets or key items and activities with the plan:

• Every school will have a comprehensive safety plan.  More information for best practices in school safety can be found at

• Schools will have tools to develop and maintain safe and positive school climate

• Students will receive more proactive and ongoing help with mental health issues

• Students will be safe with additional security measures in all schools, public and private

Only Congress, of course, will have the authority to approve the plan.  Do what you can to inform your congressional leaders the need for this plan to pass. 

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Caldecott and Newberry Winners Announced Today!

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The Caldecott and Newberry 2013 winning books were announced today. If you are looking for a book for your children and or a special gift, review these lists first!

Montessori books toddler Early Childhood

Caldecott 2013 Winner, This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

“In this darkly humorous tale, a tiny fish knows it is wrong to steal a hat. It fits him just right. But the big fish wants his hat back. Klassen’s controlled palette, opposing narratives and subtle cues compel readers to follow the fish and imagine the consequences.

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