Kathy’s Insights

Insights on the Montessori method and Early Childhood Education from Dr. Kathy Roemer

Cultural Experiences with Children

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Children are exposed to cultural subjects from the beginning of their school experience at Twin Parks Montessori Schools.  Young children understand the basic needs of humans like food, clothing and shelter, however, it is sometimes difficult to explain the needs of people globally.

At Twin Parks, we provide  hands-on activities about the universe and the planet earth enhanced with books, discussions, foods, songs, finger plays, etc. with a special focus on learning about the many different cultures on the earth.  Twin Parks Montessori Schools’ community is comprised of many families from around the world who willingly share information about their cultures with the teachers and classes.  Our children learn to celebrate the commonalities all people share while learning how we are also different.  Learning with and about others occurs naturally in our classrooms.

Children attending our Park West summer program worked with their teachers, on a project sponsored by the International Year of Volunteerism By and For Children, sponsored by the United Nations Volunteers.

“To begin the project the class had a group discussion about how we can help others.  The children came up with many personal ways they help their families and friends.  Since this age is very sensorial, they were very expressive with their hands in describing how they help.  The idea of ‘Helping Hands’ was generated from this observation.  Afterwards, we read books and a group of children started this project using the medium they like most: paint. By applying big strokes of blue, green and white paint onto circled-shaped paper, they made a representation of the planet. Afterwards, they colored in hand shapes using their favorite shades of glitter paint. With the help of the teachers, the children participated in the assembling and then took turns writing the words Helping Hands.  ~Mariel Carballo, Teacher

The finished project!

It is appropriate to model and encourage cooperation. The goal at Twin Parks Montessori Schools is to arouse interest and engage children in projects that require colaboration.   In our classrooms, we talk about how “hands are for helping,” and all the different ways that we can help others.  Maria Montessori wrote:

“If help and salvation are to come, they can only come from the children, for the children are the makers of men”.

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Reflecting on Possibilities

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Earlier this week I attended a lecture and celebration in honor of Dr. John McDermott, philosopher, thinker, professor, author and long time supporter of the Montessori method of education.  The event was held at Queen’s College (where he previously taught) in conjunction with the Center for Montessori Teacher Education, where many of our teachers go to learn about Montessori.

Dr. McDermott quoted William James ,

“There are possibilities here not within our sight.”

Exploring and constructing sand

Dr. McDermott reflected on how a Montessori classroom is carefully prepared to allow these possibilities for discovery and learning to take place.  He said

“There is no depreciation in Montessori – everything counts.”

Parents and teachers should always consider that every moment is a learning moment in a young child’s life.  We should consider education as a fundamental need of man, and one to be nourished.  We have so many opportunities to engage young children, to create environments that encourage exploration, to take children out into the world, to sense it, to explore it and to know it.

Learning about the world

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Another Intrinsically Motivated Montessori Child!

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I was watching a program on television tonight and was inspired by an 11-year old singer/ songwriter named Anna Graceman.  You will hear this name again as she grows into her voice and talent.  And she writes most of the songs she sings.  I wondered how she gained such a high level of maturity and poise while she is still obviously enjoying her childhood.  So I looked at her website and read some of her answers to fans’ questions.

You know where I am leading with this!  Yes, she is a Montessori child. Although she is home schooled now, she spent a “long time in Montessori”.  Enjoy this video of a song she wrote for her grandmother.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBaRDOn3gmM&w=560&h=349]

And her gift to us on the 4th of July. . .

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QofbRR5MEcg&w=560&h=349]

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Montessori Elevator Speech!

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While attending Montessori conferences, often in the elevator, someone will read my name badge and ask “what is Montessori?”  Many Montessori teachers are asked what is it that they do with their students that is different or special.  I am sure all parents of Montessori students are frequently asked by family and friends to describe a Montessori education or why they chose Montessori for their child.  Today I received a link to a YouTube video which will answer these questions for you.  Forward it on!


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Kathy’s Insights