Twin Parks Montessori - Largest Accredited Montessori Program in Manhattan

Kathy’s Insights

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

Children know how to spread cheer!

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There are times in our lives when we experience sadness and grief.  The death of a family member is one of those times.  My family has been so fortunate that my parents, their 5 children, 13 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren have all been healthy and thriving.  When my mother passed away on Saturday, it felt like the heart of our family stopped beating.  She spread love to every member of her extended family.  We all looked forward to our annual birthday call when she sang to us.  That small birthday gift will be sorely missed.

When my great-niece, Camryn, 6 years old, told her mother that she missed her Great Grammy and was sad.  Her mom suggested that when they were sad,  they could think of just one thing that was special about Great Grammy and talk about that one thing it would help them not to feel so sad.  So Camryn thought about it and said how much she loved Great Grammy’s white hair.  Then she expressed concern that she hurt Great Grammy’s feelings a few weeks ago when she told her how her hair was puffy and looked like a cloud, which of course made Great Grammy laugh at the time.  Camryn then said that she felt like Great Grammy’s hair is “camouflage in heaven since she is in the clouds”.

What a mature thought from a child!  How sensitive and soothing for all of us to think about.  Children are so wonderful and pure in their thoughts.  I am so glad I have so many children in my life!

A wonderful, loving mother!

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Who Can Say You Can’t Play?

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I was using Wikipedia to look up an author, Vivian Paley.  Paley wrote the book, You Can’t Say You Can’t Play (Harvard University Press, 1992).  Her short book gives accounts of children and social relationships.  Paley weaves lessons about loneliness and rejections, which allows the reader to share the child’s view of the world.  Children are inventing and reinventing themselves as they play roles, turn ideas into actions, just as they are intended to do.  That is why they play the way they do.

Paley recorded conversations of children in her class to study later.  The scenarios she writes about are real.  For instance, she writes, “Equal participation is, of course, the cornerstone of most classrooms.  This notion usually involves everything except free play, which is generally considered a private matter.  Yet, in truth, free acceptance in play, partnerships, and teams is what matters most to any child.”

As I was reviewing Paley’s page on Wikipedia I noticed a message that states:

Please note:  In less than 11 hours, the English Wikipedia will be blacked out globally to protest SOPA and PIPA.

I wondered what that meant and clicked on the “to learn more” tab.  I learned that:

The blackout is a protest against proposed legislation in the United States — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate — that, if passed, would seriously damage the free and open Internet, including Wikipedia.

It is the opinion of the English Wikipedia community that both of these bills, if passed, would be devastating to the free and open web.

And to support this, Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation wrote:

The reality is that we don’t think SOPA is going away, and PIPA is still quite active. Moreover, SOPA and PIPA are just indicators of a much broader problem. All around the world, we’re seeing the development of legislation intended to fight online piracy, and regulate the Internet in other ways, that hurt online freedoms. Our concern extends beyond SOPA and PIPA: they are just part of the problem. We want the Internet to remain free and open, everywhere, for everyone.

I wonder, who can say you can’t play?

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Choices We Make

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My husband is an archeologist and often shares Native American wisdom with me. The following is an example that I thought I would share with you.


One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.

“One is Evil – It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

“The other is Good – It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”


twin parks montessori upper west side preschol

Two Wolves

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The Importance of Movement

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Our students will be back at school tomorrow morning.  Many spent the semester break visiting family and taking trips to new places.  As parents of these growing children, you probably observed a lot of growth in your child’s movements – both large motor and fine motor.

I found a video that features one of the sages of Montessori education, Ginny Varga.  Ginny is an instructor at the Center for Montessori Teacher Education.  Many of our Montessori teachers have been trained by Ginny.

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Kathy’s Insights