Small celebrations, strengths, building blocks, strides, effort, beliefs, goals, belonging, hope and a plethora of good intentions build the masterpieces that shape mankind. On August 31st, we celebrated Dr. Maria Montessori's birthday. She would have been 145 years old. This is a big number for such small children to puzzle out but they reminded us of her transformative motive: peace! She spent her whole life studying and overcoming obstacles that society placed not only in front of her (and the women of her time) but also and most importantly, children. She saw the shimmer beaming from their souls regardless of what environment they were adapting into, their resilience and desire to better mankind amongst all avenues of life. Dr. Maria Montessori embarked on a journey to champion the rights of children and to educate a 'new kind' of teacher. Her scientifically proven method and materials currently serve over 22,000 schools worldwide. She founded the largest pedagogy on our planet and because of her observations - we too have radiantly believed in the child's 'hope and promise for mankind.'
Although we still have a lot of dreaming, hoping and advocating to dance with, we are at an advantage. Society will continue to uphold barriers that we must break. Our best bet is education rooting from the child's connections to love our earth and find answers to the questions we are constantly challenged by. Our best purveyors of peace are the children. To continue the creative processes that have shaped our history through imagining a better way, we must turn to the child and gently guide him along the way.
The children enjoyed a sun celebration for Dr. Montessori as they recalled their favorite materials in the classroom. We discussed the ways she helped our school and children around the world. Instead of walking around the sun 145 times, we carefully counted by rote the number of years she would have been. We loved the feedback from the children throughout the day after this exercise "WOW, she is really old." "Phew, that took a long time." "145? That's a lot of quantities." Or my favorite, "Does Italy travel around the sun too?"
Back to those three's from our last post. Three's are great. They're odd, they're not always comfortable (third-wheel) but they make great art decor. Now, practically speaking - (for those of you who have a three year old): outspoken, independent, emotional and intellectual. Yet, why can they be so forgetful? Dr. Maria Montessori believed in a little something called the Absorbent Mind. In fact, she wrote a book called The Absorbent Mind. Now, this one didn't quite make it to our 'recommended reading' list because it's dense. Prior to taking AMI training, the book can overwhelm you and what we’ve found is that it's not the easiest read for parents looking for information. Of course, be our guest and pick it up if you're brave enough! We'd love to sit down and discuss it's content with you!
The Absorbent Mind and the Three Period Lesson are so relevant to our classroom. As we mentioned in our previous post, the Three Period Lesson is our secret to recall. PREFACE: Please do not try to give your child this type of lesson at home. Please attend our Classroom Meeting next week, I will outline at-home strategies.
The Absorbent Mind is our FAVORITE! This is why we chose to work with this age group. Neuro-science continues to confirm the inquiries Montessori observed in the children as Window's of Opportunity. The brain is literally forming new neuropath-ways; plasticity and becoming more consciously connected as each moment of the clock ticks. This means that pruning is happening, any unnecessary or unexposed information (to the child) becomes harder to retrieve. In Montessori, our lessons are geared toward creating working memory, long-term and short-term. We value the opportunity SO much because of those Executive Functions and the natural opportunities our environment lends the children to work with. For most concepts, we provide a Three Period Lesson - others we might give a movement game, a direct silent presentation or an encompassing presentation based on the material/skill level.
Three Period Lessons:
1. Name the object or tell a story about the object
2. Inspire a relationship to the object, touch/feel it/trace, think of a story about it (the child), taste, smell, MOVE and give verbal/visual cues regarding the object
3. Ask for recall (what is it?)
Depending on the child and the presentations these can be done with 1-3 objects at a time. We always look for recall. If they can't remember, we present again at a different time. We are constantly looking for cues regarding difficulty and inner/outer stimuli. The child must be fully engaged and interested. We only offer more if the child is able to recall and we always review previous concepts before introducing a new. The three steps including verbal, visual and stereognostic interactions cue working memory. As Dr. Montessori described this is a crucial time of psychic development which means it must be organically drawn to develop with patience at hand.
To see demonstrations of a Three Period Lesson in action - attend our Classroom Meetings.
"Great things are done by a series of small things brought together." -Van Gogh
September, you are a beauty! It’s officially month two! The children are settling as we’ve transitioned to the morning work environment and acquired afternoon attention and meditation. The transition from afternoon free-play into lunch and concentration is becoming refined. Concepts of concrete are working their way into the abstract as the children progress through the materials and develop order. The older children are enabling the younger children’s awareness of routine and control demonstrated by independence and self-regulation. Since the weather has been in our favor, the children have had opportunities for nature walks and outdoor work. We look forward to working in our gardens over the next few weeks.
Many of the Labor Day Holiday travels inspired stories with the Moveable Alphabet. Through this activity the child becomes aware of phonetic breakdowns, phonographic awareness and punctuation. The children are exploding into reading introducing younger children to blending the sounds they know to decode words and passages. We are lucky to establish this love of written language through expressive thought. The younger children become intrigued and determined to express and decode written language and art.
Identifying and recalling the works of impressionists helps the child to appreciate the abundance of real-life art. We have continued looking at paintings by Monet and some have developed interest in Georgia O’Keeffe. We continue to listen to Mozart ‘The Marriage of Figaro” and compared this song to “Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven. The children are becoming familiarized with various instruments played amongst these classical composures.
Wishing a happy 4th birthday to Aden and a happy 3rd birthday to Lena were delights! Thank you for the snacks and for celebrating your special days with us! Birthdays are the best, It’s such an honor to celebrate your growth!
Thank you for your trust and support,
Miss Lauren and Ms. Yadira