We extend a big and sincere thank you for all of the families who attended our classroom meeting about Practical Life, freedom within limits, Montessori at home and technology. We appreciate your continued connectedness to your child's life within the environment and for providing a complimenting at-home approach. Also, thank you for the birthday wishes and gifts! You sure made me feel special but the greatest gifts are the moments I get to spend with your children each day.
"What a child doesn't receive he can seldom later give." - P.D. James
This humbling quote by P.D. James always stirs a reminder of the importance of relationships with children. Montessorian's fiercely believe in providing the child with opportunities to exercise independence with goals of helping them to reach not only their potentials physically and academically but to help them become consciously aware, overtime, of their actions and contributions in relation to those around them and furthermore how they will benefit the world.
In our classroom meeting, I discussed the purposes of practical life: independence, concentration, control of movement, care of self, care of the environment, cultural activity, social cohesion/grace and courtesy, and orientation/adaptation to the environment. These purposes can only become a part of the child's natural objective if they are presented in such a way that isolation of difficulty is secured by the adult and presented in a non-threatening way, again without negative feedback. Practical life is the ordinary everyday activities, which people do in order to maintain themselves and the environment.
In other words, we don't just throw them into independence and force them to act extrinsically. We help them to regulate their own desires internally through observation and analysis of movement. These are the building blocks of the Three-Year-Cycle. We begin with one Psychological Phase: movement/concentration (child working for their own purposes) and throughout the child's time with us they move into another Psychological Phase: they work for the environment because it helps them identify their contribution to their present time and space (and eventually, society). It's a balance between holding high expectations while understanding the development of sequence, coordination and progression as a process.
During the meeting we also discussed freedom within limits, Montessori at-home (see handout) and the use of technology. he at-home and Montessori environment must consist of trusting relationships. Trust, meaning that double standards are non-existent. I spoke about the use of technology and the harsh damage it can procure not only the child's developing brain, impulses, gratification, fine-motor development, etc. but mainly toward the relationships and key opportunities they will miss. If we expect our child to be present, aware, time-managed, empathetical and focused - we too must follow this example and get off of our phones, computers and iPads for and spend face-to-face quality time together. In the environment, we protect the child's respect and relationship with us by following these guidelines. For example, if we expect the child to sit while they eat, we sit while they eat. If we hope the child carries a glass safely with two hands, we model the same behavior. When we ask them to come to us and speak in a soft voice, rather than shouting across the room, we go to them when we have something to say as well. This trust, modeled through purpose and understanding creates harmony rather than a hyper-vigilant misunderstanding. It is simply our way of being with the children that can change our connections as well as their reactions.
Again, we really appreciate your support during these meetings and look forward to our next one. The year is already flying by! We are looking forward to our classroom social in October as well as kicking off observations and conferences. Stay tuned for more updates!
In other news, the children who do not nap in the afternoon were excited yet bittersweet that we finished reading Heidi. We would always count the pages and create subtraction or addition problems to find out how much we have read or how far we had to go. We also did several question and comprehension activities. It was also exciting for them to connect Heidi to the Swiss Alps and look at the map and Atlas to see photographs from this region. We look forward to beginning our next chapter book on Monday.
We also welcomed a new friend into our classroom! We're happy you're with us!
As the weather begins to cool down, the children have been eagerly awaiting all that Fall has to offer. We have been listening to Vivaldi's Season's collection as we transition from Summer to Fall. We have also been going on many nature walks searching for specific leaves that we can correlate to our Botany Cabinet Exercises as well as taking advantage of many gross motor activities under the shaded trees. We began planting seeds in our garden this Friday, prepping by removing old roots and soil, using our garden tools and adding new soil. The children really enjoyed this and we can't wait to witness the magic of nature take course before their eyes.
Best wishes for a peaceful weekend,
Miss Lauren and Ms. Yadira