It has been an outstanding two weeks. The children’s culinary skills and diligence to serve others is soaring to new heights. We have been discussing Earth day and each child has created their plan to contribute to caring for the Earth. Some ideas that were shared were: building houses, planting seeds, planting trees, picking up trash, conserving water, recycling, sharing food with others, giving money to others and my personal favorite: “I will build bicycles for humans.” The children have the most giving and thoughtful spirits, it is a true honor to share these precious moments with them.
Thank you to all who attended our community meeting and discussion about culture, music and art in the Montessori Children’s House. I chose to lecture about these topics because they authentically set Montessori education apart and are linked to everything that the children do during their time with us. We first discussed what culture is and how it is nature adapted by humankind. It is: what we do, what we say, who we are, what we eat, where we live and how we live. It is ALSO humankind expressing itself beyond the gifts of nature. Culture is the way you think, act and interact. Culture is the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of humans that is passed down from generation to generation.
This is related to the development of the child because every child must adapt to this world with his inner potentialities. We think of the Montessori environment as the Children’s House. Montessori never said “the school de Bambini.” She said “la Casa de Bambini.”
Because of the powers of the first plane of development, we live with the child as if it is their home away from home. This means that there is no ‘special’ time to experience culture, music or art. It is not separated into another room, area of the classroom, time of day, etc. All of the experiences are provided as an integrated whole. I spoke of the example that in my home I read wherever I want. I do not have just one area that I must read. Sometimes I read at the kitchen table, I read while I cook, I read in bed, I read on the sofa, in the backyard, etc. Likewise for singing and creating art. We treat the Children’s House with this same mentality. For example, I observed a child reading a chapter book STANDING near the doors on the east side of the classroom near other children who were baking. She stood there for a solid 30 minutes engrossed in this novel, not bothering anyone, just carrying out a natural human experience accepted by her culture. We would treat a child singing or painting with the same respect. Again, the environment is the child’s home away from home.
We spoke about specific presentations in art, culture and music and how they often concurrently intertwine into academic study. We discussed praise and how to respect the child’s unique ability to express himself. We even danced and sang together. So, with this information I encourage you to scroll through the photos and identify culture throughout this blog post. Is it something separate from us? Is art: mathematical equations, geometry, baking, serving, social interactions, botany, story writing, geography, etc? The answer is YES! Art is all around us and the children are truly the lucky ones who can find the beauty of everything.
In addition, it has been a great joy to welcome Mrs. Cherise Sant to our classroom to conduct part of her student teaching experience for her AMI Teacher Certification through the Southwest Institute of Montessori Studies. She observed our class in the fall and decided to come back. She has the most sincere demeanor and we believe she will make an excellent Montessori Guide.
We look forward to our last classroom social of the 2015-2016 academic school year!
Ms. Lauren and Ms. Leydi