On Sunday, I was in a restaurant when I saw one of our parents from 4 years ago. Her daughter was with us for 2 years, then the family moved to NYC. The child is now at one of NYC’s public schools for “gifted and talented” children. The child is doing very well in all academic areas, and she is always happy. The mother told me that the other parents in her child’s class keep asking her, “What did you do that she’s doing so well? And why is she happy?” The parents then go on to say that they have their children enrolled in after-school academic programs, have private tutors, etc., but the children aren’t “#1″ in the class, they don’t like school, and they’re unhappy. The mother told me that her response to the parents is always the same: “I started by sending her to a Montessori school, and then I followed their advice: I do NOTHING with her except read and play, and I don’t make her take anything but fun classes after school; she likes gymnastics.” The mother told me that all of the parents seem VERY skeptical of her, as though she doesn’t want to “divulge” some secret formula to success. Just as the mother was telling me this, the father, who’d been listening to the story, said, “The funny part is that it’s much easier to be a parent when you just read and play with the children, because the parents love it and the children love it, and then the children love learning the other stuff at school.”
Archive for the ‘Montessori Moments’ Category
A selection of art created by The Montessori House children is now on display at the Cresskill Public Library. The children created the art using traditional Montessori “metal insets.” These beautiful pictures exemplify the children’s wonderful creativity and skills, and we are thrilled to have them displayed for all – especially you and your children — to enjoy! We hope you’ll visit soon (a great snowy-day activity).
Cresskill Public Library
53 Union Ave, Cresskill, NJ 07626
Mon., Wed,., and Thurs.: 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Tues., Fri., and Sat.: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
We can hardly comprehend the tragedy that occurred Friday at the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, CT. Our deepest sympathies to the families of the children and teachers who were murdered there. We offer our prayers for the families, teachers, staff and neighbors of Sandy Hook School.
— Ms. Maria
In a recent article in the WSJ — What Happens When Toddlers Zone Out With an iPad
More than half of the young children in the U.S. now have access to an iPad, iPhone or similar touch-screen device.
In many ways, the average toddler using an iPad is a guinea pig. While the iPad went on sale two years ago, rigorous, scientific studies of how such a device affects the development of young children typically take three to five years.
There is “little research on the impact of technology like this on kids,” says Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Hospital
In the list of parental worries about tablet use: that it will make kids more sedentary and less sociable. There’s also the mystery of just what is happening in a child’s brain while using the device.
“Unfortunately a lot of the real-life experimentation is going to be done by parents who now have young kids,” says Glenda Revelle, associate professor of human development and family sciences at the University of Arkansas.
At The Montessori House we generally discourage screen time for young children. A significant aspect of The Montessori Method is having children interact with the real world — in three dimensions, with all five senses. When we “follow the child” we follow them through the real world, and Montessori “works” lead them through the real world. Children engage through senses, and learn through all their senses — the Sand Paper Letters are a great example of helping children to learn by seeing the letter, moving their hands, and feeling the texture.
The more television children watch during these formative years, Dr. Christakis says, the more likely they are to develop attention problems later on. … While he hasn’t studied tablets and young children, he suspects the effect could be similar—or perhaps more significant. “One of the strengths of the iPad”—it is interactive—”may be the weakness,” Dr. Christakis says.
Remember in The Montessori classroom children make the choices and control their pace. It’s different with interactive “apps”:
The child decides when a building is finished; an app determines when the task is completed correctly.
“It gives him a dopamine squirt,” says Michael Rich, director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Children’s Hospital in Boston, referring to the brain chemical often associated with pleasure.
Many apps for kids are designed to stimulate dopamine releases—hence encouraging a child to keep playing—by offering rewards or exciting visuals at unpredictable times.
Whatever approach you take with your child, keep in mind the proverb: “Moderation in all things”.
With their Montessori training and expertise in ”practical life”, the children did the measuring, assembly and mixing themselves. Of course the parents and teachers helped them with the eating! Guacamole was a great hit!
Here’s the recipe if you’d like to try this at home:
5 Hass avocados (ripe)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Sea salt (to taste)
1 tbsp. minced garlic
One tomato diced
Mix together, add some chips or other dipping food, and enjoy! Ole!
We certainly enjoyed our Thanksgiving Feast at school last week: turkey, potatoes, vegetables, pumpkin smoothies, and cranberry bread!
Thanks to all the parents (Cultural Events Committee and Nutrition Committee) who made it so special.
Here’s the recipe for the Grandmother’s Famous Cranberry Bread (makes 1 loaf):
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
3/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cup light raisins
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped
Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add egg, orange peel, and orange juice all at once; stir just until mixture is evenly moist. Fold in raisins and cranberries. Spoon into a greased 9 X 5 X3 inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hr 10 mins or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan; cool on a wire rack. If you choose, you may substitute cranberries for the raisins to have an all cranberry bread.
The Nutrition Committee has been hard at work since mid-September serving tasty, healthy, and interesting daily snacks to all the children at The Montessori House. Committee members generally each take a week of “snack duty”; “snack duty” rotates among committee members.
Here’s what Polly provided the week of October 17th.
- Monday: water crackers and provolone cheese, a bag of apples and yogurt, water crackers
- Tuesday: pear raisin bread pudding, raisins in mini box
- Wednesday: sweet potato puree with carrot and celery sticks
- Thursday: veggie sushi platter (from Mr. WOK)
- Friday: banana bread, banana
This week Clara brought us: bananas, popcorn chips, vegi platter, hummus, and organic applesauce. And the Nutrition Committee also helped the children prepare pumpkin smoothies.
We wonder what Benita will bring us next week!
If you’d like to sign-up for “snack duty”, join the Nutrition Committee via the Parents section of the website.
With their Montessori training and expertise in “practical life”, the children did the measuring, the blending, and the pouring themselves. of course the parents and teachers helped them with the drinking! The smoothies were a great hit!
Here’s the recipe if you’d like to try this at home!
- Measure out the following:
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon (rounded) sugar
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Smaller pinch of nutmeg
- Put measured ingredients in blender to blend till smooth.
- Drink up!
The Montessori Mafia
By Peter Sims
It may seem like a laughable “only in New York” story that Manhattan mother, Nicole Imprescia, is suing her 4-year-old daughter’s untraditional private preschool for failing to prepare her for a private school admissions exam.
But her daughter’s future and ours might be much brighter with a little less conditioning to perform well on tests and more encouragement to discover as they teach in Montessori schools. Ironically, the Montessori educational approach might be the surest route to joining the creative elite, which are so overrepresented by the school’s alumni that one might suspect a Montessori Mafia: Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, videogame pioneer Will Wright, and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, not to mention Julia Child and rapper Sean “P.Diddy” Combs.
Is there something going on here? Is there something about the Montessori approach that nurtures creativity and inventiveness that we can all learn from?
By the end of kindergarten, among 5-year-olds, “Montessori students proved to be significantly better prepared for elementary school in reading and math skills than the non-Montessori children,” according to the researchers. “They also tested better on “executive function,” the ability to adapt to changing and more complex problems, an indicator of future school and life success.”
Of course, Montessori methods go against the grain of traditional educational methods. We are given very little opportunity, for instance, to perform our own, original experiments, and there is also little or no margin for failure or mistakes. We are judged primarily on getting answers right. There is much less emphasis on developing our creative thinking abilities, our abilities to let our minds run imaginatively and to discover things on our own.
From the Wall Street Journal April 5, 2011, 10:57 AM ET
Tim Seldin is President of the Montessori Foundation, publisher of Tomorrow’s Child. He has written many articles and books for parents on Montessori education. He has some interesting things to say about the Kindergarten decision:
by Tim Seldin with Dr. Elizabeth Coe
Its re-enrollment time again, and in thousands of Montessori schools all over America parents of four-almost-five-year-olds are trying to decide whether or not they should keep their sons and daughters in Montessori for kindergarten or send them off to the local schools.
The advantages of using the local schools often seem obvious, while those of staying in Montessori are often not at all clear. When you can use the local schools for free, why would anyone want to invest thousands of dollars in another year’s tuition? Its a fair question and it deserves a careful answer. Obviously there is no one right answer for every child. Often the decision depends on where each family places its priorities and how strongly parents sense that one school or another more closely fits in with their hopes dreams for their children.
Naturally, to some degree the answer is also often connected to the question of family income as well, although we are often amazed at how often families with very modest means who place a high enough priority on their children’s education will scrape together the tuition needed to keep them in Montessori.
So here are a few answers to some of the questions parents often ask about Montessori for the kindergarten age child.
[Dr. Seldin goes on to address the following questions, click here for his answers.]
- In a nut shell, what would be the most important short-term disadvantage of sending my five-year-old to the local schools?
- What would be the most important advantages of keeping my five-year-old in Montessori?
- In a class with such a wide age range of children, won’t my five-year-old spend the year taking care of younger children instead of doing his or her own work?
- Isn’t it better for kids to go to school with the children from their neighborhood?
- Since most children will eventually have to go to the neighborhood schools, wouldn’t it be better for them to make the transition in kindergarten rather than in first grade?
- If I keep my child in Montessori for kindergarten, won’t he/she be bored in a traditional first grade program?