Monday, February 23, 2015

Playful Learning in the Montessori Environment: Part 4


“If education is always to be conceived along the same antiquated lines of a mere transmission of knowledge, there is little to be hoped from it in the bettering of man’s future. For what is the use of transmitting knowledge if the individual’s total development lags behind?”

— Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, p. 4.

In her recent webinar, “The Power of Playful Learning: How guided play sparks social and academic outcomes,” Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek stated that, according to her research, “…adult directed play was better than free play when there is a learning goal.” (Hirsh-Pasek, 2014)

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Monday, February 23, 2015.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Playful Learning in the Montessori Environment: Part 3


NAMC Montessori playful learning environment happy work


“One test of the correctness of educational procedure is the happiness of the child.” — Maria Montessori, What You Should Know About Your Child, p. 73.


When adults talk about work, we often think of it in negative terms. We say “I have to go to work” rather than “I get to go to work.” We refer to weekdays as the “work week” and to our weekends as “play time” or as time to relax. We see work as that which we must do in order that we may enjoy ourselves later.


As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Thursday, February 5, 2015.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Playful Learning in the Montessori Environment: Part 2

NAMC Montessori playful learning environment girl with paint on hands

“A child’s play is not simply a reproduction of what he has experienced, but a creative reworking of the impressions he has acquired.”

— Lev Vygotsky, 2004.

My six-year-old niece started kindergarten this year. She was thrilled! But then, within the first few days, something terrible happened. She was no longer the happy child who was enthusiastic about learning. She cried at the drop of a hat and refused to go back. When asked why, she told her parents, “It’s too much work. The day is too long. I’m too tired.” She also told them that she couldn't play anymore.

Sadly, this is happening all over the world. Accountability by means of high stakes testing has mandated that playful learning be replaced by volumes of disconnected fact-based learning. Today, memorization has replaced true learning, with success being measured by test scores.

Since when does sitting still and silent equal learning?

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Friday, January 23, 2015.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Playful Learning in the Montessori Environment: Part 1


"He does it with his hands, by experience, first in play and then through work. The hands are the instruments of man's intelligence."

— Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, p. 25.

Today I am going to suggest something that may seem counter to Montessori philosophy. I am going to suggest that we need more play. But wait … didn't Dr. Montessori call play “work”? That’s right. She referred to play as the work of early childhood. The term work implies that the activity is worthy and important, while the term play is often thought of as frivolous and unproductive. As Mr. Fred Rogers reminds us, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” (Miller, 2013) By referring to play as work, Dr. Montessori was stressing the importance of play in the lives of children.


As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Friday, January 16, 2015.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Montessori Parenting: Gift Giving


“It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put in giving.”
— Mother Teresa

I met a fifth grade boy recently who was happy to share his feelings about the upcoming holidays. “I’ve given up on Christmas,” he said. “I’ve come to realize that, no matter what I ask for, what I really want I just won’t get. I asked for an Xbox last year and got a book. Whenever I ask for video games, my mom tells me to go outside and play. Why doesn’t she understand I just want to be like the other kids?”

I have to admit, his cynicism tugged at my heart strings. I know his mother, and I know and respect the reasoning behind her parenting decisions and their family values. I know, too, that she feels guilty at times over values, wants, and needs.

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Friday, December 19, 2014.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Modeling Kindness During the Holiday Season


“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a Store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!”

— Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

When I was growing up, my mother and grandmother had a little impish elf among their holiday décor. He sat quietly on the shelf, watching the holiday festivities, without being an interactive part of our holiday.

Today, the popular ‘elf on the shelf’ that appears at the holidays is used as a sort of secular advent countdown to Christmas. Often, children are told that the elf is there watching for their good behavior. While the elf is supposed to ensure that the children are behaving well, he is notorious for getting into mischief himself. Children wake up daily to see what kind of trouble the elf has gotten into overnight.

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Friday, December 12, 2014.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Absorbent Mind: Chapter 23: Cohesion in the Social Unit

Montessori absorbent mind social cohesion ch 23 children painting together

“The great task of education must be to secure and to preserve a normality which, of its own nature, gravitates toward the center of perfection.”
— Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, p. 239.

In Chapter 23, Dr. Montessori explains that the fundamental difference between her method and conventional methods is based on the social cohesion found within the environment. This cohesion, she tells us, springs spontaneously when we allow the child to develop based on their needs. These needs are inherent in all children and are set forth by nature. “It is the society of little children who are guided by the magical powers of nature. We must value it and treasure it, because neither the character nor the social sentiment can be given by teachers. They are the products of life.” (p. 234)

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Wednesday, December 3, 2014.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Montessori Values – Thanksgiving Every Day

Montessori values thanksgiving every day girl giving boy sunflower

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”
— Cicero

In the Montessori community, the lessons of Grace and Courtesy are integral at every level. From young infants to adolescents, children are taught to live together in community. Grace and courtesy goes beyond the common social niceties of “please” and “thank you” by demonstrating the value of courteous and empathetic behavior and communication as a vital life skill.

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Wednesday, November 26, 2014.
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As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.

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