Prepared Environment

Such lovely thoughts about being a teacher.

Kissable Zebra Lips and Other Things

school I recently did an exceptional Writing Course, every time I was addressed as Dear Writer, I squirmed. A good friend had a generous explanation, “A bird sings a melodious note to find a mate or to welcome a new day, imagine calling it a singer,” he said. I am no songbird; I have only a little while ago discovered a new joy of writing (and so the amateur narrative that you kindly bear with). I certainly don’t look up to myself as a writer.

A Teacher, now that’s another thing. I have been a teacher for sixteen years and it is an identity that I am privileged to admit.

When I closed school a year ago, there was much explanation to offer, to the children, to parents, to colleagues, to family and friends. In the many questions that were asked was lost the most valid one, “Why did I…

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Video of the Day: Transformation Tuesday, Handwashing


This handwashing set up obviously harkens back to the early days of Montessori. However, the popularity of this work will tell you that 1) children love to do multi-step activities (the stretch their minds and bodies, so feel great) and 2) handwashing can truly be an enjoyable, sensorial activity, with warm water, nice sounds, nice smells (soap!), and so can be taught to be enjoyable. This is lovely, as we know that handwashing is a life skill which we want children to gladly do many times a day!

Healthy Beginnings Montessori

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A little non-traditional education joke…


Update, from Lysa De Thomas, who has both Montessori and Waldorf training: ” Sadly, a lot of people here have been taken in by Waldorf spin machine. As a teacher trained in both Waldorf and Montessori education I can assure you that you can’t truly combine both. You can take aspects of one and use them in the other’s classroom, but you cannot combine the two. That is because Waldorf isn’t the integration of art, music, movement, and story telling into the core curriculum, no matter how much their propaganda infers that it is. The two philosophies are often diametrically opposed.

Here are just a few examples:
Waldorf philosophy believes states that children need to be protected from the evil forces of the world. Everything in their environment must be controlled down to the colors they use, the materials they use, the songs they sing, and the knowledge they learn. Montessori philosophy believes in following the child and giving them control and choice in the things that they do.

Modern knowledge that differs from the late 1800 pseudoscience that Steiner embraced or “channeled” is evil (arhimanic). Montessori embraces new scientific information.

Waldorf states that the teacher is the ultimate authority figure in the classroom and makes all the decisions- a child’s choice is seen as allowing the will of the devil. While a Montessori teacher is a guide, helping the child work their way through learning in their own way at their own pace,”

No comment from me, but interesting.


Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius


The first chapter of the book by 2nd generation Montessorian, Angeline Lillard. She takes research on learning and compares them to the tenants of Montessori education. ” Modern research in psychology suggests the Montessori system is much more suited to how children learn and develop than the traditional system is.”

“The empty-vessel and factory models have many implications for schooling,
which are discussed in the chapters to come. To preview, when the child is seen as an empty vessel into which one pours knowledge and then creates bonds, there is no need to involve the child actively in the learning process: empty vessels are passive by nature. Yet people learn best when they are actively engaged. Good teachers try to keep children active by asking lots of questions during lectures, but the physical structure of the classroom is designed for passivity: the child sits and listens to the teacher, who
stands at the blackboard and delivers knowledge. There is no need to consider the child’s interests in the prevailing model because empty vessels have nothing in them from which interests could stem. When interests do arise, since all vessels have been filled with the same stuff, all vessels should share interests. Empty vessels certainly cannot make choices, and so teachers or school administrators choose what should be learned, down to the micro-details tested on statewide examinations.

The factory model also has certain implications for schooling. Factories at the turn of the century were efficient because all raw materials were treated alike. Factory workers operated on material, and material was passive. The material was moved from one place to another, assembled on a set schedule. Based on the factory model, all children in a class are given the same information simultaneously and are often moved from one place to
another at the ring of a bell. It is a significant strike against the factory model that even true factories are changing practices to improve long-term productivity, by allowing teams of workers to develop products from start to finish rather than having the product moved from place to place (Wompack, 1996). Yet schools still operate like the factories of yore.”

Montessori in the Home: Morning Routine

Healthy Beginnings Montessori

A child’s need for order is extremely important. As parents, we need to foster an environment that caters to their independent growth by providing enough space and materials to allow them to complete each task on their own.

Pictured below are a few glimpses into the Crawford family home, and how they’ve implemented Montessori into their daily routine. By providing adequate space and materials for their son to use, they’ve given him the ability to successfully complete his morning routine on his own. He can start each day, confidently, knowing that he will have full access to all of the materials needed to fulfill his personal needs.

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“A place for everything and everything in its place.” – Dr. Maria Montessori

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