Wednesday, February 3, 2016

COSMIC EDUCATION, The Child’s Discovery of a Global Vision

Here are some excerpts from the always enlightening Michael Olaf newsletter. Perfect for snowy day reading:
Age 3-6 Years

The child’s world at this age moves from the family to the primary class. The world is brought into the class rather than the child taken out into the world at this age. We do not believe in pushing a child toward early intellectual studies, however if presented correctly, young children show an amazing interest in a wide range of subjects, something that can be hard to believe...

Before age six, the child absorbs—totally, easily, without effort, and with deep love—all the attitudes and impressions in the environment. It becomes a part of him and forms his mind, so parents and teachers as models are the strongest element in these years. If kindness and patience, enjoying reading, having good manners, enjoying math and biology, for example, are in the environment at this age, these attitudes and actions will be of great value to the child. If they are not part of the early environment many of these things can be learned later, but they will not make up the basic personality of the child.

Before age six, the lessons and experiences of Cosmic Education are carried out by means of a lot of movement and sensorial experience. But along with the basic and extremely valuable practical life and sensorial lessons, the child begins to learn about the earth and water, physics, plant and animals, the variety of humans on earth, art, dance, music, geometry, math, and language. By the end of this first plane of development, the child has a lively curiosity about and love of all of these areas of study.

Maria Montessori understood the child's built-in receptiveness to all these areas of interest and found that the young child could comprehend what was considered far beyond a child's reach, given the right environment, the right equipment, and a teacher who was skilled at putting the child in touch with this environment.

Madame Montessori,
Even as you, out of love for children, are endeavoring to teach children, through your numerous institutions, the best that can be brought out of them, even so, I hope that it will be possible not only for the children of the wealthy and the well-to-do, but for the children of paupers to receive training of this nature. You have very truly remarked that if we are to reach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with children, and if they will grow up in their natural innocence, we won't have to struggle, we won't have to pass fruitless idle resolutions, but we shall go from love to love and peace to peace, until at last all the corners of the world are covered with that peace and love for which, consciously or unconsciously, the whole world is hungering.

— M. K. Gandhi, 1943

Today our world is shrinking and we have finally learned to cherish diversity—economic, racial, all kinds—to prepare children for living in the real world. Gandhi's desire is coming to pass.
michaelolaf news cultural geography

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Third Year--Montessori Kindergarten

It's that time of year at MCH when parents of our second year students begin the decision making process for re-enrollment. We applaud and support them in this important process. It can seem like an overwhelming responsibility to choose the best class for your child. We hold a special meeting just for them at our school to offer guidance and explain which choice we feel is the best for our Montessori students. While not everyone can stay for the third year at our school, our hope is that those who can will do just that. It is a gift that will pay huge dividends in the child's outlook on learning. We feel so strongly about it that all of our scholarship money in the past has gone to making the third year choice an easy one for parents. As an authentic Montessori school, we are committed to the three year cycle in the classroom and to offering the best possible Montessori primary education to each child. We serve the Watcher (3 year old), the Worker (4 year old) and the Teacher (5 year old). It is both our mission and our pure delight.
Here are some of the videos we'll share at the information meeting:

Monday, December 21, 2015

Season's Greetings

Happy Holidays from all of us at Montessori Children's House!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

book review-How to Raise a Wild Child

Well, the summer is definitely winding down and it's time for a review of something from the summer reading pile.
Scott Sampson's new book, "How to raise a Wild Child" was perfect reading as the Lake Michigan wind blew the beach grass flat and required extra strong page holding.
After I pack up and return this book (yes, Mom, and all the others) to the local library, I will head to my favorite local bookstore in Northfield and buy it ASAP.
It's an easy and engaging read with loads of quality advice for parents and others to engender a meaningful, lasting connection between children and the natural world. (disclaimer-stolen from jacket cover..)
I'm suggesting this book to everyone this year and will continue to encourage the adults I know to choose experiences for their children carefully. I'm also planning to follow Sampson's advice and will pare down the store bought playground toys at school. More of what he proclaims as the five best toys for children--(1) stick, (2) box, (3) string, (4) cardboard tube, and (5) dirt. Check.
Sampson outlines his goals in writing this book. "The first is to sound the alarm bell and broaden awareness on humanity's disconnect from nature." Second is to scientifically explore the process of nature connection. I found this section very interesting, with info on children's ever-shrinking attention spans and the role of digital technologies (hey, he is a TV producer). His third
and primary goal is "to help parents, educators, and others become nature mentors for the children in their lives." I would say Scott Sampson did just that, and so much more.

 "In wildness is the preservation of the world."
----Henry David Thoreau

excerpt from "How to Raise a Wild Child":
Learning in Place
Let's step back for a moment and imagine some of the qualities we might want to see in a reinvented, truly student-centered learning environment. Such a setting would celebrate student's autonomy and individuality, building on strengths and interests to drive curiosity. It would foster (rather than choke) inspiration and engagement through plenty of active, real-world experiences, many of them beyond the classroom walls. Emphasis would be on character development grounded in fundamental values, like beauty, truth, and goodness. And, if truly successful, this system would engender a deep-seated, resilient sense of wonder that, in turn, would translate into a lifelong love of learning.
Remarkably, a robust movement has recently emerged within education that embodies all of these qualities...Schools in the traditions of Steiner (Waldorf) and Montessori have long been at the forefront of this movement.

"The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth.”
"The things he sees are not just remembered; they form a part of his soul.”
"The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind.”
----Maria Montessori