Monday, September 28, 2015

New Season, New Way to Celebrate our Community

The school is a child’s home away from home where a strong sense of community in the classroom helps each child to thrive socially, emotionally as well as academically.  A Montessori classroom focuses on community building and cooperation while supporting the individual progress and development of each child.
This year, as always, we celebrate community within the classroom as well as in our local community. As the leaves are getting ready to turn, and the smell of fall is in the air, The Westmont School is getting ready to celebrate the fall season together at Mendham’s annual Harvest Hustle. In addition to sponsoring the event, our school has set up a Westmont Team for the 5K run that will take place at Mendham Borough Park (Intersection of Mountain Avenue and Park Avenue) this coming Saturday, October 3rd, 2015 (see schedule here).

Join our Westmont team for the run! Or come walk, visit our Westmont tent & do a fun, fall craft or just enjoy our wonderful Westmont community.  And don’t forget to cheer on our Westmont Team participants—hope to see you there!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Celebrating Peace

"If we are to teach real peace in this world... we shall have to begin with the children."
—Mahatma Gandhi

Montessori education has often been referred to as "peace education" and Maria Montessori herself was at the forefront of global peace advocacy and education, recognized during her time and throughout history as a spokesperson of the power of peace. In fact, she was thrice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

A wise believer in the power of the child, Montessori advocated for the creation of “… an environment that will promote the development of peaceful individuals.”[i]  Montessori environments are thus characterized by a special emphasis on living in harmony and respecting the rights of others.

Anyone who has visited a Montessori classroom has discovered the magical way that peace and harmony prevail in a classroom bustling with dozens of little hearts and minds of varying ages and at various stages of development. And for those who have pondered how this is possible, Montessori lends her insight: when work and concentration on activities appropriate for the child's stage of development are protected, the potential for optimum development is seen in ways previously not thought possible. Montessori herself referred to this development process in children as “normalization through work”[ii] – a process marked by “a love of work or activity, concentration, self-discipline and joy in accomplishment.”[iii]  

These characteristics are not imposed by anyone or anything—they are derived by the child through his own efforts when the environment is conducive to and fosters such an experience. The result is joyful learning and a certain inner peace at its heart, filled with self-actualization that comes from the child’s own self-discipline and accomplishments.

September 21 is the International Day of Peace. Today we celebrated Peace at The Westmont Montessori School by talking about why and how we practice peace and kindness and by singing songs together that remind us about how we all live together in harmony. Many children shared what peace means to them: “friendship”, “being kind to others”, “sharing”, and “a dove”.

At Westmont, we practice peace everyday through modeling peaceful behavior and through lessons that expound on the fact that all living creatures are important and interconnected. Today we celebrate the peace that burns brightly within each child and the peace that prevails in our community.  How did you celebrate peace today?