Wednesday, October 28, 2015

FOLLOW YOUR CHILD: A Guide to Montessori Principles at Home

Dr. Maria Montessori was a scientist who is known for "following the child". She observed children and devised her approach to education based on a view that each child is naturally eager for knowledge and discovery. It is an approach that values and supports the development of the whole child—physical, social, emotional, cognitive.

Following the child is an endeavor that…

Excerpts from the: “Montessori Parent” article By Kathy Carey, MAT

“…entails much observation. And observation, as Montessori teachers know, is a skill and an art requiring knowledge, effort, and patience. Consider the following as some ways to be fully present with your children: 

  • Childproofing: We usually do a good job with outlet covers, drawer stops, and so on, for babies, but what about older children? Call it “preparing the environment”: Place and keep televisions, computers, tablets, and phones in public living spaces and set reasonable limits on their use; balance technology with exercise and indoor/outdoor play; and make time for reading aloud and silently in the presence of other family members doing the same.
  • Share meals together, especially dinner and its preparation, as often as possible, five nights a week at least. Share with each other your day as well as thoughts and feelings, and resist the temptation to teach: We learn more through discussion and modeling than through lecture.
  • Allow children to speak for themselves: Respect their feelings and their intellect, even if they are mistaken in their thoughts or behaviors.
  • Show rather than tell. It is the Montessori way.
  • Avoid comparison and competition between children, always and everywhere. Each child is entitled to his/her individuality.
  • Set up home environments and family interactions that allow choices and freedom to choose. Meals, weekend plans, vacations, and gifts for family members are reasonable areas of choice.
  • Understand that mistakes are opportunities for learning. All humans make mistakes; it is what we do with our mistakes that makes a difference.
  • Demonstrate active respect in thought, word, and deed for all life. Be the best model you can be. You are being watched. Children who feel loved and respected will develop their singular potential.

Visit the American Montessori Society for more family support materials.

Monday, October 19, 2015

How to Raise a Successful Child in the 21st Century

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.” –Hellen Keller

The pace of life in today’s world often leaves us and our children feeling the pressure of too many choices, too much “stuff” and way too little time. Engaged and informed parents are fundamental to supporting the peaceful and ethical development of children. Partnership between school, home and the community at large is also essential to helping both parents and their children feel more confident about their choices and decisions.

Kicking off the Parent Education Series this fall, The Westmont Montessori School is pleased to announce it’s first session: “How to Raise a Successful Child in the 21st Century”, delivered in partnership with The Ethics Institute at Kent Place School. Dr. Karen Rezach will deliver an interactive, collaborative workshop in which parents will be introduced to the values-based Ethical Decision-making Model developed by The Ethics Institute and suggest ways in which this model can be implemented at home. Dr. Rezach will take a look at how pre-school children make decisions as well as provide concrete strategies that parents can use to help their children cope with different situations—and help their children see that they are capable of dealing with these situations.

The Westmont Montessori School has been a respected member of the local Mendham/Chester community for more than 50 years and values the strong ties it has with local families. For years, the school has offered a Parent Education Series to help keep parents informed about important topics and, in turn, be better informed about the concerns parents have in today’s world.
Join us for this exciting workshop:
When: November 17th, 7:00PM
Where: The Westmont Montessori School, 577 Rt. 24, Mendham, NJ


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Exploring the World Around Us

"The senses, being explorers of the world, open the way to knowledge. Our apparatus for educating the senses offers the child a key to guide his explorations of the world…"[i]

This is the time of year that our senses are enraptured: the smell of autumn is in the air, the canopy of autumn in the sky and the pumpkin patches are replete with pumpkins big and small.  In the Montessori classroom, the purpose of the sensorial materials is to educate and refine the senses. Dr. Montessori observed that the “child's intellect does not work in isolation, but is everywhere and is always intimately bound up with his body”, (Standing, E. M., Maria Montessori: Her Life and Her Work), particularly with his nervous and muscular systems. Sensorial education helps develop a child's intellect through exploration of the senses.

Dr. Montessori was a scientific observer. According to Montessori, a child between two to six years passes through the ‘sensitive period’ for the refinement of the senses. She thus took each of the senses and developed beautiful materials that would support children in using and refining their skills of classification, ordering, and pairing to help them build an understanding of the world around them. 

          What Dr. Montessori advocated for over 100 years ago has also been corroborated by the most recent brain research:  "Experience is the chief architect of the brain…. Rich experiences, in other words, really do produce rich brains.” [ii]

Plus, the materials are endlessly engaging and fun to work with for inquisitive young minds.

[i] Montessori, M. (1988). The Absorbent Mind. Oxford: Clio Press. p. 167

[ii] FERTILE MINDS By J. MADELEINE NASH Sunday, June 24, 2001,9171,137214,00.html