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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Why the Change?

In the spirit of my former self, everyday is different. In fact recently I decided to reinvent my brand and personal philosophy to reflect new changes in my life. As a mom and educator, I believe the only true way to connect with our kids is to stay fresh and current, to embrace change and move forward as life presents the opportunity.

Here is what I discovered along my journey:
I am a resourceful mom, who learns a little bit of something from everyone. I am painfully optimistic and proud of my desire to nurture and educate my own child while embracing the community where we reside.
 My current educational philosophy:Place-Based 

PlaceBased philosophy is more than a method of teaching sequentially from birth to age 6, and the research proves it (as we see in new trends where Montessori is turning up in mainstream dementia care). In the field of human development, Place-Based is an anthropological framework for people as individuals and the communities they call home. This is why Montessori is both variable and universal. As people change the community changes. As communities change people change. At the heart of Montessori is an education for a new world.

So without further ado, let's embrace the future of Montessori education. We must be wise, witty and resourceful--or we will never make history!
A Resourceful Mom

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Montessori and Play

Many parents and educators alike wonder how Montessori philosophy and creativity coincide.
In some circles, there is a definite clash of  theories; a play versus work mentality exists.
In other circles there is a collaboration between the two where the words of Dr. Montessori ring true: that "play is the work of the child"

Play and Language
The Montessori Farm exercise is a classic  model of what Dr. Montessori described as the "miniature environment" used to teach parts of speech, sentence diagramming, sentence analysis, craft and structure.
The main strength of this material is the agreement with Developmentally Appropriate Practices ie. Children love to play with little figures and set up stories and scenes.

The farm itself isn't the only material that teaches in this way. Montessorians who are responsive to the needs of children know that miniature environments exist in many forms such as doll houses, train sets, and yes even gardens.
The photos below are the beginnings of my garden miniature environment. This teaching tool will live in the south west section of the garden bed among the herbs and flowers.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Animal Photography

Place based education and Montessori go together. In the book "Place Based Education" by David Sobel, there are amazing stories of Montessori schools  (elementary, middle and highschool) who adopt this path when a farm school isn't an option.
After listening to Sobel speak at the NAMTA conference, and observing and networking locally with a large public Montessori Highschool that is "Place based", I found a small oasis. Today my son age 12 and I completed our first class at the local animal shelter. We can now do laundry, file paperwork, help run the store, greet in the lobby and explore other classes and certifications. My son is interested in animal photography now and will persue his next class sponsored by Purina...who knew?! I'm looking into fundraising and or event coordination there (in addition to bottle feeding kittens ♡)
I can't help but imagine the infinite lessons and possibilities.
Place Based Education+Montessori

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Garden 2017

I'm so excited to begin my 2017 garden. This year, in addition to the school garden I am taking on a city plot! Happy tilling...

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Cultural Literacy

Literacy is more than reading. Did you know it took thousands of years for humans to develop the system of written symbols? The truth is, literacy begins as basic communication and efforts to interact with others. When babies coo, and initiate meaningful eye contact with parents and caregivers this is the beginning of literacy. With all of the resources available today, it is tempting to download the latest reading app or game to teach letters and "reading" skills to children. 
These educational tools, while they seem to work for their purpose, lack human communication in fullness which includes tone, intonation, facial expression, body language, cultural context and complete sensory input.  How and why then do we expect something that is taught dynamically, to be learned electronically? How can we expect children to become literate solely through alphabet training and practice work?
Below is the iceberg concept of culture. Ponder this:
Image result for iceberg concept of culture
 A wise adult uses all that family culture and society provides to teach and create meaningful and purposeful communication experiences. These experiences vary, and set the tone for foundational literacy and future reading and writing experiences. In Montessori classrooms, we lay the foundation of phonics, functions of words and fine motor development, at home you can teach your child the cultural aspects of communication and voila, we find literacy is a partnership!
 Here are the 4 aspects of Montessori language training to incorporate at home.
*these come from the very first page of my Montessori Language album* 

1.       True Stories

·         Parallel to all language work

·         Each story lasts no more than 5-7 minutes

·         Tell the story rather than read it

·         Begin with stories of known people such as family members.
EXAMPLE: "Great grandma cooked gravy in a big pot and ladled it over my potatoes. I loved seeing the steam rise and I couldn't wait to taste such a savory dish!"
move on to artists, composers, explorers, or inventors as your child shows interests.


2.       Poems and Rhymes

·         Words to songs are taught as first poems

·         Invite your child to act out poems

·         Change your tone and intonation

·         Recite a new poem each week

3.       Self-Expression

·         Encourage your child to be a part of natural conversation

·         Begin by modeling, telling something that happened during your day

·         Never require your child to talk, as listening is part of conversation

 4.       The Questions Game

·         Play games such as knock-knock (your child stands on one side of the door and knocks. You ask “who is it?” Your child answers with his or her name. You pretend to try and recall who they are and ask them to describe themselves. “How old are you?” “What are you wearing?” “What color is your hair?”

·         Begin with simple elaboration and move towards guiding your child to answer in complete sentences.