Seeing The Big Picture

by Sarah Werner Andrews

One of the more challenging aspects of Montessori teacher training is understanding the developmental progressions of the materials. We all understand that presentations are not given according to a checklist or because a child is a particular age, so how do we know when to offer lessons and what a child might be choosing from in different areas of the environment?
One of the ways we help students get this “big picture” is through an activity of laying out all of the materials in relationship to one another according to developmental progressions. To create these progressions, students discuss how sensitive periods might draw a child to a particular activity, what types of preliminary abilities or concepts may come into play, the level of difficulty, how the activity is currently set up, and other factors that might determine when an activity might be offered. As there is no one “right way,” students share their rationale, and the factors that went into making the choices they made. This is a great activity on many levels, and we find it particularly useful as we are finishing up an area to help students integrate their understanding before we begin new presentations in a new area of the environment.


Sarah Werner Andrews is Director of Primary Training at MNW. She is also a consultant, examiner, and will be presenting the primary workshop at the 2015 AMI Refresher Course.

Posted on December 12, 2014 and filed under From our Trainers, Primary.

Saturday Academy at MNW

Montessori Northwest is pleased to announce it has partnered with Saturday Academy, a non-profit group, associated with University of Portland. Saturday Academy facilitates hands-on classes and camps for school age children (grades 2-12). Our offering is titled, Triangles on the Nile: Ancient Tools for Today’s Design.

Posted on December 11, 2014 .

Volunteers Needed

Planning for January 30th’s Celebration of Light, Montessori Northwest’s annual dinner and party (more on that here), is in full swing. For 10 years the event has been a fabulously sparkly recognition of MNW’s work and the work of all Montessorians in the Pacific Northwest. This year’s Celebration will feature live music, games, a photo booth, open bar, and delicious dinner.

Posted on December 10, 2014 .

Primary Material Making Winter Showcase

The biannual showcase of our Primary students’ Material Making is one of our favorite times of year here at Montessori Northwest. Yesterday, our lecture area boasted a glorious display of their Practical Life and Sensorial Material Making for children between the ages of 3-6. It was a joy to peruse their creations.

Posted on December 8, 2014 and filed under Primary, Materials.

MNW Staff Holiday Movie Favorites

The images below are of the MNW staff's favorite holiday movies. Each staff member was only allowed to name one as their top pick. A couple favored the same film. Everyone had reasons for their choice, although some needed a little more explaining than others. What movie gets you into the holiday spirit?

Posted on December 5, 2014 and filed under Just for Fun, Holidays.