AMI trainers are having spirited discussions about this topic and I feel that everyone should feel encouraged to explore and experiment as to what ‘Montessori All Day’ can be in a culture such as ours in the 21st century.
There were only three elementary programs in Portland at the time this article was written, yet eight people showed up to the first meeting of SEEDS. It was the most concentrated local Elementary event our city had ever seen!
Recently, as part of the foundations course, our elementary students divided into groups to study and discuss different aspects of the Exercises of Practical Life. Following their discussion, each group organized the information and created a presentation of key points to share with their classmates. The students presented on the history of Practical Life, the different sections of Practical Life, the characteristics of the materials, and the importance of key elements like points of interest and analysis of movement. At MNW, we understand that students learn a great deal by explaining their ideas to others and by participating in activities in which they can learn from their peers. Learning with and from each other is a necessary and important aspect of building a positive learning community.
Recently, our primary summer course students explored variations with the Sensorial materials. When we speak of variations, we refer to something which the child does spontaneously out her own activity with the material. These spontaneous inventions are an important aspect of the child’s interactions with the materials; they result from the discoveries she is making based in the purposes of the activity. Variations are never shown to the child – this would rob the child of the joy and certainties of her own discoveries.
Some labels are helpful - others are not.
Without its label, could you tell a can of tuna from a can of cat food?
Children are sometimes labeled by the adults that surround them, both positively and negatively.