Yesterday, as part of the Foundations Course, our elementary students had the opportunity to explore with the sensorial materials from the Primary Prepared Environment. The aim of this exercise was to familiarize the students with the Primary materials, to deepen each student's understanding of the child's experiences prior to entering an elementary classroom, and to orient them for what lies ahead in their training. Trainers were on hand to answer any questions, or provide guidance about how to use the materials. As you can see from the photos above, many students chose to do sensorial activities with blindfolds.
“A child is mysterious and powerful and contains within himself the secret of human life.” -Maria Montessori
Montessori schools now have an unprecedented opportunity to serve an even wider swath of children with an ever-expanding range of abilities. We are revisiting the Montessori materials and practices with these special children in mind.
Montessori Northwest is pleased to offer a new support to teachers working with special needs in their communities. MNW is bringing together Montessori teachers and special education professionals to support inclusion in Montessori classrooms. We will use our combined expertise and a modified “Response to Intervention” strategy to help teachers set and implement learning goals, support positive behavior, and share resources and inspiration so that everyone can benefit from diverse, inclusive communities.
When: Thursday, September 25, 2014
Where: Montessori Northwest 622 SE Grand Ave, Portland, OR
Time: 4:30-6:00pm – Light refreshments provided
Who: Open to all
Pints of Interest is your chance to informally come together and connect with others in the Portland Montessori community; discussing some of the most relevant topics of our craft.
You are invited to catch up with friends and make new connections. Pints of Interest is a great venue to talk with others and share what's working in your classrooms, ask/give input, and think about “big picture” ideas. The topics for the evening will be pre-announced and appropriate for all Montessorians working at all levels. Your host for the evening will loosely facilitate the conversation.
Come out, order a pint, and plug in--We'll see you there!
The first POI will take place @ rontoms, on Thursday, September 18, 2014. Socializing begins @ 4:30pm, discussion goes from 5-6:30pm.
The facilitator will be Braden Pemberton. Braden holds both his primary and elementary AMI diplomas from Montessori Northwest. Currently he is the director of community education at MNW. When not facilitating he likes to play board games, collect vinyl, and cook.
Future Pints of Interest: Wednesday, November 12, 2014 and Tuesday, April 21, 2015. Venues and facilitators TBD.
Yesterday, students from Ireland, Switzerland, New Zealand, and Canada, as well as, Hawaii, Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota, arrived in Portland, joining several local students, for the start of Montessori Northwest's Elementary Course #3.
Together they explored our prepared environments, learned about MNW systems, met MNW staff, started to get to know each other, and most importantly, began orienting to the Montessori principles that will guide their training year and their future work with children.
Students collaborated with each other and with the staff about what makes for a positive learning experience, discussed how to make sure that each student's needs are met, and that learning is joyful, focused, and productive.
The day culminated with elementary trainer, Elise Huneke Stone, sharing the story of Maria Montessori with the students--a MNW tradition. We look forward to the days ahead, but for now, welcome students of Elementary Course #3!
Since 1979, Montessori Northwest (MNW) has offered rigorous, practical, and in-depth Montessori teacher preparation. The quality of our graduates reflects the quality of our training: knowledgeable and compassionate, with a teaching practice grounded in a thorough understanding of Montessori principles and child development.
1. RECOGNIZED AROUND THE GLOBE. MNW’s training courses are affiliated with The Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), which was founded by Maria Montessori in 1929. Today, AMI champions the spirit of her discoveries through its affiliated training centers. An AMI diploma from MNW is recognized in over 110 countries as a mark of teacher training excellence.
2. VARIETY OF COURSES. MNW offers training courses at three different levels: Assistants to Infancy, (0-3), Primary (3-6), and Elementary (6-12). All courses are conducted by AMI trainers, master teachers with a profound understanding of Montessori theory and practice.
3. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. Our bright and spacious facility is located in Portland, OR, a city characterized by its dedication to individuality, award-winning public transportation, and easy access to everything from trendy cafés to snow-covered mountains. Come see for yourself why we consistently get voted “Most Livable City in the US.”
4. CHANGING THE FACE OF EDUCATION. Dr. Montessori said, “The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind. If we therefore mind this embryo as our most precious treasure, we will be working for the greatness of humanity.” This powerful statement lies at the heart of Montessori education as an aid to life. MNW graduates empower children to take responsibility for themselves and others, to seek solutions, and to work together for the common good.
5. ICNING ON THE CAKE. “It’s a transformation for many people of they way that they think of themselves in the world. In the way that they think about themselves in relation to children.” We hear this sentiment consistently from our graduates upon completing their training. The work begun at Montessori Northwest has the power to change lives for the better.
Recently, we heard form Laura Piskor, a graduate of MNW and former administrative assistant at the training center. After teaching in New Zealand, working as pie baker, and a yoga instructor, she's back to guiding a classroom in Chicago. Laura was kind enough to share the following experience with us:
I introduced the poem, 'Nasty School' by Shel Silverstein a few weeks ago. We all thought it was very silly. Afterward, the children and I had a short discussion about how we were in a nice school, not a nasty school. Then, my assistant, Ben Harris, took it a step further. During our afternoon program, he sat down with some of the children and they went through Nasty School line by line. They brainstormed what a nice school would be like and tried to come up with the opposite idea or the nice version for each line. With the children's suggestions in hand, Ben then put it all together and made it into a poem. I was really impressed with their creativity throughout the entire process.
Here's a batch of photos taken at Montessori in the Square by the MNW staff and A to I student, Divya Rao. Thanks again to Tiny Revolution Montessori & Suzuki School, Sunstone Montessori School, and the Franciscan Montessori Earth School for preparing the A to I, Primary, and Elementary classrooms respectively.
Thank you to all the individuals and schools who helped to make Montessori in the Square a great success! The only thing more perfect than the weather, were the children, joyfully going about their daily routines, absorbed in their work and unnerved by the curious observers surrounding the tents.
Stay tuned, more photos to come!
Here's a great article originally published in The Washington Post. (full story here)
Earlier this year, Amy Joyce wrote about teaching empathy, and whether you are a parent who does so. The idea behind it is from Richard Weissbourd, a Harvard psychologist with the graduate school of education, who runs the Making Caring Common project, aimed to help teach kids to be kind.
About 80 percent of the youth in the study said their parents were more concerned with their achievement or happiness than whether they cared for others. The interviewees were also three times more likely to agree that “My parents are prouder if I get good grades in my classes than if I’m a caring community member in class and school.”
Weissbourd and his cohorts have come up with recommendations about how to raise children to become caring, respectful and responsible adults. Why is this important? Because if we want our children to be moral people, we have to, well, raise them that way.
“Children are not born simply good or bad and we should never give up on them. They need adults who will help them become caring, respectful, and responsible for their communities at every stage of their childhood,” the researchers write.
The five strategies to raise moral, caring children, according to Making Caring Common:
1. Make caring for others a priority
Why? Parents tend to prioritize their children’s happiness and achievements over their children’s concern for others. But children need to learn to balance their needs with the needs of others, whether it’s passing the ball to a teammate or deciding to stand up for friend who is being bullied.
How? Children need to hear from parents that caring for others is a top priority. A big part of that is holding children to high ethical expectations, such as honoring their commitments, even if it makes them unhappy. For example, before kids quit a sports team, band, or a friendship, we should ask them to consider their obligations to the group or the friend and encourage them to work out problems before quitting.
• Instead of saying to your kids: “The most important thing is that you’re happy,” say “The most important thing is that you’re kind.”
• Make sure that your older children always address others respectfully, even when they’re tired, distracted, or angry.
• Emphasize caring when you interact with other key adults in your children’s lives. For example, ask teachers whether your children are good community members at school.
2. Provide opportunities for children to practice caring and gratitude
Why? It’s never too late to become a good person, but it won’t happen on its own. Children need to practice caring for others and expressing gratitude for those who care for them and contribute to others’ lives. Studies show that people who are in the habit of expressing gratitude are more likely to be helpful, generous, compassionate, and forgiving—and they’re also more likely to be happy and healthy.
How? Learning to be caring is like learning to play a sport or an instrument. Daily repetition—whether it’s a helping a friend with homework, pitching in around the house, or having a classroom job—make caring second nature and develop and hone youth’s caregiving capacities. Learning gratitude similarly involves regularly practicing it.
• Don’t reward your child for every act of helpfulness, such as clearing the dinner table. We should expect our kids to help around the house, with siblings, and with neighbors and only reward uncommon acts of kindness.
• Talk to your child about caring and uncaring acts they see on television and about acts of justice and injustice they might witness or hear about in the news.
• Make gratitude a daily ritual at dinnertime, bedtime, in the car, or on the subway. Express thanks for those who contribute to us and others in large and small ways.
3. Expand your child’s circle of concern.
Why? Almost all children care about a small circle of their families and friends. Our challenge is help our children learn to care about someone outside that circle, such as the new kid in class, someone who doesn’t speak their language, the school custodian, or someone who lives in a distant country.
How? Children need to learn to zoom in, by listening closely and attending to those in their immediate circle, and to zoom out, by taking in the big picture and considering the many perspectives of the people they interact with daily, including those who are vulnerable. They also need to consider how their
decisions, such as quitting a sports team or a band, can ripple out and harm various members of their communities. Especially in our more global world, children need to develop concern for people who live in very different cultures and communities than their own.
• Make sure your children are friendly and grateful with all the people in their daily lives, such as a bus driver or a waitress.
• Encourage children to care for those who are vulnerable. Give children some simple ideas for stepping into the “caring and courage zone,” like comforting a classmate who was teased.
• Use a newspaper or TV story to encourage your child to think about hardships faced by children in another country.
4. Be a strong moral role model and mentor.
Why? Children learn ethical values by watching the actions of adults they respect. They also learn values by thinking through ethical dilemmas with adults, e.g. “Should I invite a new neighbor to my birthday party when my best friend doesn’t like her?”
How? Being a moral role model and mentor means that we need to practice honesty, fairness, and caring ourselves. But it doesn’t mean being perfect all the time. For our children to respect and trust us, we need to acknowledge our mistakes and flaws. We also need to respect children’s thinking and listen
to their perspectives, demonstrating to them how we want them to engage others.
• Model caring for others by doing community service at least once a month. Even better, do this service with your child.
• Give your child an ethical dilemma at dinner or ask your child about dilemmas they’ve faced.
5. Guide children in managing destructive feelings
Why? Often the ability to care for others is overwhelmed by anger, shame, envy, or other negative feelings.
How? We need to teach children that all feelings are okay, but some ways of dealing with them are not helpful. Children need our help learning to cope with these feelings in productive ways.
Here’s a simple way to teach your kids to calm down: ask your child to stop, take a deep breath through the nose and exhale through the mouth, and count to five. Practice when your child is calm. Then, when you see her getting upset, remind her about the steps and do them with her. After a while she’ll start to do it on her own so that she can express her feelings in a helpful and appropriate way.
Next week, for the second time in two years, MNW will be hosting, Montessori in the Square, a public glass classroom event in the the heart of downtown Portland. While it may seem like a tremendous undertaking, we feel it is one of the best and most unique ways to raise awareness about Montessori.
In response to numerous requests following the 2013 International Montessori Congress, MNW published a document entitled, "Organize a Glass Classroom Event of Your Own!" This resource includes tips about creating an event timeline, developing floor plan, how to publicize the event, what promotional items to create, and more.
So, if you've been considering organizing a glass classroom event in your community, click on the photo to the right to get started. Good luck and let us know how it goes!
In case you don't know, UP stands for Upper Peninsula (the part of Michigan that is like Wisconsin's hat), which is where MNW Director of Elementary Training, Elise Huneke-Stone, recently presented a two day workshop called "An Exploration of Writing" as part of the Elementary Alumni Association (AMI-EAA) Annual Summer Conference. Elise's workshop had participants playing a variety of writing games designed to inspire elementary children to experiment with writing--so that they will discover that writing is creative, enjoyable, safe, and interesting. “In my experience,” says Elise, “adults need this assurance more than children do, but an adult who is uncomfortable with writing is less able to inspire children to take pleasure in it.”
When asked what she learned at the this energetic and hands on workshop, EAA member, Marty Shepard, summed it up, "Think outside the box! Do activities to generate ideas and writing topics. Writing is recording life. Give them life experiences so they can write with ease, enthusiasm, expression, and energy. Writing is fun!"
To learn about Elementary and other teacher training programs and Montessori Northwest, CLICK HERE!
Today was Cleaning Day for our primary students. Cleaning Day is a treasured celebration held on the very last day of each course at Montessori Northwest. The students dust, polish, and infuse every bead, box, and basket with love and positive energy. They spend the morning laughing, cleaning, singing, and remembering happy moments as they get everything ready for oral examinations. We wish Course 38 good luck tomorrow and remind them that oral exams are a "celebration of what you know!"
Observation is a foundational practice at all levels of Montessori education; for Assistants to Infancy, the babies and toddlers come to us! Students have the opportunity to observe and take turns working with the children in our prepared environment.
This time is especially enjoyed by parents, who accompany their children each day, and thoroughly delight in being able to sit back and observe their own children, picking up tips and ideas about how to support their children's development.
Interested in learning more about our Assistants to Infancy training? Click here to find out more!
Maybe an illness is working its way through your teaching staff, leaving a handful of them home ill, and you don’t have enough coverage. Or, you enjoy the rush of an early morning phone call and the anticipation of spending the day with a group of children you've never met before.
If you’ve found yourself in either of the above situations, you might be interested to know that the Oregon Montessori Association (OMA) maintains a list of substitute Montessori teachers. All OMA member schools receive a copy of list. And, individuals who are looking for work as a substitute can have their name added to the list.
OMA works to increase the vital presence of Montessori education in the Pacific Northwest through workshops, lectures, e-mail newsletters, community outreach, strategic relationships, and more.
To learn about the how you can tap into this great resource for substitutes, please contact OMA at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 503.688.0526.
We have received many inquiries from people looking to be involved with MNW’s new collaboration with the Volunteers of American Relief Nursery. Below is the information you’ll need to move forward with that process!
All volunteers that work at the Relief Nursery are required to be registered with the Online Central Background Registry—ensuring the safety and wellbeing for the children. You might consider this the first step towards becoming a volunteer.
If you are not already registered, it’s easy and can now be done online. Follow this link to learn more about the Registry.
Once you’ve started that process, you’re ready to contact the Relief Nursery directly. Our contact there is Anne Rothert. She can be contact either by phone (503.236.8492 x1761) or by Email (email@example.com). From there you will slate a time to come in and fill out some preliminary paperwork, learn more about the organization, and move ahead with becoming a volunteer.
We thank you in advance to your interest in this exciting endeavor!
Elise Huneke-Stone, Montessori Northwest's Director of Elementary Training, composed a poem for the two elementary courses she's had the privilege to lead.
"It really speaks to us, because almost every line and image can be sourced back to one of our Montessori elementary key lessons." says Elise.
We thought you might derive meaning from this composition as well. A selection from the poem is included below. Following the link on the bottom of the page will download a printable PDF version.
A Cosmic Education by Elise Huneke-Stone
For Montessori Northwest Elementary Courses 1 and 2, and for the rest of us who are part of this line.
This is a line, and this is a line. Pronouns shadow the shape of their antecedents, liquids fill every hollow, the river carves and carries, you listen to the stories that others have heard before you. On their convergent lines, the children of geometry smile, and the fundamental needs of humans are met in the voice of the verb, on the agent of an arrow, on a tiny drop of heat and light, in the little life cupped in the seeds we sow.
Montessori elementary children explore the legacy and creative power of language. Montessori adults, too, can learn much from an in-depth investigation of stories and the roles they play in development and in the transmission of culture. The stories we tell the children as a framework for Cosmic Education, the stories the children tell us, in their journals and in our conferences with them, and the stories we tell each other in our class meetings or gatherings: All contribute greatly to shaping the Montessori elementary experience, and contribute to optimal development for the children.
In this weekend workshop, we will examine the Great Stories (including the Great River, from the Bergamo tradition) in terms of how they contribute to children’s intellectual and emotional well-being. Participants will also explore practical ways to start and sustain the children’s journals and individual conferences, and to help the children develop these Tools of Responsibility in accordance with their growing independence and self-awareness. The workshop will conclude with a focus on how to implement a developmentally appropriate class meeting that meets the children’s social needs and empowers them as citizens in the “practice society” of the Montessori elementary community.
Elementary Teachers and Assistants
Friday, October 10, 2014 6-9PM
Saturday, October 11, 2014 8:30AM-4PM
Sunday, October 12, 2014 9AM-12PM
$250 Early Bird Discount (before Sept 26th) / $285 full price (On or After Sept 26th)
10% discount for schools registering 3 or more attendees - Lunch included
The first International Montessori Environments for Dementia Conference is being held in Sydney, Australia!
The Montessori approach aims to support the full development of the human being. It is a person-centered approach that draws on the capacity of human beings to learn and develop from within. If we provide the appropriate support and the best possible environment, we will continue to be amazed at the incredible capability to learn at any age. Whether it be infants, children, adolescents or the elderly, all human beings seek to be independent, to participate in meaningful activity, and to make a contribution. Montessori provides the practical ways to support this at all stages of life.
The International Montessori Environments for Dementia Conference promises to bring together some of the international leaders in the field, covering some really interesting topics. Here are just a few of the workshop titles:
- Dementia Specific Residential Gardens
- Engaging People Living with Younger Onset Dementia with Their Community and the Workforce
- Creating Memory Books
- Art Therapy – A Restorative Model for People Living with Dementia
- Changing the World for People Living with Dementia with the Capability Model that Includes Developing
- Roles and Activities for Residents that Reflect the Montessori Principles
- Individualized Music: Bringing Out the Person Not the Illness
For more information on this interesting event, visit their website here.
Congratulations to recent MNW Elementary Graduate, Robert Rivera, for receiving a scholarship from the AMI MES Fund!
AMI/USA established the MES FUND, INC., the first financial aid fund to benefit AMI teacher trainees, in honor of Margaret Elizabeth Stephenson, who devoted her life to AMI teacher training in the United States. The fund, which is administered and supported by AMI/USA, honors her legacy and extends her contribution to touch future teachers.
The fund awards partial scholarships in the form of tuition reduction towards AMI training in the United States to selected students. AMI/USA hopes, through their support of this fund, to ensure that qualified individuals seeking AMI training will be able to pursue that dream, regardless of their financial circumstances.
We found his quote particularly inspiring:
“I’ve had the privilege to create a community who strives to prepare children to create our world’s future. My trainer, Elise Huneke-Stone, was trained by Miss Stephenson, and I’m honored to continue this cosmic legacy. Dr. Montessori’s vision, Miss Stephenson’s dedication, and Elise’s passion have shaped my love for our work. As I join the community at the International Montessori School Hong Kong, I hold in my heart that the MES fund has made this dream possible.”
Interested in learning more about this scholarship and there other recipients? http://amiusa.org/financial-aid/
Normalization is a key element of Montessori theory for successful early childhood education. Montessori’s writings indicate that we do not need normalized children to do our work. Instead, our work is to help children achieve normalization. She identifies normalization as ‘the most important single result of our whole work’ – the result that makes all other personal, social, and academic achievements possible; and she assures us that if we understand how to ‘normalize the conditions’, then joyful engagement, spontaneous concentration, self-discipline, literacy, and practical mathematics are within the potential of every child, and social cohesion is within the potential of every group.
In this weekend workshop, we will explore Montessori’s theory of normalization in relation to the materials and activities found in a Montessori 3-6 classroom: how to first offer motives for concentrated activity leading to normalization and then turn this point of arrival into a point of departure through the materials for development in Sensorial, Language, and Mathematics. Observation, friendliness with error, and indirect preparation will give further focus to this exploration across all of the areas and all of the ages in the Children’s House environment.
Primary Teachers and Assistants
Friday, October 10, 2014 6-9PM
Saturday, October 11, 2014 8:30AM-4PM
Sunday, October 12, 2014 9AM-12PM
$250 Early Bird Discount (before Sept 26th) / $285 full price (On or After Sept 26th) - Lunch included
10% discount for schools registering 3 or more attendees - Lunch included