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.
Have you ever wondered how to introduce the clock in your classroom? Below is a statement from the Scientific Pedagogy Group of the Association Montessori International to clarify the use of the clock in the Children's House. Following it, there is a link to a document that details how MNW introduces the clock (and calendar) in our Primary teacher training courses.
Ginni Sackett, Co-Director of Primary Training at Montessori Northwest, addressed this question during a recent NAMTA workshop in Portland. She asserts that the values of respect, dignity, and grace are vital qualities to establish in an individual who can then infuse them into society at large. Read her presentation, Empowering Children, Liberating Adults, for details on how the tenets of Grace and Courtesy provide a foundation for a positive social life.