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December 4th Bay Area Information Session

AMI TEACHER TRAINING IS COMING TO THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY!

For Fall 2015, Montessori Northwest (MNW), one of the nation’s top Montessori teacher training centers, is planning to offer new Montessori teacher certification courses at a convenient Bay Area location. We plan to offer classes on a block schedule, in the afternoons and on evenings, making the program ideal for people wanting to become teachers, while continuing in their careers. (learn more about this exciting opportunity here.)

On Thursday, December 4th, Admissions representatives from Montessori Northwest, in addition to teacher trainers and alumni, will host an information session about becoming an AMI Montessori teacher. Anyone interested in early childhood education, including working with babies & toddlers, and those already working in traditional education, are invited to come learn why becoming a trained Montessori "Guide" might be a great career path for you.

Montessori teacher training with MNW in the San Francisco Bay Area will enable you to earn an AMI diploma that opens the door to a fulfilling teaching career.  You will learn how to guide children on a journey of discovery—of themselves, of each other, and of the world around them.

RSVP by clicking here, though walk-ins are always welcome.

December 4th @ 7-8:30PM
Grand Lake Montessori School
466 Chetwood St, Oakland, CA 94610
 (map)

Are you raising nice kids? A Harvard psychologist gives 5 ways to raise them to be kind.

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.
Try this
• 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.
Try this
• 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.
Try this
• 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.
Try this:
• 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.
Try this
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.

Posted on July 25, 2014 and filed under A-to-I, Elementary, Primary, Resources.

Volunteer Sign-Up for Relief Nursery...

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 (arothert@voaor.org). 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!

A Poem for Our Elementary Graduates

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.

Elementary Workshop Weekend!

Elementary Workshop Weekend:  Stories and Self-Construction

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.

Intended Audience

Elementary Teachers and Assistants 

Schedule

Friday, October 10, 2014 6-9PM

Saturday, October 11, 2014 8:30AM-4PM

Sunday, October 12, 2014 9AM-12PM

Cost

REGISTRATION FOR THIS WORKSHOP IS CLOSED

download a flyer here   /   housing and travel information here

Continuing Education Units

This workshop earns both Oregon Registry and Washington STARS/MERIT credits.

Posted on June 27, 2014 and filed under Elementary, From our Trainers, Resources, Workshops.

Montessori Environments for Dementia Conference

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.


Posted on June 27, 2014 and filed under Resources, Public Event.

Congratulations to our Recent Graduate!

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/

Primary Weekend Workshop!

SELF-DISCIPLINE AND JOYFUL LEARNING:NORMALIZATION IN THE 21ST CENTURY MONTESSORI CHILDREN’S HOUSE

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.

Intended Audience

Primary Teachers and Assistants

Schedule

Friday, October 10, 2014 6-9PM

Saturday, October 11, 2014 8:30AM-4PM

Sunday, October 12, 2014 9AM-12PM

Cost

REGISTRATION FOR THIS WORKSHOP IS CLOSED

download a flyer   /   housing and travel information here

Continuing Education Units

This workshop earns both Oregon Registry and Washington STARS/MERIT credits.

MNW Trainers Published in Latest NAMTA Journal

We are delighted to note that both Sarah Werner Andrews & Ginni Sackett, both of MNW’s Co-Directors of Primary Training, are featured in the most recent NAMTA journal.

The North American Montessori Teacher's Association (NAMTA) links Montessorians with their legacy and their future. Its services include print publications, audio visuals, conferences, and research. 

One of NAMTA's  endeavors is the publication of a quarterly journal. This publication includes articles by Dr Montessori as well as scholarly papers on Montessori and related topics. 

The most recent NAMTA Journal - Vol. 39 #2, Spring 2014 - is dedicated to "Breaking the Poverty Cycle: Social Retooling of the Montessori First Plane".

The NAMTA Journal is typically only available to NAMTA members, but we’ve received permission to make available these great articles for you to enjoy and share!

Ginni Sackett's Article:  "The Lines That Make the Clouds" The Essence of the Mathematical Mind in the First Six Years of Life (download)

Sarah Werner Andrews' Article:  Joyful Engagement: Montessori's Common Core Standard (download)

If you’re interested in obtaining the full journal for yourself, it can be purchased here.  

Welcome to A-to-I Course #5!

The first three years of life are a critical foundation for development. The AMI Assistants to Infancy training provides the knowledge and confidence needed to support infants, toddlers, and their families in both in-home and school-based settings.

The AMI Assistants to Infancy course offers a comprehensive study of Montessori theory and practice to work with children aged birth to three in home environments and toddler classroom environments. During 625 hours of teacher preparation, students thoroughly explore Montessori philosophy, human development, Montessori infant and toddler activities/materials, and expectations for Montessori professional communities. (learn more here)

Please say hello to the new Assistants-to-Infancy Course (#5) that started this week. Such a wonderful bunch of enthusiastic people!