Posts filed under Primary

2014 Montessori in the Square

Montessori Northwest is proud to once again offer “Montessori in the Square,” a public glass classroom event held in the heart of downtown Portland.

This celebration of Montessori education will feature three large interactive Montessori classrooms:  Assistants to Infancy (ages 0-3), Primary (3-6), and Elementary (6-12), activities for children, and information for parents. Trainers and guides will be on hand to assist viewers with questions.

This year’s classrooms are being hosted by Tiny Revolution Montessori (0-3), Sunstone Montessori School (3-6), and the Franciscan Montessori Earth School (6-12).

The inspiration for this event came from Dr. Montessori herself. During her second visit to the U.S. in 1915, Montessori was invited to participate in the World's Fair Panama-Pacific International Exhibition in San Francisco. She set up a classroom at the Exposition, where spectators watched twenty-one children, all new to the Montessori Method, behind a glass wall for four months in what has since become known as “The Glass Classroom.”

Montessori in the Square helps the public better understand the importance of early childhood education and all the factors that can effect children’s development. It is expected that hundreds of people, both Montessorians and the general public, will come out to watch the children work in their beautifully prepared environments and see Montessori education in action--We hope to see you there!

Or better yet, want to get involved? Drop us a line here.

When and Where is Montessori in the Square?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

10AM-1PM

Pioneer Courthouse Square

On the Hunt for Language

In the Montessori Children’s House for children 3 -6, reading activities begin very simply, building on what the child already knows. Doing so helps safeguard that the experience is a joyful one and the child is immediately successful.  Even for the earliest reading, based solely in phonetics, meaning is attached to reading a word, and reading comprehension is built right into every activity.

Here we see a completed “Scavenger Hunt” completed outdoors by two children.  They read the words on the card, then brought the items to their mat.

(Picture courtesy of Chestnut Grove Montessori)

(Picture courtesy of Chestnut Grove Montessori)

Posted on April 17, 2014 and filed under From MNW Staff, Portland, Primary, Resources.

Making the Color Tablets

Color Tablets, Box 3

Color Tablets, Box 3

The Color Boxes are a lovely material in the Primary classroom to develop the child's ability to distinguish different colors and hues. A few years ago, we decided to replace the commercially-made Color Tablets in the Primary model classroom with ones that were wound with embroidery floss. This was partly for aesthetic reasons, and partly because the commercially-made ones kicked up a lot of glare that impeded one's ability to easily distinguish the colors. We've been asked so frequently about the process of making this beautiful material that it seemed worthwhile to describe it here in more detail. (skip to the bottom of this post for a PDF of how to wind the embroidery floss onto the tablet).

I'm not going to lie: it's a big task, especially if you're doing all three Color Boxes. Firstly, we had a local carpenter make the wooden tablets and matching box for us (while he appreciated being able to help the training center, he made it clear that this was a one-time project, so we shall not disclose his name). Then Corinne Stastny, our intrepid Primary Course Assistant, journeyed to Joann's Fabrics for the task of selecting the colors.

The trick with the embroidery floss colors is not to worry too much about the exact color families that the manufacturer offers, but instead, just put together a gradation of seven colors yourself using your own judgement. You can bring a commercially-made set of Color Tablets to the store as a guide if you need it. In Color Box 3, the middle hue (number four in the gradation of seven) is exactly the same hue of that color that is used in Color Boxes 1 and 2. This will help to orient you to where the "middle" of the gradation is, and will help you know where the extremes are. You may find it easy to sit down with a bunch of embroidery floss colors from each color, find the middle one, and then work to the extremes from there. Remember, it doesn't matter if the manufacturer thinks the colors belong to a set. What matters is that to your eye, they look like a set. It also helps if all the colors that are from the "darkest" are about the same hue, and all the colors that are "lightest" are all about the same hue. We found that one skein of embroidery floss would make one tablet, with very little left over.

The process of winding the thread on is time consuming, and I recommend doing at home, preferably on your sofa with your comfy pants on, Maybe a Netflix marathon playing in the background. Cats are not helpful for this process, by the way (I speak from experience). We've made a tutorial for winding the thread so you can see how to start it and how to finish it (see below for link to PDF). The method we use requires no glue or other fixative, and it's lasted for well over four years without coming undone.

The reverential gasps we get when visitors see the Color Tablets for the first time is worth the time and effort. We notice that people handle them more carefully, using only the edges to avoid touching the embroidery floss. They are indeed beautiful, and more than ever are a pleasure to use.

Tutorial: How to make the Color Tablets.PDF

NOTE: If the PDF is a bit wonky, please email Sally Coulter and she will send it to you as a Word document. Thanks!

Posted on April 10, 2014 and filed under From MNW Staff, Primary, Resources.

Practice Makes Better...

Here we see current Primary students Yuko and Savannah (top and bottom), as well as Elementary student Samuel (center photo). Pictures courtesy of the Portland Montessori School

Here we see current Primary students Yuko and Savannah (top and bottom), as well as Elementary student Samuel (center photo). Pictures courtesy of the Portland Montessori School

Montessori Northwest is noticeably quieter this week, as our Primary and Elementary students have left the training center and are spending time in local schools.

Observation and practice teaching offer students the opportunity to continue their study of the child in AMI Montessori classrooms. During observation sessions, students observe the children’s interactions with the materials and each other, as they apply to developmental principles. During practice teaching, students give lessons to children under the supervision of an AMI Primary-trained host teacher.

These two quotes from students sum it all up:   

“Practice teaching is going well…Overall it's really sweet and splendid, but a little daunting at the same time. My host classroom is amazing, and  I am sure it will feel more natural soon!” 

“I presented the bow tying frame, and it was so cool to see the look of utter joy on her face when she did the entire frame!  Then I got to see her do it two more times!  So great to see what we’ve been talking about all year in training come to fruition!”

Thanks again to the dozens of school who host the students of Montessori Northwest--your contributions are appreciated!

A Snakeskin Math Album?

The Addition Snake Game is a Montessori math activity, and would be played by children around 5 years and older. The goal of the game is to familiarize children with all of the basic addition facts as well as many different ways to make ten (1+9, 4+6, 3+2+5, etc...).

To play the game, the child makes a "snake" out of many different colored bead bars of varying lengths, and then begins counting the beads to get to 10. Every time 10 is reached, the child replaces the colored bead bars with a golden bar of ten beads, and any leftover beads are replaced with black/white “placeholder beads.” The child then continues counting, slowly transforming the colored snake into a golden snake. At the end of the game, there is a way for the child to check her work by comparing the sum of the colored bead bars to the golden bead bars.

In the AMI training, students create their own “teaching manuals” or “albums”  by watching the AMI Trainers give demonstrations of Montessori lessons. They make notes about the demonstrations, practice the presentations,  and turn their notes into guides for how to present these activities to children.  These presentations, and their accompanying illustrations, are the students’ own detailed summaries of the movements and key dialogue that define the Montessori activities.

Current Primary student and crafter extraordinaire Chelsae Roach created this amazing beaded cover for her Mathematics album showing the Addition Snake Game in process. It made the rounds at MNW today and received many oohs and aahs. We thought you might enjoy seeing it too!

Posted on April 7, 2014 and filed under From MNW Staff, Primary.

MNW Announces an AMI Assistants Course for June!

- Downloadable Flyer and Registration Form

June 16-27, 2014 / Monday - Friday

We are delighted to once again offer the AMI Assistants Course here at Montessori Northwest! Not since 2004 has this training been presented in Portland and we couldn't be more excited to bring it to your attention.

The AMI Assistants Course: An Introduction to Montessori Education is an ideal foundation for assistants at every level, administrators, parents, educators, and anyone interested in a general overview of Montessori Education. This training course will emphasize Montessori theory and principles, rather than specific classroom practices.

The course will help interested adults understand the importance of their role as well as the developments that take place in young children. (Pricing information here)

Sponsored by Montessori Northwest, Presented by Polli Soholt

Montessori Northwest is pleased to sponsor and welcome Polli Soholt as the instructor of the upcoming AMI Assistants Course: An Introduction to Montessori Education. Ms Soholt is an AMI Primary trainer and consultant, currently working at the Montessori Teacher Training Center of Northern California. She is a highly- regarded author and experienced Montessorian of over 40 years. Her writings on the classroom, parent education, and Montessori have been published in numerous journals. She has been a primary Montessori teacher for 29 years, and was owner and administrator of the San Jose Montessori School for 36 years.

Please help us spread the word about this great course!

For information on pricing, deadlines, and registration, download this flyer.

Portland's a Great City

What makes Portland so special? Some will tell you it’s all about the trees, fresh air and proximity to the mountains, rivers and ocean. Others think the indie music and arts scenes define our particular brand of cool. Locals tend to be partial to the amazing food and drink you’ll find here. We are unabashedly biased and think it's because of the thriving Montessori community that exists here!

Montessori Northwest is located in a bright and spacious facility in the Buckman Neighborhood of Southeast Portland, characterized by its diverse mix of residential and urban-commercial buildings, convenient public transportation via Trimet, and easy access to cafés, supermarkets and beautiful Downtown Portland.

But don't take our word for it, below are a few resources highlighting the charms of the City of Roses.

Drop us a line here and schedule a visit to Portland and Montessori Northwest today--You'll love it here!

Video and Visitors Guide compliments of Travel Portland

Download a free Portland Visitors Guide below.

Posted on April 1, 2014 and filed under A-to-I, Elementary, From MNW Staff, Primary, Resources, Portland.

2014-2015 Course Catalog Posted Online

MONTESSORI TEACHER TRAINING STARTS HERE!

Since 1979, Montessori Northwest has offered rigorous, practical and in-depth Montessori teacher preparation, in affiliation with the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). 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.

Our comprehensive diploma programs prepare motivated individuals for life-changing careers in Montessori education.

Download or print our full 2014-2015 Course Catalog by either clicking the graphic on the left or clicking HERE.

 

Spring Break Wood Polishing

Spring Break wood polishing happening right now at MNW.

Stella, the 4.5 year old daughter of our Primary Course Assistant, is visiting today. After declaring a general interest in “cleaning somethin’, she went on to vigorously beautify of one of the stools used here for student presentations. In addition to occasional visits to MNW, Stella is featured regularly in photos sent to us by her Montessori guide that we share with the teachers-in-training.  Always a treat to see a child delighting in independently chosen activity!  

Interested in learning more about what happens inside Montessori classrooms?

Posted on March 26, 2014 and filed under From MNW Staff, Past Students | Testimony, Primary.

Montessori for the Masses

Sarah Werner Andrews, Director of Primary training here at MNW, came across this interesting intro to Montessori article in the March 2014 newsletter of the ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) which is printed and distributed to over 140K School and District leaders. It's great to see information about Montessori making its way into the hands of so many influential educators!

Please also note the quotes from new MNW Board member and senior associate at the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector, Jackie Cossentino.

Download the full 3-page article by clicking above.

Download the full 3-page article by clicking above.

Posted on March 21, 2014 and filed under Articles, Elementary, A-to-I, From our Trainers, Primary, Resources.

Theoretically Speaking...

One of the many assignments that our Primary Students complete as part of their coursework is a Theory Project. The Theory Project represents a further exploration, integration, and understanding of selected topics and sources related to Montessori theory and practice.   

This assignment is unique in that it can take a handful of different forms. It can be a 5000 word essay presenting the student’s own synthesis of the chosen topic. It might take shape as a 20-minute presentation involving handouts, activities, visual aids, PowerPoint, or video. Some choose to create a sample “Parent Night, “ create a Podcast episode, or even interpret the information via artistic theater performance.  Each student is free to select the modality of their choice. (Very Montessori, no?)

Above we see Kate Simer, current Primary student, giving a presentation on the benefits of exposing children to second or other languages before the age of six.  She incorporated an interactive language lesson into the presentation, as well as a tasty food-preparation demonstration.

Kate has helped MNW with numerous Spanish translation projects and is the director of Hands-On Language, a Spanish language program for children that uses hands-on activities to make language learning fun.

 

Posted on March 19, 2014 and filed under En español, Primary.

Montessori Responds to the Role of Fantasy

A few days ago we posted a fascinating story from Psychology Today to our FaceBook page about how children process fantasy in stories (read the full story here).

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This is a subject that Dr. Montessori herself addressed, and one that particularly fascinates MNW's Director of Primary Training, Sarah Werner Andrews. In response to that article in Psychology Today, Sarah has contributed some fascinating perspectives within historical context to help Montessorians better understand the role of fantasy in storytelling.

Montessori acknowledged the controversy surrounding her views on fairy tales in 1919, when she spoke to the Child Study Society on the topic:  Children’s Imagination by Means of Fairy Tales.  Montessori joked with the crowd that this topic was dictated to her; she would not have dared to choose it herself and face the audience!  To her criticism of fairy tales, she answered, “When I have been so bold as to express my opinion of the value of the fairy tale, people have jumped to the conclusion that I was fiercely opposed to it.  I do not really feel any such intense antagonism.” Her point regarding fairy tales was simply, “Imagination really does not enter into the problem, because in telling fairy tales it is we (the adult) who do the imagining.  The child only listens.”

During that speech Montessori told the listeners, “(The young child) cannot distinguish well between the real and the imaginary, between things that are possible and things that are merely ‘made up’.” During this speech in 1919, Montessori was attempting once again to clarify her position regarding education based on cultivating credulity, instead of on reality. (Times Education Supplement, 1919, reprinted in AMI communications, No. 2, 1975)

about-birds.jpg

And in a related study… By 15 months of age, young children can apply something learned from a picture book to real life, and also transfer that information in the other direction (DeLoach & Ganea, 2009).  For example, a toddler can learn the name for a robin in a picture book, and then identify a robin in the backyard, and vice versa.  After learning the name of a real object, children were more successful transferring that name to a photograph than to a cartoon drawing of the object.  “The fact that the iconic nature of pictures seems to have an important role in children’s ability to interact meaningfully with books has important educational implications; namely, that books with more realistic pictures are better for assisting young children’s learning” (Ganea, Bloom-Pickard, & DeLoach, 2008).  In general, the more young children are exposed to anthropomorphized books, (animals or objects given human attributes) the more likely they are to confuse their beliefs about the properties of real animals or objects (DeLoach & Ganea, 2009).

What are your thoughts on the subject?  Is this a subject that you've had to deal with the in classroom or with parents? Let's hear about it!

Resource: No-Sew Felt Packaging

From MNW's Admissions Director, alumnus, and former Primary Guide, Andrea Hippensteel:

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Creating an environment for children filled with beautiful and interesting materials was one of my greatest joys in the classroom, obviously a very distant second to working with the children themselves. To see the children notice a new wooden elephant, a brass nautilus shell for polishing, a new three-part card set, or even a fun pillow for the reading chair was brilliant fun. 

I was reminded of the joy of material making today in the Primary classroom. What a joy to see all of the materials the students are creating! Each year, our students introduce us to items in that I would have loved to have had in the classroom.

Laura Kemper, a current student in our Primary course, brought in a lovely example of thoughtful packaging, one that was too adorable not to share with you.

The idea is simple and easily adapted to suit your classroom needs. 

What you will need:

  • The PDF template
  • Felt (size to be determined by the object you intend to place in the center)
  • 1 (Lovely) Button
  • 1 (Lovely) Length of Ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Thread for sewing the (Lovely) Button
  • Something (Lovely) to put inside 

The PDF template included above will be sufficient for creating your own lovely package but feel free to email Andrea for more directions--Have fun!

Andrea.jpg
Posted on February 11, 2014 and filed under From MNW Staff, Primary, Resources.

Great Visual Resource

As educators, we often seek out unique and fascinating visuals to engage our students. With this in mind, an interesting resource for you--Enjoy!

(This post originally appeared on the Public Domain Review.)

Last week the ever-incredible British Library announced that they were gifting more than 1 million images to the world, uploaded to Flickr Commons under the public domain mark, meaning complete freedom of re-use. The range and breadth of images is phenomenal. As they say in their post announcing the release the “images themselves cover a startling mix of subjects: There are maps, geological diagrams, beautiful illustrations, comical satire, illuminated and decorative letters, colourful illustrations, landscapes, wall-paintings and so much more that even we are not aware of”. Each image was extracted from its respective home (books making up a total of 65,000 already digitised volumes) by a program known as the ‘Mechanical Curator’, a creation of the British Library Labs project. A crowdsourcing application is being launched in the new year to help describe what the images portray – and the British Library is also putting out a general plea for people to innovate new ways to navigate, find and display this incredible array of images. (Email BL Labs here).

Beyond the Walls of the Training Center

Here at Montessori Northwest, the scope of our teacher trainers and administration extends well beyond the walls of our beautiful training center. Whether offering individual consultations within schools, providing original content for Montessori journals, or presenting at education conferences, MNW’s leadership is passionate about advancing the international Montessori movement and bringing the benefits of Montessori education to children worldwide.

Portland, Oregon is lucky to be home to a thriving Montessori educational community—which was recently reinforced by the city’s hosting of the International Montessori Congress in 2013.

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This spring, the North American Montessori Teachers’ Association (NAMTA) will be hosting their “Grace, Courtesy, and Civility Across the Planes” conference here in Portland, March 13-16th. NAMTA has invited all three of our Directors of Training, Ginni Sackett, Sarah Werner Andrews, and Elise Huneke-Stone, in addition to our Executive Director, Jennifer Davidson, to present workshops and lectures to Montessorians coming from the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

 

When asked about her involvement with the conference, Sarah Werner Andrews, Director of Primary Training, she says:

"The theme for this conference came from the Montessori community in Portland. When we take a "whole school" approach to Grace and Courtesy, we model in the most powerful way possible, that civility, respect, and compassion are the cornerstone of Montessori education. And what a wonderful way to live and work in community!  We are thrilled with the opportunity to join Polli Soholt, Pat Schaefer, Pat Ludick, and Julie Comber Martin to explore the depth and potential of Grace and Courtesy."

The staff of Montessori Northwest are committed to the success of our students and the growth of Montessori as a whole. By training to become a Montessori teacher at MNW you access our rich organizational history, work alongside some of the best trainers in the world, and begin a journey towards more meaningful and enjoyable work. 

Free Workshop for Hosts

Supporting the Emergent Reader:
From Learning to Read to Reading to Learn

In appreciation, Montessori Northwest is offering a free workshop open to Guides and Administrators who offered to host our students for Observation and Practice Teaching.

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It is well documented that children typically develop their reading skills between the ages of 4 and 8. Reading bridges both Primary and Elementary, and Montessori educators meet children where they are. The goal of “Total Reading” – reading comprehension, appreciation of style, and understanding of emotional content is both an achievement and a launching point for children in the first and second planes.

Guides and Administrators who offered to host our students for Observation and Practice Teaching are invited to join us as we explore playful and rich supports to Total Reading that will give every child the foundation for a lifetime of literacy.

Wednesday, January 15th
Social time begins at 5:30PM
Workshop from 6 - 7:30PM
Montessori NW: (map)


**RSVP by January 10th**

TO REGISTER:
503.963.8992
JANET@MONTESSORI-NW.ORG

"It is all a help to the child’s personality to reach this appreciation: it is imperative to give the child this preparation at the beginning of his study of language. It is not something which you give at the end – something artificial to train him as an actor or orator. We must help him to grow into something really beautiful. We as educators can give this help...”

Mario Montessori’s 1946 London Training Course