Posts filed under Resources

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.

Two Complimentary Approaches to Working with Infants and Toddlers

The Oregon Montessori Association recently released a new interesting article by Breanne Monahan indicating that the Magda Gerber's Educaring® approach is a philosophy that compliments and supports Infant and Toddler Montessori environments.

We found it fascinating--perhaps you will too. Download the full document here:

A little background information:

RIE® (pronounced “rye”) is a philosophy for parents and caregivers of children from birth to 2 years of age developed by Magda Gerber, a child therapist and infant specialist. Gerber immigrated to the United States from Hungary in 1957. She was influenced by the work of Hungarian pediatrician and friend, Dr. Emmi Pikler. Dr. Pikler ran a residential home, Loczy, for infants in Hungary and was concerned with the challenges of providing quality group care to young children. Pikler’s simple yet revolutionary approach to infant care inspired many. In 1978, based on her work with Emmi Pikler and her own experiences with young children, Magda Gerber founded Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE), a non-profit organization based out of Los Angeles.

Posted on April 8, 2014 and filed under Articles, A-to-I, Resources.

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.

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.

News from the AMI Stewarding Council USA

The AMI Stewarding Council USA was formed in November 2012 as a result of the AMI Summit, with an aim to better facilitate the working of the Association Montessori Internationale across the formal and informal Montessori communities in the United States.  It comprises representatives of all AMI stakeholders in the United States.  Its overall aim is to significantly increase access to quality Montessori programs for more children, families, and communities. Learn more about the AMI Stewarding Council USA here.

Montessori Northwest, as represented by Executive Director Jennifer Davidson, is honored to be part of this ambitiously comprehensive work.

The Stewarding Council most recently met in February at the 2014 AMI Refresher Course in Houston, Texas. At this meeting the Council took time to ground itself in its mission and goals identified as outcomes of the Summit. They also discussed the vision of future work and adopted several action items.

A Communiqué was recently released, outlining the progress and process of that last Summit meeting. It's a lengthy document, but worth the read. It can be read in its entirety here.

Posted on March 17, 2014 and filed under Articles, From MNW Staff, Resources.

Cycles in Nature

Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 9.53.42 AM.png

In July last year a group of 8 middle school students from Pacific Crest Montessori School in Seattle, WA set out on their bikes to ride 200 miles to the 2013 International Montessori Congress in Portland, OR. This was the start of something new and powerful with impact reaching far beyond a bike ride. The Portland congress was the first time ever that adolescents were invited—and given a voice—at a Montessori congress. The idea to bike there was inspired by the first Cycles in Nature event held in May of 2013; students from Australia, Thailand, Mexico, the US and Canada spent a day on bicycles participating in a grassroots initia- tive to build a global adolescent Montessori network. But, most importantly, these students represent the beginning of a movement that empowers Montessori students to make the world a better place. 

This year, the organizers of Cycles in Nature have opened the event to Montessori Students of all ages--And you're encouraged to participate!

Cycles in Nature is more than a day of fresh air and exercise. With a dedicated local and global fundraising component, it gives students a way to feel relevant in the world. So, we are dedicating May 2014 to cycle together to:

  • Create a network of empowered Montessori youth

  • Give indivduals the opportunity to feel relevant and have global impact

  • Support environmental sustainability and social justice through fundraising 

The cycle ride will be a sponsored event, raising money per mile from family and friends, local businesses, grant organizations and everybody in between. The funds will be split 50/50 between a local organization (of each school’s own choice) and a global initiative that supports social justice or environmental sustain- ability. This year’s global initiatives are: Children’s Eternal Rain Forest Project (Montessori Institute for the Science of Peace) and the Article 15 Foundation, which supports youth in Senegal to find their way out of poverty through education and income generating activities. 

Join us! You choose the day that works for your school, then through our website you’ll download all the resources you need to get started. On our blog students can publicize their event, put their route on the map, share stories and photos, and stay in touch with other schools all over the world. www.cyclesinnature.org

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).

600full-final-fantasy-fables--chocobo-tales-artwork.jpg

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!

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

Resource: No-Sew Felt Packaging

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

Untitled-1.jpg

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).