The holidays are approaching – ushering in a frequently scary season for Montessori teachers. We often have conflicted feelings around holidays and events that occur in the larger culture – afraid that these distract children from their work, disrupt the calm and productive atmosphere in the environment, and are just plain bothersome to us. I’d like to propose changing those feelings and finding ways to see these popular culture events as positive elements in the environment and exploring ways to channel them in support of each child’s development.
Do you want to avoid succumbing to consumer madness during the holidays? Do you have a hard time thinking of meaningful gifts to give to family and friends? If so, here’s a list of thoughtful things you can do with or for loved ones without breaking the bank or camping out in a parking lot for three days.
Adele Diamond, Ph.D., neuroscientist, psychologist and educational innovator, is one of the world's leading researchers in developmental science--and a great advocate for Montessori. She studies how executive functions can be modified by the environment, modulated by genetics and neurochemistry, become derailed in certain disorders, and can be improved by effective programs and interventions.
Children in the second plane have what Montessori described as a “special sensitivity for the acquisition of culture.” This understanding was at the core of the discussion during Elise Huneke-Stone’s recent NAMTA workshop in Seattle: The “Practice Society.” Participants in this workshop looked at how the elementary classroom offers children an invaluable opportunity to use their reasoning minds and imaginations to explore how communities live, work, and create their own culture.
Marilena Henny-Montessori fondly recalls making gnocchi with her grandmother, Maria Montessori.