Resource: No-Sew Felt Packaging

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


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!

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).

Doing Prekindergarten Right

We occasionally forward along relevant information from other sources.
For example, this great article from the Huffington Post by Ruth Bettelheim, Ph.D..

American leaders are beginning to address the deficits in our country's early education system. However, President Obama's call for a major expansion of public prekindergarten education, and even the commitment to providing universal preschool education recently made by both New York's governor and New York City's mayor, do not go far enough. While both proposals take big steps in the right direction, they would only apply to children age 4 and up, and would not systematically reform the kind of education these children receive. The only way to do preschool really right is to start when children are significantly younger, to use educational methods specially targeted at the emotional, social, and cognitive development of toddlers, and to increase mandatory training and salaries for preschool teachers.


Preschool children think and function differently than school-age children, which is why primary school typically begins at age 6 or 7 everywhere in the world. Since the curricula and methods designed for older children don't work for toddlers, preschools are often run like babysitting centers, with teachers who are trained (and paid) much more poorly than their primary school counterparts.

However, we now know that the first 5 years of life constitute the most critical period for the development of social, emotional, physical and cognitive skills. If things go wrong at this stage, the price is a life time of handicaps and often failure in one or more areas. Far from not being ready for education, young children urgently need high quality educational experiences to maximize whatever potential they were born with.

This maximization requires different educational methods than those developed for older children. Fortunately, several methods have been developed during the past century to enhance learning for young children. Most prominently, Dr. Montessori developed her method by investigating which approaches could best educate the severely impoverished slum children of early 20th century Rome.

Primary 10.jpg

The Montessori Method systematically teaches independent problem solving, starting at age 18 months, using hands-on learning and the native interests of preschoolers. She demonstrated that, given adequate food, regular health checkups, and the right full-day program, virtually all of even the most deprived children could learn to an equal or higher standard than their more privileged, traditionally educated peers.

Other methods, such as Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, Dewey, Abecedarian, and Bank Street, also address the unique needs of this age group. Unfortunately, sufficiently rigorous, longitudinal trials of these approaches have not yet been undertaken to determine which ones best serve the developmental needs of very young children.

Pedagogy and education research have both systematically undervalued the importance of social and emotional development in preschool children. Indeed, neuroscientific evidence demonstrates that all learning is based on emotional responses and social experiences. Therefore, social and emotional intelligence need to be developed as carefully and as thoughtfully as IQ. We now know that all three are essential for success in our highly networked, rapidly changing technological age.

Therefore, teachers need to be trained not only in the most effective approaches to cognitive development in young children, but also in how to foster and enhance their very sensitive emotional and social development. This will require both increased funding for research, and more rigorous training programs for preschool teachers. But recruiting and retaining highly talented and motivated teachers requires that salaries be increased significantly, to better match the critical importance and extremely demanding nature of their work.

While all of these measures may sound expensive, over a generation they would be far more than offset by the reduced costs of homelessness, unemployment, incarceration, addiction and all the other ills to which poor educational outcomes can lead, and by the increased productivity of a better-educated workforce. Indeed, according to Nobel Prize winning economist James Heckman, the rate of return on investment when high quality preschool starts very early "is in the range of 6 percent to 10 percent per year per dollar invested."

However, even the best preschool education will not be maximally effective if it does not start until children are four, by which point the majority of that critical 0- to 5-year-old window has already passed. If we want to give every child the best chance for success, universal full-day preschool should start at 1+ or 2+. With that in place, in just a few years, children from all backgrounds will start arriving at primary school on track, with the skills and background necessary to be successful students. As we begin to expand and reform public preschool education, we should make the commitment to give all children a true head start toward fulfilling their potential.

Posted on February 5, 2014 and filed under Articles.

Necesitamos traductores

En Montessori Northwest continuamos nuestro trabajo como centro de educación y extensión a la comunidad, y constantemente buscamos formas nuevas y dinámicas de conectarnos con una mayor audiencia.

Nuestra misión lo expresa mejor:

Proveer educación siguiendo los principios pedagógicos de la Dra. María Montessori mediante los servicios de educación para guías Montessori, desarrollo profesional, educación para padres y extensión comunitaria que beneficie a los niños en todo el mundo.

 Una de las formas en las que planeamos promover nuestra misión es reconociendo que no todas las personas tienen un lenguaje común. Para lo cual Montessori Northwest busca un grupo de voluntarios que ayuden ocasionalmente con la traducción. El blog de MNW publica con regularidad contenido nuevo y original de nuestros estudiantes y aprendices y nos encantaría poder compartir estos mensajes de inspiración en otras lenguas además del inglés; en español, japonés, etc.

Si estás interesado en unirte a este esfuerzo, y quieres saber más acerca de cómo ayudar, esperamos que contactes a la directora de comunicaciones de MNW, Glenn Goodfellow.
Posted on February 1, 2014 and filed under En español.

Language Material Making

this blog post available in Spanish here

Primary students (learn more about Primary here) submitted, displayed, shared, and ogled their handmade Language Material Making assignments today.  They each created a Phonetic Object Box, a set of basic vocabulary cards basic enough for any child new to the Casa, and a complete set of cards and definitions designed for the older children in the group. Their work shone with care, thoughtfulness, individuality and love.  It fills us with joy that these are the teachers of tomorrow.

We thought you might enjoy seeing a few pictures!

Posted on January 31, 2014 .

The Learning to Leading Fund

Montessori Northwest is pleased to launch

The Learning to Leading Fund

The Learning to Leading Fund offers tuition assistance to teachers in training at Montessori Northwest.  This fund will prioritize applicants who intend to work in tuition-free Montessori programs.  By offering financial assistance to these teachers, this fund will help provide highly qualified teachers to the Montessori programs that are actively serving communities in need.


Montessori Northwest currently trains more than 100 teachers per year in one of the following three course levels:

Financial aid for Montessori teachers in training is limited and the training is not currently accessible to all students.  Your contribution to the Learning to Leading Fund will support up to 15 teachers annually in completing a teacher education program at Montessori Northwest. 

Montessori Northwest has received a generous matching donation of $25,000 per year for three years to launch this fund.  All contributions up to this amount will be matched dollar-to-dollar. 

Join us in supporting these teachers in training.  They are our future leaders - working to make quality education available to all children. 

More information about how you can contribute to this exciting fund, as well as how to access the support, will be announced soon. In the interim, please make sure you are enrolled in our online newsletter so you will receive the most up-to-date information. Enroll HERE.

Posted on January 24, 2014 .

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.


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**


"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