Montessori Training FLASH MOB!!
Hello, friends of Montessori Northwest.
One of my favorite responsibilities as MNW’s Director of Fundraising & Community Education is organizing our annual fundraising auction and dinner, the Celebration of Light. From its humble inception nearly a decade ago, this event has grown into a magical evening of laughter, community, and fabulous auction items—and a great opportunity to support the dynamic work of Montessori Northwest.
This year’s event on Friday, January 24th, is really shaping into something special. Not only will it be our biggest and most glamorous Celebration (hello, Melody Ballroom!) but it will also feature several new treats.
- Who-Done-It Mystery Party
- Zumba, Yoga, Belly and Bollywood Dancing Lessons
- A Trip to Disneyland and Original Handmade Montessori Materials
- Billiard Games, Winery Tours, and Karaoke
- Gift Certificates galore!
- And much, much more…
There are so many ways to get involved:
For more information about the event and to buy tickets, please visit the official Celebration of Light website.
If your school or organization is looking for highly-visible Sponsorship opportunities, click here.
Or maybe you'd like to volunteer your time to help support the event?
I look forward to seeing you on January 24th at the 9th Annual Celebration of Light Dinner and Auction. I’m buying a handful of tickets as holiday gifts this year and look forward to sharing this special evening with all of you.
With 2014 rolling along, Montessori Northwest's annual Celebration of Light is nearing closer by the day!
Every year our Montessori community looks forward to this event with great anticipation. It is our volunteers who, in part, make the evening an incredible success. That said, Montessori Northwest is looking for quite a few good men and women to fill the roles listed below--Come join the fun!
Pre-CelebrationHelp is requested in procurement of auction items, photography, and write-ups of auction items for the COL website and general data entry. The time commitment varies by job and most often can be completed remotely.
Event Setup (Day of the event, AM-4:30PM) *greatest need*After transporting COL items from MNW to the Melody Ballroom, help is needed to set up the auction spaces, check in/out tables, beautify the hall with decorations and table centerpieces, and put together the many exciting interactive party games that last throughout the evening. Lunch lunch and snacks provided.
Event Live (4:30PM-10PM)
Showtime! The pinnacle of many hands and hard work is showered on our 200+ attendees: Curbside greetings, entry escorts, guest check in/out, Golden Ticket sales, VIP Personal Assistants, managing the party games, and the inevitable clean up. Dinner provided (non-COL food). Enjoy the festivities.
Gift giving occasions such as birthdays and holidays can often be overwhelming for young children and their parents.
Last week we were joined by Allyn Travis, Executive Director and Director of Training at the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee.
A MNW student, already trained and working at the Elementary level, sheds her perspective on also training at the Primary level.
"Ellos no quieren trabajar, lo único que quieren hacer es hablar," a veces es lo que escuchamos de los maestros Montessori.
Montessorians have had over 100 years of “product development,” but our outreach, communication and visibility has not received the same attention...
It's that magical time of year when our attention is drawn to the fantastic color-changes, shapes, sizes, and physical characteristics of the falling leaves. It's the perfect time to present the leaf presentations from the botany work to the Elementary students.
The Montessori Elementary classroom feeds the six to twelve year old child’s insatiable appetite for learning, offering boundless opportunities to build their own knowledge within a collaborative community. The AMI Elementary training supports your growth as a storyteller, imagination-sparker, and ethical compass to provide the child with the keys to explore the universe.
Interested in learning more about Elementary Training? Learn more here.
This 20 minute film gives an overview of Montessori education from birth through age 12, contains interviews with people training to become Montessori teachers as well as teachers in their classrooms. It's a nice introduction to Montessori and the training process for anyone considering becoming a Montessori teacher.
WHY CHOOSE AMI?
The Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) was founded by Maria Montessori in 1929 to protect the integrity of her work. Today, AMI continues to uphold these standards by offering high-quality, authentic and rigorous teacher training through its affiliated training centers.
The AMI diploma is used in over 110 countries as a mark of teacher training excellence. Graduates of AMI training courses must demonstrate understanding of educational theory, child development, observation techniques, use and presentation of the Montessori materials, and ability to create appropriate activities for children. The practice teaching component solidifies this learning through hands-on work in Montessori classrooms.
AMI courses are conducted by AMI trainers, master teachers who have completed the Training of Trainers program and have a profound understanding of Montessori theory and practice.
In the past ten years, Montessori schools have nearly doubled their student enrollment, and positions at AMI-recognized schools go unfilled. Your AMI diploma allows you to pursue your Montessori career with the confidence that comes from extensive training and foundational knowledge.
Options for undergraduate and graduate credit are available through colleges and universities affiliated with individual training centers. Explore our Teacher Training section to learn more.
Corinne Stastny, Primary Course Assistant at MNW, mother, and former Montessori Teacher, lends her insights into Montessorians working with the youngest members of our world; babies and toddlers.
The Montessori approach to children under the age of three evokes much curiosity and enthusiasm from those more familiar with Montessori at other age levels. Those of us with Primary or Elementary backgrounds know we love our prepared environments, know we love Montessori, and are sure that babies and toddlers everywhere would no doubt fall in love with a Montessori learning environment designed for them! However, we also know that Montessori is not always easy to convey or understand in just a few short sentences.
I’ve picked the brains of Assistants to Infancy (A to I) trained alumni a bit, combined it with my own experiences applying A to I principles with my child, and am happy to give some introductory resources for families creating mindful environments for little ones. My focus here is just on babies who are not yet walking, as the most common question I hear from curious enthusiastic souls is “Someone’s having a baby and is curious about Montessori. What should I tell them?” Below is a menu of resources, choose what you feel best captures the imagination of your target audience!
Know that the same essential principles apply to Montessori at any age group: respect and communication, supporting independence, free choice within limits, learning through experience, preparing an environment that matches the specific needs of the child.
While rather involved, the inspiring texts of Understanding the Human Being by Silvana Montanaro and The Child and the Family by Dr Maria Montessori can be a strong resource for families seeking to a deeper connection to theory.
AidToLife.org– This beautiful, clear, and powerful website, provided by AMI, offers simple, straightforward advice that is easy to understand and apply.
MichaelOlaf.net - Michael Olaf and Susan Stephenson have inspired Montessorians, parents, and parents-to-be for years. The Joyful Child, a book focusing on 0-3 in the home, is now available and a rich resource!
In a Montessori Home is an inspiring book and DVD package from NAMTA featuring families enjoying Montessori principles in the home.
Aside from schools, A to I graduates often share their knowledge via private consultations. Montessori Northwest has the names of a few of these parent educators, and would welcome the names of more!
Come to Montessori Northwest, where we have a model home and toddler community environments. We have regular open houses and are happy to schedule individual tours Monday – Friday. The Assistants to Infancy training course is enrolling for the summers of 2014 and 15, and we are seeking not only teachers-in-training for this level, but also families whose infants can participate in on-site observation sessions both summers. Being part of the observation is an incredible window into the Montessori approach to this age group!
Visit our website, http://montessori-nw.org/info-assistants-to-infancy, or Email Andrea for more information--503-963-8992.
I visited my sister Robyn and her three young children in Australia recently. They live in a hot, remote, and beautiful part of Western Australia called the Kimberley, defined by its ancient landscape, red dirt, and boab trees. I don’t get to see my two nieces (Kailey, 5, and Millie, 3) and my handsome young nephew Sam (almost 8) very often, so it was a rare time for us to be together. While I was staying with them, however, a sad event occurred: Hopscotch the family rabbit died.
Hoppy had been in the family for a number of years, alternately crabby and affectionate, depending on his mood of the day. In general, though, he was a good rabbit, and gave the children an opportunity to be responsible as they attended to his physical needs: feeding, giving water, cleaning the hutch.
On occasion, Robyn would remove Hoppy from his hutch and put him in an old, rusted-out, flat-bottomed boat on their property. This would give Hoppy a chance to hop about and stretch his legs without risk of him escaping into a dingo’s jaws. On the day of Hoppy’s demise, he’d been placed in the boat with a bowl of water and an open hutch for his comfort. He’d done this many times without incident. We left to go on a boating tour of nearby Lake Argyle (which, fun fact, contains enough water to fill nineteen Sydney Harbors). It was after dark when we returned from our trip, and we immediately put the kids to bed.
“We should go get Hoppy”, I said, once the children were tucked in. Together, Robyn and I went out to the boat. Hoppy was lying in some leaves, very still. Unusually still. Immediately, I thought, “That’s one dead rabbit, right there”. My sister took a little longer to convince.
“Hoppy?” she called uncertainly.
Predictably, Hoppy made no response.
“Hoppy?” Robyn called again with mounting alarm. She nudged him. He did exactly what you’d expect a dead rabbit to do. Robyn’s hands flew to her mouth.
“I think he’s dead”.
“I think you’re right”, I agreed, nodding.
“I can’t believe he’s dead!”
I nodded again. “He certainly is dead”.
We silently regarded the furry, motionless body.
“How do you think he died?” Robyn asked.
“Hmm…. heatstroke? Snakebite? Old age? Who can know?”
We stood there, a little shocked, staring at the earthly remains of Hoppy the rabbit. Our thoughts turned to the same topic: what should we tell the kids?
“Maybe we should tell them he ran away”, Robyn ventured.
I thought about this for a while. He ran away… how would the children respond to that? Maybe they’d think he’d return at some point. Maybe they’d want to go looking for him. Maybe they’d be worried for his safety, imagining him being attacked by dingoes or being hungry or scared. Maybe they’d become anxious that other animals – or even people – would run away, too.
“I think we should tell them he died”, I said.
My mind turn to the Montessori training and the suggestions I’d received about how to deal with this type of situation. True and brief. Compassionate but not pitying. I was already writing the speech for the children in my head. I delivered some of it to my sister, and explained how this was a sad but useful opportunity to acquaint the kids with the realities of death and dying. Eventually we agreed that we’d tell the children after school the next day.
In the meantime, we went to work committing Hoppy’s corporeal form to the earth from whence it came. Which is to say, we dug a hole and buried him.
The next day dawned and the children didn't notice Hoppy’s absence prior to departing for school. When they returned home the next day, and were enjoying an iceblock on the veranda, the moment seemed ripe to break the news to them. Robyn and I had sketched out a plan, and I felt confident delivering the story.
“So… there’s something that we have to tell you”, I began. “Something quite sad”.
Three pairs of eyes looked at me. They continued to eat their iceblocks, but I had captured their interest.
“Do you remember Speckles the dog?” Speckles was Robyn’s beloved dog who had died a few years earlier. Sam and Kailey were old enough to remember her.
“Speckles was a good dog. She had a long life, and had a lot of fun. We loved her very much. And when she got old, she died, and we couldn't see her anymore”.
Okay… here it comes.
“Last night when we came home, it was very late and you all went right to bed. Mum and I went to the boat to get Hoppy and put him in his hutch. But when we saw him, we found out that he’d died”.
“Hoppy was dead. He wasn't moving. He wasn't playing or breathing”.
Sam’s bottom lip started to quiver. He was older, and he was following along in a way that the two younger girls weren't. I forged ahead with the story.
“Mum and I were very sad that Hoppy had died. We knew we needed to bury his body, so we dug a big hole over near the windmill. Then we put his body in the hole, and covered it up again”.
“Can we see him?” asked Kailey.
“No, honey. We can’t see Hoppy anymore. He’s dead. That means we can’t see him again. He can’t move or play or eat or breathe anymore”.
The children took this in. They were quiet, but not devastated. Millie ate her iceblock without understanding. Sam became thoughtful. Kailey appeared to be mentally chewing this over, as well.
“It’s sad when pets die, because it means that we can’t see them anymore. But we will always have happy memories of them. If you like, we can each take a stone and put it on Hoppy’s grave, which is the place where he’s buried. You can have a nice memory of Hoppy anytime and anywhere you like, but sometimes it’s good to have a special place to go to remember him. And his grave is a special place”.
There was general agreement that stones should be placed on Hoppy’s grave. We all gathered some stones (mine being much larger and heavier to deter any enterprising dingoes from grave-robbing), and we journeyed to Hoppy’s final resting place.
Kailey looked down at the mound of dirt, her stone for Hoppy clutched tightly in her hand.
“I want to see him”, she said, a little sadly.
“We can’t see him anymore, Kailey love. He’s dead, so he can’t play with us or be with us anymore. But we can remember some nice stories about him. What was your favorite thing about Hoppy?”
She considered this. “He was soft and nice”.
“Yes, he was, wasn't he? Hoppy was a soft and nice rabbit”.
I put my big stones on Hoppy’s grave. The children did the same with their smaller rocks.
“Bye, Hoppy”, I said, modeling the finality of the moment. “You were a soft and nice rabbit”.
“Bye, Hoppy”, Kailey echoed.
We stood there for a few minutes until our shoes were discovered by the large and aggressive ants that had emerged from a nearby ant nest. We stamped our feet. This was still the Kimberley, and life continued, uncaring that Hoppy did not.
We walked back to the house. “That went well, I think”, said Robyn. I agreed.
There had been no hysterics, no real tears. I had been very cautious to avoid using any euphemisms for death. I didn't say Hoppy was sleeping. I didn't say that he’s passed away. Euphemisms are for adults, who understand the real meaning behind the words. The children needed to know that dead meant dead: not breathing, not moving, not playing or eating or thinking anymore. Dead meant never coming back.
Robyn informed her husband, Mat, about Hoppy’s death that evening. Mat is an electrician who works at the Argyle diamond mine about 200 kilometers (124 miles) away. Millie, the youngest, was all too happy to inform Mat about Hoppy.
“Hoppy got dead!” she reported enthusiastically. “We dug a hole and buried him!”
For a very young child like Millie, the event was easier to accept. Hoppy was here, and now he’s not. And it makes for a good story to tell Dad, apparently.
The next evening at bedtime, Kailey became very sad as the true impact of Hoppy’s absence hit home. She cried, lamenting both the loss of Hoppy and the loss of a pet. In between shuddering sobs and back rubs, we remembered all the things we loved about Hoppy: how soft his ears were, how it was funny that he would attack the hand broom, how he would nuzzle your hand while you held him. Kailey went to sleep with fond memories of Hoppy in her dreams, even as her tears dried on her cheeks.
Hoppy had a long and happy life, and there’s no tragedy in dying peacefully at the end of such a good run. With death comes sadness and loss, but also the realization that it’s part of a very natural cycle, one in which we ourselves will someday participate. By offering to the children a true, brief, and compassionate story of Hoppy’s death, we laid the groundwork for a healthier attitude to death: what happens to the one who died, but also what it means for the living who remain.
Montessori Northwest's students look to the texts of Dr. Maria Montessori for inspiration and guidance when working with children.
Here we see an exercise in which Primary students read passages from Montessori, then consolidate their meanings into more contemporary language--Creating some beautiful temporary original artwork for our walls. Do you have any Montessori quotes hanging on your walls?
Having left the Primary environment several months ago to join the Montessori Northwest Administration, it was like a homecoming with "my people" to participate in the second session of Ginni Sackett's Primary Workshop Series: History, Heritage, Culture. The joy of working with children and families came rushing back to me as our community of colleagues approached the realities of engaging children from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds in neutral, fun, experiential activities.
Complementing nuggets of lecture, we flipped roles to play like children. When free of discrimination, prejudice, and stereotype, children can come to embrace the universal similarities that thread across our species! Similarly, from movement to story and the artifacts within an environment, the adult is privileged - forced - to undergo a self-analysis that ensures they are practicing the preaching. After all, anything less would be disingenuous.
In short, as Montessorians girding humanity's future through the vehicle of these young children, there is a relief in knowing our work is inherently designed to foster utopian results.