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.

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.

Hotels that are located near Montessori Northwest

Inn at the Convention Center, 420 NE Holladay St, Portland, OR ‎ 97232

Inn at the Convention Center, 420 NE Holladay St, Portland, OR ‎ 97232

Red Lion Hotel Portland Convention Center, 1021 NE Grand Avenue, Portland, OR 97232

Red Lion Hotel Portland Convention Center, 1021 NE Grand Avenue, Portland, OR 97232

Doubletree by Hilton Lloyd Center, 1000 NE Multnomah St, Portland, OR 97232

Doubletree by Hilton Lloyd Center, 1000 NE Multnomah St, Portland, OR 97232

Crowne Plaza Portland Downtown Convention Center, 1441 NE 2nd Ave Portland OR 97232

Crowne Plaza Portland Downtown Convention Center, 1441 NE 2nd Ave Portland OR 97232

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.

 

School Leaders Gathering

On Tuesday March 11, 2014 Montessori Northwest hosted a reception for school leaders in order to communicate some updates and to discuss streamlining our partnerships within this incredibly supportive Montessori community.  A summary of current projects and exciting developments that were shared at this meeting can be found below.   

Click above to download the full document.

Click above to download the full document.

Montessori Northwest recognizes the invaluable partnerships that we share with schools for training teachers, providing community education and outreach on behalf of Montessori.  One of our best examples is that we rely on school administrators and teachers to open their classrooms to students to complete their essential observation and practice teaching tasks.  During the gathering MNW board member Jackie Cossentino was able to speak to the incredibly high demand for trained teachers around the country specifically in the public sector.  

As the number of students in our courses expand, school that open their doors for observation and practice teaching make it possible for MNW graduates to fill positions around the globe where a well-prepared Montessori teacher is urgently needed.  We are so grateful to the schools and teachers who consistently support us in this work and encourage anyone interested in assisting to contact us with any questions.  Our students can learn so much from visiting classrooms "still in progress" and we encourage all teachers and schools to participate. 

Our organization has set some lofty goals for growing teacher training programs, advocating for more accessible Montessori education, and providing greater public understanding of Montessori education.  Schools are essential partners with us in this work and we are incredibly grateful for the ongoing support that is offered.  We also strive that our community education, professional development, model classrooms, and web resources are valuable to schools. If you have suggestions or ideas of how MNW can better meet the needs of the community, please let us know.  Our doors are always open.

Posted on March 27, 2014 .

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.

Assistants to Infancy, Applied in the Home

A few days ago, a recent MNW graduate, Ms. Junnifa Uzodike, shared some pictures of her son. Beyond their obvious cuteness, they also demonstrate some great Montessori principles that can be applied in the home. To better explain what you see here, Gloria Singh, Assistants to Infancy Course Assistant, has contributed a few notes.

On the bottom left we see her child looking at himself in the mirror, getting visual feedback about himself and also getting a view of the rest of the room--very beneficial when a baby can't move well independently to see what's around. Babies really enjoy looking at faces, studying the expressions, watching lips move in talking--even their own.

In the background, you can see the toys organized simply, with very easy access for the child.

We also see the baby very busy at the weaning chair and table, in this case he likely used it to pull himself up into a standing position so that his hands can be free to explore whatever has captured his interest. Non-walking children use the smallest chairs with arms--the arms give lots of support if their sitting is still unsteady and also helps them to stay at the weaning table until they are done with their eating.

A chair without arms at a table is best for children who have begun walking, because it is much easier for them to get into the chair without having to maneuver around the arms and they likely will not have learned to pull out the chair to make room for their bodies to get into it.

Have you ever watched a young child work out how to sit down in a chair? It's quite an event to witness. "How to Sit in a Chair" is a Practical Life activity that we learn to demonstrate for young children on the A to I course.

We also talk a lot about how simple, uncluttered, and appealing an appropriate environment is for young children--a few toys that get rotated, a mixture of materials (fabrics, wood, metal, etc.). You can see this here too.

Want to learn more about MNW’s Assistants to Infancy Course? Click here for additional information.