Posts tagged #Primary

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.

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.

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.

Theoretically Speaking...

One of the many assignments that our Primary Students complete as part of their coursework is a Theory Project. The Theory Project represents a further exploration, integration, and understanding of selected topics and sources related to Montessori theory and practice.   

This assignment is unique in that it can take a handful of different forms. It can be a 5000 word essay presenting the student’s own synthesis of the chosen topic. It might take shape as a 20-minute presentation involving handouts, activities, visual aids, PowerPoint, or video. Some choose to create a sample “Parent Night, “ create a Podcast episode, or even interpret the information via artistic theater performance.  Each student is free to select the modality of their choice. (Very Montessori, no?)

Above we see Kate Simer, current Primary student, giving a presentation on the benefits of exposing children to second or other languages before the age of six.  She incorporated an interactive language lesson into the presentation, as well as a tasty food-preparation demonstration.

Kate has helped MNW with numerous Spanish translation projects and is the director of Hands-On Language, a Spanish language program for children that uses hands-on activities to make language learning fun.

 

Posted on March 19, 2014 and filed under En español, Primary.

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.

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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.

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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.

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 .

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.

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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**

TO REGISTER:
503.963.8992
JANET@MONTESSORI-NW.ORG

"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

Quote me on this...

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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?

Posted on November 14, 2013 and filed under From MNW Staff.

Thoughts on History, Heritage, & Culture Workshop

Ginni Sackett, Montessori Northwest's Director of Primary Training, teaching a workshop on History, Heritage, and Culture.

Ginni Sackett, Montessori Northwest's Director of Primary Training, teaching a workshop on History, Heritage, and Culture.

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.

Register for the final workshop in the History, Heritage, and Culture series, taking place on November 20th, here.

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Posted on November 13, 2013 and filed under Articles, From MNW Staff.

Holidays by Ginni Sackett

Halloween is almost here – 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