By Elise Huneke-Stone
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. Within this “practice society,” children navigate social and moral experiences that prepare them for global citizenship. Click here to view some of Elise’s presentation slides.
Another highlight of the elementary portion of the conference came during Gerry Leonard’s workshop, “Bringing Cosmic Fables to Life.” Listening to a good story is a universally loved human activity, and Gerry reminded us of how storytelling has a special place in our elementary practice. Next, participants were invited to write their own stories after hearing several inspiring tales from Gerry. One of the participants, Lisa Thauvette from International Montessori in Tevuren, Belgium, shared a wonderful story about Louis Braille, inventor of the Braille alphabet. Click here to read and download Lisa’s story.
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Originally from Connecticut, Elise Huneke-Stone came to Portland in 1980 to attend Reed College, graduating with a B.A. in Psychology. She earned her AMI Elementary diploma in 1987 and her Primary diploma in 2010, and has a Masters in Education from Loyola University Maryland. With twenty-one years of classroom experience, Elise has taught at both lower and upper elementary levels, and is an Oregon Registry Master Trainer. She is mother to Virginia and Sara, both Montessori educated, and wife to David Ayer, a Montessori primary/adolescent teacher and administrator. Elise and David were program developers and teachers for the Montessori Adolescent Project NW in Portland and spent three years as resident faculty at the Hershey Montessori Farm School in Ohio. Elise spent an additional two years in residence at Hershey during her Training of Trainers. She worked for several summers at the NAMTA Orientation to Adolescence, has presented at AMI-EAA and NAMTA events, and served for six years on the board of the Oregon Montessori Association. In addition to her Montessori work, Elise has worked with families as a certified natural childbirth educator and doula.