“A child is both a hope and a promise for humankind” – Dr. Maria Montessori
We spent just over five weeks living and working at Fruitful Orchard Montessori in Nigeria this past summer. The kindness and love shown to Quentin and I by that school community could no be repaid in a life time.
However, we would like to try.
And so on this Giving Tuesday, we hi,boy ask all of you in our amazing community to join us in supporting Fruitful Orchard as thy endeavour to build an Elementary programme.
A programme that will allow the oldest of those beautiful children I fell in love with this summer to stay.
Follow this link to read more info and give to this incredibly important journey.
I love observing in toddler/preprimary environments and so when I had the chance to observe at Brooklyn Children’s House I eagerly took it.
Lisa is the owner and her space is beautiful and so thoughtfully laid out. One of the biggest misconceptions about the Montessori pedagogy is that you need a lot of space and a lot of stuff. It simply isn’t true.
Throughout the two main rooms, children were happily working with Practical Life materials, art materials and having snack. If you have ever doubted an independent group toddler snack is possible go and visit Lisa. Three children happily sat around a toddler sized table serving themselves fruit and crackers and then putting their personalize placemats away and washing their dishes.
Toddlers are often not a quiet and calm bunch. They are also still working on their empathy, and emotional regulation. When teachers are trained to understand the underlying neurological and social development going on, appropriate and above all caring responses to that behaviour can happen. It was lovely to witness that in this space. It was also lovely to watch other very young children show empathy when asking if a child was ok, which is a testament to the hard foundational Peace and Courtesy work Lisa has put in.
I loved my visit and seeing the beautiful detail oriented space Lisa has curated for her students. If you are curious about quality authentic Montessori programmes please leave a comment and we will try to answer your questions.
Hello September. For those of us in the Northren hemisphere we gathering school supplies and retrieving lost lunch boxes.
Montessori back to school has similarities with mainstream education. The first few days are spent getting to know the ground rules and making new friends. However, there are some important differences.
Grace and Courtesy lessons are introduced the first day of school. What’s expected of the child is modelled with role play lessons not written down on a chalkboard. Real life examples are used and the children take part actively instead of sitting in their desks listening to the rules.
If this is your child’s first time going to school it can be a little intimidating and so I’ve compiled our favourite books to help prepare little ones as the head off.
A little Peace is one of our favorite Peace Education books. It is perfect for the first weeks of school and anytime after that. It’s photographs show children all around the world sharing a smile, lending a hand, and spreading peace. It focuses on an important Grace and Couresty lesson. That peace can happy easily, by offering those around you the simplest of jestures.
The Invisible Boy puts the reader in the shoes of Brian. A small shy boy who is kind and has a gift for drawing but is picked last for teams, whispered about at the lunch table and wishes the floor would swallow him up. The illustrations are beautiful and I love that there are discussion prompts in the end pages. This is a great book to open up conversations with a child about friendship and respect for others.
Jack goes to Montessori School is my absolute favorite back to school Montessori book. There are many books about a kindergarten day or a preschool day but sadly very few about what a Montessori 3-6 child experiences in their school day. How goodbyes are said, how to roll out a mat, what the classroom looks like and what materials are used are all featured. This book should be read by every Montessori family and should be in every Montessori schools lending library.
Giving children ample time to process the transition to school is important. Giving them a head start on the Grace and Courtesy lessons will go a long way to helping them feel connected and at home in the classroom.
Do your children play board games? They seem a bit antiquated now I suppose. We love them though and we are constantly on the look out for new ones.
Quentin enjoys Bird Bingo (seen here), and Snakes and Ladders (seen here). Today I introduced Checkers because he’s been asking how to play.
The board was made by my father for me when I was a child. Old and worn it was a perfect match to the newly oiled wooden checkers that arrived in the mail today.
There are so many valuable lessons to be learned from competitive games. Concentration, patience, critical thinking. All the things the latest childhood research is telling us we need to teach more of in school.
I think there is something much more important.
“I won Mama.” A smile beginning on his lips. Then, a hand reaches across the table.
“Good game Mama. You tried hard.” A tiny hand shakes mine before sitting back to survey his achievement.
“Wanna play again?”
Grace and Courtesy and concern for others: offering food, saying “please” and “thank you”, and other good manners appropriate to the child’s culture, modelled by adults for very young children.
-The Joyful Child Montessori, Global Wisdom for Birth to Three – Susan Mayclin Stephenson
In our house that translates into spending time as a family doing activities that the boys enjoy.
The easiest and often most rewarding is to go for a walk.
Today we stopped at the playground first. All of us model gentle respectful language with each other. Anthony is a great role model for Quentin. He is calm, and speaks respectfully to him.
“Quentin, would you like a turn with the wheel?”
Besides all this modelling we also just had a lot of fun.
We stopped at a local shop for some freshly made “sweets” and coffee. Then we walked home.
The rainy season will return soon. It’s nice to take advantage of the good days.
Back at home, when I had finished putting things away, I came out to the front yard to find this: