Montessori Foundation | MFA | IMC https://www.montessori.org The Online Resource of the Montessori Foundation, Montessori Family Alliance and the International Montessori Council Sun, 05 Jul 2020 21:00:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 https://www.montessori.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/cropped-Family-Allliance-Logo-32x32.jpg Montessori Foundation | MFA | IMC https://www.montessori.org 32 32 Montessori Town Hall Our Role in Ending Systemic Racism July 3, 2020 https://www.montessori.org/montessori-town-hall-our-role-in-ending-systemic-racism-july-3-2020/ Sun, 05 Jul 2020 20:54:53 +0000 https://www.montessori.org/?p=81046 ]]> ]]> “Communication in a Time of Crisis” https://www.montessori.org/communication-in-a-time-of-crisis/ Fri, 03 Jul 2020 15:30:46 +0000 https://www.montessori.org/?p=81022 ]]> ]]> Parenting Toward Emotionally Healthy Families https://www.montessori.org/parenting-toward-emotionally-healthy-families/ Tue, 30 Jun 2020 20:03:52 +0000 https://www.montessori.org/?p=80783 Lorna McGrath and Margot Garfield-Anderson share ideas for cultivating and/or maintaining emotionally healthy families. Together we will weave our way through Covid-19, the summer of 2020, social unrest, and political campaigns, all of which provoke strong emotions. Whether you and your family have gotten a bit off course or whether you are holding on for […] ]]> Lorna McGrath and Margot Garfield-Anderson share ideas for cultivating and/or maintaining emotionally healthy families. Together we will weave our way through Covid-19, the summer of 2020, social unrest, and political campaigns, all of which provoke strong emotions. Whether you and your family have gotten a bit off course or whether you are holding on for […] ]]> Helping Parents Help Themselves https://www.montessori.org/helping-parents-help-themselves/ https://www.montessori.org/helping-parents-help-themselves/#respond Fri, 26 Jun 2020 17:16:17 +0000 https://www.montessori.org/?p=80661 The Montessori Foundation, in cooperation with a collaborative set up in mid-March, of this year, is striving to help parents figure out ways to deal with the new reality of Covid 19.

For many, you are working from home for the first time. How do you manage your time and energy when the children are home and they, too, are trying to do school work in a remote way you all never imagined would become the rule of the day? Not to mention that you may be competing with your children for internet access!

Jonathan Wolff, Montessori Foundation Senior Consultant, was the presenter at a parent zoom meeting. His topic was, “Sharing Words of Love, Empathy, and Encouragement with Children in Unsettling Times.” Along with Lorna McGrath (Director of the Montessori Family Alliance) and Christine Lowry (Special Education Specialist and another of the Foundation’s Senior Consultants), they shared an array of coping strategies.

For those who did not participate, we have a recap of the suggestions we hope you will find helpful.

1. Get in Touch with your own feelings. If you’ve ever flown on a plane, the famous line the crew gives to you when demonstrating the proper steps to using those oxygen masks should be popping into your head about now. Place your own mask on first, and then you can help others. It’s not being selfish, it’s being proactive. In a way, we are all grieving. We are grieving for the loss of the lives we aren’t getting to live right now and we are, perhaps, grieving for a loved one struck down by this virus. Some of us have lost jobs and income and we are grieving that loss. These are all real and valid feelings to acknowledge and should not be diminished or thought of as being selfish. Right now, you need to make sure that your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs are being met if even on a small level.

2. Check in with your children regarding their thoughts and feelings before you see any behavioral issues manifesting. By observing any changes in their behavior or attitudes, you can greatly aid in keeping them calm and feeling safe. Depending on the age of the child(ren), you might notice they have reverted to bed wetting or having accidents during the day, acting out, having nightmares, not eating, or generally being clingy. Try to manage this before you are in the ‘reacting’ phase of handling it.

3. Respond with empathy and no judgement before offering a solution. “How are you feeling about …?” “What do you think about the online learning you have to be doing now?” Probe them gently, but respect the boundary if they don’t feel like sharing when you are asking. Let them know you are there for them if and when they are ready.

The last thing you want an already anxious child to experience is a freaked-out mom or dad. That’s a lot for a child to process. Sometimes less is more with very young children.

4. Sharing your fears. You can be honest with your child; however, children have an uncanny ability to pick up on parental fears. The last thing you want an already anxious child to experience is a freaked-out mom or dad. That’s a lot for a child to process. Sometimes less is more with very young children. Regardless of children’s age or emotional maturity, children need to feel loved and reassured that you are going to keep them safe. You might explain that we are all in this together, and it’s OK that we feel this way.

5. What if you just end up losing it yourself in front of them? Jon recommends you “reboot” yourself as soon as you possibly can, assure them they are loved by you, and you are feeling better now. This is nothing they have done and you aren’t angry with them. One parent gave us a wonderful suggestion, and we’ve all decided to adopt it as well. Tell your child(ren) you need a TIME IN. Time out can really sound and be a negative if it’s not practiced in a very careful way; so when you say, “I need a time in to just give myself a few moments,” the children in your home will be more empathetic back to you.

6. Make certain that if you have a partner who shares the responsibility of the child(ren) that you speak with one voice. Discuss privately and before talking to the children, how you will handle certain situations. You need to provide a unified front when they might be trying to pit you against each other.

7. Do not be afraid to seek outside professional help, if you feel that you are all operating in crisis mode. With remote telemedical delivery available in many states, you may be able to get the counseling you and your partner need. It’s been speculated that the divorce rate in China has skyrocketed by spouses who could not get along during the weeks of isolation. Know that there will be pitfalls, highs and lows, patience wearing thinner as the period of stay in or stay-home-orders get longer than we might have been prepared to accept at the beginning of all of this.

8. PLEASE, limit the amount of media you view during the day when they could be listening in. While it’s important you keep yourselves well informed, it can really impact young children. Set periodic updates on your devices from trusted news sources if you can. Then watch after they are in bed for the night.

9. Limit online games that are based on ‘the zombie apocalypse’ or are very isolating. This will serve no good purpose. Involve the children in family time. Use this time to really connect with your children. It will make you all appreciate each other more and that’s a good outcome for all.

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Favorite Books for All Ages https://www.montessori.org/favorite-books-for-all-ages/ Fri, 26 Jun 2020 17:06:17 +0000 https://www.montessori.org/?p=80656 Editorial note: Lorna McGrath is the Montessori Foundation’s Montessori Family Alliance Director. We asked her to compile a list of her favorite books, by age grouping for parents to read with their children, have their children read for themselves, and for parents to enjoy. Some libraries may have a selection available in digital format. Happy […] ]]> Editorial note: Lorna McGrath is the Montessori Foundation’s Montessori Family Alliance Director. We asked her to compile a list of her favorite books, by age grouping for parents to read with their children, have their children read for themselves, and for parents to enjoy. Some libraries may have a selection available in digital format. Happy […] ]]> MEANINGFUL WORK: HOMESTYLE https://www.montessori.org/meaningful-work-homestyle/ Fri, 26 Jun 2020 16:50:47 +0000 https://www.montessori.org/?p=80652 A helpful worksheet to help you help your children feel a sense of purpose at home provided by Christine Lowry, M.Ed. Daily ResponsibilitiesFor ages 2 and up Make your bed Put your dirty clothes in the hamper or laundry room Put shoes away Put your personal items away—toys, books, self-care items, etc. Get dressed Wash […] ]]> A helpful worksheet to help you help your children feel a sense of purpose at home provided by Christine Lowry, M.Ed. Daily ResponsibilitiesFor ages 2 and up Make your bed Put your dirty clothes in the hamper or laundry room Put shoes away Put your personal items away—toys, books, self-care items, etc. Get dressed Wash […] ]]> Pandemic Strategies: Family Meetings https://www.montessori.org/pandemic-strategies-family-meetings/ https://www.montessori.org/pandemic-strategies-family-meetings/#respond Fri, 26 Jun 2020 16:28:35 +0000 https://www.montessori.org/?p=80648 During the first weeks of the pandemic, The Montessori Foundation began to hold free zoom meetings for parents struggling with a variety of issues.Here is a short review of the Montessori Parent Gathering from April 4, 2020. The presenter was Lorna McGrath, Director of The Montessori Family Alliance.

  • Family meetings fulfill many needs for parents, children and anyone else living under the same roof such as:
  • showing commitment to the family unit by all;
  • being a vehicle for problem-solving issues within the family;
  • brain-storming ideas or solutions to issues impacting the family,
  • giving everyone an equal voice;
  • showing respect for everyone in the family;
  • showing appreciation for everyone in the family; and
  • creating a special time that is just for family.

Now, add in the stress of a pandemic, children being cooped up week after week, parents trying to figure out how to work at home and help their children do their homework and you have the perfect conditions for some tense scenes. In her Parenting Puzzle online course for parents, Lorna highly encourages weekly family meetings. Should you not already be doing this, try doing it now so you can help all through this period of time. By the time it’s over a routine will be in place and you will understand why you should keep it going for a long, long time.

Here are some suggestions as to how to institute and structure the meetings:

  • discuss with your parenting partner first (make certain you are both clear as to why you are doing this);
  • try to speak with a unified voice. There’s plenty of opportunity to express different points of view, but for the sake of establishing the idea of the meetings, it better that you are both coming from a common place; and decide who will run the first meeting.

For your first meeting:

  • review the purpose;
  • set aside a set time and day of week ahead of other things;
  • have a very short agenda; and
  • review the process of a facilitator.

The meetings themselves:

  • should not be long (10 to 15 minutes);
  • need to be a safe space for all;
  • include all family members. Even a babe in arms can be held during the meeting. Baby’s create rhythms of their own and will grow up with the meeting being a normal part of family life.

Once you have the family gathered:

  • take turns (you all get to decide how you want to structure that) being the facilitator. The facilitator keeps you on track with the agenda;
  • everyone agrees to have his or her devices out of earshot;
  • agree on a day and time when you stop adding items to the agenda. You may not get to all items, so if it can wait, move it to the next week. If it’s an emergency, you might have to figure out something that works for the situation; and
  • when the meeting concludes, the facilitator gets to choose a short activity for all to do and all participate. (Lorna recommends not having meeting over meals so you keep the structure intact.)

Use this opportunity to really create a stronger family environment with your children. Not that we would wish this situation on anyone, but if you must be sequestered in place, we think this could create one of those silver lining moments for you and your family.

 

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Strategies for Montessori Home Learning https://www.montessori.org/strategies-for-montessori-home-learning/ https://www.montessori.org/strategies-for-montessori-home-learning/#respond Fri, 26 Jun 2020 16:12:37 +0000 https://www.montessori.org/?p=80636
The world in the palm of her hand tim seldin

Review:

The World in the Palm of Her Hand
By Tim Seldin
click to purchase

For parents who want some actual scripting on working with their children at home, we recommend this book. I used it on many occasions with my four granddaughters and they enjoyed the activities immensely. You do not need to be in a classroom to have these kinds of conversations about the world in which they live. The book actually contains the introductory lessons for young learners in the areas of Geography and History but our intent is show you that it is possible to have great conversations with your Montessori child in a Montessori way (incidentally, that is the name of another amazing book!).

The carefully constructed lessons your child’s guide delivers is done in what they call the Three-Part Lesson format.

The carefully constructed lessons your child’s guide delivers is done in what they call the Three-Part Lesson format. I’m going to share from the book so you can see how you can do this as well. And again, we don’t expect you to become a Montessori guide nor have the specific materials in your home; our purpose is to help you understand some ways you can engage your children and just follow the format, so that the message is delivered in a verbal way that children are used to hearing from their guide.

LESSON: COLOR IDENTIFICATION:
For the youngest children, who are just learning to master their ability to identify colors.

color tiles montessori at homeTo illustrate how you could do this at home, you could use a variety of ways to demonstrate colors if you don’t have a set of color tiles: index cards (or color swatches for paint that you can get from hardware stores) already made up with first the primary colors of red, yellow and blue. When your children have mastered the primary colors, you can move on to secondary colors: green, purple and orange. You can always use real objects you have in the house, such as fruits and veggies of different colors. Keep it simple and keep it to just a few colors.

Have all your materials set up before you ‘invite’ the child to the work. You might say, “Would you like to do some work with colors right now?” Starting your sentence with “would you” makes it clearer that this isn’t some kind of test with consequences.

First Period
Name the color, “This is red.” Show the child the object.
“This is blue.” Show the child the object.
“This is yellow.” Show the child the object.
Remember to sound really enthusiastic.

Second period
This will help the child link the language and her own experience.
Say, “Would you show me the red (object)?”
“Would you show me the yellow?”
“Would you show me the blue?”
The second period actually does involve some deep learning, so you may need to go back to saying it the first way a few times. Try to sound positive as you restate the names of the colors while showing them each respectively.

Third period
Now you get to ask the child, while pointing to one of the objects, “Which one is red?” and so forth. If the child is unable to make the connection you may need to start at the beginning.

This is just a simple example, but might be useful in understanding that each child learns these skills at their own pace. Should you have an older child, you can use this delivery for more building vocabulary. Call objects by their correct names. For instance, if you are working on naming animals, call a cat a cat and not a kitty; a dog is a dog, and not a doggie. If the child is even older and you have, for instance, a German Shepherd, refer to the breed.

In the Montessori class, lessons are initiated in three ways:

  1. The teacher senses children’s readiness and invites them to join her/him for a lesson.
  2. Children become interested spontaneously and ask for a lesson.
  3. The teacher notices when children choose materials for which they have not yet been given a lesson and comes over to present the lesson.

Presenting the Fundamental Lesson: The fundamental lesson is the basic presentation given by Montessori teachers to introduce children to a new material or activity. If it is to have the enticing quality previously described, teachers must prepare themselves carefully.

  1. Teachers must be sure that they are completely familiar with the material and its correct use in order to prevent confusing children with their own uncertainty.
  2. The lesson must be simple and concise enough that the children will be certain to understand.
  3.  The fundamental lesson usually includes only a few words of explanation followed by a demonstration of the typical cycle of work with this material.
  4. To avoid unnecessary distraction, spoken language is limited when presenting the lesson to younger children; nonverbal communication seems to lead to less confusion.
  5. Be sure that all the pieces are present for the lesson/material you are presenting. Nothing is more disruptive to the child’s interest and concentration than discovering that something is missing.
  6. Prepare your work area in advance, allowing for enough space.
  7. Remember the aims of the lesson.
  8. Make your presentation quietly dramatic, emphasizing the key points referred to in the lessons under the heading Points of Emphasis.
  9. When your lesson is finished, either put the materials away with the children’s help, or withdraw to let them work on their own, making sure that they return all the materials when they are done.
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Grandparent’s Corner https://www.montessori.org/grandparents-corner/ Fri, 26 Jun 2020 15:45:53 +0000 https://www.montessori.org/?p=80632 Dear Grandparents; ot being able to visit in person with my grandchildren has been about the most difficult part of the stay- at-home directive most of us are under. And even if you live near your grandchildren the CDC is not advising our generation to have physical contact with our young ones. I think most […] ]]> Dear Grandparents; ot being able to visit in person with my grandchildren has been about the most difficult part of the stay- at-home directive most of us are under. And even if you live near your grandchildren the CDC is not advising our generation to have physical contact with our young ones. I think most […] ]]> Table Washing: Why do Montessori Students Spend So Much Time Washing Tables? https://www.montessori.org/table-washing-why-do-montessori-students-spend-so-much-time-washing-tables/ Fri, 26 Jun 2020 15:33:20 +0000 https://www.montessori.org/?p=80623 Editor’s Note: If we had a dollar for every time a skeptical parent has questioned the amount of time their young Montessori child spends washing tables …In 2007, Robin Howe (now Robin Howe, EdD) was just starting out his his career as a Montessori teacher at a charter school in Florida. This article originally appeared […] ]]> Editor’s Note: If we had a dollar for every time a skeptical parent has questioned the amount of time their young Montessori child spends washing tables …In 2007, Robin Howe (now Robin Howe, EdD) was just starting out his his career as a Montessori teacher at a charter school in Florida. This article originally appeared […] ]]>