Friday, December 28, 2007

Montessori Classroom Setup: Environment and Art

An inspiring quote from Maria Montessori in her 1912 book, The Montessori Method!

“Above the blackboards are hung attractive pictures, chosen carefully, representing simple scenes in which children would naturally be interested. Among the pictures in our "Children's House" in Rome we have hung a copy of Raphael's "Madonna della Seggiola", and this picture we have chosen as the emblem of the "Children's Houses" (a long very paragraph, continued on our site).

“The children, of course, cannot comprehend the symbolic significance of the "Madonna of the Chair", but they will see something more beautiful than that which they feel in more ordinary pictures, in which they see mother, father, and children. And the constant companionship with this picture will awaken in their heart a religious impression.”

Remember that the context of this quote was Italy in the early 1900s, when religion was a part of everyone’s daily life. Whether your family is religious or not, we find this quote extraordinary because it shows the deep thought that Dr. Montessori gave to the artwork she chose for her first classroom.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Independent Work in the Montessori Classroom

When we speak of independent work for three year olds, many teachers in traditional classrooms look dismayed. They assume that our Montessori classrooms must be full of chaos and disaster. Nothing could be further from the truth!

In the Primary class (ages 2 1/2 to 5), children sit together in the morning circle to have brief discussions about their weekends and the coming day, and then go about their morning activities of choosing material with which they would like to work.

New material is presented to a single child or group of children, depending on the type of material. Once children see how the material is used, they will work with it independently on their own whenever they decide they want to do a particular exercise.

A point of fascination for visitors is often the fact that children choose to do serious work. Left to their own devices, they do not choose to finger paint all day! Rather, work with the Movable Alphabet (for writing leading to reading), long addition with the Golden Beads, or sensorial material such as the Red Rods prove most popular.

If you are working with your child at home on the weekends, homeschooling, or just want to add a bit of Montessori to your daily life, try introducing new things in a simple way and set material up so that it is child-friendly, and let your child take the lead in deciding what to do at home.

Child-friendly options can be as easy as making sure your child can reach everything he or she needs to make basic snacks in the kitchen or putting small sturdy steps up to the washing machine, so your child can put in a small load of things.

Questions? Send in a comment and let us know!

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Friday, December 7, 2007

Montessori Method Chinese Language for Children

We are announcing our new Chinese language program for children that is designed using by bilingual Montessori teachers using the Montessori Method for teaching language. to young children.

Our goal for the program is to spark your child's natural love of learning and curiosity about language and writing.

Children absorb languages, tones, and accents easily and quickly, so we have tailored the program around this focus.

This is a brilliant and easy-to-use program with which we have had lots of success with children between the ages of 2 to 15.

The key features of the program include:
  1. Beginning vocabulary words that build up issue by issue to create compound words and key phrases
  2. Step-by-step phrase building presented using a Montessori approach to language.
  3. Self-practice material even for the youngest of students.
  4. Tones and pronunciation designed to help children soak in native-speaker level accuracy.
  5. Notes for Mom and Dad, so you can work with your child whenever you want. No experience with Chinese needed.
Price: US$39.99 a year for monthly subscription.

Learn more about our Mandarin Chinese program for children!

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