Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Due to our fast-paced, busy lifestyles these days, a common
caregivers often make is to rush through activities
without patiently
allowing children to attempt basic life skills,
such as ‘do up’ their
coats, tie their shoes, and/or brush their
hair, on their own. This
often leads to children developing
dependence on others to perform
tasks for them, instead of
allowing children to improve their personal
To me fostering Independence is one of the most important concepts in Montessori education. Independence is promoted in the Practical Life curriculum of the Montessori program, and in this area, lessons are taught on basic physical skills that address almost anything and everything that involve everyday life activities. The underlying concept is to foster the needs and desires of the child to fit into an adult centered world. With this in mind as a Directress, the children in my classroom are encouraged to do everything for themselves, such as ‘doing up’ their coats, or pouring their own juice at snack time. To watch the joy in a child's eyes when they do up their coat for the first time, or pour juice at snack time for their friends, is amazing. And when there is a child who has not yet learned a particular task, other students and I will show him/her how to perform that task, so he/she can accomplish it independently. Children feel such pride in themselves when accomplishing tasks on their own. We shouldn't take that away from them. A very popular lesson in my classroom is "washing windows". We teach them washing windows as part of the "Care for the Environment" section of Practical Life. In a Montessori classroom, it is the children's environment, not the Directress'. The children love washing windows. We have the cleanest windows in the school.

This brings me to some of my favourite quotes by Maria Montessori, from The Discovery of the Child

"No one can be free if he is not independent"

"We believe children are like puppets. We wash them and feed them as if they were dolls. We never stop to think that a child who does not act does not know how to act, but he should act, and nature has given him all the means for learning how to act. Our primary duty towards him is to assist him to perform useful acts."

"He who is served instead of being helped is in a certain sense deprived of his independence."

Please, lets discuss the quotes. And/or tell me what is most important to YOU in Montessori.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Montessori, what is it?

When I started my blog I had a few people ask me, "What exactly is Montessori?" So I will briefly explain the philosophy while Noah is sound asleep. The Montessori Method was developed to help special needs children by Dr. Maria Montessori. However, when she discovered how well it worked with those with special needs she decided to expand her knowledge and apply her method to all children. The majority of lessons conducted by a Montessori directress (aka teacher) are conducted one on one with a child, based on the child's ability and sensitive period because every child is different and therefore, each child learns differently and at different stages and ages. Incorporated into the Montessori Method children learn independence, respect for the environment, order, self-discipline, just to name a few; and we use materials to aid children into understanding each lesson. The montessori method employs two forms of lessons for teaching children: direct learning (which provides concrete information to be memorized) and indirect learning (which prepares children for future concrete lessons). For instance, the "pink tower" (a favourite with the children) is used to teach order (big to small), quantity of 10 and indirectly to read left to right. When you start your training as a Directress, the very first thing you do in class is work in an area called Practical Life. Practical Life is the section of the classroom where children learn day-to-day things, such as pouring liquid, buttoning their shirt, polishing things and spooning. This area of the classroom also has a lot of indirect lessons, such as learning how to hold a pencil and learning to read by doing all activies from left to right. Practical Life has many indirect purposes and "albums" are used to help us teach the children step by step (washing your hands has over 100 steps when you teach a little one). For albums, directress' will take photographs for the activities so they can be referred back to for remembering each step (for example, what "spooning" looks like). The other Montessori Method curriculum areas include Sensorial (using your senses), Math, Language and Culture (geography, history, botany). As the child grows the materials change to suit different ages and stages of learning. In the future I hope to teach Noah not just the educational part of Montessori but the other aspects as well. If there are any more questions please do not hesitate to ask. Also if you have anything to add, please share via comment!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Montessori Friends

I never would have thought I would meet one of my closest friends while attending my Montessori program. Melissa and I became friends almost instantly. The two of us were inseparable and became known as double trouble, ha ha. We always had to take "self portraits" of us for our curriculum albums, (example, the picture of us below in our classroom). We weren't the only one's in the class that paired up and stayed friends long after our schooling. When I look back on the entire experience right now, I picture all the girls in the class and who was friends with who and I am pretty sure they are all still friends with one another.
Melissa and I decided as a gift for graduating we would send ourselves to England together. What a fun adventure we had. We saw Big Ben, Westminister Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the Roman Baths, Oxford, and we even went to Manchester to see if we could tour the studio where they tape the popular soap opera, Coronation Street. We asked the bus terminal man and they no longer have tours. Oh well, maybe some other time. Regardless, we had fun walking around Manchester. We always said for our 10th anniversary of our friendship we would head back to England and leave the family behind. Melissa, that is coming up in 2012, yikes, ha ha ha.
Melissa, our trip to England and our friendship is my very first Montessori experience.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My Montessori Experience- How it all began!!

I went to Brock University and got a degree in Sociology with a minor in Music. Music was my passion all through elementary school and high school. I graduated from Brock and decided to go into Montessori education while going to an information night with a friend of mine for Education and Teacher's College. I stumbled upon a pamphlet from Sheridan College in Oakville. The only thing I really knew about Montessori was my youngest cousin went to one until he was 9 years old. Next thing I knew I was applying to the 13 month long Early Childhood Montessori Teacher's certificate program at Sheridan College. I graduated in June of 2002 and was working full time in a Montessori School that September. I love what I do and I love how I teach!!
I am currently on Maternity leave as our first son, Noah was born in Sept. I can't wait to teach him and explore the world with him when he gets older. I don't want to rush his growing and development but I feel so lucky to have him in our lives. Right now he has to concentrate on developing the simple tasks in life, turning his head, focusing his eyes, rolling over, sleeping through the night (lol, wishful thinking).
In my up coming posts I will share my adventures and knowledge gained over the past 8 years (and counting) with everyone who is interested in the Montessori philosophy.