Coming full circle!
Recently our elementary kids’ performed a short play called ‘Stones in a Bucket’ to help us all get a better understanding of how our words can weigh someone down or be uplifting. The stones the children dropped into a bucket represented the harshness and meanness of put downs. Afterwards the children then said something uplifting, and they removed a stone from the bucket.
Now those very stones have been turned into mini works of Art, and distributed around downtown Pullman, our community, to brighten someone’s day. If you find a stone nestled somewhere, it might make you smile, or pick it up to look closer and enjoy the art. These stones are like stones thrown into a pond to send out ripples. These beautiful stones are sending out ripples of kindness and joy!
Stones from the bucket! Coming full circle! February 23, 2017
Coming full circle!
Keeping it real! June 29, 2016
This summer I signed up to work for a month in our summer program, three weeks as a lead teacher and one week as an assistant. I love this time. I especially enjoy the 7:30 – 8:30 time, when I am greeting the children and involving them in setting up the class for the day ~ watering plants, emptying the dishwasher, prepping snack . . .
As an administrator, this time working in the classroom is a good reminder of the amount of energy it takes to run a class of twenty very inquisitive and energetic children. I need a snack mid –morning for a burst of energy, and am so thankful that we serve such delicious and nutritious snacks. Today I ate home-baked corn bread, and a fruit, granola and yoghurt parfait.
Our summer school requires a lot of our teachers ~ we have once or twice weekly field trips, lots of food prep, wet play days (supervising twenty children changing in and out of swim gear!) and many special events.
This time in the classroom is a great reminder for me of how amazing our teachers are! Teachers, I salute you! This time in the classroom keeps it real for me!
Sharing of talents May 19, 2016
Today I had the pleasure of attending a very special Performance Day in our elementary classroom. Once a week, throughout the year, the elementary students are invited to demonstrate and share a talent in front of a live audience of their peers – their classmates! Today, towards the end of the school year, parents and teachers were invited to attend the performance. This is a very kid friendly and kid organized event, so the definition of talent is very broad and very entertaining ~ whistling, twirling, showing off a new ballet move or karate move, singing a song, drawing a picture, telling a joke, reading a book, reading a story you wrote, counting (forwards, backwards, in another language, by fives, by tens . . . ), demonstrating a magic trick, explaining a science experiment, playing an instrument – cello, guitar, violin, keyboard, recorder, demonstrating some signs you know . . . the list is varied, endless and changes from week to week. A demonstration of how to clap loudly, or how to make a special sound from blowing on a blade of grass held between your thumbs, or jump rope , or blow up a balloon. . . you betcha these are talents in the eyes of the children!
I was so impressed with the poise of the children. The children introduced themselves, told the audience what they were going to perform, performed, took a bow, thanked the audience and then sat down.
The children learn and practice so many worthwhile skills from Performance Day. They develop confidence in being able to stand up and address a group. They practice their audience manners, an age appropriate grace and courtesy skill. They work on developing respect for one another and themselves. And I think most importantly, they recognize the unique gifts and talents of each child in their community, and so develop their appreciation for both diversity and community.
The final performance of the afternoon included a small group performance of ‘Twinkle, twinkle little star’ on violin, cello, recorder and keyboard. Second time through the tune, the quartet was joined by the voices of the children and audience members. It was very special indeed.
Thank you, Ms. Sudha, for sharing your amazing and unique talents as a teacher! That is what you performed today as I watched your children share their talents. You have created a community of children who are confident in their own skills and contributions to the community, as well as appreciative of the talents and contributions of others. This embodies all of our school values – community, diversity, love of learning, dignity and child centered!
Before and after school care November 17, 2014
A parent asks, “Why can’t the children do Montessori work during before and after school care?”
Great question! Our school, the Montessori School of Pullman, runs Montessori classes from 8:30 until 3:30, but our school is open from 7:30 until 5:30. From 7:30 – 8:30 we run ‘before school care’ and from 3:30 until 5:30 we run ‘after school care.’ During these times, our shelves of Montessori materials are closed to the children. Why is this? Why can’t the children work with golden beads, moveable alphabet, maps, etc., during these times?
Part of the answer is financial and logistical. In our area, remote from Montessori training colleges, we work hard to find Montessori trained teachers. To keep our Montessori shelves open from 7:30 – 5:30, we would need more Montessori teachers than are currently available in our area. And these programs would cost more, if we were paying for Montessori certified teachers, rather than enthusiastic students from our local university.
Our children also work hard with the Montessori materials during school time. Before and after school time, we follow the Montessori philosophy and ground rules, just as you might do at home. We are kind to our friends, we clean up after ourselves, we walk inside, we use inside voices, we take care of our materials . . .and we treat each other with respect. Montessori is more than the materials, and so during the before and after school care, we still ‘do’ Montessori. We also engage with high quality materials that encourage social play and creativity and allow for freedom of choice and independence – lego blocks, board games, art materials, dramatic play materials, building materials. The children really enjoy these activities.
It never gets old! November 7, 2014
So, almost thirty years after I first stepped into a Montessori classroom and began my Montessori journey, here I am, three hundred miles away from home, attending an eleven hours Montessori training for assistant teachers on my weekend. And after working as a lead teacher for two year olds, three to six year olds, lower elementary, and being a director, there is still so much to learn. That is part of the beauty of Montessori education ~ it grows with you.
It is the same for the children. We have a rainbow puzzle that the children have used to make so many patterns. And after many years, and being sure that we have seen all possible combinations, we are still amazed when a new arrangement is discovered by the children
Although Montessori education offers a solid structure, to support children’s learning and help them feel safe and secure, it is still innovative, creative, open ended, explorative, exciting and long lasting. And that’s why it never gets old, even for teachers!