Nurturing Lifelong Learners: Embracing a Child-Centered Approach to Education (guest post)
We live in a rapidly evolving world. Generative artificial intelligence, labor market volatility, demographic transitions – the changes keep on coming.
As parents, we want to fully prepare our children to thrive in this fast-paced landscape.
Traditional models of early education tend to prioritize rote memorization and preparation for standardized testing. Unfortunately, this leaves little room for independence or creativity, both of which are crucial to creating lifelong learners who are ad…
Montessori Field Notes: Simplicity Summer
Q: How do I keep the summer simple, like it was when I was a child? I'm afraid my kids will be bored out of their minds and will drive me crazy!
Have you ever heard the lyrics to the song, “Tis a Gift to Be Simple?"
'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where I ought to be;
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to be…
Who Taught Wyatt How to Write?
Peter and Margaret had heard that children in Montessori schools were precocious learners. Their neighbor's five-year old daughter, Jenny began to read and write while she attended the local Montessori school. They didn’t know much about the method, but when the time came to enroll their three-year old son Wyatt in a pre-school, they decided to give Montessori a chance.
To their dismay, Wyatt didn’t seem to do anything academic during his first year of Montessori, but he sure was active! He was…
The Second Plane Child
Note: This essay was one of many that I wrote as part of my AMI elementary training in Bergamo, Italy. You can find a complete bibliography at the end of the post.
The child enters the second plane of development somewhere around his sixth birthday, and traverses that phase for approximately six years (through age 12). It is important to note that this development, like that which came before it and that which will follow, is transitory. Therefore, the changes the child experien…
Montessori Red Flags
Some parents choose a private school based on location, ratio, or test results. But if your child is in a Montessori school specifically because you want them to reap the benefits of a Montessori education, I have some disconcerting news: The burden is on YOU to ensure the school is following authentic Montessori practices.
The name "Montessori" is not trademarked, so anyone can use it and steal the educational philosophy's reputation (and your hard-earned money). And many so-called "Montesso…
The Art of Introducing a Lesson
Often, the most challenging part of giving a lesson is getting the children excited and ready to learn. Here are seven strategies to ensure your presentation gets off to a good start.
1. Check your attitude: You need to believe in the value of what you're going to present. The children will smell your fear or hesitation a mile away. If a particular topic scares you, spend more time with it. Read, listen to podcasts, watch videos, use your hands to explore the concept, and find new ways of lo…
Over the years of working in Montessori classrooms I've met many children who are eager to attend lessons, engage in follow-up work, and share their new knowledge. And then there are the occasional "puzzles" (as my son's Primary guide once referred to him). How do you know if you live or work with a puzzle-child? Puzzle-children are those for whom learning comes easily but who see most teaching as a hindrance to their own learning agenda. On a good day, they grumpily humor your agenda for a s…
The "Annoying" Seven-Year-Old
Seven-year-old Zachary learned how to build a popscicle-stick catapult at a free library workshop last week. Over dinner that night, I "casually" asked my engineer husband if he knew the difference between a catapult and a trebuchet. A brief but interesting discussion ensued, and my son hung on to every word.
Sitting around the kitchen table after breakfast Monday morning, I asked Zachary: "What would you like to explore today?"
He pouted and crossed his arms. "Nothing."
I tried again. "Y…
What Montessori is Not
Montessori is not a curriculum - not a series of boxes to check off. It's a guide for understanding how humans grow. It's a way of supporting how humans learn. It's a means for finding joy and purpose in life.
Montessori is not dogma - not a script to follow blindly. It's a conversation about priorities. It's a toolbox for navigating parenthood with grace. It's a dance with the imperfect realities of life.
Montessori is not just for the wealthy - not a ticket to career success. It's for …
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