Monday, October 29, 2007

Please enjoy this article reprinted with the permission of The Montessori Initiative:

Compassion and Peace
Despite its global nature and the fact that Montessori is continuing to add schools and students on almost every continent, not every month brings us items that qualify as "News". However, there is still plenty of information that we can share with you.

On his recent visit to the United States, the Dalai Lama spoke at the University of Indiana to a filled basketball stadium. "We must teach our children with compassion," he said. "As a child, I learned more from the teachers that taught me with compassion and a smile than I ever did from those that taught with a frown." He went on to stress, "Through that example, our children will learn compassion and they will learn to apply compassion when dealing with others. With compassion, we can learn to understand one another and appreciate our differences rather than become afraid of them. Compassion is the first step towards 'internal disarmament'. When we can disarm ourselves, we can learn to concentrate on disarming the world we live in. It is too late for our generation. Our generation's responsibility is to the children. We must teach the children with compassion so that they will learn compassion. With compassion, they will work to solve the problems that we cannot. With compassion they will work on the problems that are manmade. They will care about global warming and they will work to turn the tide. They will care about human suffering and they will work to turn the tide. With compassion they will understand that we all have a shared responsibility to one another. Eventually, when enough have learned compassion, we will have peace." [We have edited his comments in summary].
The Dalai Lama could have been a Montessori teacher. Maria Montessori made it clear in her writing that through education of the child comes peace. That is why compassion and a global understanding of our world is such an important part of every Montessori students learning. Dr. Montessori wrote the first "Rights of the Child" for UNESCO. Those rights are all based on compassion. As Montessorians, we continue to teach with compassion to our students. As adults, we must remember it when we deal with one another.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Crazy for Cursive

A lot of our older boys and girls have got the cursive bug. They've been hammering us with daily requests since September to teach them this and that letter in cursive. It's wonderful to see so many children independently and enthusiastically directing their education. the skill of forming the letters correctly isn't always easily mastered. But these children practice willingly and on their own. They forge ahead, writing spelling words, rhyming and singular and plural exercises in cursive even though it isn't required. Every day is a treat.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Snacks, a Fire Truck and Paper Mache

For starters, a big "thank you" to all of you parents for sending in good, healthy snacks for the class. We've had fruit, cheese, crackers, carrots with dip and and a great snack mix made by one of the boys. His mother sent in cups for serving it, all the ingredients, the recipe and a big bowl. Her son loved mixing the pretzels, cereal, raisins and M&Ms (it's o.k. to cheat once in a while) for his classmates.

Yesterday, our Deputy Fire Chief, a Fire Marshall and a real fireman brought a pumper truck to the school for a great demonstration of the gear and equipment used to fight fires. Unknowingly, the camera card in my camera was full. So I didn't get any pictures. Darn.

But the class loved the demo and showed quite a degree of knowledge about smoke detectors and the "stop, drop and roll" rule. One even correctly identified the huge tool that's used to cut open cars in emergencies. Then they made their own pictures of the big red fire truck.

Since our class has been discussing the earth, inside and out, many of the children chose to make a paper mache model of it. We talked about its inner core, outer core, mantle, crust and plates. We saw pictures of volcanoes forming mountains and how millions of years ago, the continents were joined. From here we'll explore the periods of dinosours, then the separate continents and more land and water forms.

We used clean plastic dome tops saved from a summer of smoothies and iced teas to paper mache for each earth half. The children are happy to put recyclables (paper, plastic, cardboard) in the bins and re-use some nonrecyclables in projects.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Currently, some popular activities in the classroom are making numerous shapes with the wood triangles, putting together the puzzle maps and using the cursive sandpaper letters then practicing, practicing and practicing writing them.

Pictured is a clever invention that I spotted under construction one day. "What is it?" I asked. "A web shooter" was the answer. Of course.