Parent Education

Welcome to Christopher Academy's Parent Education Resource Page. It is our wish to provide a means to learn more about the Montessori philosophy and why it is the necessary choice for any child's developmental and academic foundation. The CA Parent Resource Page will provide a wonderful venue for any parent or teacher to be further inspired and educated. Please scroll all the way through as this will be a collaboration of all things Montessori!

 

December 19, 2016

We want to share this very interesting and informative piece with you. 

http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/12/12/504867570/how-investing-in-preschool-beats-the-stock-market-hands-down

 

December  12, 2016

Montessori Reading Material

Cushman, Charlotte. Montessori: Why It Matters For Your Child's Success and Happiness.

 

March 10, 2016

Montessori Reading Materials

Eissler, Trevor. Montessori Madness: A Parent To Parent Argument For Montessori Education  (Copies available for purchase at each campus)

McTamaney, Catherine.  A Delicate Task:  Teaching and Learning On A Montessori Path  (Copies available for purchase at each campus)

McTamaney, Catherine.  The Tao of Montessori  (Copies available for purchase at each campus)

McTamaney, Catherine.  "On The Topic of Toileting" (Copies of article available at each campus)

Montessori, Maria.  Dr. Montessori's Own Handbook

Montessori, Maria.  The Absorbent Mind

Montessori, Maria.  The Montessori Method

Montessori, Maria.  The Secret of Childhood

Montessori, Maria.  To Educate the Human Potential

 

May 29, 2015

The following is an excerpt from The Absorbent Mind, Chapter 3, "The Periods of Growth", page 23, and was written by Dr. Maria Montessori

“The child has other powers than ours, and the creation he achieves is no small one; it is everything. Not only does he create his language, but he shapes the organs that enable him to frame the words. He has to make the physical basis of every moment, all the elements of our intellect, everything the human being is blessed with. This wonderful work is not the product of conscious intention. We adults know what we want. If we desire to learn something, we set ourselves to learn it consciously. But the sense of willing does not exist in the child; both knowledge and will have to be created.

If we call our adult mentality conscious, then we must call the child's unconscious, but the unconscious kind is not necessarily inferior. An unconscious mind can be most intelligent. We find it at work in every species, even among the insects. They have an intelligence which is not conscious though it often seems to be endowed with reason. The child has an intelligence of this unconscious type, and that is what brings about his marvelous progress."

April 13, 2015 

This is a lovely video regarding first impressions of a Montessori experience from a parent's perspective:

https://vimeo.com/86032465

March 11, 2015

Here is an informative article about having a conversation after school with your child:

http://sarahmoudry.com/2015/03/10/a-conversation-after-school/#sthash.KaZnCEd9.dpbs

 

Fenruary 3, 2015

This is an interesting but brief article on what it means to be a Montessori family.  

http://www.pdonohueshortridge.com/AandE/MontessoriFamily.pdf

 

January 12, 2015

Following is an excerpt from the Homfray Childs lecture entitled,  “The Periods of Development”

Dr. Montessori warned us that no amount of good teaching would help the children if it was given at the wrong time. We must study and observe development and find out what are their particular aptitudes at every stage of development. For every period prepares for the next, and if the children are neglected during one period this cannot be put right in the next however hard the teacher and pupils may work. The children may learn somehow after a fashion, but they will not have the real mastery they would have gained easily if they had been able to work at the right time. But if we can give the right conditions and the right help the children will not only make good progress, they will astonish us by showing powers that we never suspected.

Observation and experience show that the children of the 3 - 6 period are happy in the peace and security of the Children’s House. They are at a stage when they are exploring the world by their visual and tactile senses, and through these senses they can acquire their letters and numbers without difficulty or mental strain. In the next period they enjoy the more stimulating atmosphere of the Primary school. They are capable of real study and work and they have a great energy and enthusiasm and a tremendous thirst for information. We must try and satisfy their curiosity and give them plenty of interesting work to do, for as long as they can be active they will never be bored. But in the third period, especially between 12 and 15, we must not expect the same rapid progress in school work. The adolescent has already spent many years in school, and it is time for a relaxation of discipline and routine. This is a period of strain, great adjustments, mental as well as physical have to be made, and the young people of this age should not be urged to work more than they feel able. Speaking of the difficulties of the third year when temper tantrums are so frequent, Dr. Gesell compares the child of this age half-seriously with the difficult adolescent, and there is a real parallel between the two ages.

We cannot expect consistently reasonable behavior at these times, for so many changes are going on that the individuals themselves do not quite know where they are. We must think of the adolescent as something of an infant, and something of an invalid, for tolerance or even indulgence is wiser than too great severity in management at this age. The adolescent has a great work of development to accomplish; Dr. Montessori said that it was at this time that the social side of the character as contrasted with the individual personality is constructed. The mind too is becoming mature, and in their own time and at their own pace the adolescents will continue their education with enthusiasm especially if the foundations have been well laid in the previous periods.

At every stage we must study the children and make sure that we are giving them the mental food they need. Intelligence is characteristic of humanity; and to exercise intelligence is a joy. If the school teaching causes mental fatigue, if it causes boredom and apathy then the teaching is wrong. Children enjoy learning because they are fresh to the world and everything is interesting to them. Our system of education cannot be right unless the children are enthusiastic and get pleasure and satisfaction from their work.

December 2, 2014

Please take note of the American Montessori Society's latest recomended reading list:

http://amshq.org/Shop-AMS/Recommended-Books

October 24, 2014

Grace and Courtesy and the Adult by: Catherine McTamaney

"The vision of the teacher should be at once precise like that of the scientist, and spiritual like that of the saint. The preparation for science and the preparation for sanctity should form a new soul, for the attitude of the teacher should be at once positive, scientific and spiritual.

Positive and scientific, because she has an exact task to perform, and it is necessary that she should put herself into immediate relation with the truth by means of rigorous observation...

Spiritual, because it is to man that his powers of observation are to be applied, and because the characteristics of the creature who is to be his particular subject of observation are spiritual." (Dr. Maria Montessori, 'The Advanced Montessori Method - I', Clio Press Ltd, 107)

Our Montessori classrooms are peaceful, collaborative environments within which we believe that each child’s needs are met and each child’s development served. We do not presume that the benefit of one child must come at the expense of another, or that the “controls” of the environment need to be heavy-handed or coarse. Rather, we prepare environments which protect children’s inherent goodness, their inherent peacefulness and their intrinsic motivation to learn.

How often, though, do we assume the same of our peers or colleagues? We recognize children are inherently good, but we treat other adults with hesitation and suspicion. We recognize that children are inherently peaceful, but we treat other adults as our adversaries. We recognize that children are intrinsically motivated to learn, but we expect other adults to require rewards or punishments to be invested in their own work.

We are trained by our experiences, our pains and our obstacles, to assign blame or judgment to other adults. When we feel misunderstood, we accuse each other of a lack of compassion. When we feel challenged, we blame each other’s need for control. When we feel powerless, we presume someone else is holding too tightly to her power. We create us-es and others. We create adversaries. Imagine how different our adult communities would be if we presumed the same of each other as we do of children: if we presumed adults to be inherently good, inherently peaceful and intrinsically motivated to learn. It seems daunting to imagine on a global scale, across national boundaries or cultural differences that often drive us apart. But what if we just imagined it of the people we encounter every day, in our homes, our neighborhoods and our schools.

In Montessori classrooms, we believe that children demonstrate their natural state because they are given an environment prepared to protect it. If we struggle to imagine each other as good, peaceful and motivated, perhaps it’s because we haven’t yet prepared an environment within which we can be those things. The essential standard of the prepared Montessori environment is freedom within limits. Children’s freedom is limited when it begins to intrude on the freedoms of another. In practice, this requires a constant balancing and rebalancing, a collaboration based on the tenets of grace and courtesy that allows the give and take of classroom needs to align itself fluidly.

While it may be hard to imagine each other as inherently good, inherently peaceful and intrinsically motivated, it may be a little easier to imagine changes to our adult interactions that would move them closer to freedom within limits and the tenets of grace and courtesy. What if we treated each other with an acknowledgment that my freedoms intrude on yours, and yours on mine? What if we treated each other with an acknowledgment that when I take something (be it materials, or resources, or time), I leave less for you, and you for me? What if we treated each other with the same grace and courtesies that we practice in the classroom: waiting for another to finish speaking before offering our own perspective, saying please, offering gratitude, returning work to a condition appropriate for another to use, asking to help, offering service...

When I treat you as though I believe you are as good, as peaceful and as motivated as I want to be myself, when I offer you grace for your mistakes and share with you mine, when I protect your work for you as I’d want you to protect mine for me, I am preparing an environment for adult normalization. When I count my words and when I respect that your great work may not be the same as mine, when I offer you reverence and care because I believe you are still in the process of becoming, just as I know I am, I am preparing an environment for adult normalization... both of ours.

For practical purposes, in my primary work as a teacher, by offering grace and courtesy to my peers, I am modeling for the children in my classroom that adult relationships are no less complicated, and no less deserving of attention, than the relationships that form among children. I am modeling grace and courtesy in a community larger than our classroom, encouraging the children’s ability to imagine it in their own communities as well.

But engaging other adults this way is not only for the benefit of the children. When I prepare an environment for adult normalization, I help to protect a space within which the peacefulness, goodness and motivation we enjoyed as children might be restored. It’s difficult to imagine, no doubt, but just as we respect the challenging child in front of us because of the child we believe he is capable of becoming, we can allow ourselves and our colleagues to become more, to become more peaceful, more motivated, more good, by treating each other as though we already are.

Namaste

Copyright 2014 Catherine McTamaney, Ed.D. Free to distribute for educational purposes and with credit to the author 

 

October 22, 2014

Learn why the Montessori kindergarten year—the third and final year of the Montessori Early Childhood cycle—is a foundation for life.

https://www.facebook.com/AmericanMontessoriSociety?fref=nf

 

October 8, 2014

The portion of the lecture reproduced here is a faithful reproduction of the original Humfray-Child lectures, who were commissioned by Maria Montessori to begin teacher training in London in 1946. Since they were written so long ago a number of their references will strike the reader as quaint, but no effort has been made to modernize the lectures since they represent such a charming and, indeed, eloquent statement of the heart and soul of the Montessori method. These lectures were based on Dr. Montessori’s original writings and authored by two educators closely tied to Dr. Montessori. They continue to be essential reading for parents and teachers alike who are interested in the Montessori Method of Education. (April, 1995)

The following is an excerpt from the Humfray-Child Lecture #1 “New Education”:

Everything begins in childhood. The baby is helpless, without self-consciousness, language or memory. Everything must be constructed. To construct a human being is the greatest work of all, and it is on this great achievement that our interest should center. Educationalists have tended to devote far too much attention to the mistakes that children make. All of their great achievement gets hidden behind a few small errors! These errors that are so often the result of adult interference and failure to understand!  We must change this attitude. We shall never get an understanding by studying mistakes and errors. We must see the great achievement, the miracle. Then we shall be able to study the path of development from childhood to manhood and all the different phases that the child passes through. Then we shall understand how we can help and not hinder the work of the child, and our educational system will be planned, to give this help so that the potential powers of the child at birth may be developed to the fullest.