What, No Briefcase?

What, No Briefcase? Montessori and Paperwork
Edward Fidellow
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Montessori parents are often bewildered by the lack of paperwork coming home with their child. There’s hardly any! So what does my child do all day? What can he be possibly learning?

For most of us our school experience was a blizzard of paper work – spaces to fill in, lines to write, dots to connect. Pages upon pages of busy work that hopefully conveyed to parents that we were learning. Much of it was redundant, boring and the waste of a good tree! But that was the measure for parents that learning was happening.

You’ve now entered a new universe when you chose a Montessori program. You didn’t choose Montessori because it resembled your learning experience but because it represented the learning experience you wished you’d been privileged to have. When you visit the environment your eyes feast on amazing materials – colors, shapes, complexities. Is this material really for my three year old or four year old – isosceles triangles, quatrefoils, reniform leaf shapes? Does he really touch it and feel it and use it? But when there is no paper trail coming home, you wonder!

Socrates said, “There is nothing in the mind that is not first in the hands.” And it is the touching of these concrete materials that begins the building of the mental processes in your child. Traditional education begins with intellectual development hoping to make the abstract concrete. Montessori education begins with the development and refining of the senses, allowing your child to build this concrete knowledge one step at a time until he is ready and poised to make the great intellectual leap into the abstract. In Montessori education, it is the child’s own developmental timetable that causes this explosion of solid (and unprecedented) learning to occur. It is not an artificial timetable based on age or calendar but a continual cultivation and development of the child’s growing intellectual power that is being fed day by day in a manner that allows your child to appropriate and practice the tools and skills that will form his intellectual abilities for a lifetime.

All this time the child is building within himself this intellectual capability. Montessori education is very much like the construction of a jetty. Rock after rock is submerged in the water, seemingly lost beneath the surface but then the day comes when the latest rocks begin to become visible and break the water’s plane. Your child is building a very concrete foundation for all further intellectual development one achievement at a time.

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COUNTDOWN TO THE
6th ANNUAL HBMH FALL FESTIVAL: 4 Days
Saturday, November 7, 3:00-5:30pm
Only four more days until our 6th Annual HBMH Fall Festival! 
Friends, neighbors, coworkers, community members, and former HBMH alumni are welcome to come! Help spread the word!

Our Fall Festival Committee is working round the clock as we prepare for this exciting event! This is one of the largest fundraisers of the year; one that helps bring in much needed funds for the overall growth and improvement of our school. This event is only possible through the help and support of our parent community. Without you, we could not host such an exciting annual event. So thank you!

Friends (and parents) are welcome to wear costumes to the festival.
All HBMH children (currently enrolled) will receive 10 free tickets. Admission is FREE! Tickets are $.50 each. We will be accepting all major forms of payment (cash, check, or credit card). The entrance to the festival will be near the south gate (covered porch).
Extra parking is available at the church next door.
In addition to the silent auction, we’re also hosting our FIRST EVER chili cook-off! We have several parents and teachers signed up for the chili contest already; see admin if you’d like to participate! There will be prizes for the winners with the best chili! We’ll also have a tractor ride, grilled hot dogs and other concessions, a cake walk, face painting/henna and hair salon, petting zoo, bounce houses, family portraits, and several younger children games (duck pond, bean bag toss, and so much more).

We hope to see you all there!

Why we Take Photographs in the Classroom

When we take photos of our children in the classroom, it’s a very meticulous and careful process. Each photo is taken and shared with a specific goal in mind; to help our parents understand the natural learning process experienced by each precious child that comes to our school. It’s hard to fully grasp and understand all of the magnificent things your young child is learning each day, by a simple, brief conversation with them at the end of the day. Most of the time, they’ll repeat the last thing they did just before you picked them up, rather than highlight on a special memory from the day. It’s hard, as parents, to entrust our children in the care of others for 8-11(+) hours per day, and not know exactly what they’re doing at any given point. That’s why we love to share these memories in photos! Whenever given the opportunity to do so, and depending upon the level of disruption, admin. will try to sneak into the classroom and photograph these special moments; two friends working together, an older child helping a younger child, a classroom celebration, or a child so engrossed in concentration that they don’t even notice we’re there. There is so much that we look for as “photographers”, rather than simply snapping a quick photo of the environment. Our photos are meant to educate, inspire and motivate, all the while helping you feel the natural emotions embodied within every portrait.

We observe and respect the child’s concentration…the child’s concentration is spontaneous and precious. It’s not necessarily “rare”, but beautiful whenever caught on camera.

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We try to photograph periods of “normalization”, when the child, or group of children are under intense concentration, working on something that engages their interest. Through this process, children gain self discipline and peace. This is the work of the materials in the environment; truly something to be captured on film.

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Some children have been with us 5+ years, so we’re able to capture photos from infancy through young childhood. We have the opportunity to photographically document their growth over several years.
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Lessons and mastery. Many of the works in our environment require weeks, even months to master. We’re able to photograph the entire process, from the preliminary lesson all the way to the child’s mastery and application. We focus more on the process of learning, rather than the “final product”. We want to capture the child’s expression when they’ve reached that level of self accomplishment. These moments are extremely precious to us.DSC_0305DSC_0310

On special occasions, we’ll even have the opportunity to capture a child’s first steps, illustrating the child’s new-found independence.

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Dr. Maria Montessori spent a lifetime observing and documenting the developing child. I always tell our families, the best way to truly understand what your child is doing in the environment is to observe. It is so difficult for us as Montessorians, to document their growth in a weekly progress report, because there is so much more depth to it than simply stating what they’re currently working on. Pictures truly speak louder than words! We take photographs to help our parents understand the amazing things their child is doing in the classroom, and to further educate them on the power of the pedagogy.

We thank you for sharing your little ones with us, and giving us the amazing opportunity to witness them grow independently, spiritually, and academically. Our gift to you is these precious memories!