The Child is a Wellspring of Love

Love is a guiding force within the Montessori curriculum, and something that is palpable in our classroom environments. Love guides each lesson that is taught, through the soft, gentle voice of the guide as she demonstrates how to trace a sandpaper letter with her finger, or even modeling how to use the correct vocabulary and body language when diffusing a conflict between two friends. Love is one friend helping another comb their hair and wipe their face at the self-grooming table, or tie each other’s shoes in preparation to go outside. Love is a fundamental building block for nearly every lesson taught in the classroom.

One of my favorite blogs is from Baan Dek  Montessori, which emphasizes the power of love shown in the classroom, and the influence that the true nature of the child has on society.

A few of my favorite passages taken from the article…

“The child is the only point on which there converges from everyone a feeling of gentleness and love.”

“People’s souls soften and sweeten when one speaks of children; the whole of mankind shares in the deep emotions which they awaken. The child is a well-spring of love. ”

Montessori implores us to take a step back, to study the phenomenon of love, with fresh, careful, and uninhibited eyes. If love holds the secret power to unite mankind, she says, why shouldn’t we spend more time concentrated on its practical implications. In particular, why don’t we focus our attention, and turn towards the nature of childhood: the child is the point of convergence.

Montessori, then, changes the landscape of how we normally think about love by shifting the terrain. She tries to tell the story of love from the ‘point of view of life itself’. It’s not about desire or imagination, she expresses, but a commitment to reality. A commitment to see things how they are, and envision what they might become.

“Love has not been analyzed by the poets and by the prophets, but it is analyzed by the realities which every child disclosed to himself. ”

Love draws us together. The love of learning draws us further towards what Montessori envisioned. While love may not be overtly taught, it is something ever palpable, in classrooms throughout the world. We can feel it in the pride our teacher tries to hide as we accomplish a task only days before we were too afraid to even try. We wonder, with the generosity only children can deliver, what these classrooms of love might one day yield.

See the link below to read the article in full.

http://baandek.org/posts/drawn-together/

6 Nonmaterial Gifts to Give your Children this Holiday Season

Our countdown to Christmas has begun! With only a few short weeks left, we’re all scrambling to get those last-minute gifts prepared for our little ones. With that being said, keep in mind there are several nonmaterial gifts that can … Continue reading

Inspiring a Love of Learning in our Children

learning alongside children“The most important thing you can do for your children is to love life—and to let your children witness and share in that love.” – Melissa LaSalle, Author of “Learning Alongside our Children”

How can we expect our children to be inspired about learning, if we ourselves show no interest in the very topic we’re trying to enforce upon them? It’s easy to simply place a child in front of a television to occupy their time, or give them an abundance of books to browse through, rather than sit down with them and read the text aloud. As parents, we stress over what our children should have already accomplished at a certain age, when we ourselves might not show enough interest in the same subject at home. Take writing for example. Many families expect their children to read/write before 4-5 years (often times sooner), when they might have never taken the opportunity to sit down with their children at home and work on phonetic sounds, or draw letters in a tray of sand with their fingers, or even write a letter together to a loved one. Learning is to be incorporated in both the classroom and the home, corresponding with one another in a similar fashion. If we show interest in what our children are learning (even if we don’t completely understand the subject), imagine the difference it will make in our children’s academic career! We don’t want to push them to learn something, but rather help inspire their internal love of learning by showing interest ourselves.

In order to inspire children’s love of learning, we must show enthusiasm on the subject. Our teachers share similar Montessori training, which guides them to over-dramatize almost everything, while maintaining a realistic approach (a genuine love for learning set apart from unnecessary praise when the child does something desirable). Each lesson, such as “exercises in practical life” like sweeping, or plant polishing, or even reading books, is done so in a beautifully animated manner to show the children that they are truly interested in the subject. Rather than just acting interested, we model how to appreciate the lesson through gently handling the materials, speaking quietly with the appropriate language, and showing excited facial expressions, while not seeming “fake” or patronizing the child in anyway. Our guides strive to dramatize their lessons and interactions in order to draw upon that inspiration from the child. Continue reading

Article: How a Bigger Purpose Can Motivate Students to Learn, Ingfei Chen

Jane Mount/MindShift
Jane Mount/MindShift

Montessori embraces the child’s love of learning, and provides ways for them to learn and grow at their own pace. Children find meaning in their work, learning ways to contribute to their classroom community. The first six years of a child’s life are extremely critical, in that we must provide a strong learning foundation that helps them to appreciate education in every aspect. The Montessori philosophy helps children learn how to learn, by strengthening their concentration and focus on every detail, making the most of any learning experience.

This interesting article from NQED explores different tests and research conducted on students to determine what intrinsically motivates them to achieve their goals.

“…it isn’t practical or possible to render every lesson or assignment in K-12 “super fun and game-y” for kids — and even if it were, doing so could be a disservice to them later. What would they do when they get to law school and are faced with having to memorize long lists of laws? Or when they land a job that calls for mastering information that no one has “gamefied” to make it exciting to learn?

Students go to school not just to learn specific facts…They’re learning how to learn, how to practice self-discipline and motivate themselves through frustrating roadblocks, and thus are preparing for adulthood. That’s important even if it isn’t always fascinating…But having that bigger sense of purpose, that personal mission of making a positive difference in the broader world, might help students to find meaning in difficult or mundane schoolwork. ‘If you think about it the right way, you can actually be motivated and you can find it interesting, even if on the surface it’s not fun,’ Paunesku said.”
– Ingfei Chen, blogger, Mindshift/KQED

Click on the link below to view the article in full:
http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/about/

Montessori Approach vs. Traditional Education

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Montessori Classroom

(A traditional classroom setting vs. a typical Montessori work cycle in motion)

 

 

 

 

 

Many new Montessori parents join into this educational philosophy with slight skepticism about whether or not this is the right decision for their child. Because Montessori is very non-traditional, often times their main concern is if their chlid will be prepared for the 21st century. Montessori is different from “traditional education” in so many ways.

“Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own, individual pace and according to their own choice of activities from hundreds of possibilities. Learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning. Montessori classes place children in three-year age groups (3-6, 6-9, 9-12, and so on), forming communities in which the older children spontaneously share their knowledge with the younger ones. Montessori represents an entirely different approach to education.” (http://www.montessori-namta.org/FAQ/Montessori-Education/What-is-the-difference-between-Montessori-and-traditional-education)

Another supportive quote shared from healthybeginningsmontessori.com:

“If we decided that the purpose of education should be to help every child’s brain reach its highest developmental potential, we would have to radically rethink school. The task seems insurmountable, yet this work has already been done. In fact, it was done over a hundred years ago. When examined through the lens of environmental enrichment and brain development, Montessori education presents a radically different- and radically effective- educational approach that may be the best method we’ve got to ensure the optimal cognitive, social, and emotional development of every child.” (Steve Hughes, PhD, LP, ABPdN, Director of the Center for Research on Developmental Education)

So, which do you think is better?