Tomorrow's Child - September, 2022

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$8.00 Vol. 28 No. 3 SEPTEMBER 2022 Intentional Connections Between Educators & Families Let’s Get Out of the Way A Brave Parent Is…Willing To Reflect

Montessori 101: What Every Parent Needs to Know

This 80-page full-color publication is a wonderful resource for anyone seeking to demystify Montessori. It addresses topics such as the history and philosophy of Montessori; offers a guided tour of the Montessori classroom; and serves as an illustrated guide to dozens of wonderful Montessori materials. This mini-encylopedia of Montessori is newly redesigned and contains new sections on Infant/Toddler and Montessori Secondary programs. It is a must-have resource for anyone interested in Montessori, and one that parents will surely refer to throughout their child’s Montessori experience.



Tomorrow’s Child (ISSN 10716246), published four times a year, is the official magazine of The Montessori Foundation, a non-profit organization. The opinions expressed in Tomorrow’s Child editorials, columns, and features are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of the magazine or The Montessori Foundation. Acceptance of advertising does not represent the Foundation’s endorsement of any product or service.

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Intentional Connections Between Educators & Families by Dorothy Marie Harman

Thrive Amidst Comfort Dogs by Susan Nichols

10 Let’s
20 The
10 Ways We Can Show Respect to Our Child by Simone Davies
Get Out of the Way: Don’t Over-Parent by Paula Lillard Preshlack
Who Owns It? by Michael Dorer
Adult Well Being through Montessori Education by Cheryl Allen
Photo Essay: Adolescent Practical Life by Cheryl Allen
Power of “Mistake Conversations” in Our Family Lives by Rebecca Rolland
A Brave Parent Is…Willing To Reflect by Kathryn Kvols
Benefits of Fine-Motor Skills Development by Cheryl Allen
Don’t Live in La-La Land by Maren Schmidt
I Love about Montessori by Aspen Seeley
“We have the possibility to form citizens of the world and the study of the young child is fundamental to the peace and progress of humanity.” — MARIA MONTESSORI

Intentional Connections between Educators & Families

Every August and September a beautiful dance plays out in early childhood and toddler Montessori classrooms across the globe. Children and their families begin a new school year. Some children rush in with the confidence and energy of a bee gathering nectar. They flit from one thing to the next and can hardly wait to put their hands on the materials. The adults who brought them are left standing in the wake of the flurry of activity, wondering, perhaps, if they’ll be missed. More children enter slowly and cautiously, often with their arm wrapped around the leg of their beloved adult. They observe the environment with a timid curiosity but hold tightly to the security of the familiar as they shed some tears. Still, other children come to school each year with varieties of liveliness and inquisitiveness that is uniquely their own.

Similar performances occur in elementary and secondary Montessori schools. The bodies are bigger, and the demonstration of excitement and concern looks different than the behaviors of their younger counterparts. Yet, the freshness of a new school year greets children of all ages with new opportunities.

One thing all of these children have in common is, however, that they do not arrive alone. These children are the culmination of interactions with their environments, the expressions of their temperaments, the unique potentialities within their beings, and the people with whom they share their lives. Regardless of the configuration of the family, the kith and kin of the child arrive as well. They, too, bring their unique personalities, prior experiences with school, expectations, and knowledge of their child. They bring a mix of emotions of excitement for the child and sadness, as the child moves on to enlarge their circle of ‘others’. One of the most significant others is their child’s teacher and the relationship that, if prepared intentionally, can unfold between the child’s family and teacher.

Where does that relationship begin? It begins first with the intentions and ideas of the adults. Whenever we enter a relationship, the first occurrence in interaction occurs in our minds. What are our first impressions? How do we interpret those impressions? What previous experiences do we have with this person? How do we interpret those experiences? Truly, there are a myriad of answers

to those questions, yet one thing remains consistent: We control only ourselves in the answers. We, teachers, and families, control the intentions!

In 2018, I had the privilege to write my first book, Intentional Connections: A Practical Guide to Parent Engagement in Early Childhood and Lower Elementary Classrooms, and present it to educator audiences, who were anxious to connect with the families of the children in their classrooms. One question continued to resurface from those listeners: “Do you have a companion book to share with parents?” It seemed evident to me that there was a need for a conversation between educators and parents. That dialogue seemed to be centered on the wisdom, experience, training, and understanding of children that educators implement daily to effectively serve children, as well as the deep love and commitment of a parent or caregiver for a child. Those very children are the ones who are delivered to schools and care settings by families who entrust the educational professionals to guide the skills that the child will use to transform themselves into citizens of the world, Dr. Montessori said, “Since we have the means to guide the child, it is clear that the formation of man is in our hands. We have the possibility to form citizens of the world and the study of the young child is fundamental to the peace and progress of humanity.” (Montessori, 2019, p. 93).

Truly, our goal is lofty and cannot (and should not) be left to chance. Preparation is foundational to all Montessorians, and relationships deserve that same preparation, because the “formation of (the hu)man is in our hands!” It is the vision of both the educator and parent to see that the child’s talents, skills, and ambitions are developed to their fullest potential. And you may ask,

How in the world do we get there?

The answer is both simple and complex…


So, where does the conversation begin?

It begins with a word of gratitude. Thank you to the parents, families, guardians, and caregivers who share their children with educators in schools and educational settings around the globe, and to you, dear reader,

for caring to build rapport with your child’s teacher enough to read this article. As a parent, your time is valuable, your demands are high, and your energies are divided among home, family, and daily work schedules.

Children don’t come with an instruction manual; there isn’t a “how-to” video that guarantees their or your success; there’s no device that creates more time or resources to share with them; and there is no article, meme, or post that answers all your questions.

This introduction is a collection of wisdom and suggestions gathered during 30+ years of working with children and parents and candid conversations with more than 100 educators in public, private, Montessori, and traditional educational and childcare settings. The nine topics contained herein are those subjects that the surveyed educators wished most to share with families.

1. Trust

Regardless of the adults’ experiences, sometimes we have to “just do it” and trust one another. It begins with a perception—an idea that only the individual can control. For those adults with positive school memories, the idea of trusting may come naturally. For others, the phrase, “It isn’t happening now,” may be helpful in separating your past experiences from your child’s current one. An intentional decision to trust a teacher is a powerful decision that benefits children’s experiences in school settings. It was also one of the most common, occurring reflections that teachers shared with me when this book was being researched.

How do teachers and parents develop trust in one another once the decision is made to do so? According to provisional psychologist (Austrailia) Heather Craig, building trust occurs through keeping your word, careful decision making, being consistent, and acknowledging that trust takes time to develop, being honest, admitting when you’re wrong, sharing your feelings, showing kindness, and being open for participation and communicating.

Wow! That is a lengthy menu of behaviors that lead to trust. So, maybe we can approach one thing at a time. How about we begin with kindness. My mother used to share folk advice that as a child I thought was “uncool,”


but now I see the beauty in her wisdom. She would tell me, “You’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” First, I wondered why we wanted to catch flies—perhaps it was because I grew up near dairy farms. Now I understand her turn of phrase. It was about kindness. It was about making an intentional choice to be kind. Kindness is easy to implement, and it is a powerful example to demonstrate for your child. When we exercise kindness, trust follows.

2. Communication

In Intentional Connections, I suggested communications that move from the school to the home be delivered consistently at the same time and on the same day. Your feedback, as the recipient of notices, is essential. Messages to schools that explain how you are most likely to interact with, respond to, or read information helps school leadership and classroom teachers determine the best methods of delivery. However, the best-planned communication from the school is only effective when families read and pay

attention to the information—that part is the family’s responsibility.

3. Engagement

I chose the word “engaged” specifically in the scenario because engagement implies “with” one another and coming together, while involved implies “doing to.” So, teachers and families are involved with one another. It may sound like a greeting at drop-off or pick-up. It may look like an email explaining a school procedure or a reason for an absence. However, engagement takes the relationship deeper. It looks like smiles and jubilance when growth is celebrated. It sounds like a brainstorming conversation between a teacher and parent when addressing a challenge together, and it may feel like parallel joy and heartbreak.

In the career of a teacher, hundreds, maybe even thousands, of children will cross the threshold into a classroom. Each child will bring their unique personality, individual needs, and dreams into that room. At 3:30 or so each day, however, we return them to you,

where those same personalities, needs, and dreams appear on your threshold. It seems evident to me that we’re raising the child together, whether we acknowledge it as such or not. But what if we acknowledge the fact that we are on a journey of development with the child? What if we see one another as a resource?

4. Autonomy

“Me do it” is the independence anthem of most toddlers with, perhaps, some slight variations: “I do!” “No, me!” Regardless of the exact words, it expresses the child’s desire and need to explore and interact with their environments independently and without our interference.

Independence is one of the powerful skills you can help your child develop. Choice can be a beneficial strategy to implement during challenging parenting moments. Mealtime can become more pleasant when children can have a choice between “yes, please” and “no, thank you” servings of food. A large serving

3-6 November 2022 | The Vinoy | St. Petersburg, FL |

of carrots is a “yes, please” serving, while a small serving of peas can be a “no, thank you” serving. Ultimately, the child is consuming vegetables and benefitting from the nutrients that they contain. The choice is simply a matter of serving size. Providing children with some degree of choice may eliminate struggles and, more importantly, encourage the child to exercise independence within a prepared environment that adults create.

5. Technology

Are we all guilty of distraction by devices?

Yes, myself included. Emails demand our attention; questions are answered by search engines; games are rated by their addictiveness; and social media can entertain and make us feel connected and “liked”, however, young children develop their social skills by imitating the adults in their environments and through the experience of interacting with others. Nothing can replace human contact. Children are drawn to the human voice. Regardless of the addictive potential of any device, a child will not learn to beep and whistle like a video game, but they will learn by attending to the people in their lives. It’s an opportunity we really don’t want to miss.

6. Accountability

“She started it!” “He did it first!” “They made me do it!” These are some of the classic childhood deflections of responsibility for one’s own actions and reactions. Oddly, sometimes we hear these immature responses coming from adults as well — with slightly more sophisticated language, of course. Accountability means accepting the consequences for one’s behavior and has the word able as part of its root. It does NOT mean mistakes don’t happen. In many cases, learning occurs more powerfully when mistakes do happen. The tool to learn from mistakes involves the separation of judgment and shame from the error. For example, we can address the common childhood activity of spilling. I could go into a lengthy discussion about immature coordination and the environmental reasons for spillage, but that is outside this discussion! A child who feels shame about spilling cereal may blame someone else for the spill. This is an opportunity to tell the child that spills happen, and it is okay when they do. Adults can say, “We simply clean up the spill. May I show you how to use the dustpan and brush?”

The next time a spill occurs, and it will, the child will reach for the tools to remedy the overturned items. Please note that the child, not the adult, cleaned up the spill in the above scenario and took full responsibility for the actions, while learning how to use a dustpan and brush! The mistake is “no big deal” and can be corrected.

7. Discretion

My husband would remark, “little pitchers have big ears,” when our conversations were ones that we shouldn’t have had within earshot of our children, regardless of the topic. It’s an old-fashioned saying, but its meaning is still relevant today. Children adopt the attitudes of their homes and schools without intention and, sometimes without understanding. Political rhetoric provides a great example of the acquisition of ideas that children carry into schools from external sources. In recent history, debates concerning the character of political candidates have made their way into early childhood classrooms, as children passionately proclaim a candidate’s “goodness” or “badness” without any understanding of the complexity of political races or vast components of personality. These opinions are not a result of the study of political science but are a result of “the absorbent mind.”

Of course, disagreement is a natural component of a relationship. Just as any number of individuals can have multiple perspectives of a common occurrence, so, too, can parents and teachers have differing ideas about a child’s development, achievement,

and behaviors. These differences can provide opportunities for greater understanding for both teachers and parents and can be for the benefit of the child. However, children that are exposed to these differences in ideas may conclude and generalize the very environments that mean the most to them, home, and school, and those who dwell there, as either “good” or “bad.” This oversimplification and conclusion could create an obstacle that influences a child’s attitude toward school, her abilities, and her trust.

8. Intellectual Development

Perhaps it seems odd that an article influenced by teachers and written by a teacher would reserve intellectual development for such a late entry into a conversation designed for parents. Most teachers enter the field of education to help children and parents with much more than the skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Dr. Montessori referred to education as “a help to life” (Montessori, 2018, p. 38), which implies a greater responsibility than the acquisition of skills. She also wrote, “The urge towards growth lies within the child himself; his intelligence and character will grow whatever we may do, but we can help or hinder the growth.” (Montessori, 2017, p. 48) She also went on to describe the environment in which children learn, “... there are always two factors, the human as well as the material one.” (Montessori, 2017 p.49)

She reminds us of adults, and especially you as parents and primary caregivers, are the most important teachers in a child’s life. When


Children don’t come with an instruction manual; there isn’t a “how-to” video that guarantees their (or your) success; there’s no device that creates more time or resources to share with them; and there is no article, meme, or post that answers all your questions.

children are read to and see adults reading books, they develop a love of reading. When they hear, “I’m terrible at math,” they adopt those feelings as well. When they receive a written note in their lunchbox, inbox, or mailbox, they learn that the written word is a powerful tool that can build others up or devastate feelings. When we demonstrate kindness, they learn to express kindness. The human factor of a child’s surroundings cannot be underestimated. For the child in Montessori’s first plane of development (0-6 years of age), the absorbent mind is taking in impressions from the environment without filtration. An adult may ask themself, “Is this behavior/value/attitude/lesson what I wish to impart upon my child?” Wow! Our actions and words always provide lessons to children in all settings, not just at school. This is a huge responsibility and a wonderful privilege!!

9. Play

Dr. Montessori reminded us of the vast differences between the adult, who produces through work, and the child who is not concerned with the “purpose” of his activity, but in the “doing” of the activity. She referred to “playtime (as a) time of learning by practice and every plaything a tool for his work.” (Montessori, 2017, p. 45). These tremendous opportunities for growth occur when children are free to choose their play activity without scripted play themes, such as those that are generated by movies, games, video games, or books, but are generated by the child’s imagination and the stories she creates. The deep play ideas or schemes, however, take time for the child to develop and deserve uninterrupted opportunities for development, as all good stories and projects do. In a Montessori setting, this uninterrupted time is typically 2-3 hours in length and allows the child to become truly immersed in the activity without distraction. Perhaps, undisturbed play of this suggested length is a luxury that busy families cannot afford. Perhaps, children who haven’t experienced long periods of play will find it difficult to entertain themselves. However, just as stamina is developed through exercise, stamina is also developed

through practice and opportunities to play, so start with shorter periods of play until a time of greater length is appropriate. Early childhood was formerly the period of play, but academic preschools and kindergartens, organized activities and sports, and intrusions in our homes in the form of streaming videos, television, and video games defraud children of the joy of boats made of cardboard boxes, forts constructed of blankets, fairy rings fabricated out of rocks in the yard.

This is not to say that children’s play should never be interrupted by the reality of scheduling, such as work, school, or social opportunities; instead, it is to suggest that children benefit from unscheduled and uninterrupted playtime, even if that unscheduled time must be planned and intentionally reserved for play. Perhaps, think of this gift of time as an appointment, much like soccer practice and music lessons, without a commute! You may find that the gift of scheduled play time for grown-ups may be beneficial for the adults who care for young children as well. After all, the joy of playtime has no age limit!

What are the odds of me?

What an amazing journey a child makes from conception to adulthood. The conditions had to be just right for cells to form and develop, for birth to occur, for development during childhood to take place, for survival from the trials of adulthood, for the presence of a life on a beautiful planet to occur, and for the individual to be an occurrence in a vast universe. It staggers the mind to consider, “What are the odds of me?” None of us got here alone. We were dependent upon the environments that surrounded us, including the people. In The 1946 Lectures, Montessori reminded us, “There is a vital force in every human being, which leads them to make evergreater efforts for the realization of individual potentialities. Our tendency is to realize them. Joy and interest will come when we can realize the potentialities that are within us.” Together, intentionally, we can realize our potential as educators, as parents, as children, and as humans.

For more information on these topics, please look for Intentional Connections: A Conversation for Parents from Educators coming from Parent Child Press, Fall 2022.

Or watch the nine-part guest educator and parent webinar series at DorothyHarmanEducatorandAuthor with guests: Reagan Vanderplas; Jess Stanley; Donna May Tomboc; Jasmin Fiel-Samson; Jonathan Wolff; Stacey MacKinnon; Nancy Smith; Emily Kimm; Kim Boyd; Andrea Otte; Kitty Bravo; Katrina Dumar; Virginie Butin; Cassey Wesnofske; Cassi Mackey; Karen Lirange; Resa Steindel Brown; and Erin Urwin. ¢


Craig, H. (2022, June 4). 10 ways to build trust in a relationship. PositivePsychology. com. Retrieved June 10, 2022, from https://

Harman, D. (2018). Intentional connections: A practical guide to parent engagement in early childhood & lower elementary classrooms. Parent Child Press.

Montessori, M. (2019). Citizen of the world: key Montessori readings. Montessori-Pierson Publishing Company.

Montessori, M., & Haines, A. M. (2018). The 1946 London lectures. Montessori-Pierson Publishing Company.

Montessori, M., & Lillard, P. (2017). In Maria Montessori speaks to parents: A selection of articles. Montessori-Pierson Publishing Company.

Dorothy Harman is an AMS early childhood Montessori guide. She holds a BA in early childhood Education and a M. Ed in curriculum and Instruction with an Emphasis in Creative Arts. Dorothy Harman serves as a Montessori consultant and Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. She serves as a Field Consultant for the Center for Guided Montessori Studies and was a 2018 recipient of an AMS Peace Seed Grant. She is the author of Intentional Connections: A Practical Guide to Parent Engagement in Early Childhood and Lower Elementary Classrooms, published through Parent Child Press.


10 Ways We Can Show Respect to Our Child

One thing about the Montessori approach is how we show respect to the child. The most powerful way for us to teach our children how to respect others is for us to model it and for them to absorb it every day. Here are ten ways we can show respect to our child:

1. Soft hands—the way we handle them

2. Listen—stop and really listen to their words, their expressions, their face, and hands

3. Use kind words even when setting a limit

4. Avoid baby talk speak to them as we would to an adult

5. Let them know what we appreciate give feedback: “You put all the blocks back in the basket ready for the next person!” (rather than empty praise such as “good job”)

6. Allow time (as much as possible) for movement, for conversation, to walk at their pace

7. Include them in daily life – let them help contribute in family conversations and make (age-appropriate) choices

8. Find ways to work with them (“Can you help me carry this heavy box inside?”) rather than threaten, bribe, or punish them (“If you don’t come inside right now, I’ll…”)

9. Look them in the eye and accept them for who they are we can teach skills, but it is not our job to change them

10. Let them see how capable they are set things up for them to have success; provide hands-on learning opportunities that they can master by themselves


Be a model of honesty to our child – even if it’s embarrassing at times, our vulnerability will show them that we trust them, and they will be honest with us and trust us. This can also mean apologizing when we get something wrong instead of blaming someone else. “I got it wrong. What I should have done is … What I should have said is…”

Does this mean children can do whatever they want?

This does not mean that the adult is not in charge. We will set a limit when needed. Not passive. Not aggressive. But in a respectfully assertive way.

• “I’m not going to let you keep hitting me. You need to sit down, and I’m going to calm down.”

• “I can’t let you hurt your friend. I’m going to sit here between you.”

• “That vase can break. I’m going to put it up here, and we can find something else to bang.”

3-12 years.

Finding Montessori helped her so much when raising her own children, and it’s now her passion to help other parents introduce these ideas in their homes. She was looking to find a way to be with her kids that wasn’t about bossing, threatening, or bribing them. Or giving them free rein either. And she wanted them to have a positive experience of school, not just to pass tests, but to love learning.

Simone Davies is the author of The Montessori Toddler and co-author of The Montessori Baby, comprehensive guides to raising toddlers and infants in a Montessori way. The books are based on her 15+ years’ experience working as an AMI Montessori teacher in Sydney and in Amsterdam. She also has a popular blog, instagram, and podcast The Montessori Notebook. She is also mother to two young adults. Simone currently runs parent-child Montessori classes in Amsterdam at her school Jacaranda Tree Montessori and is working on another book with Junnifa Uzodike, The Montessori Child for children from


In the words of beloved Peanuts author Charles Schulz, “Happiness is a warm puppy.” That sentiment succinctly sums up all the joyous feelings and positive benefits that have been derived from the therapy and comfort dog program at Five Oaks Academy (FOA) in Simpsonville, SC.

It began with one dog, uh, “helping out” in the admissions department and now has evolved to five dogs serving as fixtures in the classroom, bringing to life the Montessori vision of both creating a welcoming environment and giving students first-hand knowledge of animal sciences. All the dogs make their homes with FOA faculty members, who go through an application process to participate and whose dogs have had varying degrees of training and certification, as well as medical and temperament clearance.

FOA Executive Director Kathleen Trewhella-Grant says, “One of our important goals is to create a warm and caring environment for our students to develop responsibility, compassion, and respect for all living things.”

While having the dogs on campus has certainly helped meet that goal, Trewhella-Grant adds that the program was “amped up this year as we noticed that students needed more help in the classroom to feel calm and confident, particularly with some of the stresses from Covid, and so it’s become even more important to focus on the learning atmosphere.”

Why so much focus on the atmosphere?

“If you feel comfortable in your learning environment — which is a hallmark of Montessori learning — you retain more information. Learning simply works better if you’re feeling protected, loved, and comfortable,” says Trewhella-Grant.

There’s no doubt that FOA’s students are feeling the love and thriving because of it. Just ask Eleanor Rogers, Lower Elementary Directress and “Mom” to dogs Sunny, a Black Labrador and Tate, a Golden Retriever. Sunny, who has completed Off-Leash Puppy Training and is working on her Canine Good Citizen certification, rotates coming to Rogers’ classroom every Wednesday with Tate. Tate completed

the Palmetto Animal Assisted Life Services (PAALS) program as a puppy and is a trained service dog.

Explains Rogers: “I have seen more happiness coming from all students in the classroom when Sunny or Tate spend the day with us. There is one student who lacks motivation to complete his work, so on days when Sunny or Tate are with us, he gets to spend oneon-one time with the dog when he completes his work. He always works so hard on these days!”

Reading Interventionist Katie Heisey has seen rewarding results in her classroom as well, where she works with students ages four to nine. She says that her dog Judge, an Australian-Shepherd mix who has received her Canine Good Citizen certification, has been a sweet and comforting presence in her own life and that she was excited to share that spirit with her students.

“After having been an early interventionist for the past several years, I have seen the benefit of having a dog around children. I have noticed


that my students are more relaxed and less anxious when working,” says Heisey. “They are also less overwhelmed and are more motivated to complete their reading and writing.”

Heisey’s students particularly have fun reading to Judge. “The students always tell me that it looks like Judge is smiling, which is my favorite thing ever, because they do not realize that they make Judge smile just as much as she makes them smile,” says Heisey.

In addition to the level of comfort the dogs are fostering, the program is fulfilling an important role in teaching responsibility to FOA’s students. For example, in Rogers’ classroom, two ‘zoologists’ are appointed each week and have the privilege of walking the dogs and taking them on bathroom breaks. (Rogers accompanies the students on the walks, but they are allowed to hold the leash.)

“We have had many practical life lessons on dog etiquette,” says Rogers, “such as how to approach a dog, the importance of asking a dog’s owner if it’s okay to pet them, etc.”

Amanda Sisk, Co-Lead Upper Elementary Directress/Administrative Coordinator, is considered the veteran of the program, as she has had at least one dog serving as the classroom pet for three years. She echoes the success the other teachers have witnessed.

nine Good Citizen training once he has received all his vaccinations at 6 months old.

Either Tybee or Moby is in the classroom every day. Sisk uses a job responsibility board so the students can keep track of who has which task in caring for the dogs on which day. And make no mistake: these are very popular jobs that give students a sense of confidence and accomplishment.

“When the students found out that I was getting a new puppy, they were so excited and begged me to bring him to school,” says Sisk. “It was love at first sight. So many of the students do not have pets at home, and the experiences they share with the pets in the classroom offer them practical life skills that they are not able to practice elsewhere.”

Sisk notes that many of the students are able to connect with the dogs more easily than with their peers or teachers in the classroom. “This is especially true when we have a new student starting in the classroom. The new student is able to lean on the dog for emotional support, and the opportunity to help care for the dog with other classmates allows them to make connections with those other students more easily.”

Sisk adds that she also has observed children overcome their fears of dogs by being in a safe environment in which they can build their level of comfort gradually. “They are able to watch their peers’ interactions with the dog, see that the dog is following the commands the students are giving him, and slowly build the courage to interact more themselves.”

Similarly, when asked if anything about the dogs’ presence has surprised her, Trewhella-Grant says she wasn’t sure if all the students would enjoy the dogs, but that “even the most timid learned from a distance to appreciate the animals, and they got over any fears. I was just wowed by how joyful the whole process has been for our students. The privilege of having one of the dogs sit with you is such a motivator.”

“I like that the dogs bring me comfort when I need it,” says Mary Brice of the Lower Elementary program. “Knowing that Sunny or Tate will be in the classroom the next day gives you something to look forward to when you go to school.”

Her dogs include Tybee, a 3-year-old Labradoodle that has been in the classroom since he was 12 weeks old and received his Canine Good Citizen certification when he was 6 months old, and Moby, a 4-month-old Great Dane puppy. Moby also will undergo the Ca-

Perhaps the best testimony comes directly from the students.

Says Jameson: “I like that they are really fluffy, and I get to spend time with them. I like how when I snuggle with them, they give me licks. They make me feel really special!”

“I like getting to play with the dogs and petting them. They help me learn how to take care of my grandparents’ dogs, “ Addie comments.

All of the teachers reiterate that their dogs are benefitting from being at Five Oaks Academy as much as the students are. Says Sisk: “This is a wonderful experience for the dogs. They receive so much attention and love, become more socialized, and get regular exercise by the students taking them out for walks on the nature trail.”

“My dog has the absolute best time at school. Her favorite thing is to be around other people and show them love. Now, she gets to do that all day long!” says Heisey.

It seems Schulz got it right; it really does all come down to the happiness dogs give us. Calvin, an elementary student, confirms: “I like petting the dogs and they make me happy!”

For Tate, Sunny, Judge, Tybee, and Moby, it’s all in a good day’s work. ¢

Susan Nichols is a freelance writer living in Simpsonville, SC. Her 30-year-plus media career included time as a B2B magazine publisher, brand director and editor-in-chief focused on business and technology issues for the global apparel industry. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in journalism.




Helicopter Interference

My college roommate visits me with her two teenage sons. She confides that she is worried that her 15-year-old isn’t working hard enough in school and “might be making poor choices about partying.” In our cabin kitchen, only moments later, I watch wide eyed while my friend takes the butter knife out of her son’s hand, pushes him aside, and says, “Here, let me make your sandwich. You have no idea what you’re doing.”

Have you ever seen this kind of interaction? Here’s a 15-year-old who isn’t allowed to make his own, albeit sub-par, sandwiches, but he’s expected to make responsible decisions about schoolwork and partying; and a parent, wanting nothing but the best for her son, who inserts herself into his attempt to make a sandwich, not seeing how doing so relates to his “poor choices.”

Many children are given the message — in small, seemingly benign ways — that they are not capable of making their own choices and

developing independence. By not allowing children to try things and learn from their mistakes, we become obstacles to their growth. We become, according to the popular phrase, “helicopter parents.”

Helicopter parenting, a term coined by psychologists Jim Fay and Foster Cline in the 1990s, describes the too-common tendency to hover and interfere in children’s actions and decision making. As parents, we do this so regularly that most of us don’t even realize we’re doing it. Some may even feel as though something is amiss if we aren’t involved in our children’s business, because we see so many parents self-assuredly “hovering about.” For instance, a friend of mine recently dropped her daughter off at college and noticed that other parents set up their children’s bedrooms. She felt guilty driving away, even though her daughter told her she wanted to set up her own room. My friend had raised an independent young woman, but on that day, she wondered whether she was being a “neglectful” mother!

Collecting the Wisdom

In How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success, Julie Lythcott-Haims explains this phenomenon of unnecessary parental interference and ways to address it. While working as the dean of freshmen at Stanford University and raising her own children, Lythcott-Haims noticed the alarming “lack of purpose” many college-aged students reported feeling. She saw a causal link between overly involved parents, who made too many of their children’s decisions for them, and these college students, who were out of touch with their own desires, interests, and capabilities. Therefore, right when they should have been feeling the exhilaration of finally being out on their own, these young adults felt lost.

In The Gift of Failure, middle school teacher and parent Jessica Lahey shows how overprotective parents do everything in their power to keep their children from failing. Thus, they inadvertently take away their children’s opportunities to learn to solve their


own problems. In her book, Lahey urges parents to allow their children’s little mistakes, such as forgetting homework or lunch money, to be the natural teaching moments that they are; when children are supported to think for themselves and adjust their behavior to improve their success, they learn that small

let our children learn from their experiences is counter to the parental mindset of our culture. We feel so responsible, we want to make sure our children succeed, and we care — though it’s hard to admit — what other people think. It isn’t easy to find the path to raising an independent child.

back — did not interfere or dominate — the children learned through their interactions with the environment, almost as if they were teaching themselves.

What made stepping aside possible for Montessori was her specially prepared school

failures are nothing to fear. In fact, this is how they naturally become independent.

In Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth convinces us that when our children learn to get up again and again; after setbacks, they develop grit and determination. Duckworth’s anecdotes and research show that people succeed because of their perseverance and passion for their work, not because they were endowed with great gifts or had their paths smoothed over by hovering parents. It takes practice and experience to learn that hard work, struggle, and failures are all part of a successful journey. Therefore, it is important to allow our children to experience the natural ones that come their way.

Each of these authors agree that childhood is the time to practice making mistakes and solving small problems. The research is out there: Over-parenting cripple’s children, while supporting their independence leads to their success.

So if we have all this evidence and good advice, why is it so hard for us to follow it? We all want our children to grow up and become happily independent from us; no parent deliberately sabotages this process, and many are familiar with the messages in these books. But there may be a lack of practical advice on how to raise children to be independent, especially in this wave of helicoptering. Stepping aside to

But the main issue, I believe, is that we approach parenting from an ingrained schooling model of “adult as teacher/director” and “child as learner/receiver.” This implies that helping children develop means directing them in their actions; however, the more an adult directs, the bigger an obstacle to a child’s independent thinking — and actions — he becomes. Therefore, another approach to education and parenting is both helpful and timely.

Finding an Approach that Works

As a parent and a teacher for more than twenty years, I’ve found the Montessori approach to be the most effective way to foster independence. This approach gives us both a framework for understanding child development and practical advice for supporting children from a very early age. Maria Montessori, who graduated from the University of Rome as a medical doctor in 1896, became accomplished in studies of anthropology, psychology, psychiatry, and philosophy. Montessori was a deep thinker; she studied the varied work of others and made astute observations of young children. Montessori noticed (with surprise) that children as young as three-years old were most attracted to learning the very skills that would serve them well, such as language and life skills. She found that when adults stood

environment, which enabled children to learn through their own experiences. Her second ingredient was providing an adult who acted as a guide for the children rather than a lecturer or a director. Specifically, the teacher modeled how to work productively with Montessori-designed teaching materials within the boundaries of responsible behavior. As the students were supported to pursue their interests, they learned and became able to do far more than was expected, even by today’s standards. This happened repeatedly in Montessori’s observations and continues to happen in Montessori schools around the world today. The good news is parents can follow the basics of this approach at home by focusing on preparing the home environment for their children’s independence, showing them how to do things for themselves, and giving them freedom with boundaries of responsibility.

While working at Forest Bluff School in Lake Bluff, Illinois, I have been helping parents set up their homes to foster their children’s autonomy from infancy to adolescence. When I talk to parents about how to do this, I explain that it is a paradigm shift in our thinking. We need to shift our attention away from controlling and directing our children and onto preparing an environment that allows them to meet their own needs. This automatically changes the dynamics


of the parent-child relationship. Children

parents stay out of their way, wherever possible and appropriate, but who then model and provide the necessary boundaries and support, become far more confident and capable in every area of their lives.

Practical Advice: Start When They’re Young

To provide an environment that supports your children’s independence, begin by looking at the setup of your house. For example, let’s say you are the parent of a five-year-old and a three-year-old, wanting to start them on the path to making their own breakfasts. First, prepare a small pitcher of milk, roughly five inches tall, two bowls and spoons, and a small plastic container with two servings of cereal in it. Cut strawberries and leave them in a bowl with an adult-size spoon, which will act as a serving spoon to small hands. Set these items out on a low, child-sized table. Examine each item carefully to ensure that the children can manage them successfully; the table should come to their waist height, the plastic container should be soft enough to peel open

easily, and everything should be sized to a child’s small hands.

The stage has been set. The low table is waiting for the children to come discover it, with all they need for breakfast. Your preparations say, “This action of getting breakfast can belong to you. You are allowed to do it. You can use these things and fulfill your own needs.” See what happens when your children enter the kitchen and find this little table prepared for them and, as necessary, help a little by showing them what to do. If you do this each morning, your children will get the hang of it and become increasingly independent.

Why does this work? Maria Montessori recognized that there is this innate spirit in very young children that makes them want (desperately) to do things, and this desire is what it means to be active, to feel useful, to be human. We are feeding that spirit when we prepare the environment and show children how to do things for themselves. The important point here is that our goal goes beyond cutting strawberries and getting breakfast. The development of a confident

and thinking individual is the real goal. The activity of preparing one’s own breakfast is a means to reach that goal.

Children Grow by Their Own Efforts

Our children build and form themselves. It is not something that we do to them, but which they must do — and want to do — by their own efforts. This is the parenting mindset — the paradigm shift — that Montessori proposed with her approach. By getting ourselves out of the way, we encourage our children to have a direct relationship with the realities and consequences of their immediate surroundings. A natural process ensures that they learn through both the successes and mistakes they make along the way. Children raised with this approach learn to be responsible, make healthier choices for themselves, and are more confident, secure, and happy.

So, land your helicopters, parents, and put your energies into preparing the environment, modeling, and giving freedoms with responsible boundaries to your children. They can accomplish many things for themselves when we adults do our jobs and let them do theirs. Watch them take off! ¢

Paula Lillard Preschlack is a writer and a speaker. She has spent 25 years as a teacher and the head of school at Forest Bluff School. She is currently working on a book about Montessori education. Her work focuses on the principles and successes of the Montessori approach learned from over 25 years of teaching and observing children from birth to adulthood.

Paula is a graduate of Hampshire College and has a Master’s Degree in Education from Loyola University, Baltimore, MD. She is AMI certified for all Montessori age levels: Assistants to Infancy; Primary; and Elementary, and she audited the NAMTA/ AMI Orientation to Adolescent Studies in 2018. Paula is married to Jim Preschlack and lives in Lake Forest with their son, Stanley (age 19), and daughter, Lillard (age 17).

Become a Montessori Teacher ... without missing work Toll-free: 1.877.531.6665 INFANT/TODDLER EARLY CHILDHOOD ELEMENTARY ACCESSIBLE The convenience of distance education FLEXIBLE Start any time on your own schedule AFFORDABLE Montessori Diploma Programs and Curriculum VALUABLE Advance your Montessori Teaching Career



An Introduction to Who Owns It?

Is that yours? No, that is his! Give me my book! You are reading your book. Who ate Gary’s dinner? That was Gary’s food.

All these sentences show ownership. Someone in each sentence owns something. The way that we say that someone owns something in English is called a possessive.

The simplest way to approach possessives is to recognize that, in English, they appear as three different parts of speech: nouns, adjectives, and pronouns.

The possessive noun is a noun that modifies another noun by showing ownership. The possessive noun acts like an adjective by modifying the noun, but it still has its origin as a noun and, thus, it is classified here as a special type of noun.

The second sort of possessive word is the possessive adjective. Possessive adjectives are, first, adjectives, meaning that they must modify a noun. To modify nouns, the possessive adjective precedes the noun, as in her ball, his book, my dinner, or your pen. It is important in identifying the possessive adjective to verify that it is modifying a noun. The use and classification of possessive adjectives is commonly very confused, especially on the Internet.

The third form of possessive word is the possessive pronoun. Possessive pronouns are, first, pronouns. That means that they are standing in for a noun, not modifying the noun. In this case, they are standing in or substituting for a possessive noun.

Examples of possessive pronouns are mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, and theirs. A possessive pronoun would be used in a sentence like, “Those gloves are hers,” or, “That shirt is mine.”

It is important to note that possessive pronouns do not have an apostrophe. This is particularly confused with the words it’s and its. It’s with an apostrophe is a contraction. Its without an apostrophe is a possessive pronoun.

I hope that this story of Pixel and her missing green catnip ball can help to sort out the characteristics of the possessive words and the differences that each type manifests. They are quite fascinating. I hope you enjoy this story that, as I say at the beginning, was originally told to me by a cat.

Dr. Michael Dorer was trained internationally, and has taught students from age 2 to 14. He has been involved in Montessori education for over 45 years, including two decades of educating adults to be Montessorians.

Michael holds multiple degrees including Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) from Argosy University. After 25 years as Director of Montessori Education at St. Catherine University, he went on in 2012 to found a graduate level Montessori program at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah called “The Institute for Montessori Innovation”. Currently he writes, lectures, consults, oversees artistic residencies, delivers keynotes and workshops, and professional development.

Michael Dorer’s new book, Grammar Tells a Story: How we teach grammar in Montessori, is a book that combines over fifty stories for telling in Montessori classrooms along with vital information about the Montessori approach to grammar and language arts, storytelling, and basic Montessori theory and philosophy.

It is planned that Grammar Tells a Story will be released in the fall of 2022. It is being published by Parent Child Press of Santa Rosa, CA. For preorders, contact them at (877) 975-3003 or at www.


Who owns it?

Here’s a story that I once heard told by a cat. Not in your time and not in my time, but in a time when animals could talk, and words could speak out loud.

Once upon a time, in that far away time, there was a lovely orange tabby cat called Pixel, who so very much enjoyed playing with a small ball stuffed with catnip.

Every day she would play with that catnip ball, batting it about with her paws and enjoying herself tremendously.

One day as she batted the ball about, it so happened that it slipped into the tiny space between the words of a sentence.

The pretty tabby scratched at it and clawed, but she could not get to the ball, no matter how many times she tried. Finally, poor Pixel was so frustrated that she simply lay down and glared at the ball, where it was stuck between those words. Only the tip of her tail twitched angrily.

Just at that moment, one of the words in the sentence that had captured the ball stepped quietly into the room.

It was an adjective, beautifully attired in a smart suit all royal blue.

“I can help you, Pixel,” the adjective said, “just tell me please, who is it that owns that fragrant ball?”

Now Pixel had always been a cat of very few words and being frustrated now she could only manage to mew, “Me, me, me.”

At that, the adjective spoke once again in a charming tone. “I can only help you if you will show me that you own it with the proper words. You must say it in a way that uses me.”

Pixel fixed the adjective with a feline glare but thought carefully and deeply. Then she said, “I think I know what it is that you require me to say. ‘It is my ball.’”

“Correct,” cried the elated adjective. “You used me, an adjective, in fact a possessive adjective, to show that you own the ball. Anyone who can use the possessive adjective correctly deserves help. I will get the ball for you now.”

But just then a forbidding and imperious presence emerged from the sentence that was still holding the ball in a tight grip. “Stop,” he shouted. “I am a noun, and I demand that you hear me.”

“Pixel, I can certainly retrieve that ball for you if you will only tell me whose ball it is, but you must use your own name. After all, I am a noun, and I require that you use me.”

Although the adjective was fuming and in a royal blue funk, the high and mighty noun prevailed and, once again, Pixel had to think.

After lengthy and deep thought Pixel hit upon what she believed to be the correct answer.

“I have it,” she meowed. “How is this, ‘That is Pixel’s ball.’”

“Excellent,” shouted the delighted noun. “You used me, a noun, in fact a possessive noun. That is so much finer than a mere possessive adjective,” he announced with a quick dismissive glance at the still angry adjective. “Anyone who can use a possessive noun correctly deserves my help I will get the ball for you.”

However, before the noun could move at all, there was a flash of purple from the sentence that was still holding Pixel’s ball. Out stepped a tall, proud character, eager to displace the noun.

“Stop,” he called out, as he shoved the noun aside. “I am a pronoun, and you really must hear me now.”

By now, both the adjective and the noun were indignant, but the pronoun spoke above them all, making Pixel pay attention.

The pronoun fixed Pixel with a penetrating gaze. “Pixel,” said the pronoun, “I will retrieve that ball for you if you can only tell me who’s ball it is. But you must use me, the pronoun, in your speech.”

For the third time, Pixel had to ponder deeply. Twice, she had already shown that she owned the ball, once with the adjective, and once with the noun. Now, what could this pronoun require?

Finally, the answer came to mind.

“I have it,” she mewed. “The ball is hers.”

“Outstanding,” exclaimed the pronoun. “You used me, a pronoun, in fact the possessive pronoun. That is clearly the superior way to express yourself. Anyone who can use a possessive pronoun properly deserves help. I’ll retrieve the ball.”

But before the pronoun could move, both the noun and adjective began to object vociferously and strenuously.

“Oh no you don’t,” someone said.

“Hands off,” said the other.

“That is her ball,” called the adjective.

“I know, it is Pixel’s ball,” argued the noun.

“That ball is hers,” responded the pronoun.

And so, the argument continued, each of them insisting that they could best show ownership.

Pixel finally saw that any one of the three ways would work. She could show that she owned the ball with an adjective, a noun, or a pronoun, any one of them.

“But why,” she wondered, “must I choose? They all work.”

As the noun, adjective, and pronoun kept wrangling, poor Pixel began to despair. It seemed that with these three she would never get her beloved catnip ball back.

Just then a bright red verb stepped out from the sentence gripping the ball tightly.

“Take it,” said the verb and rolled the ball right to Pixel who was thrilled.

“Now play,” commanded the verb. Those three may argue forever. Each one is right and yet none will admit it.” With a dismissive glance, the verb then bounded back into the sentence.

Pixel once again had the catnip ball, which she enjoyed so much

As for the adjective, the noun, and the pronoun, I think they are still arguing, so we still must choose which of these three ways we want to use to show who owns something. Any of these three ways is workable, it is up to us to decide which will fit best in our sentence and in our thoughts.

And that’s the last I have heard of Pixel and the argument between the adjective, the noun, and the pronoun. Such things do happen, you know. So, the story is told, and here it ends. ¢


Adult Well-Being Through Montessori Education

When many of us enroll our children in a Montessori school, we are asked to share our goals for our child’s future. Many read something like this, “I want my child to be a happy, self-supporting, life-long learner.” Although the word may not often be used in writing these goals, what is really being hoped for is well-being. According to Dictionary. com, well-being is, “A good or satisfactory condition of existence; a state characterized by health, happiness, and prosperity.” A recent study, “An Association Between Montessori Education in Childhood and Adult WellBeing”, concludes that at least two years of good quality Montessori education increases adult wellbeing (Lillard AS, Meyer MJ, Vasc D, and Fukuda E, 2021).

The authors focused on four factors: general well-being; engagement; social trust; and self-confidence. Attendance at a Montessori school seems to have a ripple effect for many former Montessori students, as they found that “the more years one attended Montessori, the higher one’s well-being as an adult.” The

authors felt that three features of Montessori education would affect general well-being are self-determination, meaningful activities, and social stability.

Choice of Work: Choosing their own work, the ability to opt-out of, or delay, planned lessons, and limited performance evaluations encourage students to oversee their own education, to be self-determined, to decide for themselves. Adults who feel self-determination are more likely to seek challenges and be engaged in their chosen activity. As adults, we may describe this as having balance, having our dream job, or work that really means something. In the Montessori classroom, we frequently see children choose work that offers some challenge for them, whether that is carrying a tray with a bowl of water doing long division with the racks and tubes, or writing poetry. Students will often push themselves to an area just beyond their comfort level when they are ready for that growth and are welcome to make that move in their own time.

Meaningful Activities in the Montessori

Classroom: Folding a cloth leads to folding classroom laundry; a group outing requires adding and dividing to figure out the cost; cutting fruits and vegetables is a part of fixing snack; and all these academic and life skills are applied within the classroom. As students grow, they may do research work that is personally meaningful to them and apply this to the information the class is learning together. In fact, in an earlier study, Montessori middle school students reported feeling more engaged than the control group (Lewis AD, Huebner ES, Malone PS, and Valois RF, 2011). As adults, we want to feel engaged in our family, job, and community, and part of the way we feel this engagement is through meaningful activities and connections. Meaningful activities can be linked to general wellbeing and engagement throughout life.

The Three-Year Class Cycle: Staying with the same teacher and having a limited change of students over a three-year cycle provides social stability and encourages students to collaborate with classmates. Many studies


have shown that staying with the same teacher and some of the same classmates supports positive relationships, self-confidence, and academic growth. Managing friendships, different work styles, and opinions is an important part of any Montessori classroom and is done with understanding and guidance. Developing grace and courtesy skills, beyond manners to acceptance and understanding, can strengthen relationships and a sense of community inside the classroom and out. As adults, these social skills help us in our family, community, and our job. We don’t need to make our best friends at work (or even in our local community), but it is more enjoyable to have friendly relationships, and being accepting of different personalities helps in all relationships. Developing a sense of community, friendship, and a sense of social stability has been shown to lead to a sense of well-being.

Montessori classrooms offer free choice, which leads to self-determination, meaningful activities which encourage engagement, and the social stability of multi-year classrooms which leads to social trust. The general goal of a happy, self-supporting, life-long learner, or an adult with a sense of well-being, can be

started by attending a Montessori school. The median attendance of survey respondents was eight years in the recent Lillard study, and a longer attendance was correlated to a higher level of well-being. It has been said that the longer a child attends a Montessori program, the more people that are positively affected over that person’s lifetime. Possibly that is

NewGate School

true because, as this study demonstrated, attendance in a Montessori program positively affects adult well-being.


Lewis, A. D., Huebner, E. S., Malone, P. S., and Valois, R. F. (2011). Life satisfaction and student engagement in adolescents. J. Youth Adolescense. 40, 249–262. doi: 10.1007/ s10964-010-9517-6

Lillard AS, Meyer MJ, Vasc D and Fukunda E (2021). An association between Montessori education in childhood and adult wellbeing. Frontiers in Psychology. 12:721943. Doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.721943

Cheryl Allen was a classroom Montessori guide for 18 years and is now Director of Parent Education with the Montessori Family Alliance. As a child, Cheryl attended a Montessori school from age 2 through the 3rd grade. She earned her BA in History from Georgetown University and her Master’s in Teaching from Simmons College in Boston. Cheryl is an AMS-certified Early Childhood and Elementary Montessori teacher, holds IMC certification in advanced Elementary Montessori education, and is currently pursuing a Topics of Human Behavior Graduate Certificate from Harvard University.

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Adolescent Practical Life

Practical Life may not be found on a shelf at the adolescent level, yet it is as important as it is at any other level. On a typical afternoon at the NewGate School (Sarasota, FL), adolescents are found playing team games, including setting up, decisions about game versions to play, game rules, and cleaning up. Some are cooking recipes from the 1920s, since they are studying that time period in class, cleaning up, and then sharing with classmates. Others are reading, conversing, drawing, or learning to make friendship bracelets. At the end of the day, they will all help organize the school to be ready for the next school day. Other days, they may tend to the garden, paint rocks for decoration, clean the outdoor areas, or walk a visiting dog. As the students notice, Practical Life prepares them for the future, helps them to become independent, and helps them learn to be patient with themselves and their classmates.

*Secondary Practical Life student comments

“If you see that your teammate messes up, you have to be patient with them, because they will learn, and you will play with them again.” – Luca*
“We learn to be more independent.” – Varun*
“Different people have different strengths and weaknesses.” – Brogan*

“Learning together and learning different techniques are fun when cooking, and it is super fun to get to eat the final product.” – Lucia*

“It teaches you how to cook for later in life.” – Ethan*

The Power of “Mistake Conversations“ In Our Family Lives

One afternoon, soon after my daughter Sophie’s fourth birthday, my husband (Phillipe) and I sat at a meeting with her preschool teachers in Brookline, Massachusetts. An hour earlier, I’d been meeting with parents at the school where I worked. Now I was on the parent side.

“She has trouble making mistakes,” the first teacher, a grayhaired, gentle woman, told me. “That’s typical of many kids. She’s independent and a perfectionist.”

“And she blames her mistakes on other people,” the second teacher said. “It’s hurting her friendships. We’re talking a lot about responsibility. At home, I’d reinforce that.”

“I’ll see what we can do,” I gulped, having noticed those tendencies as well.

Throughout a busy workday, I let that conversation fade. But that evening, as I walked home, it started pouring, and I arrived home drenched and uncomfortable.

“You’re wet.” Sophie wrinkled her nose. “Didn’t you bring an umbrella?”

“I didn’t check the forecast,” I admitted.

“You should have.”

Peeling my socks off, I wanted to snap. Then I had an idea.

“That was my mistake for today,” I said. “What was yours?”



“Your mistake.” I met her gaze. “What wrong or silly thing did you do today?”

“I don’t make mistakes.” Huffing, she walked away. But then came dinnertime.

“Your mistake,” she demanded of Phillipe. “Tell us.”

“I forgot to lock my bike,” Philippe said. “I left it outside.”

“So, it got stolen?”

“No, I got lucky.” He sighed. “But next time, I’ll bring the lock.”


what about you?”

“I don’t bike in the rain.” She flashed a smile. “And I didn’t make a mistake.”

I changed the subject. But at dinner the following night, she asked, “Your mistakes?”

Philippe described sending an email too soon, then needing to phone to clarify.

“You didn’t check your work?” She jumped up.

“I was in a rush. But tomorrow, I’ll give myself more time.”

“My turn,” she said, and explained how she’d run into a boy at the playground by accident. He’d started crying, but she hadn’t apologized.

“You didn’t explain what happened?” I asked.

“It wasn’t my fault.”

“You didn’t have to say, ‘Sorry I pushed you.’ But what do you think he thought?”

“Probably that I meant to do it.” She scowled. “I’ll explain next time.”

That conversation was a small revelation. It allowed her to own up to a mistake but not let that mistake consume her. Mistakes are common to all of us, she started to realize, and reflection can let us strategize for the next time. This realization arose from her, through our back-and-forth

dialogue, not from any lecture I gave. After thinking through and wrestling with the ideas, she expressed them in her own words. Such thinking-through — and talking- through — lets kids learn more deeply than they otherwise would. Putting ideas in their own words makes those ideas more solid and allows them to take ownership of what they’ve learned.

Think about constructing a toy car from scratch, rather than learning, in the abstract, how a car works.

Dialogue Shifts over Time

Over the next few weeks, Sophie brought up more examples of mistakes: some days in a silly mood; some days more seriously. We did, too. As the weeks passed, we started seeing her attitude shift. She was taking more responsibility, the teachers said, and making more friends.

As I saw with Sophie, “mistake” conversations are critical for learning. They set the stage for kids to feel alright being wrong. Through looking at errors compassionately, we create room for kids to pinpoint why they’ve made those errors, which helps them strategize for next time. We also help them build empathy. When Sophie talked about having pushed a child by accident, she gained insight into how that child must have felt. In this way, kids gain both empathy and comfort with not being perfect. When we share our mistakes, we grow to recognize how they — and we — are always learning. This foundation of self-compas-


sion lets children stay curious and engaged. Just as important, these conversations help them identify highlights in their journeys, letting them see where they’ve gone right.

Still, “mistake” conversations are only one of countless examples of talk that boosts learning. It’s less what you talk about and more about how you talk. In fact, all sorts of everyday topics let kids see where they are in their learning journeys and understand more about themselves and the world. Quality conversations help them notice their own false beliefs and take steps to change them. These conversations also give us insight into how kids are thinking, which lets us bring them to the next level. When supported to follow their interests, kids pursue budding passions and, ideally, learn to make those passions a part of their everyday lives. ¢

Rebecca Rolland is a lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and serves on the faculty at Harvard Medical School. She is also an oral and written language specialist in the Neurology Department of Boston Children’s Hospital. As a nationally certified speechlanguage pathologist, she has worked clinically with populations ranging from children through adolescents and has provided teacher professional development. She has an Ed.D. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, an M.S. in SpeechLanguage Pathology from the MGH Institute of Health Professions, an M.A. in English from Boston University, and a B.A. in English from Yale.

A Brave Parent Is…

...Willing To Self-Reflect

I am sure that you have noticed that when you are off kilter, your children pick up on it and tend to lose it themselves.

Parenting is a process with many different elements involved, such as your parenting style, your child’s temperament, your child’s social circle, and the school they attend.

Self-reflection is a huge key to being the parent you want to be.

Try this exercise; it only takes a few minutes.

• Get into a quiet place alone. Or do this before you go to sleep at night.

• Take some deep breaths to help you settle into your chair or bed.

• Close your eyes.

• Put your most challenging child in front of your mind’s eye.

• Ask yourself, “What is this child trying to teach me?”

Here is my story:

My daughter and I had a rough time during her toddler years. What I learned from her was to be more present. I was often trying to do too many things at one time, or my mind was preoccupied with my priority lists. When I wasn’t present with her, she would throw more temper tantrums, and they would last for (what I felt) was an eternity.

When I learned how to be more present, like staying focused on just her when it was our play time or when she needed me, our relationship became calmer and more cooperative.

Your child may be teaching you how to be less controlling, more firm, more assertive, patience, etc. Whatever it is, be open to it.

There is a catch, though. It only helps to be self-reflective when you are being self-acceptant. Having a difficult time does not make you a bad parent. You and your family are in the process of how to live together peacefully. This takes time and a lot of patience.

A sought-after international speaker, trainer, and parenting coach, her most important role has been as a mom to her children. Her experiences as a mom, a single mom, and stepmom make her a compassionate and effective facilitator. Her participants always walk away with practical tools they can implement immediately that create connection rather than conflict. For more information visit her website at

Kathryn Kvols During her 30 years of study on best parenting practices, Kathryn wrote the book and parenting course Redirecting Children’s Behavior. This course is being taught in 21 countries and has been translated into five languages. Her researched-based strategies have empowered thousands of parents to redirect their kid’s misbehaviors into positive outcomes without nagging, yelling, or taking away privileges. The 4th edition can be pre-ordered on Amazon.

Benefits of Fine-Motor Skill Development

When your child becomes a toddler, you may suddenly begin hearing about fine-motor skill development. There are many ways to develop fine-motor skills, and they are often discussed as if writing is the ultimate outcome. Yet, getting through a day without using your fine-motor skills would be very difficult. We use fine-motor skills, those small movements we make with our hands, fingers, and arms to manage buttons, zippers, and tying when we get dressed, to feed ourselves, turn pages of books or magazines, and keyboard, text, and use the remote, all of that before we have written anything!

New research from Georgetown University (Cortes et al., 2022) demonstrates that fine-motor skill development at 42 months of age correlates to visuospatial deductive reasoning in adolescence. Visuospatial refers to being able to compare two- and threedimensional objects and deductive reasoning; in this case, it refers to being able to pick which object or drawing from given choices should come next in the series. Although brain imaging continues to improve and those improvements continue to provide more detailed information, brain imaging has shown that motor skills, reasoning, and spatial cognition share common areas in the brain (Cona & Scarpazza, 2019). The ability to make inferences is connected to visuospatial deductive reasoning. For example: Kim ran home. When she got there, she had to stop to catch her breath and wipe perspiration from her face and neck. Did Kim run home quickly or run slowly?

In a Montessori 3-6 classroom, students develop their fine-motor skills through many different materials. The Practical Life area of the classroom develops a variety of fine-motor skills, from the Dressing Frames to pouring and scooping. The materials in the Sensorial

area also actively utilize fine-motor skills, such as the pincer grip with the Cylinder Blocks and careful carrying of the cubes of the Pink Tower, Red Rods, and Brown Stairs. The Metal Insets, a language work which creates the movements that form all the letters of the alphabet, also develop fine-motor skills. Using pencils and cutting with scissors also develop fine-motor skills in the hand.

How can fine-motor skills be developed at home? Allowing your child to perform daily tasks, even though it takes longer, is important. Feeding themselves to the best of their ability, wiping down their eating area, and dressing themselves are all opportunities for fine-motor skill development.

Other work options you can create at home: Art opportunities: lacing beads or pasta on string; drawing in shaving cream; all coloring and painting; playdough or other moldable mixtures.

Water opportunities: using a turkey baster to move water from one container to another (or from a small bucket to a garden); making bubbles with a whisk, a squirt of liquid soap, and some water.

Other opportunities: opening and closing small jars or other containers; pushing uncooked spaghetti through the holes of a colander; scooping uncooked rice or beans from one container to another.

Seventy-six years ago, Dr. Montessori was leading us to the same conclusion as today’s research, using different means of observation. She reminded us, “The hands help the development of the intellect. When a child can use his hands, he can have a quantity of

experiences in the environment through using them. To develop his consciousness, then his intellect, and then his will, he must have exercises and experiences.” (Montessori, 2012, page 130) ¢


Cona G. & Scarpazza, C. (2019). Where is the “where” in the brain? A meta-analysis of neuroimaging studies on spatial cognition. Human Brain Mapping, 40(6), 1867-1886.

Cortes, R. A., Green, A. E., Barr, R. F., & Ryan, R. M. (2022, March 31). Fine-motor skills during early childhood predict visuospatial deductive reasoning in adolescence. Developmental Psychology. Advance online publication.

Montessori, M. (2012). The 1946 London Lectures. Montessori-Pierson Publishing Company.

Cheryl Allen was a classroom Montessori guide for 18 years and is now Director of Parent Education with the Montessori Family Alliance. As a child, Cheryl attended a Montessori school from age 2 through the 3rd grade. She earned her BA in History from Georgetown University and her Master’s in Teaching from Simmons College in Boston. Cheryl is an AMS-certified Early Childhood and Elementary Montessori teacher, holds IMC certification in advanced Elementary Montessori education, and is currently pursuing a Topics of Human Behavior Graduate Certificate from Harvard University.

Cheryl Allen, The Montessori Foundation

Don’t Live in La-La Land.

Most of our fears as parents about protecting our children involve situations that rarely occur. Many of us, however, tend to spend a disproportionate amount of time worrying about circumstances that will never happen, or planning for perfectionism, either in ourselves or in our children. Our fears and our guilt hold us hostage in a land of fantasy, “La-La Land.” We need to create reasonable expectations for ourselves, our children, and our families.

By worrying about the wrong things, we do ourselves a disservice and create anxiety and risk aversion within our relationships. We need to think of ways that we can slow down and create routines to discover that less is more.

Expectations of time.

We all have just 24 hours in a day. For some of us, that 24 hours is full of work in and out of the home. Have a realistic view of what you can accomplish in a day and prioritize those activities that will make your family life slower and better. Perhaps that means your house will not be as pristine as you would like. Meals will be simple. Social and sports outings may be limited. Hire help if you can afford to, and delegate tasks to all family members. Take the time to train and teach your children to help with chores. Make sure you offer time for family and one-on-one activities that express love and caring.

Expectations with money.

As we look at reasonable expectations, we need to be realistic about our budget. Our children need to understand the difference between wants and needs. Some organizational experts say most families only use 25 percent of the toys, clothes, and other stuff in their homes. Get rid of the 75 percent that you don’t use. One of the tyrannical holds of La-La Land is thinking that we need all these odds

and ends. Our possessions, in turn, take our time, our money and, too often, don’t add to our ability to express love and caring to our family members.

Our children need adults who love and care for them. They need adults who will teach them important life skills and give them moral guidance. Children need time alone to figure out who they are and who they can be.

We used to call this time without adults “play.” Play helps build resilience, social skills, leadership, and adaptability. Uninterrupted time alone, focused on self-selected activities, produces deep learning and problem-solving skills, as well as fosters a sense of well-being. Time spent on a self-paced agenda (versus an adult-created schedule) allows our children to think deeply and creatively construct their own person, as well as self-correct mistakes.

Every child is different and has unique needs. Every family is different, so one size could never fit all. Here is an example of one family’s changes.

Sylvia and Darren took a hard look at how they were choosing to spend their time and money and what those trade-offs meant to their personal well-being and their relationships with their children, Aiden (age 3) and Lily (age 4).

Sylvia and Darren looked at their costs for housing, transportation, childcare, extra lessons, restaurant outings, toys, and clothing and decided they could reduce their spending so that one of them could stay home or both could reduce their work hours, which seemed originally unthinkable to them during our current unstable economic time. Their visioning was long term and placed a priority on how to make life slower and better.

In their kitchen, Darren and Sylvia built activity shelves for Aiden and Lily to hold twenty

projects, and put in a child-sized table.

With less money but more time, Sylvia and Darren were able to help their children learn valuable life skills of taking care of themselves, their home, and others. There was time to offer moral guidance, along with the time to let Aiden and Lily make their own mistakes instead of always trying to stay on schedule.

Sylvia and Darren found that their La-La Land of worry, guilt, and fear was replaced with understanding. ¢

Maren Schmidt, M. Ed. is an award-winning teacher and author. She leverages her talents writing newsletters, a blog, along with books. Since 2005, she has written the Kids Talk Blog, and is the author of two books: Understanding Montessori: A Guide for Parents and Building Cathedrals Not Walls Montessori school communities enjoy her Kids Talk Newsletters that are full of actionable advice about children.

Maren is an elementary-trained Montessori guide with AMI. She is the founder of a Montessori school, and her Montessori roles include parent, teacher, and school administrator. Visit to sign up for her newsletters or read her Kids Talk Blog.


First Days at School: Morning Routines

Dear Parent,

This is an exciting time in your family’s life as you get ready for your child to start school. There are many things you can do to make the morning as smooth as possible, and they all begin with a calm, smooth, and predictable daily routine.

Consider which tasks you might do in the evening versus what you might need to do in the morning. Think about which time frame might be less hectic for you and your family. Consider things, such as picking out clothes; packing lunches; packing your child’s backpack; finding tomorrow’s footwear; etc.

Now think through the details of the tasks. Where will you take care of the morning bathroom business? Will you bathe in the morning or evening? If you take baths in the evening, will you eat breakfast in pajamas and then change into school clothes or get totally dressed for school and then eat breakfast? When will you pack the backpack? Perhaps you have the backpack ready and by the door in the morning, as well as the child’s shoes so you don’t need to look for these items as you are getting ready; if ready the evening before, all that is necessary is to add the child’s filled water bottle and lunchbox to the backpack and, viola, you are done. Let your child be aware of what

will be coming and make it more or less the same every day. We encourage children to be involved in all the process as much as they are able. When choosing clothes, choosing between two outfits works well. If picking out clothes is challenging, then perhaps that can be done after dinner the night before, so this is an already completed task in the morning. Let him help with packing his backpack, choosing what he will eat for lunch, etc. Keep the possibility of his helping at the forefront of your mind as you go through the process. (If he needs clean socks for school, can he get them from the drawer and put them in his backpack?)

When you return home in the evening is another time to work with your child to begin preparing for

the next day. Let your child assist with unpacking his backpack and taking care of items that need to be dealt with, such as washing his water bottle; cleaning his lunch box; putting laundry where it belongs; etc. Adding these tasks to your afternoon routine ensures you will be aware of what your child needs for school the following day or other school notifications. It also encourages your child to become a partner in these responsibilities and encourages him to chat about his day. It is just one more way of keeping the lines of communication open.

Of course, school information comes out electronically, as well, these days, but this is still a good way to stay organized and involve your child.

As with all aspects of child rearing, flexibility is paramount as routines will naturally ebb and flow. Your family’s situation may change, or you may decide what you are doing is just not working! Parental workplace demands may cause a shift in routine, and children may assume some of the responsibilities as they mature.

Your best family routine will evolve with time. Make a conscious plan and carefully think through the division of your morning, afterschool, and evening tasks. Keep your routine as consistent as is reasonable and involve your child in as many aspects of the process as is developmentally appropriate. Build in a bit or extra time so your morning does not feel rushed! Good Luck! ¢


Here is an example of a family’s daily, school-year routine.


• breakfast

• brush teeth

• get dressed

• fill water bottle

• pack lunch

• put on shoes


• unpack backpack

• wash water bottle

• clean lunchbox

• put laundry where it belongs

• replace any clothing/bedding needed for the next day


• pack backpack

• pick out clothes for tomorrow together

• bath time

• brush teeth

• read stories

• child goes to bed

Cathie Perolman is a reading specialist, elementary educator, author, consultant, and creator of educational materials for Primary and Elementary students. Check out her new downloadable materials on her website

For more than three decades, she has dedicated her energies to improving reading for all youngsters. She is the author of Practical Special Needs for the Montessori Method: A Handbook for 3-6 Teachers and Homeschoolers published by the Montessori Foundation (available through She is a regular contributor to  Tomorrow’s Child and Montessori Leadership  magazines.

Cathie Perolman holds a BS in Early Childhood Education and a MEd in Elementary Education with a concentration in reading. She is credentialed as a Montessori teacher. She is married and has two adult children and two adorable granddaughters. Cathie lives in Ellicott City, Maryland with her husband.

Peacing it all together.

This updated edition of the popular course, The Parenting Puzzle, led by Lorna McGrath, shares the secrets of Family Leadership—the Montessori way. Over the course of five weeks, Lorna provides strategies and practical examples that you can use right away to bring peace and ease into your home, creating a haven for the whole family, where power struggles fall away and give rise to joy.

Discount for MFA members. Now offering a monthly payment plan.



Here and There

Ivan’s parents split up and are living in separate houses. Ivan didn’t like that he had to go here and there. He didn’t think he could be happy and himself with his parents apart. It took a little time and some adjustment for Ivan to realize that love and happiness could be shared; that love and happiness could be both here and there. It’s important for children to know that families can change and be structured in different ways. Time helps. Love helps. And some things will be held in common here and there.

are soft and fairly realistic. The author and illustrator take you from summer, when flowers are in full bloom everywhere; to fall and the work to be done in the hive; to winter, when everything slows down; then spring, when the world awakens, and the honeybees start collecting the pollen and the nectar again. Much of the text is rhyming, and young children will love the gentle flow of the words. I had fun reading this out loud and using my voice to highlight certain words and sounds. You can, too. I think it’s important to let your child know that honeybees are not aggressive. They only sting if they (or their hive) are disturbed. They have a lot of work to do so they don’t have much time for us humans! This is a book that is appropriate for 3–6-year-olds.

love with this book and am now ordering a couple of books from each of the levels to see how they progress. I trust that I will be just as pleased with other books in this reading series. This is a great addition to a home or school library. You can purchase books in this series from and probably other booksellers as well.

On each page, the author writes the main idea and then explains the value of practicing it with your child, the family, or the larger community outside your family. Each idea has a two-page spread with an illustration on one page and the idea and value on the other. The illustrations are in color and in a style similar to what a child might draw.

Parents may appreciate the brevity of the content in this book, as life can get so full and time is precious. It can be found on most online booksellers.

The Honeybee

This is a beautifully illustrated and written book about the life cycle of the honeybee. It is quite colorful, and the illustrations

Amazing Bees

I just discovered that DK Publishers has a reading series. As always, this book is beautifully illustrated with photos of real honeybees, flowers, honeycombs, and all the other things that are part of a honey bee’s life. Amazing Bees is a Level 2 reader. The print is nice and big with just the right amount of information for an emerging reader. I am in

The Potential in Every Child

Parents will find this book to be a quick and easy reference for everyday living practices with their child. Gavin McCormack has boiled down one-hundred ideas that are in alignment with Montessori philosophy for parents. The ideas are mainly for elementary-age children, and some are for children in the early childhood stage. Then some ideas can be used with children from early childhood through the elementary years and beyond. A few examples are: “Give your child the responsibility to take care of their things.” “Spend one night per week walking and talking. Look at the moon and discuss big-picture ideas.” “Do not replace things that get broken. Learn the value of money and repair things together.”

Big and Small

This is a little board book for your infant or toddler. There is one quite realistic, colorful picture and one word on each page. Pages that are opposite each other in the book are opposite sizes. As you read this book together, your child will increase their vocabulary as you identify the picture images and begin to get some sense that there is a difference in the sizes of things. This is a difficult concept for a little one to really understand from a two-dimensional picture. However, you can put together an activity using objects that show the same concept in a three-dimensional way. For example: a big ball and a small ball; a big spoon and a small spoon; a big stuffed animal and a small stuffed animal; etc. Have fun reading this with your child!

Reviewed by Lorna McGrath

Think Circles!

I was pleasantly surprised when I opened this book for young children. I was expecting a book that has too much to sort out on a page, is visually distracting for young children, and could easily be torn or damaged by accident.

The author of Think Circles! isolates each illustration on the pages to answer the hint. For example: On page 1, the hint is “Bouncing Circle” and the question is “What can it be?” On the opposite page, there is a hidden object with just one opening to view part of the pictured answer with the word, “Think.” Adults get to have fun with this, too, as they read the words to the child and maybe, if needed, add another hint to play along with “thinking”

about what the hidden object might be. I love that she invites the child to “think.”

Ms Robbins also adds in another level of difficulty by adding objects to each page. So, on page 1, there is just one hidden object. On page 2 there are two hidden objects. On page 3 there are three objects, and so on to 10. On each page, there are the corresponding openings, so that children can count the openings and then count the objects when they open the flap to see the answer.

As a teacher, I would present one concept at a time. I would either introduce the book as a problem-solving lesson or as a counting lesson but not both at the same time. Both concepts are higher-level thinking. Either could be presented first. I would probably introduce the “thinking” concept first just because I like it.

The pages are quite sturdy, so that young children can use these books without accidentally damaging the books, assuming the adult has given the child a lesson on carefully turning/opening pages in a book. That’s important since we want

children to be successful as they use books and other activities. The illustrations are colorful, attractive, and quite realistic.

There are two other books in this series – Think Triangles! and Think Squares! These books would be enjoyed by children 3-6 years old.

easily opened by young hands. The illustrations are colorful, visually pleasing, and realistic.

Each book is set up similarly with a hint and a question on the left page and an opening that allows the child to see part of the animal on the right page.

For example: In the Farm Animals book on the left page, it reads, “I have a swishy tail and say ‘Moo!’ What can I be?” And on the right page, an opening shows a white and black tail with the word “Think” written below. I love that!

Think Farm Animals Think Zoo Animals

Karen Robbins has written two sturdy books for two- to four-year-old’s about animals: Think Farm Animals and Think Zoo Animals. The pages can be easily turned, and the flaps

Montessori teaching is all about hands-on;

checkerboards and microscopes all to learn upon.

Montessori demonstrates peace and how to be fair, as well as kindness, friendship, respect, and tender loving care.

The classroom is our place to roam,

Remember children at this young age are still developing impulse control. The adult can help them with that in a fun way by saying something like, “Hmmmm. I’m ‘thinking’ about animals on a farm. Do we know a song about that? ‘With a moo-moo here and a moo-moo there.’ What could it be?” All the while holding the flap closed as the adult and child “think” together. You could even say to the child, “Let’s keep the flap closed so that we can ‘think’ for a minute.”

Lovely books for young children. I wish there were more!

it’s almost like our second home. We learn to manage time and to be respectful, and not to be unthankful, unkind, mean, or neglectful.

We have to thank Maria Montessori for all of the above; and for thinking up the education that we students know and love.

Witten by Aspen Seeley, Fifth Grade Student Five Oaks Academy Simpsonville, SC
What I Love About Montessori

gem. This book can help us as adults learn skills that allow us to get to that why more often.


Montessori schools are clearly on the grow. Here is just a sampling of schools that are looking for guides and leaders for the next school year. For a complete listing (and it changes day to day), go to

If your school has a position to fill, we’re here for you, all summer long. IMC members get one free advertisment, and that is just another great reason to join the International Montessori Council. Visit to find out about IMC membership.

For everybody else, a classified ad costs $2 per word ($50 minimum). To place a classified ad in this publication, and/or online contact, Don Dinsmore at


Art of Talking with Children: The Simple Keys to Nurturing Kindness, Creativity, and Confidence in Kids

Conversations can help provide learning opportunities, including developing essential listening skills and increasing vocabulary. Often, what we think of as a conversation with the children around us is more a session of us, as the adult, either asking for information or providing information,. We do not always get to the why of the information.

When we get to hear a child’s “why,” it feels like being given a

Rebecca Rolland is an oral-language specialist, a Harvard faculty member, and a parent and brings all those roles to this book. Each chapter explains why one would want to have different types of conversations with children and adolescents, provides evidence for the science, and shares anecdotes from her family and students. The combination helps make this a book you can apply to your life, even in the first chapter. She explains how you can help develop empathy, confidence, creativity, and social skills through conversations.

I would recommend this book for parents of young children through teens as well as teachers and all school personnel. It can be read all at once, one chapter at a time with practice before reading the next, or in the order needed based on family circumstances. It is certainly a book you will go back to again and again to develop and refine conversational skills that may help in talking with adults as well as talking with children.

Calling all teachers, parents, & children!

We would love to publish reviews of your favorite books. Send book reviews to Lorna at:


Winston-Salem Montessori School (WSM) seeks the services of seasoned and successful candidates with excellent communication, organization, and interpersonal skills who are willing to partner and collaborate with a dedicated team of educational professionals to provide a nurturing authentic Montessori program for students. Experience leading Montessori schools or divisions is preferred, as is a credential from a MACTE-approved AMI or AMS teacher education program.

WSM is located on a beautiful 8-acre campus in Clemmons, NC, and serves 250 students 18 months to 15 years of age. We offer competitive compensation and an exceptional workplace environment committed to collaboration, community, and professional growth.

Interested candidates should send a resume, references, and a letter of interest to or


Middle school qualified teachers are invited to apply for positions

commencing Aug. 15, 2022 for the 2022-2023 school year and beyond. The preferred candidate will have a Montessori Elementary or Middle school credential, will show initiative and creativity in the Montessori classroom, will be a flexible team member, and will have previous experience.

Benefits include health insurance, retirement plan, and paid personal and professional days. Salary based on education and experience.To apply, submit resume and letter of intent to: Siri Atma Khalsa, siriatma., 520529-3611


Bay Montessori School was founded in 1994 and is a member AMS and IMC school offering a comprehensive Montessori program for children ages six weeks to 6th grade.

Located on 13 acres in Lexington Park, Maryland, our campus includes well-equipped classrooms, library, a pool, art studio, a STEM lab, and age-appropriate playgrounds.

We are currently seeking an Infant Teacher to work with children ages six weeks to 14 months. This teacher will work with other teach-


ers to prepare and maintain the environment in which the Montessori approach to education is implemented. They are directly responsible for the care and maintenance of classroom materials, maintaining an orderly environment, and keeping it clean and in like-new condition as directed.


Montessori Learning Collective, in sunny, North Charleston, SC is seeking a Lead Guide/Intern for Early Childhood (2.5-6) community. AMS, AMI or MACTE training, Interns welcome.

• Positive, Professional, Energetic, Organized, Collaborative, Communicative, Independent

• Master Level Educator mentoring, Outdoor Education

• Authentic Montessori

• Salary commensurate with experience and education (AMS/AMI

• National Average)+Health Care/ Benefits

• Covid Vaccination/Health and Wellness Protocols Required

• Full-Time Position/ 10 months/ 2022-2023

Email Director Resume: Bianca@


St. Catherine’s Montessori | Job Purpose: To guide the children in their growth toward independence and self-discipline in a nurturing, loving way by modeling respect and creating a culture of peace.  The expectation is to demonstrate an attitude of service and contribute to a

cooperative atmosphere within the whole school community by living a Christ-like spirit.

Please contact:  Lina Delgado


Cleveland Montessori is seeking a full-time Lower Elementary guide for the 2022-2023 school year. The position provides an opportunity to mentor and co-teach with a newly trained guide.

Experience at the lower elementary level is preferred. The qualified candidate will be

collaborative, flexible, and eager to work within an authentic, established Montessori classroom.


Cleveland Montessori invites you to join our team! The school is seeking a full-time Primary Guide to lead a new primary classroom (10-12 students) for the 2022-23 school year. The ideal

candidate will be Montessori certified through a MACTE accredited training program.


Come teach and play in paradise.

The Montessori Children’s School of Key West, located in beautiful Old Town Key West, provides a complete and authentic Montessori environment that fosters a love of learning in our children by adhering to Maria Montessori’s teaching methods.

Founded in 1972, our school is Key West’s oldest Montessori program and has earned its reputation as the island’s premier

Montessori school, educating children from 18 months through 6th grade. Our Montessori-certified educators and support staff uphold our mission of guiding children to become self-directed, cooperative, and responsible individuals of the community while building solid foundations in humanitarianism, intellectual growth, and peace.

Member school  AMS & IMC

Salary: $52,000 for the school year August-May

Benefits: Health insurance, matching 401K, housing assistance, employee tuition discount

Send resume to


East Lake Montessori is located in beautiful Chattanooga, Tennessee (Gig city!). Our faith-based, parttime program offers schedules from 2, 3, or 5 days a week to our students (2 yrs- Kindergarten) 8:301:00 daily.

We are seeking a trained primary teacher with Montessori certification. Spanish skills are ideal but are not required. Daily schedule: 7:30 am-2:30 pm based on our county school calendar.

Salary is commensurate with experience. ($17-$20 per hour) To apply, please email your resume to Executive Director, Jenny Varner, at


Our Montessori preschool is located just outside of Nashville in the highly desired heart of Franklin, TN, where the city meets the country. Our location is close to many city amenities as well as rolling green

pastures and wonderful southern hospitality and good eats. Open since 2011, CSM strives to be a warm, welcoming community in which children and adults alike find friendship and support. We are committed to providing a superior Montessori education for children ages 18 months through kindergarten.

CLASSIFIEDS Write your ad and send it to dondinsmore@ He will return a quote and it will go online as soon as payment is received. Need a classified ad?
Non-Profit Org U.S. Postage PAID St. Petersburg, FL PERMIT # 597 The Montessori Foundation 19600 E SR 64 • Bradenton, FL 34212

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