Montessori Leadership - January, 2011

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Announcing 3 NEW titles for our popular parent education pamphlet series

Ever wish for something to hand out at community events or open houses that easily explained or visually showed some aspect of Montessori that didn’t overwhelm the reader? Who better than the people who wrote the book, The Montessori Way, to introduce such a product! NINE Montessori pamphlets now available. Use the form below to order.

Each pamphlet bundle contains 50 of the same title and is incredibly affordable at $15 USD per bundle plus postage. The items are in stock and ready to ship. They may be purchased the following ways: 1. Through our online publication center located at the Foundation’s website: (go right into the ‘bookstore’ tab) 2. By calling Margot at 800 632 4121 (IMC school members receive a discount on this item and will need to call with credit card. Should your IMC school membership need to be renewed, we will do that at the same time.) 3. Use this order form and either mail or fax your order. Make checks payable to: The Montessori Foundation and mail to 19600 E State Road 64, Bradenton, FL 34212 USA. Fax number is 941 359 8166. Please select: USPS Flat Rate Priority or expedited courier service, such as FEDEX/UPS, which can be substantially more expensive (price is determined by weight and location by the courier). We will estimate this for you before charging out). Couriers cannot deliver to a PO BOX. 1. What is Montessori?

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Montessori Leadership is the official magazine of the International Montessori Council, a non-profit organization. The opinions expressed in Montessori Leadership editorials, columns, and features are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of the magazine or the IMC. Acceptance of advertising does not represent endorsement of any product or service. The International Montessori Council does NOT grant permission to reprint material from Montessori Leadership in any other form (e.g., book, newsletter, journal). Copies of this issue or back issues are available for purchase online at Copyright 2011 by The International Montessori Council. . All rights reserved.

Montessori Leadership F e b r u a r y 2011

Chair Tim Seldin, M.Ed EDITORIAL REVIEW COMMITTEE Sharon Caldwell Editor, East London, South Africa John Moncure Ph.D., Chair, Camden, SC, USA Joao Barosso Beijing, China Paul Epstein Ph.D., Rochester, MN, USA Murielle Lefevbre Mouxy Savoie, France Pete Juds Tokyo, Japan Eva Nislev Brisbane, Australia Liz Webster Dunedin, New Zealand Margaret Whitley London, Ontario, Canada Editorial Sharon Caldwell email: Conferences & Workshops, Membership Margot Garfield-Anderson Phone: 941-309-3961/Toll Free: 800-632-4121 Fax: 941-359-8166 email: Tomorrow’s Child Online: The Montessori Family Connection Lorna McGrath Phone: 941-729-9565/1-800-655-5843 Fax: 941-745-3111 email: Past Issues, Books & CD Orders Margot Garfield-Anderson For immediate service, use our secure online bookstore at For questions regarding an order, email: Subscriptions & Bookkeeping Don Dinsmore Phone: 941-729-9565/1-800-655-5843 Fax: 941-745-3111 email:


Board Beyond Belief or Boards that Work by Tim Seldin


Children of the Earth, Architecture & Activism by Sharon Caldwell

15 Cellphones and Texting in the Classroom by Margot Garfield-Anderson 17 Lens on Outdoor Learning Reviewed by Sharon Caldwell 20 Admissions: Some Thoughts on the Right to Say No and the Confidentiality of Records by Tim Seldin 22 Geometrical Flowers by Michael Dorer 30 Does Your School Have an Alumni Organization by Margot Garfield-Anderson 32 Global Montessori Service Corps by Tim Seldin & Kitty Bravo 36 Friends of Montessori

Classified & Display Advertising Chelsea Howe Phone: 410-504-3872 Fax: 941-745-3111 Layout & Design Katrina Costedio

Cover photo provided by Sharon Caldwell

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Functions of the Board by Tim Seldin


t’s 10:30 at night and you’re halfway through your agenda. Someone calls the question, but no one is actually sure what is being voted upon. Oh well, it’s so late, who cares? You listen to the next question, which stirs up some lively and long-winded debate, and you seem to recall an identical discussion about the same issue last year. There are so many new members on the board this year that you suppose they need to explore the issue for themselves. If only you can keep from falling asleep. Yes, it’s the monthly board meeting night and once again you find yourself writing over and over, “Board Beyond Belief!”

the role and power of the Board in relation to your own responsibility and authority. Whatever your own role, you may want to take some time to explore the suggestions in this article.

Does this scenario sound at all familiar? All over the world, people just like us serve on all sorts of boards, advisory councils, and committees. Some of these structures work incredibly well. Some leave members shell-shocked or numb with frustration.

Boards appear to be an inevitable part of our lives. They govern our schools, colleges, museums, hospitals, and countless other social institutions. Without doubt, Boards have the potential to create frustration, burnout and discord. Do they have a positive role to play in a Montessori school?

Perhaps you are one of your school’s trustees. Perhaps you serve on an advisory council, committee or task force. Perhaps you are a school head grappling with clarifying


Everyone makes fun of boards, as evidenced by the old saying that “a camel is a horse created by a committee.” Author and social philosopher, Ayn Rand, has her exquisitely talented architect hero, Howard Roark, say, “I’m afraid that no board or committee would ever hire me. My work is too controversial. Only a self-assured individual who can make the decision on his own would choose me on the basis of my work alone.”

I have personally served on quite a few boards, both in Montessori Schools and in other contexts, and would

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like to offer a broader, more partnership oriented view than the classic top-down dominator structure with which most of us are familiar. Albert Einstein once wrote, “One hundred times a day I remind myself that my personal and professional life depends on the fruit of the work of other men, living and dead, and that I should make every effort to give in the same measure in which I have received and am receiving.” This brings to mind something that former Secretary of State, Elihu Root (1845 – 1937), wrote about the honor of being asked to serve on a nonprofit board: Schools and colleges, hospitals, libraries, and museums, these are theguardians of civilizations. To have the honor to build oneself into the structure of an undying institution, aiding in the development of one or more of these priceless instruments of civilization through the investment of one’s wisdom, experience, and financial support, is to have lived not in vain, but to have lived in perpetuity. Why do we agree to serve on a nonprofit board? It is certainly not for the pay, because there is none. Perhaps it’s because we are interested in our children’s school. Sometimes we simply want to be in the know, and assume that the board is the place to be. Sometimes trustees come to a board annoyed with past decisions, anxious to throw the rascals out! Sometimes people sit on a board for years, saying little or nothing because they don’t feel that they can compete with those others on the board who are so sure of themselves.

One thing is for certain, when a board works well, it can accomplish wonderful things, and when it doesn’t, it can create all sorts of havoc within a school community. GOVERNANCE OF A NON-PROFIT SCHOOL A privately owned school is governed by its owner or head and does not need to have a board. Many schools, which are led by a founding head, are exceptionally well run and stable. Most schools are, however, registered non-profit organizations. To legally be a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, a school has to be incorporated as non-profit under the laws of the state in which it is located and approved by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt organization. Non-profit corporations can, if they are able, create a surplus and accumulate assets, they simply can’t distribute any profits to shareholders and, should the corporation ever be dissolved, they cannot distribute the assets to anyone except another nonprofit organization.

WHO OWNS A SCHOOL IF IT IS NON-PROFIT? Theoretically a non-profit school belongs to the public. In practice, it is held in trust by a governing board. This is the difference between a board of directors, the term commonly used in profit oriented corporations, and the non-profit’s board of trustees. For all practical purposes, the school is owned by the board, which theoretically serves the ultimate owners, the children. IS THE BOARD RESPONSIBLE TO THE PARENTS? Naturally, every Board of an independent Montessori school is sensitive to the parent body. Without their financial support, the school would not exist. To be truly effective the Board needs to recognize the dangers inherent in responding directly to parent concerns, which are often emotive and ephemeral. This is true even if a school is run as a parent owned cooperative, with Trustees elected by the parent body.

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. The Board defines the Mission of the school and clarifies its philosophy.


. It establishes a policy framework

within which the mission can be fulfilled. These policies govern the day-today operation of the school in all areas of board concern: legal issues, financial matters, definition of authorized programs that the non-profit will offer (e.g. summer camp, child care, etc.) and so on.

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. It approves the annual operating budget.

. It selects a Head to administer the

School, and, having appointed him/ her, they provide support and formal periodic evaluation of his/her performance.


. Working through the Head, the

board ensures that all laws and regulations are being followed and that the day-to-day operation is consistent with Board policy and the institution’s Mission and philosophy.


. Working with the Head and repre-

sentatives of the School’s constituency groups (staff, parents, alumni, friends of the School), it takes a leadership role in the process of on-going strategic planning and self-study. It formally adopts from time-to-time long-range plans and provides a structure for their implementation.

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. It assumes a key role in fund raising for the school.

. Board Members serve as ambassadors for the school, promoting its

good name and letting the public and constituency groups know about its suc-

The ultimate responsibility of the Board is to ensure that the School is fulfilling its mission and living up to its fundamental values on an ongoing basis. From the broadest perspective, the people who are most affected by the School are the children, their parents, the teachers and staff, and the community within which the School is created. All of these groups are stakeholders, to which we should add all of the children who may attend the School in the years to come. To determine who is a stakeholder, simply ask the question: “How would our community be affected, and to whom should it matter, if our school were, for some reason, to shut its doors?” Boards and Administrators need to balance carefully the focus of their attention between ensuring that everything is going well in the present and in planning for the school’s future. The board needs to always have one eye on the question of where the school will be in five, ten, and twenty years.

in confidence, to the School community within a week after each Board meeting. Furthermore, we also suggest that the Board issue an Annual Report to the School community in which it summarizes the previous year’s major accomplishments, finances, and acknowledges contributions made to the School over the year. HOW TO AVOID CONFLICTS WITHIN YOUR BOARD AND SCHOOL COMMUNITY Every year, we come across schools with Boards divided by conflicts either between trustees, between trustees and the Head, between the Board and the teachers, or between the Board and a large number of disgruntled parents. We have addressed these ideas in previous issues, and will go into them again in greater depth in the future. Here are a few key ideas: ➤ Define your School’s fundamental


mission, beliefs, and commitments as a Montessori school.

We are generally in favor of allowing interested members of the school community attend Board meetings, reserving the Board’s ability to enter into a closed executive session to discuss confidential and sensitive matters. Normally this will be done at the end of the meeting, after all other matters have been addressed.

➤ Make a commitment to your com-

We also recommend that the Board publish a report of its decisions, except those that must be maintained

munity that the Board will follow these explicit principles carefully in making decisions and setting policy. ➤ Expect the Administrator to make

a similar commitment in carrying out his or her work. ➤ Remember that your School is a set

of values and beliefs held in common by a group of people. Remember

cess stories.


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that people do not change in their fundamental values and beliefs simply because we educate them or expect them to; this is important when hiring new staff members, a new administrator, and certainly in admitting new parents and children. In building your school, remember that you truly stand for something, and need to gather around your parents, children, teachers, administrators, and staff, who share your values

HOW CAN WE KNOW WHAT IS A BOARD ISSUE? Every time an issue comes before the board, the question should be asked whether or not this is really an appropriate board issue, or should it be referred to the administrator. Effective Boards apply the following tests to determine if something is a Board issue:

Effective boards don’t allow meetings to get caught up in day-to-day affairs. and are traveling down the same path. If you were a religious school, you would naturally seek students, families, and teacher who hold compatible worldviews and values. We need to think the same way in building Montessori schools. Communicate effectively with your community. Use newsletters, community meetings, class meetings, and open door policies. ➤

4) Break the confidentiality of the Board decision-making process. 5) Attempt to redo committee work. If a committee report is flawed or inadequate, send it back to the committee for further work, rather than turning a committee’s work into a time-consuming board exercise.

 Does it affect the entire organiza-

tion or just one or a few individuals? The administration and staff should handle all issues that affect individuals.  Will it establish new policy for

the organization? Remember, the primary function of a Board is to set policy which the Administration and staff will implement.  Is it an issue dictated by law?

Effective boards don’t allow meetings to get caught up in day-to-day affairs. The primary focus should always be on the core themes: the Mission and the future. Boards should be constantly thinking about where the school will be in ten to twenty years hence, and how it will get there.

3) Attempt to evaluate the educational program. They are neither expert in educational administration nor is this their job. They define the kind of school that they want and hire the Head to turn their dream into reality. The Head hires and supervises the staff that actually works with the children.

 Is it an issue brought to the Board

by the administrator? A Board of Trustees should never: 1) Attempt to manage a school themselves. They always work through the Head. 2) Interfere with the Head’s job of managing the staff.

6) Try to “evaluate” the educational program. There is a fine line between trustees visiting the school regularly to get comfortable with its atmosphere (which is good), and trustees making judgments about instructional technique and process (which is bad). The administration evaluates instruction. 7) Allow full-board meetings to go on forever. Holding an occasional extended special-problem or special-task meeting that is announced in advance is acceptable. Allowing meetings to routinely run for more than two-hours is self-defeating. In the next edition of Montessori Leadership we will explore the structure of Boards and the functions of the various Board officers and committees. 

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Namma Bhoomi as an Exemplar of the Erkinder Vision by Sharon Caldwell


didn’t really know what to expect as we drove across one picturesque river after another, from Mangalore towards Kundapur in rural Karnataka, in December 2004. After a week in the squalor and chaos of Mumba, I was bracing myself for yet another project which, while being promoted as “progressive” and “child centered,” turned out to be yet another regular school. Three days later, standing alone, at almost midnight, savoring the silence that was broken only by the sounds of insects in the indigenous bush, and marveling at the sheer magnificence of buildings silhouetted by the light of the full moon, I was wondering if I had somehow wandered into paradise. It was difficult to grasp that this astounding campus, that could be the envy of wealthy schools the world over, was constructed and run by children who had been rescued from some of the worst exploitation imaginable, and that this lush landscape had been a virtually barren slope only a few years ago.

Namma Bhoomi is the regional resource and training center for a group called The Concerned for Working Children (CWC).1 It is also a school and home for around one hundred or so teenagers who have all, in one way or another, suffered abuse and exploitation. I discovered that the poised and confident sixteen year-old, who showed me to my room and served my meals, had been sold into prostitution by her sister. She had escaped and somehow found her way to Namma Bhoomi, where she learned the skills necessary to get employment in the hospitality industry. She told me that she planned to, one day, own her own hotel. I wondered at the time if this was just a dream, but by the end of the week, based on what I had learned, I had no doubt she would succeed one day. Unlike almost any other Montessori middle and high school, Namma Bhoomi grew out of a movement established by children for children.

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Bhima Sangha, an association of, by, and for working children, was originally launched in 1990.2 Over time, Makkala Panchayats (children’s councils) were set up, which engaged with local government and earned first awareness and, ultimately, the respect of adult groups. With that respect came a recognition of children that, “is intimately related to their aspirations and lives.”3 Bhima Sangha’s statement on the universal right to education includes the provision that, “This right to education should be translated as a right to an appropriate and relevant education that is made accessible to us and which enables us to be agents of change.”4 The phrase agents of change echoes Maria Montessori’s concept of the Cosmic Task of the new generation.

demonstrated that real education is not limited to literacy a knowledge of facts, but forms the very basis for the comprehensive development of

Collaboration between CWC and the Makkala Panchayats resulted in a number of “Extension” schools,5 based on the needs and dreams expressed by the children themselves. Working with a team of educators led by Amukta Mahapatra, the children and the representatives of CWC began to explore various education systems to design a program for Namma Bhoomi and the extension schools founded by CWC.

humankind. These youngsters inspire a vision of a new world. APPROPRIATE EDUCATION PROGRAM

Maria Montessori propounded a fundamental conviction that children can, and do, make responsible choices when allowed to do so. It is not surprising, therefore, that the approach to education favored by the children of Bhima Sangha and the Makkala Panchayats draws heavily on the principles and methods pioneered by Maria Montessori. These abused, marginalized, and neglected children have shown Montessori’s faith in children to be true - on a level way beyond choosing between various activities offered on a shelf, but in the context of real life choices.

We were convinced that education cannot and should not take place only within the four walls of a classroom. We identified the need to take aspects of culture, environment, geography, society and politics into consideration while assessing the appropriateness of the education programme. We had repeatedly observed that it was the western perspective or the perspective of the upper castes that defined the parameters of good education.6

Just like their much younger counterparts in San Lonrenzo a century ago, these young people have


Namma Bhoomi initiated what became known as

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the “Appropriate Education Programme” (AEP) that defined an approach to education in partnership with the children and their community.7

We adapted Montessori methods to rural needs, … produced low-cost kits and trained teachers. Where children took two years to learn the alphabets,

You will need to search to find the word “Montessori” mentioned in the CWC website or literature, but, when you know what to look for, it is evident that just about every aspect of the AEP, the ethos of Namma Bhoomi, and the extension schools are firmly grounded in Montessori principles. The multi-faceted curriculum covers basic education (reading, writing and arithmetic) as well as a science equivalent to class ten in the government schools. Also included are syllabi for personal development, empowerment and vocational skills.8 The curriculum clearly reflects the integration of academic studies, practical skills and cultural pursuits. The children are exposed to a range of cultural and spiritual experiences, including a weekly dance and drama performances in the amphitheater. Anyone entering the AEP room at Namma Bhoomi would be forgiven for thinking it was a 3-6 room, where someone had mistakenly built the shelves too high. I sat in the corner and observed as a mixed group of teenagers filtered in, spread out newspaper on the floor, as if it was the most expensive mat, and proceeded to lay out golden beads and moveable alphabets with the precision of a young child at the peak of the sensitive period for order. It takes these students a matter of months to become fully literate.


the new pedagogy of extension schools equipped them to read newspapers in three months.9

Adolescents learn traditional skills such as basket weaving, leatherwork, local pottery techniques, and sustainable organic agriculture as well as “appropriate construction technology.” Experts in their fields teach the theory of the various vocational courses - master carpenters, tailors, masons and engineers instruct students with a severity and attention to detail that would probably leave most western students in tears. While at Namma Bhoomi, I witnessed one teenage boy build a wall only to have it torn down by an instructor, who told him his work was shoddy. I asked him how he felt about this; “He’s the best builder around here,” I was told by the student, “and we know he can teach us how to build better than anyone else.” I learned that students who graduate from Namma Bhoomi with “appropriate construction technology,” while virtually guaranteed a place in local firms, tend to form their own construction businesses and are in great demand as far away as Bangalore. When students graduate they can rely on continued support from the Makkala Panchayat as they establish themselves as independent young adults.

The posters on the walls of the main meeting hall are an early warning that this is no ordinary high school. Slogan’s such as “Children are citizens now, not tomorrow,” and “Adults, why do you fear children’s participation?” boldly declare who owns this school. This standpoint is, however, not a challenge to the school’s authority, but rather an integral component of the curriculum. We believe that while education prepares children for their lives as adults, it should simultaneously enable them to effectively address the issues they confront as children and adolescents. It should also equip children with knowledge and skills to question and challenge such traditional practices that are unjust and discriminatory. It should make it possible for them to understand their own lives and their world and acquire the freedom to define their own lives.10

The students do not simply learn conventional academics and vocational skills; matters of activism and governance play a crucial role in the curriculum. A Makkala Panchayat runs Namma Bhoomi itself. Activism, rather than community service, is encouraged at Namma Bhoomi, enabling students to gain experience in social and political engagement.

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The children we are associated with have taken up the issues of child marriage, child labour, migrant families, female foeticide, HIV – and are pro-actively addressing them at several levels. They serve as resource persons in capacity building programmes for elected members of the panchayats, police, government officials and other NGOs. They have formed their own organisations and advocate issues that concern them at various local, national and international forums. It is their political, social and cultural participation that has empowered them to realise their self-worth, giving a new meaning to education.11 More than simply graduating with skills that will guarantee an income, the graduates of Namma Bhoomi return to their communities “as ambassadors of all

the values and principles they believe in” to play their role in “actively shaping the politics and social practices of their communities.”12 Thus the graduates of Namma Bhoomi became agents of social change, impacting the lives of many more children. APPROPRIATE SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION TECHNOLOGY The campus was constructed according to the principles pioneered by architect Laurie Baker.13 Working with a


team from the Kerala based Centre for Eco-sensitive and Sustainable Development (ESDC) the students of Namma Bhoomi designed their school to meet their express needs. Instead of traditional school and hostel buildings, the students explained that they wanted their school to be designed as a village, and provision needed to be made for accommodations, not only for students, but also for field activists and visitors. There would be classrooms, a library, a laboratory and a clinic, as well as an amphitheater, a multi-purpose hall, an administration block, housing for the cattle, a kitchen and dining area, and on-site accommodation for visitors, which would be run as an inn to accommodate guests and allow the students specializing in the “hospitality industry” to hone their skills. There is also a shop where the children sell their work. From the outset, the center was intended as a “live experiment” where “appropriate construction technology” would be taught and used by the students to build the village themselves. As with every other aspect of this amazing environment, the students played an active role. “The children had already experimented with building mediums; hence, they had a lot of practical questions for us,” reports architect Jeeth Iype, one of the consultants who worked on the project.14 During my stay I observed students building walls, installing plumbing and electrical circuits and making furniture. I was impressed not only by the skill levels I witnessed but also by the aesthetic quality reflecting Lauri Baker’s style. Using only local materials, a high proportion of which are recycled, and hollow blocks with a unique bonding system, the buildings have an organic and earthy feel while being incredibly beautiful and significantly cheaper than conventional building techniques. The main office block, for example, incorporates antique carved columns, which had been rescued from a demolition site. The school owns a seaside retreat, which was built by 30 students in 48 days using the materials from an old factory which had been dismantled.

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GROW A GARDEN, GROW A CURRICULUM Whereas Montessori originally recommended a residential facility for adolescents to facilitate their need for independence from their families, the rationale for a boarding facility at Namma Bhoomi was more complex. As the students are drawn from economically impoverished communities, living at the centre relieved the students from the daily challenges of survival, providing clean living conditions and a healthy diet. Working and learning together is essential to help to break down strong gender and caste roles to which the students had been previously subjected. The ecological consciousness of Namma Bhoomi is evident from the first minute you set foot on the immaculate campus. On being shown my room I was gently advised that any non-biodegradable materials I might have brought onto the property should leave with me, and that only materials which could contribute to a compost heap or be recycled on campus should be placed in the room’s trash can.

seed storage structures that preserve the seeds without chemicals and keep them insect free. VALORIZATION THROUGH ECONOMIC ACTIVITY In the Erdkinder appendix, Dr. Montessori wrote about the importance of “valorization” for the adolescent. At Namma Bhoomi the concept of valorisation goes well beyond anything envisaged in western schools. The students at Namma Bhoomi in effect pay for their education through their labour, at the same time learning the very skills that will enable them to obtain employment upon graduation. Tailoring students make and sell clothing, sculpture students produce statuettes in high demand in the tourist markets and organic vegetables are marketed through self-help groups. Students in the “hospitality” course run Namma Bhoomi’s on-site hotel with confidence and flair, offering outstanding catering and service. The school produces and sells various types of compost.17 RESEARCH

On my early morning walks around the property I noticed children working in the fields, scrubbing down the livestock, milking cows and cooking chapattis and idhli for breakfast. Many were singing quietly while they worked and there was not an adult in sight until classes formerly began after breakfast. Rather than use commercial pesticides and fertilizers, the students of Namma Bhoomi began experimenting with organic farming techniques. This at first prompted some resistance from the adults. After switching to manure and other sustainable organic practices, the students discovered bees beginning to build hives on the property and producing honey which has subsequently become yet another source of income.15 CWC has set up a Sustainable Agriculture and Bio Diversity Research and Development (SABRAD) cell in Namma Bhoomi, partnering with students to establish a seed bank, a bio-intensive garden, rainwater harvesting and waste-water management and the Cherkadi method of cultivation.16 During my visit I was shown traditional

The science program at Namma Bhoomi begins with classic Montessori command cards, but soon extends to real life research. The Technical Lab at Namma Bhoomi is used by the students to test soil and water quality as well as research traditional and innovative methods to harvest rainwater and manage wastewater, utilize alternative energy resources and manage livestock. These methods are then shared with the local population. The water management system developed at Namma Bhoomi has resulted in improvements in the groundwater level of the area. Students have documented more than 130 species of plants in the area, including around 50 medicinal plants that are used by the on-site clinic.18 Suffering from an acute does of bronchitis at the time of my visit, I benefited from a tonic produced at the school. EFFECT ON STATE EDUCATION Designed through consultation with the children from the outset, the education program at Namma Bhoomi is setting the direction for state education. Based on the

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expressed aspirations of its students, the curriculum is responsive to their evolving needs, with feedback from former students leading to ongoing adaptation. By 2006, Namma Bhoomi was recognized as a Community Polytechnic by the state ministry of Human Resource Development and enjoyed widespread recognition from other state structures. Namma Bhoomi’s empowerment and development program has since been incorporated into the state schools throughout the Kundapur region.

BIBLIOGRAPHY 1 CWC is a childrens’ rights group set up by Damodaran Acharya in 1980. See for more details on the origins of CWC see Working by day, learning by night; Vimala Ramachandran Getting children back to school: case studies in primary education Sage, 2003. [Preview accessed on Googlebooks, 15 December 2009.] and - click on Protagonism on LHS menu. See also Sangha. 2

D. Acharya, “Beyond formal education”, 3


“This has emerged as one of the pioneering models in integrated education for adolescent boys and girls, and has been taken note of by the Planning Commission, Government of India as a viable model for replication.”19

Extension schools are schools for working children, run by and for the children on terms which suit their needs, such as classes at night. See for example M. Gupta, “Undoing a kind of tyranny.” journal/99november/gupta.cfm 5


EDUCATION FOR A NEW WORLD When the Tsunami hit the east coast of India shortly after my return home, I received an email from Namma Bhoomi asking for donations towards the travel costs of their students. Immediately upon hearing about the devastation the construction students did not hesitate to travel hundreds of miles to begin pulling re-usable building materials from the debris and within days were constructing homes for those hardest hit by the freak wave. - protagonism.

D. Acharya, “Beyond formal education.”

As defined by D. Acharya: A comprehensive education programme designed and developed by CWC based on learning material that enables children to learn at their own pace and interest. It covers the formal, rights and developmental syllabus. 7


D. Acharya, “Beyond formal education.”; CWC website.

D. Acharya quoted by M. Gupta in “Undoing a kind of Tyranny”. 9


D. Acharya, “Beyond formal education.”


D. Acharya, “Beyond formal education.”


D. Acharya, “Beyond formal education.”

Jeeth Iype, quoted in Natsha Iype, “Towards a sustainable future” Indian Architect, August 2001. Notes, December 2004 - conversation with Shivananda Shetty. For Laurie Bakers work see 13

Is this not the “new child” envisaged by Dr. Montessori? Note: Most of the content of this article is based on my own observations and interviews with staff and students during a stay at Namma Bhoomi in December 2004.

Jeeth Iype, quoted in Natsha Iype, “Towards a sustainable future” Indian Architect, August 2001. 14


CWC Annual Report 2003. 41.

A method of paddy cultivation which yields large crops of rice without the use of mechanised equipment. CWC Annual Report 2003. 42. 16

CWC Annual Report 2003. 42 and own notes, December 2004. 17

CWC Annual Report 2003. 42-3 and own notes, December 2004. 18

Ramachandran, V. & Saihjee, A. Looking back in order to look ahead, CWC – an External Review, 2001 19


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in the Classroom by Margot Garfield-Anderson


e live in the age of high speed internet, cell phones that enable us to receive emails, hear music, watch television or movies, read newspapers and we can text, tweet and everything in-between. This occurs all in one little hand-held device. Gene Roddenberry would be so there with it all if he was still with us. It really is very Trekky, isn’t it? I recently got one of these Smart Phones and I kid you not, I had to take a class for 2 hours on how to use just the basic features. Of course my cousin and I got lost going to the class as we hadn’t figured out how to use the GPS feature in the phone so we were late. True story! A most embarrassing one, since everyone else just seamlessly moves from one electronic device to the other with grace and ease. Anyway, I now navigate through emails, photos and yes, I was the last holdout on this one but now text people, with sort of the same ease as the younger kids. In fact, I can’t walk out of the room without the little device firmly planted in my hand and I’m forever checking it for the little icons that signal I have email

or an instant message of some sort. I flip back and forth through screens and programs and can type with my thumbs almost as fast as I touch type on a full size keyboard. I’ve actually

picked it up and checked it when I’m at a red light. That’s when it hit me that I was becoming addicted to the little handheld device. So I’m working on that and trying to just leave it sit there for longer periods of time and I refuse to look at it while I drive. How was I able to do this? I realized I had a real responsibility to safely share the road with all the other people who drive. It’s just dangerous and irresponsible to try and text while you are driving. I pride myself on my sense of responsibility to whatever it is I’m doing and I just plain know better. Several weeks ago a school administrator from an IMC school called

with a situation she described happening at her school that she wanted to know if the IMC or the Montessori Foundation had developed a written policy on. It started a chain of discussions as I put forth an email call to our board and accreditation commissioners around the country and world. She explained that they are having a problem with young classroom assistants texting during school hours and doing so while watching their classes on the playground or even during nap time. She wanted to know how she could come up with a policy that dealt with that particular situation. Her assistants, like me, are addicted to their hand-held devices and just haven’t dealt with the potential consequences of what this could mean. As innocuous as it seems when your attention is not on the place it’s meant to be - the safety of children under your care - you cannot possibly be a responsible provider for that class - Plain and Simple. Texting, tweeting, or talking on these devices may only take a second or two, but it only takes one short instant for a child to get hurt, go missing or worse, because you were not fully present when these children

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were under your supervision. The consequences for all could be devastating. So as fun or convenient as our little devices may be, you must protect the children first. This implies instituting some very clear guidelines to your staff as to what is permissible and what is absolutely not permissible while they are on school time. The owner of the school emailed me back after several schools had sent their cell phone policies to us. The problem was that none dealt with the texting issues or even the use of the Internet. She contacted her state department of education and together with her own thoughts brought together a policy that she is more than willing to

share with others in similar situations. We thank her for bringing this situation to our attention and we are most happy that she was able to create a policy and accompanying procedure that cannot be misconstrued by staff and will ensure the safety of the students at the school. We urge every school to institute a similar policy and procedure at their school. Even if you don’t currently have this problem at your school, it could change sooner than later so be proactive about this one. It’s too important to ignore. 

CELL PHONE AND PERSONAL ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT USE POLICY The use of a personal cell phone or other electronic equipment while at work may present a hazard or distraction to the user, co-workers and/or children. This policy is meant to ensure that use of any electronic device while at work is both safe, does not place the children in danger of improper supervision, and does not disrupt school operations. Staff should be fully present to their duties and responsibilities throughout their work hours, which include class time, preparation of the environment, school events and faculty meetings. Thus, anyone who uses cell phones for any purpose (texting, surfing, e-mailing etc.) or other electronic device when supervising a group of children is subject to reprimand up to dismissal. This policy applies to any device that makes or receives phone calls, leaves messages, sends text messages, surfs the Internet, downloads and allows for the reading of and responding to personal e-mail, pager, iPod or other electronic device. Cell phones must be turned off or kept on vibrate during work hours. It is recommended to keep cell phones in purses, cabinets or mailbox. For family emergencies, have family members call the office so a message will be taken or so another staff person can be found to cover you while you take the call. Cell phones may not be used during staff meetings unless specific permission is granted. Unless otherwise authorized, employees may ONLY use personal cell phones for an emergency or during designated break periods outside of the classroom and away from any group of children. If the use of a phone is necessary, employee should contact administration to make proper arrangements. If employee is found to violate this policy a verbal warning will first be given. For subsequent violations, written warnings with a plan of action will be given, including termination of employment due to insubordination. AGREEMENT: I acknowledge reviewing this policy and agree to comply with it. Signature:



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Sharon Caldwell Reviews: Lens on Outdoor Learning by Wendy Banning and Ginny Sullivan “Many of the skills that teachers set out to teach formally and help children develop occur naturally in the outdoor environment.” Throughout her works Maria Montessori advocates providing ample outdoor experiences for all ages from infant through to adulthood. Montessori schools that have made the effort to move to free-flow between indoor and outdoor environments find vast improvements in students’ concentration and a decrease in anti-social and disruptive behaviors. Some schools are, however, reluctant to make this move, being unsure of how to manage the outdoor spaces, seeing outdoor time as being a time for “play” as opposed to “work” which takes place indoors, and many Montessori schools still have outdoor spaces with synthetic surfaces and brightly colored plastic play equipment. Outside of Montessori, there has been a steady flow of literature supporting a move toward affording children more time outside. Richard Louv’s book, The Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder made a

compulsive argument in favor of a move towards increased and largely unstructured time outdoors, and particularly in natural environments. Rusty Keeler’s Natural Playscapes published in 2008 provided a wealth of ideas and designs for more natural aesthetic outdoor environments. Now a new book by Wendy Banning and Ginny Sullivan provides a well organized and detailed selection of outdoor learning and play ideas within a framework which facilitates a developmentally appropriate methodology documenting and assessing children’s learning. Sullivan and Banning bring together a wide range of skills and expertise in nature-based, child-centered learning contexts. Virginia Sullivan draws on a mélange of direct experience of development-based pedagogies including her work at a progressive, outdoor-based school begun with the help of John Dewey and in a Reggio-Emilia influenced environment, topped off by study and research in landscape design which focused on “how to assess, analyze and design natural environments that would offer children access to natural process and an abundance of loose materials.” This was followed by graduate work (ABD) with Robin Moore. Wendy Banning cofounded a community school which brought together “the best of educational practice and the end result was a school and a view of the child, the educator, the family and the

environment that has strong roots in best practice seen in a variety of pedagogies and educational philosophies including both Montessori and Reggio Emilia.” She currently serves on the board of a Montessori School where she is helping integrate outdoor learning into the school’s development plans. The result of their collaboration is a unique blend of imagination, intelligence and plain common sense. Although not overtly Montessori, their new book Lens on Outdoor Learning is valuable to Montessori program designers for a number of reasons. One of the primary goals of the book is to show how early learning standards and indicators in place throughout the United States can be met through structured and unstructured outdoor activities. As Montessori schools come under increasing pressure to prove that they are meeting the outcomes demanded of conventional schooling, some of the lessons and experiences documented here will provide a useful resource. Focusing largely on the

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“approaches to learning” domain in state standards, these activities highlighted in this book suggest how well designed outdoor environments can provide possibilities for children to develop “curiosity, initiative, persistence, risk taking and resilience” – outcomes which have strong parallels with those welcomed in a Montessori environment. The authors describe the teacher’s roles as “indirect (involving) provisioning, observing and talking with children” – resonating Dr. Montessori’s own guidelines for adult responsibility.

By highlighting the observable features and behaviors associated with “intangible” learning goals such as curiosity and initiative, this book

One of the primary goals of the book is to show how early learning standards and indicators in place throughout the United States can be met through structured and unstructured outdoor activities. provides tools for teachers who feel uncertain of the value of unplanned and undirected activities. In this way, Montessori teachers may be more comfortable in “following the

INDICATOR 2: The child sets goals and follows through on plans with increasing independence.

M AK I N G T H E P E RF EC T B LU E “Now I need to make the perfect blue for me!” It’s a beautiful fall day. The leaves are glowing with many shades of yellow, orange, and green. The easel is set up outside for the children to paint. Rebecca begins painting on one side of the easel from paints that have been premixed for the children to use. She says aloud, “I don’t have the perfect green.” Amelia, who is about to start painting on the opposite side of the easel, offers to mix “the perfect green” for the younger child. She finds an empty paint jar and selects the large gallon-size of yellow paint, and then the green paint, and pours some of each into the jar. She mixes it carefully. Rebecca watches her intently. When the brilliant green is mixed, Amelia asks her if that’s the color she wants. Rebecca nods. Amelia offers, “Do you want it lighter?” and when Rebecca agrees, Amelia adds small amounts of white paint. She mixes the paint after every addition until they agree they have the perfect shade of green. Amelia places the paint jar in the tray at Rebecca’s spot then, turning back to the paint, exclaims, “Now I need to make the perfect blue for me!”


LensFinal.indd 125


child” in nature’s prepared environment rather than exclusively in the tightly structured classroom one.

The authors worked with a number of different schools to produce this book, but those that were the most responsive to the project were, according to Banning, Reggio-Emilia schools. The rich use of direct speech and photographic images clearly reflect the Reggio influence. While these are not classical Montessori methods, it is not hard to see how this type of documentation could be usefully applied in a Montessori context while going a long way towards quelling anxieties regarding time spent outdoors. While there are a few fantasy based activities represented, which Montessorians may regard as inappropriate and wish to avoid, most of the outcomes and activities are easily recognizable as applications of learning that would normally be included in a Montessori practical life and cultural curriculum. With its abundant, high quality photographs and clearly structured design, this book would be a welcome addition to any Montessori School library. I know that I will be referring to it on an ongoing basis.


Lens on Outdoor Learning is available from RedLeaf press. 

9/16/10 10:47:38 AM

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Extract from Lens on Outdoor Learning By Wendy Banning and Ginny Sullivan

You, like most educators, have come to teaching because you care about children and want to help them learn. You bring with you whatever tools you have accumulated along the way, from your experiences and upbringing, your own education, and the professional training you have pursued. You arrive hoping to use your tools and energy for the maximum benefit of the children in your care. You also come knowing that you are still learning and growing professionally. One of the benefits of working in this field is that you will always have the chance to do so. Planning for children’s learning outside is full of challenges as well as possibilities for learning and growth. By recognizing and welcoming the potential the outdoors offers for professional development, you can advance your teaching practice in significant ways. Outdoor learning for both children and teachers is all about process. In the outdoors, you see children thinking, reasoning, problem solving, risk taking, reflecting, interpreting, inventing, and persisting. In other words, you witness all the processes that are fundamental to learning how to learn. Because the outdoor environment readily involves children with materials and ideas, it encourages them to engage with this wide range of approaches to learning. In natural outdoor environments, all of the standards are naturally called into action, often without any direct instruction from the teacher. Knowing this to be the case, what then is your crucial role in outdoor learning? Your role outside is qualitatively different from the one experienced in the indoor classroom. The outdoors asks you to make a shift and to focus primarily on observing, supporting, and extending learning. It requires you to focus less on content and product and more on children’s process. Many teachers are trained to think of curricula in terms of content and skills, and to plan sequential activities to further those outcomes. The shift comes with the recognition that with appropriate provisioning, the outdoors comes with its content already in place. As described throughout this book, content is embedded in children’s interactions outdoors with elements such as loose parts, changes, natural systems, and plant and animal life. With so much curriculum provided by the natural world, your role becomes one of observation and recognition, noticing what children are doing and learning, and then considering how to extend and support their explorations and play. The standards and indicators provide an important framework for thinking about and analyzing the work and play of children. Without such a framework, it’s possible to forget that playtime outside is prime learning time. While the

conventional role of playground supervisor continues to be a very important one, your role outdoors extends beyond supervision and is really quite complex. To maximize opportunities for children’s learning, you must be really “on” and “present.” You need to observe, provision, document, question, analyze, extend, and engage with children in ways that actively support their learning. The standards and indicators help support this work by providing a framework for identifying and valuing the important learning that is taking place all around you. This learning can be difficult to identify and understand because it follows the children’s initiative and is encountered in dribs and drabs rather than as an orderly sequence. It is also hard to observe because children are pursuing independent paths and operating at different levels. The ensuing variety of movement, engagement, and content ensures that every child is engaged at an appropriate level. This setting requires you to practice higher-level thinking and engage directly with children and materials to understand their individual ideas and questions. Understanding the depth of the children’s experiences is both a prerequisite and a reward for this kind of teaching. Seen from this perspective, standards provide a useful road map for thinking about how children learn by cataloging the complex and varied ways they learn so you can recognize them in action. Once recognized, you can extend and help children refine the strategies and approaches they are using. The stories show how often the children’s approaches are supported and mirrored by their teachers’ behavior. Of the many settings depicted in this book, children had the most meaningful experiences when teachers exhibited the same positive qualities and attitudes toward learning as the children. Curious, engaged teachers were surrounded by curious, engaged children. Teachers who modeled inquiry and open-ended questions were rewarded by children who bubbled over with questions of their own. When teachers demonstrated stick-to-itiveness, the children seemed to find it easier to engage and persist. Teachers who set up their environments to encourage choice and independence had the most independent, confident children. You can see that the behaviors and the attitudes of the teacher are integral to the quality of the experience children have. The depth and degree to which children engage with the standards is strongly influenced by the approach taken by their teacher. Pp 185 – 186 Lens on Outdoor Learning by Wendy Banning and Ginny Sullivan. Copyright 2010 by Wendy Banning and Virginia Sullivan. Reprinted with permission of Redleaf Press, St. Paul, MN;

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Some thoughts on the right to say no and the confidentiality of records by Tim Seldin



opefully, at your school, admissions is not an open door where parents walk in, sign some forms and pay a deposit, and are automatically admitted. Independent schools have the right to decide who is, and who is not, offered admission, so long as those decisions do not violate the standards of nondiscrimination established by the United States government. Schools need to understand how important it is for their future to seek out children who are likely to blossom in their program, and that it is equally important to encourage parents to do the same. The old phrase, ‘marry in haste, repent at leisure’ should always come to mind. We need to take the time to get to know each child and each family, and to allow them to get to know us as well. One of our essential goals is to find families who understand, value, and will support the principles of Montessori education in their children’s lives. When we fail to really take the time to determine whether a family is the right fit for your school, the odds are considerably greater that the child will be withdrawn before the end of the three-year program cycle, and that only a small percentage will continue on for the elementary grades. Conversely, parents who were the right fit from the beginning, tend to remain committed to our schools, even though many may have never heard of Montessori before they set foot on your campus. In going through this process with parents and children, you will almost certainly begin to accumulate records from the child’s present school, recommendation forms, notes of conversations you might have with the child’s parents and teachers, observation notes on the child’s visit, internal school memos, and so on. The crucial question is, are those documents available to the child’s parents upon request? Attorney’s who counsel independent schools are in general agreement that schools have the right to keep such internal documents, which are used exclusively within the school administration for the purpose of making admission decisions, confidential. It is common practice, once a child is enrolled in the school, to maintain a confidential

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student file, separate from the child’s official records, which are open to parent inspection upon request. The confidential file is maintained securely under lock and key, is only used by school administrative personnel who are authorized to have access, and is not transmitted to the child’s next school. Even when schools are highly selective in admission, it is rare for them to reject a child who is applying for admissions; the goal is to help families work together with us to determine if our school would be the right match for their child and for their values as a family. In most cases, a decision to not proceed would be made either by the family, or by the school and family in mutual agreement. In the rare instance where a family earnestly desires admission, and the school decides, for whatever reason to deny them a space, the school should not allow parents access to the confidential recommendations, memorandums, and observation notes that may be found in the child’s admissions file. In such cases, we recommend that schools respond to parent inquiries as to why their child was not accepted with a fairly general statement: the school believes that a more traditional program would more closely fit the child and or the family’s goals, or that the school simply cannot accept all children who apply, and that you feel

that he/she would be better served in another type of program. You might add that it is the school’s policy to strictly maintain the confidentiality of the admissions file. A related situation can arise if your school should ever determine that a child is not a good fit with your program, and should not be invited back. Here again, internal communications can be collected in a confidential file, so long as it is separate from the child’s school records and is not shared with others. It would be very poor practice to suddenly inform a family, with no forewarning, that their child will need to be placed in another school. Instead we strongly recommend that you keep parents informed of any concerns every step of the way, and work closely together to objectively consider options and make decisions. In these situations, you probably would not have a confidential file on the child, as all discussions are taking place openly. Editor’s Note: This article should not be taken as legal advice. In some countries, such as South Africa and Australia, Fair Disclosure of Information legislation requires that individuals affected by such records have access to them. In this it is advised that nothing be recorded in writing, which you would not want a parent or child to read. 

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Geometrical Flowers: Creativity in Geometry by Michael J. Dorer, Ed.D.


eometry is a signature Montessori subject, with applications beginning in the Sensorial area of the Children’s House and continuing through both levels of the elementary, and on into secondary. Possibly the most iconic geometry material is the Geometry Cabinet. Édouard Seguin first developed the cabinet as a testing tool, and Montessori subsequently included it in her sensorial materials. Today, the Geometry Cabinet is a key source of plane geometric shapes used for many lessons in both the children’s house and the elementary levels. The insets of the geometry cabinet fulfill a variety of purposes. At the Children’s House level, the primary purposes are sensorial. The insets are used in such a way as to refine and educate the senses, resulting in increased shape recognition, matching skills, and sequencing ability. They also accompany vital presentations in vocabulary development. In the elementary level, the emphasis shifts from the sensorial focus to a greater concentration on geometry. This means that the analysis of form and academic vocabulary


become increasingly important. Along with this is a new prominence for geometric construction and drawing coupled with geometric design. It is quite clear that some of the insets of the cabinet are very straightforward in their purposes. All of them can be used for simple pairing and naming work. Some, such as the circles or polygons, lend themselves to sequenced grading as well. To some Montessorians, other figures may seem to have narrow applications. Two figures, the flower (or flowers) and the curvilinear triangle may appear to have even more limited purpose or relevance, and make many guides wonder why they are even in the geometry cabinet. They are, in fact, figures with fascinating applications and usages, especially for a discovery based learning system such as Montessori. This article will examine the two flower figures in detail, looking at ways to extend and further the learning opportunities with these beautiful figures in the elementary years. Future articles will examine the curvilinear triangle, creating geometrical stars, and a variety of manipulations with other figures such as the rectangles.

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in nature is the four-leafed clover or any cross-shaped or cruciform flower, such as in the cabbage family, which are called the brassicas. Etymologically, quatrefoil merely means four leaves.


The concept of figures being flower shaped is not new. Two classic flower figures or forms have long been associated with the geometry cabinet. The term flower forms #! appeared Dorer as earlyFlowers as the 1913! House of Childhood Montessori materials catalog. In that catalog, a variety of manipulations with other only one shape called a flower form was shown. Later, in the early 1930’s, the British materials company called ures Phillip and Tacey published a catalog is not showing two flower forms, which

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they called closed petals (the first flower) and open petals (the second flower.) These are interestingrelated, they are not identical. Most ly detailed in the book, Montessori these figures either the quatrefoil or Material (Fresco, G.H. 1993).

called the quadrilobe or quadrilobe flower. The second flower, with the open petals, was called the quatrefoil.

Quadrilobe also means four, but in this case four lobes. A lobe is a rounded fold or projection such as the ear lobe, or the three lobes in the trilobite. Its etymology originates with a word suggesting, “to peel,” like a pod or husk.

A little research today quickly demonstrates that the two names are widely used interchangeably. The Internet for example provides many examples of both shapes being called either name, as well as other similar shapes called quadrilobe and quatrefoil. There is no agreement among geometers, artists or writers as to which is which, or whether they are both variations of quatrefoils.

Which flower figures are available in your geometry cabinet depends upon the manufacturer. Most geometry cabinets have only one flower figure, the first flower, which I am calling the quadrilobe. Some may have two flowers, meaning that they have both the first and second flower, adding the quatrefoil. It is possible that your cabinet may even have a third flower figure, the epicycloid. This was not in the original material.

The word quatrefoil simply refers to an artistic or geometric representation of a leaf or flower, with four leaflets or petals. An example

It is also possible that your cabinet contains a flower figure that is simply incorrect. Some older geometry cabinets may contain variations on

Although the two flower figures are

cause confusion for many closely related, they are not identi-


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Montessori Training for Parents and Teachers

these figures either the quatrefoil or possibly the quadrilobe.

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hape) was to be called the quadrilobe cause confusion secondThese flower,two withterms the open petals,

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as well as other similar shapes called

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the first flower that are not correctly constructed, in that the four foils are not actual semi-circles. If your cabinet contains one of these false flowers, it should be replaced. WHY ARE THEY IN THE GEOMETRY CABINET? These two small figures should never be seen as figures that are to be simply named, identified, and then returned to their homes in the Geometry Cabinet. In truth, the flower figures are striking examples of artistic geometry. They lend themselves to design and illustration, but they can also be studied for the analysis of form. They can become the subject of geometric construction problems, and they should be integrated with arithmetic in calculating area and perimeter. These flower forms also represent the first two shapes of large families of figures, an infinite universe of possibilities. They function as the keys to that entire fascinating universe. HOW ARE THEY CONSTRUCTED? Each of these figures is actually built upon a central square. This is very important because it is four-sided inner square that gives the initial quatre- or quadri- to the names of the figures. These mean four, referring to the four lobes or foils, which result from the square base. The first flower or quadrilobe is built with four semi circles, one centered on each side of the square, as in the


illustration above. To construct this figure with children, one must start with a square, which is five centimeters on each side. Using a compass put its point at the midpoint of one of the sides of the square. Next, stretch out the compass so that the pencil tip of the compass touches one of the vertices or corners of the square. Now, draw an arc connecting two vertices of the square (see Figure 3.) Do this with each of the four sides and you will have constructed a quadrilobe, which is identical or congruent to the first flower in the geometry cabinet. A shape like this is called a lobe figure, because of its arcs or lobes. Many Montessorians do not have the second flower or quatrefoil in the geometry cabinet. It still can be easily built, even without a model. After having built the first flower and understanding its construction, I like asking the children where else could the point of the compass have been placed, other than the midpoint of each side? They may try several options, before hitting on the vertices, which are the corner points of the square. To succeed with the second flower, we also start with a five-centimeter

square. Set the compass to the same opening as was used in the first flower, but put the point of the compass at any one of the vertices of the square. Draw an arc extending from the midpoint of one side to the midpoint of an adjacent side. (See figure 4.) When you do this with each of the four sides, you will have constructed the second flower, or quatrefoil. The quatrefoil is one example of a family of shapes called foil figures. Next, the children should experiment with various sizes of squares to be used as the central figure. These two beautiful flowers can be built with any square. An interesting exercise is to begin with a one-centimeter square and build up a set of flowers, increasing one centimeter at a time. The set may conclude with a flower built upon a ten-centimeter square. This will give the children two entire families - ten quadrilobes and ten more quatrefoils. THE TRILOBE

The two square based flowers in the geometry cabinet are meant to be only a starting point, not the entire flowery geometric journey. Interesting and beautiful flower

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figures based upon other central shapes, other than squares, should also be explored. Begin with an equilateral triangle such as the one from the geometry cabinet. It is possible to build a lobe figure very closely related to the first flower.

THE TREFOIL The equilateral triangle can also be a basis for generating a foil figure. Like the trilobe, the central figure is a triangle, and the new shape will be built with three arcs.

For children to construct this figure with a compass, put point of the compass at the mid point of one of the sides of the equilateral triangle. Now, draw an arc connecting two vertices (or corners) of the triangle (See figure 5.)

Do this with each of the three sides and you will have constructed a new lobe figure, a trilobe. Since the central figure is a triangle, your new shape will be built with just three semi circles, each centered on a side of the triangle, as in figure 4.

Build this new shape by setting the compass to the half of the length of the triangle’s sides, placing the point of the compass at any one of the vertices of the triangle. Draw an arc extending from the midpoint of one side to the midpoint of an adjacent side. (See figure 7.) When this is complete on all three sides, you have made a new foil figure, the trefoil, as in figure 8.

OTHER REGULAR FLOWER FIGURES Working with equilateral triangles is not the place to stop, but only the beginning. Every figure in the drawer of polygons is the basis for a lobe figure as well as a foil figure. For example, see figures 9 and 10 of the hexalobe and the hexafoil. These are easy to construct with a compass. Remember that the lobes of the lobe figures are centered on the midpoints of each side of the polygon, while the foil figures are centered on the vertices. Using this method it is possible to produce the following lobe figures: trilobe, quadrilobe, pentalobe, hexalobe, heptalobe, octalobe, nonalobe, and decalobe. The foil figures are the trefoil, quatrefoil, pentafoil (sometimes cinqfoil or cinquefoil), hexafoil, heptafoil, octafoil, nonafoil, and decafoil.

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those four semi-circles. A semicircle is half a circle, so there are actually two full circles, each with a diameter of five centimeters.



Flower figures need not be based only upon regular polygons. Other equilateral figures, such as a rhombus, can be the source of fascinating lobe and foil figures. The rhombus is particularly interesting since there can be an infinity of rhombic shapes, all of which will work.

Analyze the flower figures that have been created. For each, we can calculate a perimeter, which is the measurement around the figure. This is actually a bit more complicated than it may seem and is an excellent activity for upper elementary students. It requires knowledge of how to determine the circumference of a circle.

Figures 11 and 12 above show the rhombus as the basis of a lobe figure on the left and the foil figured rhombus on the right. Even figures that are not equilateral generate attractive and artistic lobe figures. For example, a scalene triangle is a triangle with all three unequal sides. Even so, it can create a unique scalene trilobe, as in figure 13. Although these non-equilateral figures will generate lobed figures, they cannot be used as a basis for foil shapes. This creates an interesting question worthy of exploring with children, examining why not.


The first flower in the geometry cabinet consists of a central fivecentimeter square surrounded by four semi-circles, each with a diameter that is also five centimeters. This means that to find the perimeter of the entire flower, we need to find the circumferences of

The formula for circumference is π (3.14) times the diameter (C=πd), meaning 3.14 x 5 or 15.7 centimeters. This is taken twice, since there are two full circles, for a total perimeter of 31.4 centimeters. Not so hard after all! All lobe figures consist of a certain number of semi circles surrounding a central figure, for example six lobes for the hexalobe, as was seen in figure 9. This means that figuring the perimeter will always require calculating the circumference of those semi circles and then totaling them up. Foil figures can be a little trickier. The second flower or quatrefoil, shown in figure 14, also has a central five-centimeter square, but the four circular sectors surrounding it are each three-fourths of a circle. If you

Figure 15. The trefoil, showing that each foil is actually 5/6 of a circle, with 1/6 of the circle cut out by the central equilateral triangle.

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add up those four sectors, each of which is ¾ of a circle, they equalthree full circles. That means that in this case, the perimeter will be three times the circumference of a single circle. Again we use the circumference formula of C=πd. Since the diameter is again five centimeters, our calculation is again 3.14 x 5 or 15.7 centimeters. This time it must be taken three times, because the foil figure is equivalent to three full circles, producing a total perimeter of 47.1 centimeters.

The quatrefoil shaped second flower consists of the same five-centimeter central square, with four added sectors, each of which equals to ¾ of a circle, which is equivalent to three additional whole circles. To find the area of this flower add the area of the central square (s2) to the total of the areas of all four sectors, or three whole circles (3πr2). This produces s2 + 3πr2 or 83.875 square centimeters.

The foil figures do get complicated because each figure uses a different sized sector. That means that every different central figure cuts out a different pie-shaped piece from the circle. The second flower, or quatrefoil cuts out one-fourth of each circle. The trefoil cuts out only one-sixth of each circle, as can be seen in figure 15. Another example figure, the hexafoil, cuts out onethird of each circle as in figure 16. This means that every perimeter calculation is different, presenting an exciting challenge for the children.

All activities with elementary age children should emphasize higher order thinking skills or HOT. “Higher order thinking is thinking on a level that is higher than memorizing facts or telling something back to someone exactly the way it was told to you” (Thomas, A., and Thorne, G., 2009). This means avoiding rote learning and using cognition skills. I have found that the best guide to this work is Benjamin Bloom’s very well known Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain (Bloom B. S, 1956).


There are several important aspects to encouraging Higher Order Thinking when working with the flowers. A central principle is to ask questions or initiate discussion that is divergent or open ended. This requires asking questions with multiple possible answers or that may involve various ways of reaching a solution. A corollary is to avoid asking questions, which can be answered with a simple yes or no as well as questions that have a simple factual answer. If these questions are

Area calculation can also be interesting. Remember that the first flower or quadrilobe is made up of four semi-circles surrounding an inner central square, which is five centimeters on a side. The area of this quadrilobe is simply the area of the central square (s2) plus the total of the areas of all four semi-circles, or two whole circles (2πr2). This would be s2 + 2πr2. This translates to 52 + 2 (3.14 x 2.52) or 64.25 square centimeters.


asked, as in the three period lesson, then let that be the beginning of a higher order discussion, never the conclusion. Try making general suggestions to the children, such as “How do you think we can get one flower figure to fit inside another one?” Another example might be, “ How do you think that we can find the size relationships of all of these hexafoils?” Questions like these invite discussion and multiple solutions. I like to use I Wonder statements. An I Wonder statement would take the following form: “I wonder if there are other places in this figure where we could put the compass point to make a flower.” Then I want to invite suggestions from the students, which will lead to research and eventually one or more solutions. This sort of work is almost a mini research protocol. Higher order thinking makes great use of comparison and contrasting. Ask the children to compare a flower figure to another figure, such as a circle. Think of all of the points of comparison, how are they alike. Then consider all of the contrasts, how they are different. On balance, are they more alike or different? Using words to describe procedures requires analytic thinking, one variety of HOT. One activity is to have the children write out a stepby-step method to produce any of the flower figures. This requires a thorough analysis of movement, a Montessori basic.

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Be sure to offer challenges, rather than always giving demonstrations. Giving a presentation or demonstration allows the children to copy the procedure, which is a very good first step. However, if continued, it takes away the children’s own discovery. I recommend presenting an occasional figure, such as a lobe form, then suggesting that they explore other figures, and discover how to use them creatively as the basis of lobed shapes. The idea is to encourage creativity, while moving away from rote thinking. The flower work, like all of geometry, is a great venue for this. ADDITIONAL FLOWER ACTIVITIES Constructing new flowers and calculating their measurements are exciting activities, but not the end of our exploration of the flower figures. The work with flowers opens many new opportunities for study, some of which dovetail nicely into existing Montessori work, while others may open new avenues for study. Very briefly, here are several extensions of the flower work:  Try tiling with these figures (See figure 17). See what sort of tile patterns can be created. Determine the name and shape of the openings. These openings are generically called interstices, but its particular shape can name each interstice.  Look up the uses of the flower figures as architectural and artistic motifs. Pay particular attention to the ancient Fertile Crescent region as well as Mohenjo-Daro. The designs were also used in the ancient fabric industry in South Asia.


 Make a collection of images of quatrefoil windows.  Find flowers in nature that resemble the various lobed and foil figures.  Create flower figures based on rectangles, irregular polygons, trapezoids, parallelograms, etc. Later find their perimeters and areas.  Use flower figures to create unique designs to embellish work, make borders, etc.  Research jewelry that uses lobe and foil design features. Research the four-leafed clover.  Research the trefoil in botany, architecture, and art  Research sacred flowers, and the “flower of life”

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Creativity is possibly the highest order of higher order thinking. Geometry is a subject rich with creative and divergent possibilities. It is essential that these be maximized to open this wonderful mathematical field to all children. Although geometry is a branch of mathematics, it is wrong to approach it with an overly didactic style, with too much emphasis on formal geometrical procedures. These formalities do have their place in geometry, but so must exploration, design, beauty, integration, and creativity.

Ajrakh Printing (no date). History of Ajrakh. Find at:

The work with flower figures offers all of these components within the geometrical context. It brings children to geometry with excitement and joy. It also offers a tremendous introduction to parents at a parent night, for those adults who have yet to discover “geometry without tears.” Go beyond the usual in working with geometry in your classroom. Explore the flowers. 

We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but it is somewhat beauty and poetry.” —Maria Mitchell

Anderson, L. W. and David R. Krathwohl, D. R., et al (Eds.) (2001) A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. Allyn & Bacon. Boston, MA (Pearson Education Group) Bloom B. S. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives, Handbook I: The cognitive domain. New York: David McKay Co, Inc. Brown, S. (2011) Drawing a Cinqefoil. Brisbane, AU: SkillsTech Australia. Find at: ozi/drawing-a-cinqefoil Brown, S. (2011) Drawing a Hexafoil. Brisbane, AU: SkillsTech Australia. Find at: ozi/hexafoil-construction Brown, S. (2011) Drawing a Trefoil. Brisbane, AU: SkillsTech Australia. Find at: ozi/drawing-a-trefoil Fresco, G.H. (1993) Montessori Material. (Italian-English edition). Rome: Il Quaderno Montessori. Mitchell, M. in. (1971) Growing up Female in America: Ten Lives. (Eve Merriam) Boston: Beacon Press. Pogrow, S. (1988). HOTS: A Thinking Skills Program for At-Risk Students. Principal, v67 n4 p19-24 Southall, H. (2010) Different Shapes of Flowers. Find at: Thomas, A., and Thorne, G. (2009). How To Increase Higher Order Thinking. Metarie, LA: Center for Development and Learning. Retrieved Dec. 7, 2009, from php?type=subject&id=18 Wordnik. Quatrefoil. Find at: words/quatrefoil

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by Margot Garfield-Anderson


n the age of social networking and fast paced technology traditional alumni organizations are seeing a real shift in their focus. In the private school sector the establishment and maintenance of such organizations has been vital in the area of fund raising and PR. There are many pros and cons to these social networking sites and that’s a whole other topic of discussion. Using them to your school’s advantage is, however, a real benefit. If your school does not already have an alumni organization, it is certainly something worth investigating. Once it’s up and running the maintaining part can be challenging but isn’t it worthwhile to preserve your legacy? Here are some of the best reasons we’ve found to have an alumni organization at your school HISTORICAL DATA You are the founder of a school; this has been a true labor of love and a huge undertaking. It’s taken you years of finding the right location, taking administrative classes, hiring the right staff, having the perfect families attend the school and creating a real sense of community. You think your memory of how you did this will never fade or be counted on to recreate so you haven’t chronicled the process or journey. You didn’t take photographs during construction or move in days or the first day of school or any other milestone. If this is true, then you’ve lost out on a great opportunity. Keeping historical data creates an institutional identity that is important in building community spirit and for


marketing purposes. We encourage schools to form a committee to track down families you started out with and to find photographs that can be scanned and used to put together the historical story of your school. Having this foundational piece in place can and will be used many times over if you use it effectively. Larger schools often have Year Books funded by selling advertising space to local businesses and families. Having a collection of these books is one way to professionally maintain the school’s history. For schools that might not have the funds for printing a small run of these types of books consider creating an online version with the ability of individuals to print out at home should they wish to do so. Keep the files on your school’s website (we recommend pdfs which are more compact than full size documents) so in the event someone is looking for a past graduate they may be able to contact them through the alumni area of your school’s website where these journals can be archived. (You will need to consider the privacy laws in your state.) PROGRESS OF GRADUATES Schools are validated when their graduating students go forth into the world, make their incredible mark, and then share their stories of success. These living testimonials help promote your school and recruit new families. Each year’s worth of children that pass through your doors are the next generation’s contributors to society. Having a Montessori education has prepared them to be the best of the best. Tracking their progress and keep-

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Alumni Organizations are a vital way to ensure your school establishes a legacy for future generations. This is Margot and granddaughter Blakely: the next generation.

ing them invested in the school community through the creation of alumni organizations serves everyone as these graduates are the ultimate role models for others in the school and can serve as mentors and ambassadors for you. Invite your alumni back for all kinds of school functions and have them speak to the community about how Montessori prepared them for the real world. In both the good and bad times these graduates can add an additional layer to bridge the gap between the children and adults in your school’s community. Recently, one of our IMC member schools shared with me about the sudden death of one of the staff. The head of school explained how invaluable the alumni were in communicating with the children to help them get through a very sad and difficult event. With the sophisticated technology available these days, even alumni residing in far away countries had the ability to conference in with the students showing how invested in the school they truly were. POOL OF POTENTIAL NEW STAFF AND STUDENTS Several years ago I attended a Montessori conference in Canberra, Australia. I’m not certain why, but I was suddenly struck by the fact that many children of Montessori guides and administrators were also now either certified guides or studying to become so. When I started to recount the thousands of people I’ve met in the past 11 years working for the Foundation I started to see that this was not a dynamic unique to Australian but a uni-

versal one. So it would also make a lot of sense that the more alumni that choose to become Montessori guides because of positive experiences from great mentors such as parents, grandparents or teachers, the larger the pool of potential new staff and students would be. Imagine the impact after several generations of alumni going through your school in your community and the world? By creating this strong association with your graduates you could be assured of retaining just the right families for your school. FUNDRAISING Finally, alumni have a tradition of being great financial supporters of their alma maters. This is true of Montessori students as well. When you have a strong alumni organization at your school, the mailing list come annual fund or gift giving time, gives you a larger pool of people to approach. Ask your alumni to get involved with your next annual campaign. Most have connections that spread very wide because Montessori children are so global and connected to so many different organizations they can be quite effective fundraisers. Margot Garfield-Anderson is the Director of Public Relations and Coordinator of Conferences and Special Events for The Montessori Foundation. She is also the Membership Director of the IMC and ex officio Board Member.

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by Tim Seldin & Kitty Bravo


t the end of May this year Kitty Bravo, Chair of the IMC Teacher Education Committee and Director of Education at the Center for Guided Montessori Studies, announced the formation of a new organization designed to provide support and guidance to people in remote and developing countries that are running or starting Montessori schools - the Global Montessori Service Corps. She called upon Montessori Certified Teachers with at least five years post certification teaching experience to volunteer to help nurture the spread of Montessori programs in developing countries. Within two months, Kitty reported: “We have had an amazing response to our request for volunteers to provide mentorship to people in developing countries who are beginning, running or teaching in Montessori schools. Tim and I sent the initial email to see what kind of interest there would be. I was hoping to find a few people. I did not expect such an outpouring. In addition to those of you interested in being mentors, we have heard from several people and schools who would like our help. This is very exciting. My sense is that this organization has the potential to provide a real service to the Montessori community, and even more important to the children of the world.�

Volunteers will spend five hours or so a week, on your schedule, for a period ranging from a few months to a year,



working with one or more teachers via your computer and video conferencing. Modern Internet communication technology can almost make the miles (or kilometers) disappear. It could be a great learning opportunity for both the mentor and the student-teacher.

The Montessori Service Corps is a joint project of the Montessori Foundation, the Center for Guided Montessori Studies, and members of the International Montessori Council. Our goal is to make it an effort shared by Montessori educators regardless of affiliation.

Kitty recently returned from India where she visited Montessori schools and met with people who are trying to open schools. It was a very inspiring trip. It was such a joy to see these children building the pink tower and doing addition with the golden beads. Kitty found many people trying hard to create good Montessori programs with very limited resources. The passion and desire is abundant, but the knowledge of Montessori practice in countries like India is limited.

The first phase of services to be offered by GMSC would mainly focus on providing long distance mentoring through the use of web conferencing and email. We

Education is one of the keys to change in a developing country like India, and, as such, there is great interest in Montessori. Probably the greatest challenge is training teachers for the many Montessori schools opening across the country. The low income of teachers, generally $200 - $300 per month, makes it really difficult for them to afford teacher training. Qualified trainers and mentors for teachers starting out in new schools are scarce. would also try to connect people in need with others who may be in their country or with Montessorians that may be traveling in their area. In a later phase, I would hope we would find funding to help make it possible for volunteers to travel to some of these distant locations to provide onsite guidance and training.

India is only one of many developing countries interested in providing Montessori for their children. For years, many Montessorians have been talking about the need for an organization similar to the Peace Corps with the specific mission of organizing volunteers for supporting Montessori projects around the world. Kitty challenges us: “Let’s stop talking about it and make it happen. Global Montessori Service Corps is ready. All we need are volunteers!”

On that note, while GMSC is not able at this time to help sponsor trips to other countries to provide support and training, we can provide the service of communicating the need and helping to connect possible volunteers with those who would like visiting teachers. We have had a request for an experienced teacher to travel to Madagascar to provide onsite training. The school in Madagascar cannot cover the travel expense nor can they pay a stipend, but they can provide food and lodging, making a teacher very comfortable and welcome for whatever period one could be available to stay and provide some training. If you would be interested in visiting Madagascar and providing this service for a month or more, please send us an email to

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GMSC is still in the initial stage of development. A team of Montessori professionals has begun working on the foundational systems and organization such as developing a process and forms for registering mentors and those needing services. The Organizational Team is also working on defining Montessori core values that will help unite mentors who will come to GMSC with a wide variety of Montessori training and experiences. We are creating a process for training and guiding mentors as well so that we can assure quality and consistency in the services we provide. We expect to be in a position to send out registration forms to those interested in volunteering early in 2011 and begin providing services soon after.


validate Montessori Programs in Maryland The state of Maryland recently started requiring all Montessori programs in the state to be “validated” by an authorized validating agency. The IMC’s Accreditation Commission, Claire Salkowski, and the IMC Membership Director, Margot GarfieldAnderson worked through the springtime to finish the self-study paperwork necessary for the IMC to be one of these validating organizations. The IMC’s new program, The Seal of Recognition document was used to answer

As interest in Montessori continues to increase rapidly in developing nations, it is essential for the Montessori community to step up and provide guidance and support. While many of the individuals wanting to implement Montessori in these remote locations have limited resources and training, they often have a keen desire to help children and families. They recognize the positive affect Montessori can have on their communities. Those of us who are working to create the Global Montessori Service Corps are excited about the potential to be a part of this amazing work.

the self-study. We figured we didn’t need to reinvent the wheel but at the same time, if a school had to go through a process of being validated, they might as well come out of it with something far more reaching in the end The Seal of Recognition program, while still in its pilot phase, is a vehicle in which schools can show the public that they have gone through a serious self-study process to look at their educational and administrative processes and all are in line with Montessori best practices. It is also the first step to a school going forward in the full accreditation process.

Tim Seldin is President of The Montessori Foundation and Chair of The International Montessori Council.

The Seal of Recognition costs less for a school to complete because only one validator is on campus for a day

Kitty Bravo is a Director of the Center for Guided Montessori Studies.

instead of our traditional three validator, three-day process necessary to complete the full accreditation process. For the smaller schools out there it’s a great way to receive the recognition the community might be looking for without the cost being too out of reach. If you are interested in learning more about the Seal of Recognition program log onto the website and go into the IMC area. A pat on the back to the Accreditation team for taking the lead on completing the project and getting the IMC as one of only a few recognized organizations in the state authorized to validate Montessori programs in Maryland.


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No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. — Aesop, The Lion and the Mouse Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war. — Dr. Maria Montessori

Leave a Legacy

Life is a challenge. Most of us need help at some point along the way. Maybe we received a college scholarship from an “angel” benefactor. Maybe a nurse held our hand in the emergency room when we were afraid. Maybe a kind word from a stranger gave us the strength to forgive an injustice. Maybe a teacher recognized our value when we couldn’t see it ourselves. It’s during the hard times that we are reminded that we must continue to demonstrate to children the value in positive acts of human kindness.

Montessori schools, teachers, and children since 1992. Through our leadership workshops, conferences, books, and journals (including Tomorrow’s Child, one copy of which is provided free of Montessori schools do this every day in charge to all Montessori schools in the their classrooms around the world. In US and Canada ), we help bring the benlarge cities and undeveloped countries, efits of Montessori education to schools for more than one hundred years, the big and small. Through our national work of Dr. Maria Montessori has inmodel school, we share everything that spired many thousands of children to we learn and develop with all Montessori live lives of purpose and integrity, know- schools, in order to enhance the proing that each one of them is a member of grams that they offer for their children. a global community and each one of them has the ability to change the world. Charitable 501(c)3 organizations, like The Montessori Foundation, need finanThe Montessori Foundation has helped cial assistance from people like you to continue our work. These gifts can be

The Montessori Foundation

Montessori THE


19600 E State Road 64 • Bradenton, FL 34212 941-729-9565/800-655-5843 • 941-745-3111 (fax)

Dr. Maria Montessori 1870-1952 Italy’s First Female Medical Doctor Creater of the “Montessori Method” Educational Activist Child Advocate Nobel Peace Prize Nominee

donated as gifts of cash, negotiable securities, and charitable bequests. By making bequests and other “planned gifts,” you continue to make an important difference in the world. What better way to thank the people or organizations that have had an impact on your life, or the life of your child or grandchild, than to make a contribution from your estate through a bequest? Gifts large and small are important. It is a way to demonstrate your values and beliefs to your family. It reinforces what you have done during your life and sets an example of kindness to people you wish to help. By donating, you become an immortal philanthropist. If you would like to help The Montessori Foundation continue our work, please visit our website at or call our office: 800-655-5843/941729-9565.


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A Simple Way to Raise Money for Your School While Promoting Your School’s Families and Friends’ Businesses The Montessori Foundation works with Montessori schools around the world to create a stronger international Montessori Community. As part of this effort, we have created a new initiative called Friends of Montessori:


e designed it to help your school raise some money painlessly, while helping families and friends of your school to promote their businesses and professional services at no cost. This seems, to us, to offer an approach in which everyone wins, while creating a stronger sense of identity for your school and Montessori as a whole within your local community. Like most solutions based on a Montessori design, it benefits everyone and is easy to implement. Friends of Montessori is an international, online directory of the businesses and services run by your school’s parents and friends. There is no charge for listing a business. When those businesses offer a special discount or promotion to people who carry the Friends of Montessori card, they encourage the families and friends of your school and others across your community to support one another. Friends of Montessori is also a simple and highly profitable fundraiser for your school. It allows you to raise money while promoting businesses run by your school’s families and friends. How will it raise money? Simple!


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When you register yourschool in Friends of Montessori, we will prepare a box of Friends of Montessori cards imprinted with your school’s name and logo in full color. There is no upfront payment required. You pay when you’ve sold your cards and return any to us if they do not all sell. When you sign up your school as part of the Friends of Montessori worldwide network, we will create a special school website community’s directory of Parents and Friends businesses and professional services. It will be linked to your school’s website, and you can link to the Friends of Montessori website from your home page as well. Montessori parents anywhere in the world can look to see what restaurants, museums, doctors, other businesses, and services are offered in your community. For example, a parent in Boston can look to see which businesses are tied to an individual school or look to see all of the parent businesses that are Friends of Montessori. We will send you a box of cards (most schools will need at least 1,000), imprinted with your school’s name and logo. When they arrive, ask your parents to pick up a pack of cards at your school, sell them to friends, family, coworkers, and people with whom they do business. Then, turn in the money to your school. We found most people can easily sell at least ten. For each card that you sell for $20 for the year, keep $15 for your school, and send $5 to The Montessori Foundation to help support our work . The program works on Montessori’s system of honor and trust. You pay nothing up front, just account for the money you raise monthly as your network expands, and send us our portion as the program evolves. Again, should some cards not sell, just return them. There is no risk to your school. The cards do not have a magnetic strip, no private information is collected, and they can be used to get the special deals and discounts offered by your supporting discounts for an entire year. Usually, special offers will be run as one for each card presented daily. The goal of any participating business is to encourage the school’s families and friends to patronize their restaurant, service, or business as often as possible. Think of the cards as being something like the Dining Guides many

schools and churches have sold for years. The difference is that these cards are less expensive and can be used again and again for an entire year. Most families will want to purchase at least two cards. Many will buy one for each of their children. When cardholders show their card, the business extends the special offer or discount that they have listed on your website. It’s that simple! Friends of Montessori cards can be used at the participating businesses for a whole year. Remember, the school’s businesses can change the special deal that they want to offer over the course of the year to promote new business. All of this is done by the business owner, so there is no extra work for the school office or parent volunteers. Your parent volunteers can add or update parents’ and friends’ businesses that ask to be included (again, there is no charge for a business to be included), but the easiest thing is to encourage them to log in online to do it themselves. Encourage your volunteers to invite all of the logical companies in town to join in. Your card program becomes more appealing, and your name in the community will get spread wider, as more and more businesses participate. In summation, this is a win-win for everyone involved: Parents and local businesses get free advertising and more customers. 

Supporters save money with great discounts and support a good cause — your school!

For your school, your families can be invited to purchase Friends of Montessori Cards inexpensively, just as they might buy a Dining Guide or other fundraiser. At $20 for membership for the year, your families will carry a discount card that promotes Montessori and your school and reap discounts and other benefits all year long. 

This simple fundraiser is highly profitable, customizable, and easy to sell. 

Friends of Montessori is a program organized by The Montessori Foundation. Start Your Fundraiser Today! Visit our website at for more information.

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Distance learning is fast becoming the easiest way for busy administrators and administration personnel at your school to keep up with new information or gain valuable insights. This is an excellent way for first time administrators to learn from the bottom up.

HERE IS A LIST OF THE PROGRAMS WE RUN: Finding the Perfect Match: Recruit & Retain Your Ideal Enrollment

LOCATION Your office or home, on your computer!

Building a World-Class Montessori School.

INSTRUCTORS Tim Seldin and Sharon Caldwell of the Montessori Foundation

An Overview of Montessori Principles & Curriculum from Infant/Toddler through High School.

Special discount for IMC members and multiple attendees from the same IMC school.

and coming soon... Certification Program for Montessori School Leadership.

For complete information visit the Montessori Leadership wing on our website:

While Term 1 is underway check our website for when our next cohort starts.


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Montessori Leadership

Use our bookstore at and go through our online bookstore or call our membership office at

1 (800) 632-4121

with a friend or colleague Individual Membership ($45 US/year) School Membership ($250 US/year) Business Membership ($250 US/year) Teacher Education Center Membership ($250 US/year) Montessori Organization Member ($250 US/year)

Pickup from September 2010 Holding rule does not print

F E B RUA RY 2 0 1 1 | M O N T E S S O R I . O RG / I M C | Š MO N T E SSO R I L E A DE R SH I P


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.