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2021 MARCH

Vol. 27 No. 3


NOW AVAILABLE ON MONTESSORI.ORG! Montessori 101: What Every Parent Needs to Know This 80-page full-color publication is a wonderful resource for anyone seeking to de-mystify Montessori. It addresses topics such as the history and philosophy of Montessori; offers a guided tour of the Montessori classroom; and serves as an illustrated guide to dozens of wonderful Montessori materials. This mini-encylopedia of Montessori is newly redesigned and contains new sections on Infant/Toddler and Montessori Secondary programs. It is a must-have resource for anyone interested in Montessori, and one that parents will surely refer back to throughout their child’s Montessori experience. ORDER NOW AT: tinyurl.com/the-new-101



Tomorrow’s Child (ISSN 10716246), published four times a year, is the official magazine of The Montessori Foundation, a non-profit organization. The opinions expressed in Tomorrow’s Child editorials, columns, and features are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of the magazine or The Montessori Foundation. Acceptance of advertising does not represent the Foundation’s endorsement of any product or service. It is policy of The Montessori Foundation, a non-profit organization, to encourage support for the organization by discounting the sale of bulk order shipments of Tomorrow’s Child in order that schools may make the magazine available to their families. The Montessori Foundation does NOT grant permission to reprint material from Tomorrow’s Child in any other form (book, newsletter, journals). Copies of this issue or back issues are available for purchase through our online bookstore: www.montessori. org. For School Group Memberships, call 800-655-5843 (toll free), or place your order atmontessori.org. The Montessori Foundation does not provide refunds for cancelled School Group Memberships. Send all correspondence to: The Montessori Foundation | 19600 E State Road 64, Bradenton, FL 34212-8921 MONTESSORI.ORG

“Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.” —MARIA MONTESSORI


The Wonder of Woodworking


Developing Attention Span Via Polishing

by Lorna McGrath & Pete Moorhouse

by Julia Volkman



Teach Your Children Well


Five Crucial Reasons Why Schools Should Teach Entrepreneurship

Note: InterPrint is now FSC,SFI and PEFC Chain-of-Custody Tri-Certified. Chainof-custody certification offers paper that has been harvested from responsibly managed forests, then verifiably traced through all stages of print production.


How to Explain the Covid-19 Vaccine as a Story


How To Submit An Article to Our Magazine


Why Montessori Schools Succeed in a Crisis


Individual Liberty and the Common Good


The Path to Literacy


Bedtime Routines

Workshops, IMC Memberships, Past Issues & Orders or Questions about an Order Kristi Antczak Phone: 941-309-3961/Toll Free: 800-632-4121 kristiantczak@montessori.org Project Assistant Kristi Antczak kristiantczak@montessori.org Conference Coordinator George Markham georgemarkham@montessori.org Subscriptions & Bookkeeping, & Classified Ads Don Dinsmore Phone: 941-729-9565/800-655-5843 Fax: 941-745-3111 dondinsmore@montessori.org Display Advertising Joyce St. Giermaine Phone: 941-729-9565/Fax: 941-745-3111 joycestgiermaine@montessori.org Montessori Family Alliance Lorna McGrath Phone: 941-729-9565/800-655-5843 lornamcgrath@montessori.org Executive Director of the IMC Kathy Leitch Phone: 941-729-9565/800-655-5843 kathyleitch@montessori.org

by Bridgett Wheeler

by Maya Spikes

by Gavin McCormack

by The Montessori Foundation Staff

by Elizabeth Topliffe

by Andrew Kutt

by Charlotte Snyder

by Lorna McGrath & Tim Seldin

26 DEAR CATHIE Neediness During Covid

Senior Consultant Tanya Ryskind, JD tanyaryskind@montessori.org

27 WELLNESS Spending Cleanse

Senior Consultant Robin Howe, EdD robinhowe@montessori.org

28 CURATED FROM Tidy-Up Tips That Will Change Your Life


30 MONTESSORI 101 Parenting with Intention 31 BOOK REVIEWS


25th Annual Montessori Conference



Woodworking A conversation with Lorna McGrath and Pete Moorhouse

A few months ago, we had special guest, Pete Moorhouse, an expert on woodworking with kids on our weekly Montessori Family Life Webinar broadcast. In this interview with Pete, he shares some of his insights and ideas from woodworking with young children.

Why do you think educators and parents shied away from letting children have the experience of using tools? LORNA:

What was very much widespread, in recent decades has very much fallen off the agenda. I think is to do with the risk aversion in a litigation culture. Educators were concerned about children getting injured and the possible legal liabilities. I think those worries made a big impact. But I think these days, people are much more willing to embrace this sort of challenge again, which is so positive. The other thing is, I think that culturally, we’ve been very much removed from the “making process” for many years, living in an overly commercialized world. Generally, there seems to be a real resurgence of interest in letting children make and create with their hands again. And I think woodwork’s no PETE:

What are your thoughts about why children get so enthusiastic about the idea of woodworking? LORNA:

Woodworking is actually such a unique activity for young children to do. It’s so different from everything else—they use real tools and authentic materials to make their own constructions. And I think one of the things that really stands out is just how it draws in children’s curiosity. Woodworking captivates them, and you see astonishingly high levels of sustained engagement.

The physicality, the movement, and the hands-on experiential learning woodworking provides is a wonderful antidote for this two-dimensional, screen-based existence.


Children become really focused and concentrate on what they’re doing. The most astonishing thing about woodwork is the length of

time children stay with this activity. They can span a whole morning or afternoon entirely engaged in their project. We see this across the world. It’s not unique to the United Kingdom. It’s absolutely everywhere, from the United States to Japan to the Middle East. Woodworking, using tools, is a universal language that gives children great enjoyment. And interestingly, in terms of education, this is nothing new. It used to be widespread in education right from the early 1900s, and it was pretty much embraced in schools around the world.


exception to that. This seems particularly true in the United States, where the birth of the “maker space” originated. “Maker spaces” and labs have spread all over the United States, where adults and teenagers can get together. Now we see a lot of tinkering labs in the high schools, elementary schools, and in early childhood settings. I believe, particularly for children in early childhood, that woodwork is the best way for them to fully engage with the mind-set of STEM-based


children really step up to the responsibility of being given real tools. They actually suddenly take them quite seriously. We’ve found that their behavior with tools is absolutely exemplary. They take great pride from using them.

I’ll add that I think the real risk to children is that they don’t experience any risk at all. It’s a very important part of child development that adults allow children to encounter risk. learning. There is another challenge at the moment. We have a new generation of children moving through. I often talk about this new generation of children learning how to swipe before they can walk. And I think this is having a significant impact.

the heart of that learning for it to be meaningful and remembered. Our world needs innovators to come up with solutions in these rapidly changing times, whether it is facing climate change or COVID-19. And might I add that Maria Montessori held hands-on learning as a fundamental principle of her method of education. She said that you cannot give something to the mind that you don’t first give to the hands. LORNA:

LORNA: So what do you see as the benefits of

woodworking to this new generation? We need to do our best to nurture children with some really positive influences to counteract the influence that gadgets and devices have on children. The physicality, the movement, and the hands-on experiential learning woodworking provides is a wonderful antidote for this two-dimensional, screen-based existence. It’s wonderful for children to really create something tangible with their hands. Finally, woodworking is really an exceptional activity for developing children’s thinking skills, as children envision and plan out their strategies for creating from wood. PETE:

It’s a constant problem-solving process as children go through making and creating with wood. Woodwork is just so rich, in imagining what they want to make and figuring all of those problems that they run into along the way. Creativity, in this context, is just so important. Children are increasing their communication skills with new vocabulary as well as using measurements and angles from math in real-life projects. Creativity has to be about


Absolutely. She talks about didactic material that children can really engage with on a significant level. And, there are so many materials and media that children can use, such as modeling clay. You could use it in so many ways. Wood is quite special because of the way that it draws children in and sustains engagement. I think it’s the excitement of using the tools and being able to master them that helps develop a child’s confidence and self-esteem. PETE:

Occasionally, of course, there’s going to be the bumped thumb. We’re not going to eliminate that, but in 25 years, we have not had a serious accident. Often much worse happens just running across the playground and taking some skin off your knee. The type of injuries that happen while woodworking are actually very low-risk, small-scale things. There are obviously some health and safety measures that we need to put in place to reduce those risks. Teaching children to use tools properly, using safety precautions (like wearing safety glasses) and supervising their activity without doing it for them will help cut the risks. Small, stubby hammers work absolutely perfectly for little hands. Saws that actually cut as you pull them towards you are so much easier for children to use. So a lot of it is about having the right gear, proper lessons, and supervision. I’ll add that I think the real risk to children is that they don’t experience any risk at all. When we surround them in bubble wrap, and we don’t allow them to make their own decisions and judgments, when they get older they are not going to have that skill set to be able to make a decision. It’s a very important part of child development that adults allow children to encounter risk, obviously within controlled circumstances. We use hand tools, not power tools and very carefully manage those learning opportunities that include the possibility of risk. LORNA: A dad asks, do you have tool recom-

mendations, types and/or specific tools? Do you have recommendations for teaching safety?


On my website there’s a free downloadable resource list and photos available of all the different tools. There’s also my book called Learning through Woodwork, which is available from Amazon.

A lot of people are shocked at the thought of three- and four-year-olds using real tools like hammers and saws. We are quite careful in the choice of tools. There are certainly some tools that are much more ergonomically suited to young hands. Actually,

By being given tools to use for building, children are empowered. They feel a sense of responsibility and step up. At first children might be a little bit apprehensive because they may have never used real tools, but very quickly, with the right size and shape tools like the short, stubby hammers or screwdrivers, they gain confidence and skill. It’s actually

One of our participants asks if is it safe for three- and four-year-olds to do woodworking. PETE:



what’s happening inside the child that boosts their pride, self-esteem, confidence, and delight in their work. Other areas of learning, with regard to physical developments, include hand-eye coordination, and fine-motor skills when gently tapping a nail into place. Using and coordinating large-muscle skills comes into play, as well, because every tool has got slightly different physical properties—from the rotation with the screwdriver to two-handed rotation with a hand drill and then posture and body poise needed when sawing. Woodworking can be a real antidote to continuous use of digital technology. Woodworking can involve literacy, as they do some research during the planning stage of the project. As they plan and envision what the project will be, they can draw it out on paper and later, they can write about what they’ve made. They use mathematical thinking to learn in a very natural way. They figure out what length nails they need to join things together. Quite a few bits of mathematical equipment are introduced in woodworking projects, and it is

fantastic how they start using them in different applications. There are definitely a bunch of tape measures, rulers, t-squares, and levels in the woodwork area. I see woodwork as another way in which children use and express their imaginations. I think it’s important that children are at the center of their learning. Maria Montessori talked about the self-education of the child. So, rather than having predetermined projects for all the children, which strips the creativity out of it and turns it into an exercise in following instructions, allow children to plan and create what they want, using their intrinsic motivation to persevere and solve challenges along the way. It then becomes a delightful mixture of learning, creativity, problem solving, and fun!  NOTE: Pete had lots more to say in our broadcast. You can watch the entire session on montessori.org in the Montessori Family Alliance Resource Center, where over 300 webinars, hundreds of articles from Tomorrow’s Child magazine, and many audible recordings are archived when you subscribe to the Montessori


Family Alliance for only $4.99USD per month. Become a member at https://bit.ly/3c71eVa.

Pete Moorhouse is an early years creative consultant and artist educator. He is an honorary research fellow at the Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol researching creative and critical thinking in Early Years, regularly presenting research at international conferences. Pete is an associate trainer for Early Education and deliverers training both nationally and overseas. He is the UK’s leading authority on woodwork in Early Years education and has written several books and journal articles, including Learning through Woodwork (Routledge) and Outdoor Learning. He is currently working his latest book, Creativity in Practice: Nurturing creative and critical thinking in early childhood education.



Polishing by Julia Volkman

This article describes the benefits of polishing by deconstructing the actions of a child at work documented by an instagram video. You can view the post here: https://bit.ly/3qgG7op


arents often ask Montessori teachers why their children are learning so much about cleaning at school. Their children are learning how to wash dishes, sweep the floor, dust, and even polish silver. Can’t the school afford to hire their own cleaning staff? The answer has nothing to do with keeping the classroom clean. In fact, teachers often have to go back after school and “re-clean” what the children have cleaned. The reason we teach them these “practical life” activities is all about aiding the child’s development. A mom I know on Instagram (big shout out to @montessoriinmotion) posted a video of her daughter that illustrates some of the benefits of practical life activities. It’s just over one-minute long and is so rich in things to notice that I asked her permission to write about it here. Watch the video on your own first and then read on (and yes, she is sporting the matching Maitri Learning blue flower apron and mat).   Focused Attention In the first few seconds, you can see that she couldn’t care less about the neighbor’s barking dog; she is very focused on her activity. She begins by setting up what she’ll need: the object to be polished (the turtle); the glass bowl (which will hold the polish); and the polish. While she is doing part of this, her eyes are fixed on the contents of the blue basket. She does not look at where she is placing the glass bowl. Why does this matter? It means that she has already learned how to place an object down with her hand (maintaining proprioceptive control) while her visual attention is focused elsewhere. So, when you think that where a child’s eyes are looking tells you what they are paying attention to, stop and think again!


Handedness Did you notice that she uses her left hand to pick up and lay out each of these items? But when she gets to the polish, she starts opening it using her right hand. She reconsiders, possibly remembering that she doesn’t need to open it yet (self-correction), and places it down. Next, she switches to her right hand to take out the remaining items she’ll need. When you see children choosing hands to work with at this age, you may see them switch from left to right, or you may see them strongly dominant already for the right or left hand. You don’t have to worry about it. When you present a lesson to them, just use your dominant hand, but if they struggle with that hand, simply say, “Maybe it will work better with your other hand. You can try it.” Pausing Once she has the polish on the mat, she pauses to organize her thinking. This pause is often a tricky spot for adults. We want to step in and make sure they know what to do next. But it is in the pause that so much great development happens (memory consolidation, toggling the default mode network, etc.). So, one of our biggest jobs is to restrain ourselves and give the child time to figure it out. Sensory Learning Now she uses her right hand to take out the sponge, cotton swab, and buffing cloth. As she takes out each one, she touches it an extra time as if to receive physical confirmation of what the object is. In neuroscience speak, we call this haptic engagement. She pushes down on the sponge and feels its spring. She uses the pincer grip to precisely place the cotton swab. She uses her whole hand to pat the buffing cloth. Each of these movements is different based on the properties of the object she


touches. They also mirror the movements she will use later when putting each object to use. As an aside, when I see her haptic engagement and her ability to follow logical steps/ procedures, I am thinking she might be quite interested in the Sandpaper Letters. To prepare her for that work, this may be the right time to start playing some sound games. After a few weeks of sound games, you’ll be able to introduce the Sandpaper Letters. Executive Function Development Okay, back to the polishing work. After patting the buffing cloth, her eyes scan the basket until she finds the thing she needs next: the polish. I love how she nods to herself to validate that yes, now it is time to open the polish! So when we saw her hesitating with the polish when she first took it out, we actually saw her exhibiting inhibitory control: she stopped herself from opening it before it was time to open it. Inhibitory control is a key foundation for higher executive functions. You can google “marshmallow test” if you want to see many examples of young children flexing their inhibitory control abilities. Now she uses her left hand to hold the polish bottle and her right hand to remove the top and squeeze the dropper (again using the pincer grip.) But when she is placing polish into the dish, you can just see that her eyes are scanning back and forth between the dropper and the dish. This means that her eyes are already moving ahead to the next step of confirming that she has the right amount of polish. Again, this is evidence of her developing executive function ability to plan ahead. Concentration Overcomes Distraction Right at about 50 seconds in, her brother comes over and starts talking with her mom about how they might possibly make the paint he wants to use to paint a baseball diamond on the front lawn. First of all, that is an utterly gorgeous thought process by her brother! He is absolutely ingenious in thinking about the chemical properties of paint. Second, his conversation does not phase his sister the tiniest bit. Her concentration remains 100 percent on her polishing activity; even when her eyes glance away. So when you hear someone say that two-year-olds are easily distracted, question if that is really true.

Refined Motor Skills Right after she applies the polish to the turtle’s back, the turtle spins. This suggests that she used a little bit too much force. The natural consequence is that the turtle spins around. She then moves in for a very close look, and we don’t see the turtle spin again, suggesting that she is using a lighter touch. We just saw a natural consequence lead to the refinement of fine-motor skills! The need for natural consequences is one of the reasons Montessori environments use items that might break if they are misused, like real glasses and dishes (not plastic or melamine). We expect things to break if they are handled roughly. We always model very careful use, but the child might not pick up on this right away. So, when an object breaks because it is mishandled, the children realize that they need to actually pay attention to what their hands are doing when they hold fragile items. I wish we could do a research study on this point but, in my experience, most children only break one or two things before they adapt and refine. Children who are always given plastic miss this opportunity when the mind is ripe for it. Attention to Detail Okay, let’s get back to polishing. When she finishes applying the polish, she holds on to the cotton swab in her right hand and picks up the sponge with her left. She dabs some polish off of the turtle with the sponge but then she uses the sponge to clean off the cotton swab. Only after the swab is wiped off does she place it on the mat. She sets the sponge down then but picks it up again when she notices there is still a bit more polish to wipe off. Once the sponge finally goes to the mat, she uses her left finger to rub the turtle’s back. It’s not clear if she is rubbing off an extra bit of polish or verifying that the polish is off. In either case, she is using her finger to attend to this tiny detail. My husband is always saying he wished his undergraduate chemistry students paid better attention to details in the lab. Maybe they needed to polish more when they were little. Scaffold/Control of Error Again, we have a pause where she scans the mat to determine her next step. The order of the materials on the mat acts as a scaffold; the order helps her to figure out what is coming next. She looks until she finds what she needs. In Montessori, we call this a built-in control of error. It means the adult doesn’t need to


step in at all while the child is concentrating, the materials themselves will guide the child. This is essential because it allows her to keep working without interruption. That is what is strengthening the neural networks in her attention system. So again, we grown-ups need to step back and allow the child the opportunity to process, think, and choose. Strengthening the Hand Now comes the buffing. She starts to rub up a shine with her right hand only. But, this is no one-handed moment! She quickly brings in her left hand to stabilize the turtle so she can apply more force in her buffing. This variable application of strength not only refines her motor skills (as noted above), but also increases her muscular strength and control. And, of course, it creates a really nice shine! Self-Esteem The very last thing the video shows us is her enormous smile when she has reached the moment of completion. She is satisfied and happy with what she has accomplished. This, I believe, is where self esteem and self confidence truly come from. Hearing someone else tell us we did a good job is never as deeply satisfying as witnessing our own good work come to fruition. So, there you have it, eleven ways in which a Montessori practical life activity contributes to the optimal development of the young child. The next time you wonder if you should engage your child in helping out around the house, think back on this. When we do work together with a child, prepare them to work independently, and then give them the freedom to work on their own. This helps them immeasurably. 

Julia Volkman has been teaching children and mentoring teachers in private and public schools since 1997. She is the President/Founder of Maitri Learning, a consultant at the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector (NCMPS), a recurrent Teaching Assistant for Harvard University’s Neuroscience of Learning/ Mind, Brain, Health, and Education course (Extension School). Ms. Volkman earned her AMI 3 to 6+ diploma from the Montreal Montessori Training Centre, a bilingual program. Her studies at Harvard focus on cognitive neuroscience and neuroeducation (a transdisciplinary approach to education that considers the child’s genetics, environment, capacities, and interests).


Teach Your Children Well

Montessori inspires children toward academic excellence and nurtures the curiosity, creativity, and imagination hidden within…

by Bridgett Wheeler

and test scores alone. Montessori inspires children toward academic excellence and nurtures the curiosity, creativity, and imagination hidden within every human being. A Montessori program is based on warmth, kindness, and respect. There is a strong sense of community among the children. The classes are more like little villages, with powerful friendships and a clear sense of group identity. Teachers are normally seen as mentors and friends.

For many, paying tuition for private Montessori can be a struggle that demands certain sacrifices. Is it worth it? One parent discusses why she thinks so.


ou 're driving through a fancypants neighborhood daydreaming about kitchen upgrades and you hear it: that alluring little voice that reminds you that you, too, could have quartz counter tops if you just send your kids to public school. It's not that public schools are bad. You went to public school and so did most of your friends—all are decent humans. Except Karen, but let’s not go there. You start to make a case for all the things you would do for your child if you didn't have to pay that tuition: We could invest the money towards their college fund ... We could take international trips and experience different cultures ... or .... Let’s be real. It’s unlikely you will be diligent enough to put all the saved funds towards your kid’s 529 plan, and an international trip will be so much more


meaningful to a child who has the global understanding that comes with a Montessori education. It’s normal to let this little voice take over sometimes. So far, you have made a selfless choice to sacrifice for the betterment of your child. But now, your child is starting kindergarten or the first grade, and there is a free option. It’s tempting to throw in the towel, or should I say ... “folding cloth.” So why should you continue to send your child to a Montessori school instead of a more traditional elementary school? How do they differ and what makes Montessori better? There are five aspects found in elementary Montessori program that you rarely find so well balanced in most schools: a love of learning, a desire to understand deeply, values that are universal, a global perspective, and a tradition

of community service. Okay, that’s great. How does this help my kid get into MIT? Let’s break it down ... I. Inspiring Children to Work Hard and Achieve Academic Excellence Montessori is one of the most sophisticated pre-collegiate programs available anywhere in North America. It has been described as the ultimate giftedand-talented program that is offered to a very wide range of students. However, this doesn’t tell the whole story. What makes Montessori special is its ability to nurture talent without needless competition and stress. In a nutshell, Montessori children never lose the joy of learning. Montessori is, first and foremost, concerned with a child’s character and emotional development, rather than academics for grades

II. Building Character and Teaching Universal Values There is an old saying that if you abandon a garden, the weeds will run wild. Abandon a child’s moral and spiritual education, and the weeds of confusion, materialism, self-centeredness, and spiritual emptiness will take hold. Dr. Montessori observed that the elementary years are a sensitive period for moral reasoning. The elementary program integrates character development and family involvement throughout the curriculum. The teaching of kindness and courtesy, self-discipline and selfrespect, and fundamental values is crucial in a child’s moral development, sense of dignity, and academic success. With proper guidance from parents and educators, children can (and will) excel. III. Montessori Schools Strive to Create Global Understanding They tend to attract teachers from all over the world. It is normal to find an international student body in a Montessori school anywhere in the world.


Montessori schools generally teach at least one foreign language and often offer programs in several. World geography, international cultural studies, and world history are central to the elementary Montessori curriculum. Elementary Montessori students begin to understand the global economy. As more Montessori schools develop strong upper elementary and middle school programs, many are beginning to sponsor travel-study programs. Some participate in the Montessori Model United Nations and foreign exchange programs. IV. Service Children must be inspired to contribute to the betterment of the world. They often begin with projects that care for the environment: planting trees and

flowers; composting garbage; controlling erosion around the campus; recycling; and cleaning up litter and debris in the local community. It is quite common for elementary classes to adopt an acre of rainforest in Costa Rica or work to support an environmental organization, such as the Wildlife Federation. They will normally progress to projects that provide direct help to the needy. Younger children commonly collect canned goods, clothing, and toys for the homeless or needy families. As they are ready, most Montessori schools will take children out into the community. As they reach the upper elementary class, Montessori children become quite concerned about issues of social justice and human rights. The rights of the poor, homeless, and hungry are of real concern. Some children will begin to explore the possibilities

of supporting causes that are meaningful to them. When my mind strays to thoughts of many ways that I could spend tuition money on so many other things, I remember that right now is the time that I can really help my child. As a parent, we don’t get do-overs. The seniors that graduate from my children’s Montessori school not only get into great colleges but, more importantly, go on to graduate. By the way, many Montessori graduates win scholarships, because colleges and universities recognize the value of a Montessori education. Right now, when your child is too young to make choices about where they go to school, what they are going to eat for dinner, or how to budget for a new car to go on vacation, it’s all in the hands of their parents. By the time your children are in high school or

college, they are ready and able to make more small and big choices for themselves; however, right now, the choices that determine the trajectory of your child’s life are in your hands. Choose well. 

Bridgett Wheeler was introduced to Montessori in 2020 when her daughter began in the toddler classroom at NewGate, The Montessori Foundation’s lab school. Bridgett has a B.A. in Anthropology from Florida Gulf Coast University. She excels in networking, observation, workflow management, and systematic approaches to problem-solving. Her past roles saw her meet and exceed the operational needs of several organizations throughout her professional career, in diverse fields ranging from tribal government to the publishing industry.

Recipe: Preserving Children INGREDIENTS: 1 large field 4-6 children 3 dogs Goat or donkey (optional) Grass Trees

PROCESS: Flowers Rocks Pool of water or stream Hot sun Deep blue sky

r r r r r

Mix the children with the dogs and goats. Add next four ingredients. Pour Out onto the field near the water. Cover all with blue skin and sunshine. Mix in a little rain for variety if you like. Bake under the sun until children are well satisfied.


r r r r

Set them in away in the bathtub to cool. Serve them dinner. Read a story. Tuck them into bed.


Five Crucial Reasons Why Schools Should Teach Entrepreneurship

by Maya Spikes

Teachers can’t always predict exactly what students will need to know after they graduate. Still, teaching entrepreneurship skills  can help students handle, and sometimes even welcome, the changes happening in technology, business, and society in general. These  skills include problem-solving, teamwork, empathy,  as well as  learning to accept failure as a part of the growth process.

Entrepreneurship education helps children learn how to identify problems they have never dealt with before.  STUDENTS DEVELOP THEIR CREATIVITY AND COLLABORATION SKILLS.

Teachers have a powerful role in helping students face an uncertain future. What if teachers could give their students hope and empathy skills, even while society faces global health problems and divisive tensions? Teaching entrepreneurial skills can help teachers prepare their students for today’s rapidly changing world.  We can think of at least five reasons why schools should teach entrepreneurship.  But first, let’s look at what entrepreneurship education means. What Is Entrepreneurship Education? Entrepreneurship education teaches students important life skills, such as:  Collaborating and working with a team  Speaking in public and preparing an effective presentation (digitally and in-person)  Collecting, analyzing, and using data   Utilizing social media for promotion and/or advocacy


 Handling real, complex problems that don’t have a definitive answer  Using curiosity and creativity to find an innovative approach to difficult problems Students learn what it takes to develop a product or service, create their own unique business proposals, and give multiple pitch presentations. Entrepreneurship education does not just benefit those entering the fields of science, technology, and business. Students interested in the arts, social sciences, and similar fields can also develop their imagination and learn how to apply creative thinking skills to realworld problems. Here are five benefits of schools teaching entrepreneurship: Œ PREPARE YOUR STUDENTS FOR AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE.

The recent COVID-19 pandemic  has taught all of us an important lesson: Our lives can dramatically change at any time. Some economic experts predicted many people’s jobs would become automated during the next few decades, even before the global pandemic.

Entrepreneurship education supports creativity, innovation, and collaboration. These skills are highly valued by the top colleges and most businesses in the world and will be used by your students well beyond their middle school and high school years.  Businesses are often rewarded for  creating products and services that seem new and different. The best new ideas are usually a result of two or more people working well together. Ž TEACH STUDENTS HOW TO IDENTIFY AND RECOGNIZE PROBLEMS.

Students must know how to identify problems before learning how to solve them.  Problemsolving exercises are a long-time staple of traditional education. However, the same cannot be said for identifying problems. Traditionally, problem-solving is taught by presenting students with issues that are already clearly defined by someone else.  In the real world, problems can only be solved when they have been properly identified and described. Entrepreneurship education helps children learn how to identify problems they have never dealt with before. This skill is much


needed now and will continue to be needed in the future.  HELP STUDENTS BECOME RESILIENT. Let’s be honest. Sometimes grades, socioeconomic status, and intelligence don’t accurately predict a student’s chances of having longterm success. What’s a better predictor of a student’s future success? Their resilience, also known as “grit.” Becoming an entrepreneur is an ongoing journey filled with ups and downs, even when the economy is thriving. Teaching entrepreneurship encourages students to figure out their passions and how to be persistent when pursuing their interests. Students also learn how to stick with a business idea, or similar project, especially when times are tough.

Learning how to work through problems and adapt to changes improves a student’s chances of having professional and personal success long after they leave your classroom.  ENCOURAGE STUDENTS TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE.

Entrepreneurs constantly look to solve problems and meet the needs with the help of their products and services. Entrepreneurship can start with a desire to make money and live a better life, for many aspiring business leaders of all ages. But all successful businesses have one thing in common: they make life easier and/or more enjoyable  for their customers.  Teachers can support and encourage their students to be motivated by a desire to help people with a product or service.

Main Takeaways for Why Schools Should Teach Entrepreneurship  Teachers can play an important role in supporting aspiring and current young entrepreneurs.   Entrepreneurship education teaches students skills they can use well into their adult years. These skills include working with a team, using the internet and social media for marketing, as well as developing creative ways to create new products and solve complex problems.  Teaching entrepreneurship empowers students by preparing for an uncertain future and work to make life better for other people.   In other words, entrepreneurship lessons can give students hope for themselves and empathy for other people.   Those skills are needed now more than ever before.


Rising Innovator: INSPIRATION, EDUCATION, SUPPORT Rising Innovator is an organization dedicated to inspiring, educating, mentoring and supporting young entrepreneurs. Our website (www.risinginnovator.com) contains tools and information designed to help youth start and run businesses and to help their parents help them. Our mission is to: n Facilitate a mind set and skill set to change the world n Improve the world through entrepreneurship n Help young entrepreneurs create thriving businesses Rising Innovator’s ultimate goal is to make the world a better place. You don’t improve the world by accident. And you don’t improve the world alone. And you don’t improve it in one fell swoop; you improve it one piece at a time.

Our piece is young innovators—people who come up with ways to make people’s lives more convenient, or make the world more fair, cleaner, more neighborly, more efficient or in some small (or big) way better. Innovators can become wealthy entrepreneurs, but we believe the first and most important step is to become more skilled and knowledgeable and to develop ways to make the world a better place for everyone. If you succeed in those goals, success (or at least happiness) will follow. Innovation and entrepreneurship are also excellent ways for economically disadvantaged people to create bridges that allow them to narrow the gap between the haves and have nots of the world. We hope that our website (https://www. risinginnovator.com/category/for-kidsteens)  gives young people all the resources they need to become innovators and entrepreneurs—and to connect with others on our forum who share the same goals (https://www. risinginnovator.com/forums). 

Maya Spikes has contributed her writing and marketing skills to various organizations for more than 15 years. She began her career freelance writing articles for newspapers including The Charlotte Observer. She then served as a reporter for the Independent Tribune in Concord, N.C. During her years at the Tribune, Maya won a North Carolina Press Association Award for general news reporting. Maya earned a B.A. degree in Communication Studies with a concentration in Journalism from the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. She enjoys living, working and volunteering in Raleigh.




The Immune System


t’s first important to understand how your immune system works. Basically, your immune system attacks anything foreign to your body. If it notices a virus or a bacteria or anything that it doesn’t recognize, it launches an attack to defeat it. If it’s fighting a virus, for example, it takes time to prepare its army. It has to figure out what part of the virus to attack and prepare its warriors and weapons. That can take a few days. Meanwhile, the virus is replicating and expanding. (This is when you can feel that you might be about to get sick, but you’re not sick yet!) Once your body defeats any virus, it remembers it. Your immune system has a memory, and if you run into that virus again, your memory cells say, “I remember this virus from before, and I have the weapons and warriors already prepared.” Your body uses its past experience to demolish the virus before it can make you sick. (This is what happens every time you catch a cold.) Now that we know about immune memory, let’s talk about the vaccine. Scientists looked at the COVID virus and saw a weak spot in its structure. It was a particular protein, the perfect place for your immune army to launch an attack. A New Protein Arrives We will call this protein, the ‘weak-spot protein.’ So scientists examined the structure of the ‘weak-spot’ protein in COVID and made an instruction booklet on how to make it that your body can read. This instruction booklet is the ‘vaccine,’ and that is what is injected into our bodies.


Let me explain. The vaccine contains no actual part of the virus. It has only the instructions on how to make the ‘weak-spot’ protein. So, you can’t get infected with COVID from the vaccine. Your body is simply injected with the instructions on how to make this particular protein. Once injected, Your cells read these instructions and say, “Thanks for the new information; I’ll start making the protein right away.” So your cells can now make a bunch of the ‘weak-spot’ proteins. (Not the virus, just the weakest part.) The Great Immune Battle Your immune system immediately notices this new protein you’re producing and quickly gathers your immune troops and says, “Hey guys, we have an invasion on our hands; gather the army.” And it starts attacking the protein.

So you destroy the weak-spot protein. No worries; the vaccine can’t infect you. It’s just a protein, not the virus. Remember that your body hasn’t seen this protein before, so it takes a little while to gather the military. Then it launches an all-out war against the ‘weak-spot’ protein. You might experience fever, chills, or muscle soreness as vaccine side effects. This is proof that your body is bombarding the ‘weak-spot’ protein. Immune Memory is the Key Once defeated, and it doesn’t take long because it’s just a protein and not a virus, your memory cells ‘remember’ the ‘weak-spot’ protein. Your body’s cells will remember exactly how to destroy it. So, what if … a few months later, you accidentally forget to wash your hands and the COVID virus enters your body. Your body has never seen the virus before, but it has seen that ‘weak-spot’ protein that’s on the outside of the virus. Your immune memory


cells say, “You’ve got to be kidding me! THIS cheeky protein again! I’ve already told the protein that it’s not welcome around here! Get out of here!” Your body’s own ‘natural immune system’ quickly and efficiently launches an all-out war, using the same army and weapons it used before and destroys the virus before it can take hold, replicate, and make you sick. You’re Vaccinated Congratulations! Now, you’re almost 100 percent immune to COVID! You’ve got the weapons and army to defeat it as soon as it enters your body at any point in the future! ¢

Gavin McCormack is currently the principal at Farmhouse Montessori School in Sydney, Australia, with over 20 years of experience teaching in several countries across the world, Gavin has conducted hundreds of teacher training workshops in schools across the globe including the U.K., France, Australia, and Nepal; where he is an honorary principal at Kathmandu Montessori Training Centre. He’s currently advising several schools in Thailand, Nepal, and Australia on the development of pedagogies that initiate independent learning and research-based outcomes for children. In 2017, he trained several hundred teachers on classroom delivery techniques and lesson preparation, and built and opened two schools in Nepal, which are fully sustainable. He continues to visit Nepal where he delivers Montessori training, planning, and programming advice. He was nominated for the 2017 Australian Author of the Year Award. He writes and globally distributes picture books designed to educate children about friendship, kindness, acceptance, and inclusion. www.regarded.com.au

How To Submit An Article To Our Magazine Submit articles to publications@montessori.org


e are grateful to all who wish to contribute an article or photo essay to share with the readers of Tomorrow’s Child magazine. Over the years we’ve been asked many questions regarding format, length, usage, etc so we’ve put together this checklist to help the novice writer through the process. Articles should be in a word document program or directly into an email where it can easily be extracted. (PDFs do not work as we are unable to format into our graphic design program.) Do not worry about grammar issues, our staff is here to help with that aspect. Articles do not have a set word count minimum or maximum as each story is different. A general rule of thumb is somewhere between 1000 and 1500 words. Submissions with artwork or photos. When you embed a graphic into a word document it is the equivalent of a placeholder. The artwork should be attached as an EPS, JPEG or TIFF extension on the end of it. If it was created in a program such as Illustrator or even Photoshop, the native IA or PS files will work as well. Photographs need to be high resolution or 300 DPI so they print clearly once on press. Photo releases for any picture with children or staff must either be on record at the Foundation or sent with your articles so that we have permission to use. Citations used in any article should be included at that end of each article. This includes the use of websites or any internet references. Bios of each writer should be sent each time you submit an article in its entirety. We do not maintain a database of each, so it’s important for the author to update accordingly.


Articles that have appeared in any other publication carrying a trademark or copyright must be submitted with a copy of a permission from that publication’s editor or equivalent, allowing us to not only reprint but reformat into our magazine’s specs. This is for everyone’s protection. That’s pretty much it. Easy, right? Now we hope you’ll enjoy contributing to TC magazine. We love hearing from schools and can suggest the following topics: n

What makes your school special?


An event your students helped to plan and carry out.


Charitable works your students led and implemented.


Global connections with other schools from around the world.


Celebrations of holidays that are universal and show your school’s cultural diversity.


Student led micro-economies.


Alumni updates-Where are they now and what great works are they doing.


How you’ve involved parents and grandparents into your school’s community.


And of course, why Montessori is so important to your school’s community.¢


The Bridgemont Experience

Even before the forced transition to online education caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an increased presence of online education at the Secondary level; however, it was during the pandemic, that we discovered the effectiveness of online education in Montessori programs throughout the world. The program has been designed to include a blend of academic, social, emotional, and service components that are the pillars of Montessori at the Secondary level.

Learn more at www.bridgemontschool.com 16


Why Montessori Schools Succeed In A Crisis by Elizabeth Topliffe, Head of Stepping Stones School

“Adaptation to the environment is the first necessity.” —Maria Montessori (London Lectures, 1946)

Editor’s Note: This was written on March 30, 2020. Clearly, there has been a delay in the writing and printing of this article. In fact, it’s been about a year; although it seems like “dog years” (i.e., times 7), it shows the spirit with which Montessori schools took a moment to grieve and then quickly turned to the problem at hand: how to educate our children.


ust three weeks ago, our Montessori school was preparing for the seemingly inevitable (but perhaps a long way off )—school closures due to COVID-19. Writing this, I had to go back to my diary to confirm that it was indeed only three weeks ago. My diary entries reflect my concerns. I was worried about how a Montessori school could EVER do school from home. Our pedagogy depends on specialized materials and hands-on learning, At-home learning felt impossible. I was so wrong, and here is why. MONTESSORI STUDENTS, GUIDES, AND SCHOOLS ARE ADAPTABLE

One of the fundamental tenets of Montessori philosophy is that we meet our students where they are with what they need at that time. As an educational community, Stepping Stones is always asking, “What is needed right now?” “Does this still work?” “Why are we doing this?” “How does it benefit each student or students?” A Montessori school does not begin each academic year with a curriculum plan and goals for where we would be on each and every day. Instead, we begin with some broad ideas for concepts and lessons we want to share with our students. Once their interest is piqued or they’re hooked, we follow them, finding

things to fuel their interests, asking questions rather than providing answers, and wondering with awe at their discoveries. In other words, our entire academic year is one of adjusting and adapting. We cannot predict anything, and we have strengthened our ability to be flexible. Because our model is designed for adaptation, our guides are better equipped than many educators to jump into the unknown, changing as we go in order to meet our children where they are. Many parents of Montessori children are already prepared for this adaptation, as they aid in their child’s learning all the time! They realize that learning is happening no matter what the activity. The challenge is the mental shift in understanding what it means to “learn from home,” as opposed to feeling that you (as a parent) must become a teacher or strictly manage your child’s time. MONTESSORI SCHOOLS ACROSS THE WORLD ARE ONE COMMUNITY

Did you know that Montessori is the largest pedagogy in the world, with Montessori schools present on all six continents? It is true, and a global community has made us stronger in this pandemic.


While many local schools were looking to the health department, the CDC, and the news for answers. Stepping Stones also looked to colleagues in Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, and the Netherlands, long before schools in the United States began to close. Montessori administrators were coming together online to share experiences and resources, and to support one another. The Montessori School of Tokyo shared its fabulous Learning from Home Handbook, and they offered to let any other Montessori school in the world use it. Stepping Stones adapted it for our school. This offer saved us days and days of work. The Association Montessori Internationale and American Montessori Society hosted webinars for school leaders. One of these included Karin Ann, co-founder of the International Montessori School of Hong Kong. She shared insights about messaging and about how Montessori schools might adapt to learning from home. The Montessori Administrators Group (an international Google group of Montessori administrators) shared resources, adapted one another’s work, and offered words of encouragement and hope to Montessori schools everywhere. Because schools in other areas of the world are weeks ahead of us in their pandemic response, and because they are extraordinarily generous, Stepping Stones and other Montessori schools have avoided missteps. We have reacted more quickly, and we have been better prepared.


These students often do not realize that the only person responsible for their education is themselves. Montessori students know that from the start. MONTESSORI CLASSROOMS AND SCHOOLS ARE BASED ON RELATIONSHIPS

At Stepping Stones, our classrooms begin each year by forming relationships. The classroom establishes norms, expectations, and culture. This process (called “normalization”) binds the classroom community together. Students behave well when they want to support the entire classroom community. Parents also bond and shape a school’s community, well beyond classroom walls. In our infant and toddler classrooms, play dates and outings are shared among families. The parent-created ski club promotes friendships and support as much as (or more than) skills on the slopes. Birthday parties, dances, and fall festivals bring families at our school together to share support and care for one another. By the time our students reach middle school, the students themselves create relationships beyond the school walls: planning parties, hang-outs, and group chats. I have heard from administrators in other schools that parents have become confrontational and disrespectful, demanding that teachers and schools “do something” about this current situation—as though the schools created the problem. Fortunately, our school has not experienced that.


Instead, comments on our posts have exploded with support and care for one another and for the guides and staff of our school. We are all being asked to do a great deal. Discontinue travel. Distance ourselves physically. Work from home. Have everyone home all at once, all the time; support our children’s learning; figure out how to work when our children are in the background; worry about the older adults in our lives; and pay attention to the news without falling into the abyss of constant news threads. I know that I have felt that stress. I have relied on our community daily for my own sense of being. I have seen you doing the same for one another. Thank you for prioritizing relationships and for supporting one another. MONTESSORI STUDENTS CARE FOR THEMSELVES, EACH OTHER, AND THE ENVIRONMENT

These are our three rules. Many guidelines fall out of them, but this is the foundation of every rule at our school. In a crisis, these three rules matter more than ever. We are in a global pandemic. All of us. The entire globe. People are stressed, afraid, sick, and dying. If we can take care of ourselves, each other, and our environment, our entire world will make it through this thing. Yes, your children need to be able to read, do math, and research.

Right now, those things fade in comparison to taking care of ourselves and others to the extent that we can. MONTESSORI STUDENTS ARE SELF-MOTIVATED LEARNERS

This one comes home to me every time I see a student from a traditional environment adapting to our school. In a traditional environment, students see school and education as something they are given. The responsibility for learning falls on the shoulders of teachers, administration, and the curriculum and textbooks. These students often do not realize that the only person responsible for their education is themselves. Montessori students know that from the start. They are able to explore, learn, and grow because they make that happen. They do not need to wait for a teacher to tell them what to do. Their satisfaction in learning does not come from a test score. They own their education and their knowledge. At a time when we are learning from home, this skill is perhaps the most important. Now, more than ever, I am grateful for the amazing work of Maria Montessori, a genius and a pioneer. I’m so glad she is with me in that. ¢


Peacing it all together. This updated edition of the popular course, The Parenting Puzzle, led by Lorna McGrath, shares the secrets of Family Leadership—the Montessori way. Over the course of five weeks, Lorna provides strategies and practical examples that you can use right away to bring peace and ease into your home, creating a haven for the whole family, where power struggles fall away and give rise to joy. Discount for MFA members. Now offering a monthly payment plan. REGISTER OR LEARN MORE tinyurl.com/parenting-puzzle-2



by Andrew Kutt



he invasion of our Capitol on January 6th was a watershed moment in the history of the United States. It will sit among the darkest moments in our nation’s history and will continue to haunt us as we try to understand what led to this disturbing event. We hope it will also spur us onward to become a better version of ourselves.

because we could feel something terrible attacking the soul of America. It was clear that on this day the “better angels of our nature” had been overrun by the darkest forces in American society.

that, while we each have individual rights and freedoms, we also share a commitment to, and must play an active role in, maintaining the well-being of our country as a whole.

During that day, I happened to be with a group of my elementary students from Oneness-Family Montessori School. We were in the woods alongside a creek, and the students were cheerfully building a shelter out of fallen limbs and branches. They were blithely unaware of the shocking events happening just a few miles to the south. I, too, was in their cocoon of contentment, though increasingly distracted by the news and images coming through my phone.

As Americans, we have faced many trials and tribulations in our 245 years, as we’ve soldiered on, however slowly and irresolutely at times, toward a more perfect union. The tapestry that is America has been stretched to the brink at times, as during the Civil War and the two World Wars. It has been torn and burned, when we’ve fought over our national identity during Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement. Our country has stayed intact due to the resilience of the threads that hold this tapestry together; these include the belief in the rule of law, the veneration of reason as superior to blind passion, and the commitment to the peaceful transfer of power.

This sacred trust is the essential knot that keeps the American form of government functioning smoothly. Yet throughout our history this sacred trust has been strained by the tension between two core principles of our national identity—that of individual liberty on the one hand and general welfare on the other.

January 6th brought a new and unique horror, because it was not some small band of anti-government resisters camped out at a remote wilderness compound. It was a desecration of the citadel of our ideals that struck at the heart of the United States. A sacred threshold was breached. The temple of our democracy was ransacked. The events we citizens watched were gut wrenching; the images we saw an affront to our love of our country. We recoiled

We cherish these threads of our national fabric in a sacred—a trust not just in the vision and ideals of our founders, but in each other as citizens. That trust is based upon a shared and commonly accepted understanding of our constitutional republic, that no matter how vehemently we may disagree on policy and legislation, we respect the votes of our elected officials, and we honor the will of the people. Inherent in this understanding that we embrace as citizens is the knowledge


The notion of individual liberty is perhaps most notably enshrined in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed….” This was the radical idea, the bold proposition that made America unique in the history of modern human civilization. The United States was the first to break away from the tyrannical

empires of Europe; the regimes that ruled for centuries through blood lineage, military might, and the suppression of individual freedoms. Inspired by thinkers of the Enlightenment such as Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Montesquieu, and Voltaire, America’s founders fashioned a new vision that placed the rights of the individual citizen at the center of the body politic. There would be three branches of government, but the engine that drove it all was the freedom of the individual to speak their truth and to cast their vote. Meanwhile the concept of the general welfare, or of the common good, is embedded as a core principle in the preamble of the Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” One of the things that has defined the “American experiment” is the idea that government should not just be the voice of the people and the upholder of


While the Constitution specifically charges the federal government with maintaining a free public education system, it is we who must value learning for our children and for ourselves. laws, but that it should strive to ensure the well-being of its citizenry. This trait of the American idea has origins as far back as Aristotle, who used the idea of “common interest” as the basis for the distinction between good and bad governance. Saint Thomas Aquinas held the “common good” to be the goal of law and government. Thinkers such as David Hume, who used terms such as the “public” or “common interest,” paved the way for James Madison and Thomas Jefferson’s own thinking in those early days when our foundational ideals were drafted. Fast forward to January 6, 2021: The tension between our right to individual liberty and the commitment to the common good boiled over in a paroxysm of violence from which we are still reeling. The rights we have to protest come with a solemn responsibility to do so peacefully. That is the compact we make to each other as citizens, for we know when that compact is broken, the very fabric of who we are is torn, and we can no longer ensure the wellbeing of our country. Our freedom of speech is not unlimited. It is proscribed by the commitment to exercise our free speech in accordance with existing laws protecting the welfare of other citizens, as well as private and public property. To put it another way, if in the act of protesting, one attempts to destroy the buildings that exist to preserve one’s right to protest, then that protest is a grotesque miscarriage of the right to free speech itself. We have the right to speak out stridently against our government, but we don’t have the right to take up arms against it. Inherent in who

we are as Americans is the faith that we can resolve our differences by honest debate and by casting our votes at the ballot box. As Americans, we now face a somber time of reckoning as we ask ourselves how we got here. We reflect upon these new painful rips to that great tapestry that is our national soul, which has withstood furious and fierce onslaughts in times past. We face harsh challenges ahead. The political divisions in our society are as great as they’ve been in our worst moments. The loss of faith in our electoral system, fueled by the epidemic of misinformation and fanned by the duplicitous words of demagogues, is a severe illness that will need an inoculation of truth via congressional action and educational initiatives. The rise of hatred spread by white supremacist groups will need to be confronted not just by the force of the law, but by the power of a country-wide counter force energized by empathy and unity. And the stories we embrace about who we are as a nation need to be examined in a new light as we seek to better understand the mistakes we’ve made along the way, so we don’t risk perpetuating or repeating them. It will be a long road, but our forebears knew that it would be when they embarked on this American journey nearly two and a half centuries ago. From the writings of our founders, and through the actions of so many bold, heroic leaders since, we have learned (and re-learned) a few hard-fought, important truths: 1) Though we elect leaders to represent us, the power they hold is delegated by

us, the citizens; 2) Though we rely on national, state, and local governments to uphold the laws, it is we as a collective citizenry that sustain the rule of law by acting lawfully; 3) Although the general welfare is the stated responsibility of our governing bodies, it is we who uphold the common good through our acts of service to the welfare of our fellow citizens; and 4) While the Constitution specifically charges the federal government with maintaining a free public education system, it is we who must value learning for our children and for ourselves. On January 6, my elementary students were focused on working together to build their shelter. There was quiet unity as they worked in harmony under the trees and the singing birds. They were energized by their common purpose. They made enthusiastic suggestions about the design of their shelter, yet deferred when better ideas were expressed by others. In the end, they displayed a palpable sense of fulfillment in the collective work they had done together. The lessons they unwittingly taught me were simple: building things collaboratively is fulfilling and fun. Keeping a balance between your own wants and the needs of others is both wise and effective in reaching your goals. Solving differences peacefully is easier when you embrace a common purpose. As I watched my students that day they filled me with hope, even as I knew that a tragedy was unfolding just down the street.


My students reminded me that we have within us an indomitable spirit, which has demonstrated time and again that we can overcome the obstacles facing us and transform challenges into opportunities, as we march ever onward toward a more perfect union. ¢

Andrew Kutt is head of OnenessFamily School, the Montessoribased, international peace academy he founded in 1988 in Bethesda, MD. He serves on the board of the International Montessori Council and is a founding member of the Montessori Peace Academy, which advises schools with a peace-centered curriculum. Academics, self-discovery, and world service are integral parts of the curriculum Andrew developed at Oneness-Family School, a curriculum that is sought after and has been adopted in schools around the world. The program is recognized for its success in preparing students with the leadership skills necessary to understand and meet the challenges of the 21st-century, global society.


THE PATH TO LITERACY by Charlotte Snyder

he path to literacy is unique in the Montessori classroom. Rather than begin by identifying common simple words—cat, ball—we begin with sounds, and move first to writing, then reading. We start with Sound Games, an activity with a child or with a small group, when we introduce the idea of sounds. I’m thinking of someone in our class whose name begins with mmm. Who is it? We start with sounds, rather than letter names, since, more often than not, the letter doesn’t say its name. We might have a collection of small objects, or colors, language a child is already familiar with. We ask a question. “I’m thinking of a color on the rug that begins with ‘p,’ what is it?” Wait for the connection to be made. If a child isn’t identifying the sound, we provide assistance. “I’m thinking of a color in my hand that begins with ‘p,’ what is it?” Perhaps then the information syncs. Pink! It’s pink! We help solidify this knowledge. “Yep! Pink begins with ‘p.’” This isn’t a guessing game. You’re not trying to get the child to guess what you’re thinking; you’re trying to help her identify sounds. When the initial sound is clear, we can introduce final sounds. Pink starts with ‘p’ and ends with ‘k,’ and then we can ask a child what other sounds she hears in “pink.” The initial and final sounds are typically the most obvious, but the middle sounds are just as important for attaching meaning. Writing again takes an unexpected turn. There are two paths here: handwriting and composition. Skills leapfrog one another. A child’s mind might be capable of identifying the sounds in


The Metal Insets more closely resemble preparation for handwriting. A child traces a shape, then fills in the outline very carefully. a given word they’re interested in transcribing, but their hands are still developing control and coordination. These two parts of writing (the hand and the mind) are developing independently, and we don’t want to wait for one in order to aid the development of the other. We’re getting a child’s hand ready through materials, such as the Cylinder Block or Pegged Puzzles, where she will hold the knob the same way as she will hold a pencil. Even before she sits down to write, her muscles are preparing.

There are various materials for art that encourage careful use of a tool: colored pencils and crayons; a brush for painting or for glue. We’re practicing tracing shapes with the Geometry Cabinet and then with the Botany Cabinet. What is writing letters but replicating a shape? The Metal Insets more closely resemble preparation for handwriting. A child traces a shape, then fills in the outline very carefully. If you want people to know what you’re thinking, your handwriting needs to be legible.


Composition is usually what we mean when we say a child has started writing. Composition starts after a child is comfortable with Sound Games. She can identify the first sound in words and sometimes even the last and middle sounds. We’ll begin by selecting a few Sandpaper Letters and taking them to a table. We’ll say, “Remember mmm? What can we think of that has mmm in it?” Mom, money, mouth… “Would you like to see what mmm looks like?” We’ll turn it over and trace it. We’ll introduce the Sandpaper Letters three at a time, until a child has mastered quite a few. We’ll continue to play Sound Games, refining the process until she’s quite familiar with the first, last, and middle sounds in words. When we’re ready for composition, we introduce the Moveable Alphabet, a collection of letters in small compartments in a tray that a child uses to form words phonetically. We’ll take the Moveable Alphabet, boxes with letters cut out, to a rug. We’ll make a list or gather a few objects we want to write. “Let’s think of colors. Red. What’s the first sound in red?” Instead of simply naming the sound aloud, we’ll find the letter that makes that sound. We’ll line them up, composing words. Children might hear all the sounds or the first and last sounds. They might be mis-hearing sounds. There are phonograms, letters that come together to make a unique sound, like sh. At first, we’re not focusing on spelling. Spelling comes later. Spelling is important, but we don’t want a child to get hung up on spelling at first. A child will write lists of words, phrases, or even whole sentences, and we might overhear her sounding out the letters on the rug, reading what she’s written. This is a good indication that a child is ready for reading. We start by reading small, simple, phonetic words. We take out a material called the Phonetic Object Box and go through all the small items in the box. Perhaps a frog, a hen, a doll; we want to make sure the child knows what we’re calling these items, before we ask her to read them.

After naming all the objects, we’ll carefully write labels, one at a time. The child will sound out the letters and surprise herself when she strings them together to form a coherent word.

She’ll end up memorizing common words through practice, but once she’s started reading, with a bit of time and patience, she can read anything. ¢

There’s lots and lots of practice with simple reading at this stage. She can certainly write more than she can read and comprehend far more than that. She’ll read labels and assign them to objects, cards, things around the room. We’ll slowly introduce all the nuances of English: strange spellings; common phonograms; different ways to make the same sound (like ‘f ’ and ‘ph’); the same way to make different sounds (like key and bee and lead). The wonderful part about introducing literacy with sounds, is that a child can read any word she sees. She can decode it with the myriad tools she has, put them together, and ask: Does that make a word?


Charlotte Snyder is Head of School at The Baan Dek Montessori in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She attended Montessori through Elementary in California, and completed the AMI Primary training at Montessori Northwest in 2010, and earned a Master of Education degree from Loyola University Maryland. She particularly enjoys sharing Montessori philosophy and building relationships with families on Baan Dek’s blog and podcast.



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BEDTIME ROUTINES Bedtime Routines for Younger Children

by Lorna McGrath & Tim Seldin An excerpt from their upcoming book Montessori for Everyone


he type of sleeping arrangements for infants and toddlers are debatable and based on the family’s beliefs, cultural background, and values. In Montessori-inspired homes, we strive to help our children become independent even for sleeping arrangements. So, while there are no strict rules for sleeping arrangements, we do want to help our children to be able to settle themselves and sleep on their own. Often, during the first few months of an infant's life, they sleep in a bassinet in the same room as their parents. The bassinet is a small cozy space for a newborn and convenient for night feedings. It doesn’t take long for an infant to outgrow the bassinet and move onto a floor bed or into a crib in another room. Many parents choose a floor bed instead of a crib for their infants. The floor bed is basically a small mattress that may or may not have a frame to lift it a few inches off the floor. A floor bed allows for more independent movement when they begin to crawl and climb. It also eliminates the need for the interim use of a crib between bassinet and a bed that is higher up and has no sides. If you do choose a crib, when your toddler begins to try to climb out, it's time to put the sides down so that they can safely get in and out of the crib. The next step in bedding may be a mattress on the floor, a junior bed, or a regular size twin bed. The decision is up to you to decide what’s best for your child.


A gate in the bedroom doorway or closing the door helps them to stay in their room during this transition. You must be sure that the room is set up in such a way that they will be totally safe if they are awake and alone in the room. Even infants and toddlers can be overstimulated by lots of activity, screen time, or noise in the house before going down for the night. After the evening meal, you will want to choose activities that will soothe and settle rather than excite them. A warm bath, a story, or just snuggle time in a rocking chair all can help them to be ready for sleep. Be cautious about using a motorized swing or rocking with you holding them. They are good for calming, but you want to put your child in their bed before they actually fall asleep so that they become used to being in bed and falling asleep on their own. If they should awaken during the night, and it’s not time for feeding or changing a diaper, go to their room quietly, but don’t pick them up. Instead, wait a minute or two and see if they can settle back down by themselves. If you feel that your child needs your help, gently talk to them. Tell them that it is still night and time for sleep. Sit next to the crib for a few minutes while they settle back to sleep. Winding down from active play to quiet, calm for sleeping can be difficult when children, who have been playing one minute are suddenly told that it is time to go to sleep the next. One solu-


tion is to get the children into a habit of getting ready for bed earlier in the evening and then allowing them to look at books, snuggle with a favorite stuffed animal, or read quietly by themselves in bed with the lights on. You might want to try tucking them in at the beginning and then come back for bedtime whispers and lights off as they are falling asleep. Whispers are messages of love that you speak softly into your child’s ear after you tuck them in. There is an intimacy about quietly speaking into a child’s ear that sends them to sleep feeling cherished. If your child wakes from a bad dream or monster, calmly reassure your child that you understand that is scary, you are there, and it is safe in their bedroom. Night lights are helpful for some children or a special snuggly thing. One family had a designated old, worn stuffed animal that used to belong to mom or dad when they were young as the family’s “Bad Dreams Chaser.” This faithful companion guarded over anyone who is having difficulty falling asleep or who wakes up after a bad dream.

Bedtimes As Children Grow In today's plugged-in world, it's difficult to imagine for many of us not having our smartphone, a TV, or tablet in or near the bed. Digital technology is so pervasive that many parents today cannot really appreciate how important it is to think carefully before allowing any digital technology into their children's bedrooms. From a very early age, it is wise not to allow devices in the bedroom, because once they are allowed in, it's difficult to establish in children’s minds that the bedroom is a place to sleep and dress. As with any kind of digital technology, you will want to carefully monitor what your children are doing and watching. Once digital technology gets behind a closed door, you really can't monitor what is going on. It's just as easy for a child to sit in bed under the covers with some sort of portable digital device or tablet and play games until late in the night, or exchange instant messages with friends who are also awake, as it was for many of us when we were young to read books under the covers by flashlight. The difference is that digital devices are far more stimulating and tend to keep our brains, whether child or adult, much more active and make it difficult to fall asleep.

It’s important for children to develop a good sleep routine. By the way, it's equally important for us as adults to develop one, too. There has been considerable research into the effect of the blue light given off by the screens of digital devices, whether phone, laptop, or a television set. The light is problematic on a number of levels, but for now, let’s just think about the effect of flashing lights on our brains as we drift off to sleep. It should be selfevident that falling asleep to the background sound of a TV show or movie is not likely to lead to the kind of calm, deep sleep that we all need to restore ourselves with a good night's rest. Most schools around the world can tell countless stories of students who arrive for class sleep deprived, cranky, or half-asleep. It's important to appreciate that each digital device has its own benefits and challenges. For example, smartphones are small and easily slipped out of sight, and they allow children to watch movies, surf the web, talk to their friends all night long, or play games among many other uses. We forget sometimes that a modern smartphone is essentially a powerful computer. Likewise, any of the gaming consoles may allow players to engage in much more realistic and sophisticated games. While it would be much more difficult for children to hide the fact that they are playing, even if they are listening to the audio through headphones, those console games are often so engaging that they can become highly addictive. We also have to remember that many contemporary game devices allow children to play in real time with other players, who may be their best friends or strangers online somewhere around the world. So, for those reasons, we strongly recommend you have a firm policy that bedrooms are not a place for any digital devices, including TVs, smartphones, tablets, or computers. If you find yourself uncomfortable being consistent on that policy, at least strive to have a clear lights-out policy that you really check on and enforce. A good example might be that all digital technology has to be turned off and possibly left on the dining room table after a specific time, which obviously can be adjusted as children get older. Here is some advice from most sleep experts: n Avoid caffeinated drinks after 2pm and before bedtime. n Dim the lights in the room.


n Turn off or turn down the volume on any music that might be playing. n Avoid using the bed for anything other than calming activities that help in falling asleep. n Advise adolescents to get up, get out of bed, go into another room, and do something that won’t wake them up further, such as take a bath, if they wake in the night. In a Montessori-inspired home, we want to deliberately organize the environment to facilitate the development of good habits and avoid addictive behaviors that can interfere with children's optimal health and development. Help your child to make a clear connection in their minds that the bedroom is a place to relax and sleep. ¢ Lorna McGrath, MEd, is Director of IMC School Accreditation, Program Director of the Montessori Family Alliance, and Senior Consultant of The Montessori Foundation. Lorna has 41 years of experience in the field of education, teaching children from 18 months through 6 years old and from 12 through 18 years old in both public schools and independent Montessori schools. Lorna is a Montessori teacher educator, conference presenter, and school consultant. She can be reached at lornamcgrath@montessori.org. Tim Seldin is President of the Montessori Foundation and Chair of the International Montessori Council. His more than 40 years of experience in Montessori education includes 22 years as Headmaster of the Barrie School in Silver Spring, Maryland, his alma mater from toddler through high school graduation. Tim was co-founder and Director of the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies and the Center for Guided Montessori Studies. He earned a B.A. in History and Philosophy from Georgetown University, an M.Ed. in Educational Administration and Supervision from The American University, and his Montessori certification from the American Montessori Society. Tim Seldin is the author of several books on Montessori Education, including How to Raise An Amazing Child, and The World in the Palm of Her Hand. Look for his new book, Montessori for Everyone, co-authored with Lorna McGrath, soon to be released.




DEAR CATHIE— COVID-19 has been going on a long time and our nuclear family has been home together for many, many months! While there have been some positive things to come out of this experience, we are finding our preschool and kindergarten children to still be quite needy. My husband and I are both working from home, and our children have regular online school experiences as well, but when they are not in front of the computer, they seem to need constant interaction with us that is often demanding and frustrating. How can we encourage their desire for self-sufficiency when we are all home? —AN EXHAUSTED SET OF PARENTS

Dear Parents, I hear you, and I am hearing this sentiment from many parents and caregivers across the world. It is indeed an exhausting time to be a parent of young children. One of the things we emphasize in Montessori is to “control the environment, not the child.” I would urge you to look at the setup of your home. Consider how much independence the physical layout allows (or even fosters) for your children. Let’s examine the question of snacks. Are your children able to select and choose their own snacks? Some parents place appropriate snacks in a low container or basket in the cupboard, where a child is able to access them at will. The child need not ask, or even discuss having a snack with the parent; she may simply get a snack whenever she wants one from the special snack basket. Once the snacks run out for a day, snacks are finished for that day. If you have two children you will need a snack basket for each child. It is the work of the parent (or the parent and child together) to fill this basket each evening or morning, so it is ready for the child. This process eliminates all discussion around daily snacks!

It is essential that you create a predictable time when your family or parts of your family spend time together. as if your children were going to school outside the home. Doing this ahead of time eliminates the need for discussion about what food will be eaten for lunch. If the food is to be warmed, and time is of the essence, your child can be taught to use the microwave oven, or you can help if needed.

Try to arrange the basic school supplies so that they are easily accessible to your child. If your child is too young to use them appropriately without direction, Lunches can also be packed the limit the materials offered until night before or in the morning, just she has had lessons on how to


snack and quick check in with a parent, then they are expected to engage themselves with books, toys, or activities, either alone or with their sibling until a certain use them. Try to avoid situations time when Mommy or Daddy where you need to dole out are available. This creates some scissors, tape, markers etc. for predictable routine. each and every activity. This part may require some level of trust. Perhaps, in the beginning, this independent time can only be It is essential that you create 10 minutes. But as your child a predictable time when your grows and matures, it can family or parts of your family probably increase! If this time is spend time together. When can defined, your child will not need the child reasonably expect you to constantly ask about when to be available to play with them, you are coming to interact, as read with them, do art with them, she has a predictable routine to play sports with them outside, or depend on—at least most days. begin to prepare dinner together? Some families place an actual If your child knows that as soon schedule on the wall to help as school is over, they have a define the parts of the day so


the child knows what is coming next. This is an excellent idea so everyone is aware of how the day will proceed. Time is very elusive for young children, so this has been a helpful tool for parents and children alike! (missymontessori. com has downloadable schedules that families can use or you can create your own!) Child-friendly homes, predictable routines, and shared experiences of playing and cooking together have been the best ways for children to learn to rely on themselves for part of the time. ¢

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

Spending Cleanse Reset your spending habits with a spending cleanse to realign your values and goals with your spending habits.


o one is perfect with money; we’re all creatures of habit. When we’re stressed out or bored or unhappy, we spend more, which can become a vicious cycle and contribute to our bad feelings. A spending cleanse is a way to reset our money habits. It means paying attention to where our money goes, to determine if our spending aligns with our values and goals. We all need a periodic spending cleanse because it’s so easy to let good money habits slide. It’s surprising how quickly we get off track.

a spreadsheet or find an online tool to help you track your spending. REMEMBER: If

you’re in a relationship or part of a family, get others on board with this experience. You will all benefit from the effort and the support. SET A TIMELINE FOR YOUR CLEANSE.

Once you are done, reflect on your spending. What was the best part? What was the most difficult challenge? What new habits do you want to carry forward?

A spending cleanse is a time to step back and be intentional again. It’s a way to enhance your financial wellbeing and diminish your stress around money. A cleanse, is appropriate any time you want to become more aware of your spending habits.

A spending cleanse heightens awareness about how, when, and why we spend money. It gets us away from mindless outlays and helps us focus on aligning with our goals and values; essential elements to an increased sense of wellbeing.

She is the author of Practical Special Needs for the Montessori Method: A Handbook for 3-6 Teachers and Homeschoolers published by the Montessori Foundation (available through montessori.org.) She is a regular contributor to Tomorrow’s Child and Montessori Leadership magazines.

Here are a few options for how you can do a spending cleanse:

Whatever method you choose, make an appointment with yourself to evaluate where you’re doing well, as well as, discover any notso-great habits. ¢

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


For more than three decades she has dedicated her energies to improving reading for all youngsters.


Buy nothing with plastic or cash. Purchase your groceries and pay your bills the day before you begin, and then stop. You might want to jot a note when you feel an impulse to spend. Put your cards in a drawer and don’t touch them for a month. Live off of cash only. 3. SPEND ONLY ON NEEDS

Don’t buy any wants—only purchase items that are legitimate needs. 4. TRACK YOUR SPENDING

Track every dollar you spend, using all payment methods. Before you start, create




The MAGIC of Montessori: Tidy-Up Tips That Will Change Your Life


by Jae Jun | Reprinted with permission from Bellascasa.com

hildren!...they might be little, but their stuff is everywhere!

In my home, I have used five Montessori magic steps to organize all of my children’s stuff (including outgrown clothes, school work, gifts (birthday, goodie bag etc), kids ‘meal toys,’ and all the other stuff) that is involved in children’s lives. Maybe your child is so young that papers and school work are not even in the picture for you… this is the best time to start! Getting on top of the influx of stuff now is a great way to get started; the stuff only increases over time! I’m a busy working mom with two children, and I know what you’re feeling; I can totally relate. Like you, my home can accumulate school work, toys, outgrown clothes, and so much more! So I’ve prepared some tips and suggestions that are easy to try and can really make the positive change in your home life that you are looking for. It’s simple, it’s clean, and it works like a charm. Now let me break down how it works. Here is the foundation:

Young children truly enjoy an activity when it is limited in number. This allows them to really explore… adults play a key role in setting up the home environment, where children can pursue their interests and cultivate their skills. In the Montessori world, we know that the set-up matters; how the space is set up can make or break the opportunity for independence. Here’s how it all works! 1. Limit The Number

THE FIVE MONTESSORI STEPS TO SUCCESS 1. Limit the number 2. Basket, tray or bin 3. Rotate 4. Access 5. Order

And please note … Dr. Montessori was really on to something: based on her deep understanding of children, she figured out that


Young children truly enjoy an activity when it is limited in number. This allows them to really explore the toys and inspires creativity to work with them in different ways. Limiting the number of items in an activity also gives the child a better chance to put the activity away without any frustration or complication. If a game or activity comes with lots of parts, only put out the fewest number of parts

needed and store away the rest.

4. Access

2. Basket, Tray Or Bin

Homes with siblings can still have activities available for each child within the same space. Once the activities have been limited and kept in a tray, bin, or basket, keep the older child’s activities in a place where only they can reach, and keep the younger child’s materials lower to the ground for easy access. If your home doesn’t have ways in which to raise the activities of an older child, you can put their toys in a container that the younger child cannot open.

Once you’ve limited the number of items in an activity, it’s time to place it in a self-contained basket, tray, or bin. Putting an activity on a tray or in a basket puts the focus and interest on the activity itself, not the packaging it came in. Easy-to-carry baskets, trays, or bins makes it a breeze for children to clean up and put away! 3. Rotate

Once you limit items in an activity, use storage bins to store the extra pieces and parts. Now that the activities are limited you can rotate the contents regularly. Regular rotation keeps activities interesting to the child and keeps them engaged.

5. Order

Once your child’s items are in smaller quantities and in easier-tohandle containers, it’s important to organize the space and determine where each activity will go: a place



for everything and everything in its place. Children have a strong sense of order, and providing designated, consistent places for activities to be stored is directly linked to developing a logical mind. Also, the consistency of putting things in their place will avoid frustration and opposition when clean-up time comes around. Now! Let’s take a look at some simple tricks for powerful tidyup tips for your home. With these five steps, timing is essential. I realized there are at least five categories of stuff that constantly need putting away. Have you ever noticed, the stuff just keeps coming ... and coming ... and coming! I feel like every time my daughter leaves the house, she comes back with something more! Here are some general categories of stuff that comes: n School work: paper, art work, etc. n Toys: of all shapes and sizes n Books: library books and ones you own. n Gifts: goodie bags, birthday gifts, holiday gifts. n Clothes: outgrown, no longer fit. THIS IS WHERE IT ALL STARTS

My overall organizing area is in the garage. This is the place I immediately put things to be sorted out. By having this area in the garage, I catch things before they get into the house. On the small table, the left basket is for little objects that do not have a place in the home. The basket on the right is a place that collects

outgrown clothes or clothes I want to donate. If I come across one piece of outgrown clothing, I immediately take it to the garage instead of keeping it in the closet; each item that leaves brings more joy for us. And the container in the back is where I store paper goods. When the baskets are full, I take action. The clothes get donated. The small object collection: some are discarded, and some get recycled (i.e., for use in The Sound Game—“Can you bring me an object that starts with ruh?—the child selects ring). Paper goods: What to do with all the paper—drawings, writing work, worksheets, and much more! My first step is to examine the piece of paper/artwork/writing, and ask myself: Does this spark joy? This is the all-important question I learned from the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. So this is where I keep their precious work—the special ones that “spark joy.” I purchased a large folder/portfolio for each child to store the saved work. Books! The main thing to keep in mind is rotation. Let your local library help you to keep a rotating, fresh collection of books for your kids. We have a designated return-to-library basket where books go when the children are done with them. Each of my daughters has a bag for our library trips that has a spot for their library card. Of the many books that might be available, keep rotating to highlight different books over time. Another situation, what to do with goodie bags from birthday parties, trinkets, and freebie

toys (e.g., from fast-food kids’ meals [note: not an endorsement])? Here’s the solution that has worked well for me: I have a designated tray to place little things on a temporary basis. For example, when my daughter comes home from a birthday party with a goodie bag, she wants to play with it right away. When she is done playing with it that day, she puts it on the tray. She can manage this step and gets it to the tray all by herself. After a few days, I toss the items or find a good way to recycle them (again, The Sound Game), or put them in the object basket in the garage to figure out later. Now for the gifts from your child’s party; this year, Chelyn (age 9) invited eleven friends and received eleven gifts. That’s lots of things all at once! But thanks to our insanely powerful managing system, we immediately processed all eleven gifts and enjoyed each one of them in turn. Here’s how it worked: Chelyn chose three gifts that she wanted to play with and put them in the three baskets below. These three baskets are where items of current interest are stored. And where did the remaining eight gifts go? The other toys go to the big storage bin in the garage, where she keeps her things. She rotates three items into these three baskets from the big storage bin; she is old enough to manage this system on her own. Here’s the best part, I usually revisit the girls spaces and things once or twice a year. I only have to spend 45-60 minutes each time I do this, thanks to the systems in place. I keep all of the things that I think the girls would like to use in the future in plastic bins in the garage. Everything I think they


have outgrown, I give away right away. It is a constant weedingout process, but well worth the effort. You will also start to look at the things you purchase differently. We rarely buy “toys’’ and stick more to supplies and openended materials that will last over time. And the good news is, all of these systems for keeping things organized and tidy didn’t come overnight. It’s been years of finetuning to figure out what works and what continues to work as my children’s interests and needs change. You can start with just a small tiny step. The most important thing is to start. You can do it! you can overcome the constant influx of stuff and maintain a peaceful home environment! Everyone wins when there’s less clutter and more space for the things that truly spark joy. ¢

Jae Jun is a mother of two daughters, Montessori teacher, entrepreneur, consultant, and maker of things. She is dedicated to helping parents become the parents they want to be. Her goal is to add value to the world by providing tools that can be used immediately to create beautiful, organized, and thoughtful spaces in your home. If you’re interested in Montessori, she can help you make it happen at home. As a result, your children will love learning, and you’ll support their untapped potential! Discover more at bellascasa.com.


Montessori 101

Parenting with Intention by Cindy Acker

“One love, one heart. Let’s get together and feel all right.”


o you recall that Bob Marley song? When I visit my daughter ( Jenn) and son-inlaw (Patrick), it is typical that I hear some version of reggae or Bob Marley playing before I go home (even perhaps in his chiropractic office). It is with intention that they move in life, down to the music they listen to. Pat even renamed his chiropractic office in Seattle to reflect being intentional in life—it is called Conscious Chiropractic. I often tell myself that I want to grow up to be like Jenn and Pat, being so intentional about everything that I do. I have found myself of late, borrowing the words from Bob Marley’s song, when the information on the news or on The Rachel Maddow Show is just more than the heart needs to bear: “One love, one heart … Let’s get together and feel all right.” Montessori education is respected in research for its strength in the sciences, including social sciences and mathematics. Montessori is a science-based method of responding to the developmental and educational needs, challenges, and abilities of children. Compatible with brain-based, multi-sensory teaching, Montessori education maintains more focus on critical thinking and mastery of skills, and less focus on test-outcome teaching. And it is a method of education in which the arts and sciences are not diametrically opposed. There


The miraculous thing is that Montessori education combines this science-based educational methodology with—of all things, peace education. One would think they have no connection. However, if one can be so creative as to design solutions to complex math and science problems, one can create solutions to environmental challenges, disease, and war. TOMORROW'S CHILD © § MARCH 2021 § WWW.MONTESSORI.ORG

is an exactness involved in Montessori education that can be confusing when you watch it, until you understand that there are building blocks that have to do with pure science, and with spatial recognition—what goes

and do more—more pathways 4 weeks and then 12 weeks after in the brain to create different the exercise was over. solutions, to look behind you, then ahead to see where things What was interesting, was the are going, to observe, reflect, hy- research that followed. The pothesize, to see the causal ef- group that wrote the gratitude fects of things. letters was compared with the group that did no letter writing to find out if their brains were If it is true that the arc of history bends processing differently. “Most toward justice, we must extrapolate; if the interestingly,” they posited, arc of gratitude and love is long, it must “when we compared those who bend towards peace. wrote the gratitude letters with those who didn’t, the gratitude where, and how do you go from When you think about it, many letter writers showed greater there, how does this fit. From acts of violence happen in a activation in the medial prefroncritical thinking to expressive moment when the brain perse- tal cortex when they experienced reasoning, the mind can go in verates over anger. Think about gratitude in the MRI scanner. many different directions, when the result of engaged children This is striking as this effect adults don’t direct it, and this who are so interested in what was found three months after gives rise to creativity. they are learning, who from the letter writing began. This toddler age on, are challenged indicates that simply expressBut the miraculous thing is that to discover the joys of geogra- ing gratitude may have lasting Montessori education combines phy, geometry, history, science, effects on the brain.” this science-based education- and the arts. Think about the al methodology with—of all result of older children being If this is true, being centered things, peace education. One in the living laboratory of the in love, grounded in peace and would think they have no con- classroom, where children are bounded in gratitude, we model nection. However, if one can be encouraged to think about what a life strengthening gift for our so creative as to design solutions they are thinking about. children—as parents, at home; to complex math and science as teachers in the classroom; as problems, one can create solu- The other natural extrapola- school leaders in our schools. tions to environmental challeng- tion that occurs within an ates, disease, and war. mosphere bounded by peace on If it is true that the arc of hisall sides, is that both love and tory bends toward justice we This makes Montessori educa- gratitude become “brain chang- must extrapolate; if the arc of tion a unique pedagogy. It is ers.” In Greater Good Magazine, gratitude and love is long, it a complex scientifically based Joshua Brown and Joel Wong must bend towards peace. In methodology, which responds share gratitude research and its our classrooms, we want our to the entire being of the child— effect on the brain. They ran- students to be engaged and from how the brain responds domly divided participants into joyful; to learn and play; to hold to stimuli via many different three groups. They asked one solid values and to stand up for modalities, to the psychological group to write one letter of grat- what is right. To be intentional development of the human being, itude to someone every week for and attentional. To be caring which directly responds to the three weeks; the second group and kind. To be, as Bob Marley brain’s ability to take in knowl- was asked to write their deepest says: “One love, one heart.” edge. And peace resonates with negative thoughts and experi- In our world now, we must the brain: it feeds it; it nourishes ences; and the third group had learn and guide children to be it. When the brain is positively no assignment. Of the groups change-makers who help “get engaged, there is more access who wrote, those who wrote us all together, and we’ll be to complex reasoning, more in- gratitude letters reported signifi- all right.” ¢ ternal space to take a step back cantly better mental health for TOMORROW'S CHILD © § MARCH 2021 § WWW.MONTESSORI.ORG

Cindy Acker is an education professional for over 25 years, Cindy Acker has founded 6 private schools. She is founder/principal of The Child Unique Montessori School and public policy adviser for Montessori Council of California. Cindy has a BA in human development, and Masters degrees in Cultural studies/ spirituality and another M.A. in Educational Leadership. In the public policy arena, Cindy has served two terms as president of Professional Association for Childhood Education (PACE) and as vice president of The National Child Care Association. She is active in state and national policy concerning education and pediatric health.

Need a classified ad? Write your ad and send it to dondinsmore@ montessori.org. He will return a quote and it will go online as soon as it is paid.



The Cosmic Virus– Corona COVID-19 Written by Raife Cebec Designed by Murat Ağdemir llustrated by Merve Tokmak and Murat Ağdemir A Montessori teacher who lives in Philadelphia, PA half of the year and in Istanbul, Turkey the other half wrote this book. She is a mother and grandmother. She wrote this book to help children around the world better understand the Coronavirus: where it started; how it spreads; how countries have tried to slow down the spread; what we can do to slow it down; and how it has affected human relationships across continents and oceans. She also emphasizes how people, even though they have had to isolate themselves, have found ways to cheer each other and to share food with those that are hungry. The author also mentions the positive effects of human isolation on wild animals and the environment. Raife says the best thing about the “Cosmic Virus” is that people have a lot of time to spend together with their families. She ends the book with a challenge to children—the Covid story has not ended yet. “You, children, will write the ending


Reviewed by Lorna McGrath

after the virus. You will shape the future according to what you want to do and what kind of world you want to live in.” Raife leaves three blank pages and encourages the readers to write and/or illustrate the rest of the story. The illustrations are really quite a unique blend of drawings and photography. They also include the familiar continent map and land and water lessons from Montessori classrooms. Because of the illustrations, the book is quite beautiful and engaging. I would recommend this book for children from 5 to 11 years old. You can purchase this book from International Montessori Schools, Inc.: www.istanbulmontessori.com or contact info@istanbulmontessori.com for more information.

Where the Ocean Meets the Sand by Beth Costanzo Illustrated by Ekaterina Ilina A wonderfully illustrated book— the creatures of the sea and the creatures of the land jump out from the pages in brilliant colors, mostly life-like images. And, on top of that, this book rhymes and has a repeating phrase throughout the book. Young children love rhyming

and repeating phrases because they can participate in the reading of the book! I’m excited to share it with my four-year-old grandson and any other children who love stories and rhymes. In this rhyming book, some children will enjoy seeing (maybe for the first time) a day at the beach, or others will remember days that they have already experienced at the beach. Either way, it is an engaging and fun book to read with your favorite children! It is available at Amazon.com.

What the World Needs Now: TREES! by Cheryl Rosebush Illustrated by Zuzana Svobodová This is a delightful children’s book about how trees support human life and how humans can support them. The illustrations are engaging, very colorful, and friendly. The book starts with a world map showing where Sumatra is and leading the reader into the rainforest of Indonesia, where they meet Jefri, the orangutan. The reader first learns about what orangutans do and eat and where they live. The author then describes the similarities between orangutans and humans including what we breathe. Now comes the part that trees play in creating the oxygen that we need to breathe and the balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide. Trees give us air to breathe, food to eat, and shelter from the elements and so much more.

The author describes how trees are cut down for many reasons. She then assures the reader that it’s okay to worry and ask questions about the cutting down of trees. Next she says, “Here’s the good news: trees are renewable…” The book ends with several information pages—Amazing Trees From Around the World, Amazing Creatures of Sumatra, Indonesia, and an activity page to draw on. Cheryl Rosebush and Zuzana Svobodová’s new book will be coming out in February 2021. The title is What the World Needs Now: BEES! You can purchase these books from Amazon.com.

Layla and the Bots: Happy Paws by Vicky Fang Illustrated by Christine Nishiyama Layla and the Bots is just one of a series of four early chapter books for growing children’s vocabulary and reading skills. They suggest that this series would be for children age 5-7 years old and is 2nd grade reading level. Colorful illustrations fill each page and the text is placed strategically among them. I have learned from this book


BOOK REVIEWS that “bots” is a real word that children use these days for robots. Before I became aware of this series I thought that my almost 5-year old grandson had just decided to shorten robots to bots. Many of you may already be familiar with this word, “bots,” but it was news to me! The story really boils down to one about maintaining and restoring meaningful icons from past experiences, using creative thinking, being a team leader, and designing things that take into consideration the needs of others. Layla and the Bots, who are rock stars and inventors, found themselves faced with the closing of an amusement park that had been a favorite spot for families in their local community for many years. Through some investigation they found that the town’s people had found a new place to have fun, not only with the people in their families but with their dogs as well. From there the author takes Layla and the Bots through many steps to designing and creating a new kind of amusement park that included activities for dogs as well as people. This series of books could be a fun addition to your home or school library for your early readers.

WOKE: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice by Mahogany L. Browne with Elizabeth Acevedo and Olivia Gatwood Illustrated by Theodore Taylor III This is a strong, inspiring book of poetry by three brilliant, “woke” poets. It is made even more powerful by the colorful, large images that portray the ideas in the poems on each page.

The book begins with a preface by Mahogany Browne describing what it means to be woke. The way I understand it is – being aware of everything around you/ us and standing up when things are not right. Don’t sit back and take it or give up or hold an attitude of “that’s just the way it is.” Jump in and make a difference for yourself, your families, your friends, your fellow humans. Children, young people, all of us, have seen so many things change in our world during 2020 that we never imagined could. One of the biggest lessons for all of us is that nothing is static. These poems say to me that many things are not right in our world but this is the time – now is the time – to be a force of change for justice, for bettering all of our lives if we just stay “woke.” Parents and teachers can encourage their children from 9 years old and older to think about and discuss the meaning of each poem. As a result, children may become interested in learning more about America and its history, more about social justice, more about themselves. I highly recommend it for Upper Elementary and Middle School. You can find this book on amazon.com.


"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." Walt Disney

Calling all teachers, parents, & children! We would love to publish your reviews of your favorite books. Send reviews to: lornamcgrath@montessori.org



PRIMARY TEACHER (VANCOUVER, WA) Lakeshore Montessori is hiring an DIRECTOR OF LEARNING experienced Primary teacher for (BREVARD, NC) our small 2 class school in VancouMountain Sun Community School ver, WA. Just minutes from Portland seeks a Director of Learning to OR. We have an amazing outdoor serve as an integral part of a strong and indoor property one mile from educational team and help provide downtown Vancouver. There is no forward-thinking leadership for our income tax in WA State: great reaexemplary nature-based Montessori son to live here. To succeed through school. This new role will facilitate COVID, we have created a half day the implementation of the Montesschedule inside for lessons and out sori pedagogy in a safe, healthy, by noon for 2-3 hours of outdoor and nurturing school environment play. We set up outdoor heaters and that supports each child’s social, new play structures. We offer salary emotional, and intellectual growth and benefits equal to Portland rates. and development. Learn more:  We are a year round school. Teachwww.mountainsunschool.org/emers get paid time off in between sesployment sions. We are AMI trained but open to other trainings. Our school was HEAD OF SCHOOL (CAMDEN, SC) established in 2006. The position beThe Montessori School of Camden gins June 19, 2021. (MSC) is seeking a Head of School (Headmaster) beginning with the Please send resumes to:  Lakeshore2021-22 school year. MSC opermontessori01@gmail.com ates with a year-round calendar. The Board recently updated its Strategic ELEMENTARY MONTESSORI Plan. Visit our website: www.monGUIDE - THE NEWGATE SCHOOL tessori-camden.com. (SARASOTA, FL) The NewGate School, Lab School Application: Send items to Joan of The Montessori Foundation, is McCulley, President Board of Direcseeking an experienced Elementary tors at board-chair@montessori- Montessori Guide for the 2020/2021 camden.com school year.

woodlands, with an outstanding Gold Level LEED certified building. As a lab school, our faculty works with the Montessori Foundation in curriculum and prgram development.


Our faculty looks for passionate and experienced Montessori teachers who want to be part of the vibrant Montessori Foundation and NewGate community.

LOWER ELEMENTARY CLASS LEAD TEACHER (BREVARD, NC) Mountain Sun Community School seeks a Lower Elementary Class Lead Teacher to guide children ages 6 through 9 (1st through 3rd grade) in conjunction with an Assistant Teacher. Lead Teachers at Mountain Sun help direct students’ activities academically, emotionally, and physically in both a prepared Montessori environment and the outdoors in ways that challenge each child to reach his/her full potential. Learn more: www.mountainsunschool. org/employment


Founded in 1984, The NewGate School is the Lab School of The Montessori Foundation. NewGate is an independent, non-profit, international, college-preparatory Montessori school, home to 200 Montessori students from 18 months through the 12th grade. Our Lower School has 120 students from 18-months through 6th grade. Our Lower School campus is a charming 5-acre former organic farm school. Classrooms are cottages with private gardens, shaded decks, mature trees, and the timeless beauty of old Florida. Our Upper School has 80 students from grades 7-12. It is a 5-acre property surrounded by protected

Our home is beautiful Sarasota, Florida, one of the best places to live in the United States. Our students enjoy the vast cultural and environmental opportunities of this beautiful international city. NewGate is accredited by AdvancED (SACS/CASI), the International Montessori Council (IMC), and is recognized as an International Baccalaureate World School for the IB Diploma Programme (grades 11 and 12). NewGate is an international educational center of inspiration and support for Montessori schools around the world. In collaboration with the Montessori Foundation, the school is engaged in curriculum development, professional education for Montessori school administrators, and Montessori conferences. The school tends to attract committed Montessori families and educators who specifically move to Sarasota to be part of our international Montessori community.

Candidates must have at least a BA or BS degree and hold Elementary Montessori certification from MACTE teacher-accredited programs. The school offers health benefits and NewGate tuition assistance for children of our staff. The school’s community is active and supportive, and we have a national board of Montessori leaders. Learn more about NewGate at newgate.edu. Please send a resume and cover letter to Head of School Tanya Ryskinnd

tanyaryskind@montessori.org. ADOLESCENT GUIDES | A NEW AND INNOVATIVE ONLINE MONTESSORI SECONDARY SCHOOL Bridgemont International School has been developed by internationally renowned Montessorians with decades of experience running Montessori Secondary programs. This new online Montessori school, serving students from 7th through 12th grade, will launch this Fall with an inaugural class of seventh graders. Bridgemont will add one grade each year through the completion of the high school program. Bridgemont will deliver an authentic Montessori secondary education online using a new model of instruction: a highly interactive blend of live and pre-recorded key lessons, seminars, group projects, and innovative solutions to experiential distance education. Bridgemont students will not get bored, and they will never feel alone. We will begin this year by restricting enrollment to students residing within the United States, however, we will expand internationally in the near future. The Bridgemont difference will be our close-knit online community, where we encourage students to think deeply, work diligently in their studies, and form life-long friendships. Our graduates will be well-rounded global citizens. When you join Bridgemont, you will discover a unique and highly effective implementation of Montessori at the Secondary Level. Come be part of our small initial team of Adolescent Montessori guides! When you are part of our inaugural team, you will help to shape the direction of what is certain to become a long-standing Montessori institution. If you are interested in being part of this project and would be excited to help develop our program and curriculum development, contact us today. We are looking for dynamic Montessori educators who value student-teacher interac-


CLASSIFIEDS tion and have a desire to foster the social development of children while also preparing them for university, citizenship, and life. The ideal candidate will have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree, preferably with an Adolescent or Elementary Montessori credential from a MACTE certified teacher education program. Compensation, including benefits, is competitive and commensurate with experience.  If you are ready to apply, please send a resume and cover letter. Or, if you just have questions and want to learn more, please contact rhowe@ bridgemontschool.com. INTERNATIONAL MONTESSORI SCHOOL OF NC (DURHAM, NC) IMS is a diverse, engaging community made up of teachers and fami-

lies of many cultures, languages, and backgrounds. Our ideal candidates have a passion for guiding young people, are lifelong learners, and thrive in a collaborative, international culture. Our ideal candidates also have experience in a language immersion program.

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Minimum requirements for all positions include Montessori certification, three years’ experience in a lead role, strong communication skills in both written and spoken English and in the immersion language, and no need for work sponsorship now or in the future. We anticipate positions in our elementary (Spanish or Mandarin Chinese) and primary (Chinese) programs. To apply please send a cover letter and a resume/CV to hiring@imsnc.org

To place a classified ad, send your ad to tcmag@montessori.org. $2 per word with a $50 minimum.



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