Tomorrows Child January 2014

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The International Montessori Council A Publication of the Montessori Foundation


Vol. 22 No. 2

Montessori’s Youngest Students Infant/Toddler Programs Where Do We Go from Here? Montessori High Schools Celebrations of Life Festivals of Japan



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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 (e.g., book, newsletter, journals). Copies of this issue or back issues are available for purchase through our online bookstore: For Standing Bulk Orders, call 800-655-5843 (toll free), use the order form on page 38, or place your order at www. The Montessori Foundation does not provide refunds for cancelled standing bulk orders. Send all correspondence to: The Montessori Foundation 19600 E State Road 64 . Bradenton, FL 34212-8921 Phone: 941-729-9565/1-800-655-5843 Fax:941-745-3111 WWW.MONTESSORI.ORG EDITOR Joyce St. Giermaine PRESIDENT Tim Seldin PROGRAM DIRECTOR Lorna McGrath EVENTS & MEMBERSHIP Margot Garfield-Anderson ADVERTISING Chelsea Howe BOOKKEEPER Don Dinsmore FULFILLMENT Michael Anderson GRAPHIC DESIGN Katrina Costedio PRINTED BY InterPrint Note: InterPrint is now FSC,SFI and PEFC Chain-of-Custody Tri-Certified. Chain-of-custody certification offers paper that has been harvested from responsibly managed forests, then verifiably traced through all stages of print production. Conferences & Workshops IMC Margot Garfield-Anderson: Phone: 941-309-3961/Toll Free:800-632-4121 Fax: 941-359-8166 email: Past Issues, Books & CD Orders For immediate service, use our secure online bookstore at For questions regarding an order, email: margot@ or Phone 941-309-3961/Toll Free: 800-632-4121 Subscriptions & Bookkeeping Don Dinsmore Phone: 941-729-9565/1-800-655-5843 Fax: 941-745-3111 Classified & Display Advertising Chelsea Howe Phone: 941-729-9565/Fax: 941-745-3111

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Montessori’s Youngest Learners: Infant/Toddler Programs by Terri Sherrill Staying the Course: The Importance of Montessori for the Kindergarten Year by Tim Seldin Montessori (Grand) Parenting: Enjoy Some Science Inquiry Time Together by Margot Garfield-Anderson Pychologist vs Mom — Montessori Teachers: How DO They Do it? by Chelsea Howe, Psy.D. Quiet Time is Important by Maren Schmidt


Montessori Moment: I Just Want Him to Be Smart— The Problem with Labels by RB Fast


Where Do We Go From Here: The Montessori High School by Tim Seldin

15 CALENDAR 17 CELEBRATIONS Japanese Children’s Day (Kodomo no Hi) 24 BOOK REVIEWS Montessori Reads 26 DEAR CATHIE Flash Cards for Toddlers 34 CLASSIFIED ADS 38 TOMORROW'S CHILD ORDER FORM

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Cover Photo: Larry Canner at Love of Learning Montessori School / Columbia, MD.



A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Joyce St. Giermaine, Editor

First of all … Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe that the 2013/14 school year is halfway over, but it is, and that means it’s time to think about ordering Tomorrow’s Child for the 2014/15 school year. Now is the time to SAVE BIG by ordering your school’s standing bulk order early to take advantage of our incredible Early Bird Discount.

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Montessori's Youngest Students: Infants & Toddlers by Terri Sherrill, Teacher Trainer Center for Guided Montessori Studies

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thirty-plus years ago, at the age of two, my son was the youngest child at his Montessori school. Now, many Montessori schools have Infant/Toddler programs for children as young as 18 months. These schools usually keep a couple of spaces available in their Early Childhood classrooms to enable toddlers (who are ready) to “move-up” if their internal biological/developmental clocks are not synced to the school year schedule. Nobody wants a bored toddler! More and more schools (probably driven by begging parents with older siblings) now have infant classes for babies as young as six weeks, which makes a lot of sense in today’s economy, where two working-parent families has pretty much become the norm. Becoming a Montessori Infant/ Toddler guide requires specialized Montessori training, just as it does at every other level. More and more teacher training cours-

es, designed just for this special age group, are becoming available. If an Infant/Toddler Montessori program is not available in your school community, just hang on … it may be coming soon. But before you get too excited, it’s important to remember that the younger the children, the lower the ratio for children to teachers. These programs also require more supervision and involvement from your local health department. Rightly so! However, these factors contribute to making an Infant/Toddler class an expensive program to operate — but so worth it from the parents’ and children’s perspective. We are so grateful for the faculty, staff, and parents at Love of Learning Montessori School in Columbia, Maryland for allowing our favorite photographer, Larry Canner, access to their classrooms to document Montessori infants and toddlers at play, at ‘work,’ and asleep! Love of Learning was founded 28 years ago by Awildes Torres


and has truly become a family effort with her own children in the classroom and administrative offices (and grandchildren in the classes). At present, Love of Learning has approximately 200 children, spanning the range of infants through upper elementary. It is a warm, loving environment for all the students … but those Infant/Toddler classrooms are so special! I know that parents who are lucky enough to have children in this program wish they could bottle all that love and calm and bring it home with them at the end of the day! —Joyce St. Giermaine, Editor PS: You don’t have to wait for an Infant/Toddler class at your school to bring Montessori Infant/Toddler strategies home. Pick up a copy of How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way (by Tim Seldin) available through our Montessori Bookshelf at (or by calling 800-632-4121).


Montessori Infant and Toddler programs are based on the concepts of “home and family” in the very best sense of the terms.

LOVE OF LEARNING MONTESSORI SCHOOL’S INFANT/TODDLER PROGRAM: THE SILVER LINING TO OUR FAMILY’S NANNY CRISIS by C.J. Blanco I remember when I was pregnant with our first child; we visited many different day-care facilities, hoping to find the ‘perfect one.’ We found several that looked good, but none that stole our heart. Eventually, we hired a nanny, who was wonderful. She played with our baby, she gave him the love and attention that he deserved, and she became part of our home and family. What we had was, ‘perfect,’ in our mind. But, as our family grew, and our first son became older, he needed more. He craved the attention of other children, the opportunity to engage in reciprocal play, and the opportunity to learn each and every new thing he possibly could. His brain was a sponge that wanted to soak everything in. And, his new little brother required so much attention because, well, he was a baby. In retrospect, it was probably too much to expect a nanny to be able to do it all: care for a newborn and socialize and help our older child (only 15 months old at the time) to develop his cognitive and linguistic skills. When our ‘perfect’ nanny gave us notice, we were devastated. Truly devastated. We struggled to find a new ‘second home’ for our children, a place where that they could experience happiness, peace, safety, and growth. Personally, I struggled to find the trust I felt I had lost — the trust that someone (our nanny) would be there (unconditionally) to care for our children. Fortunately, there was a silver lining: we happened upon Love of Learning Montessori School, an actual Montessori school with an Infant/Toddler program that could take both of our children. We jumped at the opportunity. Although, I had been raised in a Montessori family, nothing prepared me to send my children off to school and say goodbye, not to see them until pick-up time. My babies were being cared for by multiple people, who were responsibly caring


for multiple children, all with great needs … because these students are babies!. To put it mildly, I was nervous. Very nervous! But, my two little ones adapted immediately. My older child learned to sit at a table with his peers and eat his food. He participated in story time and sat in a circle with children his own age. He came home with new words and a new curiosity that I had not experienced or expected. He would talk about his friends at the dinner table. He would say, “I love Ms. Delizia, I love Ms. Kim,”(his two teachers) all the way home.” He even began independently pouring water for himself and drinking it. He ran into school with enthusiasm and zest every day and, admittedly, fought me not to go home. Our boy was happy. Truly happy. It’s like he came out of himself and was this new being that just really loved life. Our younger child (who, at ten weeks of age was the youngest in the school) quickly bonded to his teachers and also his peers. He hugs them daily, gently pats the back of a new baby to help her fall asleep, and has also developed a sense of independence, while still feeling secure and loved. That things happen for a reason is a cliché; however, in the case of our nanny quitting, it just might be true. Our children are developing from their interactions with other children, their self-esteem has flourished, and they are happy. At times, I watch them from the windows that overlook their classrooms (where they can’t see me), and it warms my heart that we found a place that uniquely fosters their independent growth while providing them the love, kindness, and care that anyone would want for their kids. They’re growing up into little people; they love it and so do we. Our ‘misfortune’ at losing our nanny was truly a blessing.

magine that you have just woken up from a dream to find yourself in completely strange surroundings. You don’t recognize a thing. Giant creatures walk up to you making strange, garbled sounds (sometimes acting as if you should be able to understand them). They also seem to have magic powers: they wave their hands… and suddenly the coverings on your body have been changed. Sadly, even though you would like to learn from them, they move with lightning speed and never seem to do anything the same way twice. But that’s not all. The body you inhabit changes a little in size each day. You feel rushes of powerful emotions and sometimes you hurt — or feel strange. Yet conveying this information to others is virtually impossible. While this might sound like an episode from the Twilight Zone, it is something that babies experience on a regular basis. The truth is that they must constantly navigate in a world that is unknown to them. So … what would YOU do if you found yourself in unfamiliar surroundings without any information or physical strength? Would you start exploring? Try to figure out what was edible … and what was not? Test your limits, the limits of your environment, and the limits of those around you? While the prevailing view for centuries had been that babies were egocentric and irrational, and that their thinking was concrete and limited, modern advances in technology have shown this assumption to be untrue. Alison Gopnik writes in The Philosophical Baby (2009), “Psychologists and neuroscientists have discovered that babies not only learn more, but imagine more, care more, and experience more than we would have thought possible. In some ways, young children are actually smarter, more imaginative, more caring, and even more conscious than adults are.” Of course, this would not come as news to Dr. Maria Montessori.


Honoring the Process of Development Dr. Montessori wrote: “If the human personality is one at all stages of its development, we must conceive of a principle of education that has regard for all stages.” Rather than relying on preconceived notions about the early years of life, she brought her medical knowledge of anatomy and neurology to her observations of childhood. She realized that many of the previous assumptions and responses to children were actually in direct conflict with human biology, and when provided environments that were in harmony with the process of development, much of what adults had perceived to be ‘misbehavior’ in children … simply fell away. Montessori was one of the first to understand that the brain (as well as the body) was still in the process of formation for the first few years after we are born – and that lasting outcomes are highly dependent on our physical encounters and experiences during this period. Through a profound respect for the biological laws of nature and for the unique genetic blueprints, drives, and gifts of each individual, Dr. Montessori sought to understand and provide children with their daily requirements for health and well-being.

Applied Science A parent’s ears will often perk up when children get a little too quiet. They know this means, more often than not, that “the kids must really be getting into something!” Making a study of what children universally “get into,” Dr. Montessori discovered many sensitive

periods of brain development (the time when millions of neurons are being ‘programmed’ to perceive the stimulus found in their immediate surroundings, and the cognitive architecture for thought and action is being created). She wrote, “None of these sensitivities occupies the whole period of development… While it lasts, there is an outpouring of energy.” Instead of thwarting a child’s drives, Dr. Montessori provided appropriate means for their healthy expression. She noted that industrialization had radically altered the childhood experiences that had naturally occurred for millennia; therefore, she worked to synthesize and restore vital experiences replete with physiological benefits and implicit information. Indeed, speaking similarly, Sally Goddard Blythe, Director of the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology, warned in 2011: “One of the greatest threats to modern society comes not from diseases of the past (which medicine and hygiene have largely controlled), but illnesses, learning disorders, and social problems, which are a direct consequence of modern living conditions, lifestyle, and ignorance of children’s biological needs.” In her article “Assessing Neuromotor Readiness for Learning,” Blythe laments that too many infants, toddlers, and young children find themselves in “containers” (swings, infant seats, high chairs, etc.) that limit their ability to move and explore; they find themselves exposed to increasing hours of sedentary screen time; and they fluctuate between being bombarded by noise and a lack of appropriate sensory experiences. Her research suggests these cul-


Montessori was one of the first to understand that the brain (as well as the body) was still in the process of formation for the first few years after we are born – and that lasting outcomes are highly dependent on our physical encounters and experiences during this period.


tural practices fail to support the maturation of the vestibular, limbic, or nervous systems and leave primitive reflexes uninhibited past optimal developmental timetables. Montessori advocated passionately for children on these very topics, using the language of her day. She connected freedom of movement to learning and overall health. She saw that children loved to challenge themselves and provided opportunities for them to struggle and develop their strength and emotional stamina. She saw that order and proximity helped the child to categorize objects and concepts in ways that supported memory and retrieval. Order also helped the child to successfully predict cause and effect—and to pay attention to details for long periods of time. Predictable order (of events and objects) provides a structure that allows the child to make choices, to be able to follow procedures and directions — and to relax into the joys of childhood. Yet, she did not stop at observation; rather, she created an entire applied science in response to the needs of human development. Children find that materials and activities in a Montessori environment follow a sequence that proceeds in order of use and complexity (much as craftsmen might order their tools), while giving them the freedom to respond to individual talents and interests.

She saw that order and proximity helped the child to categorize objects and concepts in ways that supported memory and retrieval. 8

Modern Research At a symposium at Notre Dame in 2012, researcher Darcia Narvaez asked if today’s societies are “violating evolved expectations of care,” comparing cultures of the past to modern practices. One element of early ancestral caregiving that has received increased attention lately,

is alloparenting. [Editor’s Note: Alloparenting is a system of parenting in which individuals other than the actual parents act in a parental role.] Unlike many other species, human beings raise their children in community. Many of us ask to “hold the baby” at the first opportunity, and we pass infants around to extended friends and family members, reinforcing a sense of belonging and social embeddedness. While the parent-child bond is undoubtedly essential, the “It-takesa-village” axiom also seems to hold true. Some researchers believe that the willingness of others (in past generations) to help care for the child made it possible for mothers to eat and keep up her own strength (benefiting her children and the survival of the species by extension). This is not to say that all children should attend group situations; rather, it speaks to the need for us to provide care and support for mothers and families. It is the isolated nuclear family that is new. In the large family systems of the past, the responsibilities of child care were often shared, and adults and children often worked and played alongside one another. Maria Montessori said in 1940: “The greatest mistake ever made is to isolate the child from the society of the adult, as has happened in modern times.” The first part of every plane of development, according to Montessori, consists of the child taking in the environment holistically; while in the second part of the plane, it is the child’s task to isolate and refine particular observed skills. Children need to see, mimic, and internalize the rhythms of healthy and successful daily life; to observe adult work; to overhear productive problem solving and collaborative negotiations; and to acquire nu-


Little children learn to care for themselves.

It seems that all human beings, no matter how old or young, have a sense of dignity and personhood that suffers when disrespected or ignored.

anced ‘inner-speech’ through mentoring and example. While we cannot turn back the hands of time completely, quality Montessori Infant/Toddler programs are based on the concepts of “home and family” in the very best sense of the terms. Montessori elevated the “natural mother” who, rather than scold a child for getting into a basket of laundry, gives them a few washcloths of their own to work with instead. In this spirit, instead of creating ‘watered down’ Primary classrooms and Montessorians at the Infant/Toddler level (whether at-home, or in group care) engage in cooking, cleaning, gardening, knitting (or other handcrafts), reading, exercising, and the general art of daily living — giving the upmost care to their actions and their effect on the children in their care. Child-sized tools are


provided so that youngsters may work alongside adults or continue the activity to satisfy the child’s need for repetition and practice of basic skills. Toys or activities within the child’s reach are carefully chosen to support their developmental needs, and they are placed logically within the child’s environment, so that the child can gradually experience independence. Teachers speak slowly and articulate carefully, describing shared activities and informing children about what they can expect to happen next.

Special Insight A few years ago, the neuroscientist Jill Bolte Taylor endured a life-changing event, as she observed herself experiencing ( and later recovering from) a stroke.



Infants sleep, play, and rest comfortably in little wooden beds, while toddlers have a mat, pillow, and blanket for their naps. There is no risk of injury from falls, and the children love the freedom of movement. You can do this at home in your child’s room; replace the crib with a futon; make sure the room is safe for little hands and small objects that might end up in your child’s mouth; and install a walk-through baby gate that allows the child to be part of his home environment instead of being shut behind a closed door.

In what seemed like only moments, Taylor was returned to the world of infancy. She would have to learn everything for a second time. Yet, unlike babies, she was able to give a voice to her experience. Taylor wrote a list of things that benefitted her recovery. Among her requests were for “activities to be broken down into smaller steps of action” and to be told what the next step would be next, so she could prepare herself. She wanted caregivers to “protect her energy”; “to be aware of what their body language and facial expressions were communicating to her”; and to not bombard her world with TV or talk radio. She asked that concepts be presented to her kinesthetically, and for others to be mindful that she would have to be “proficient at one level” before she could move on to the next. But, most of all, she wanted to be treat-


ed like a person, despite her diminished capacity (for others to be as patient the 20th time as they were the first and to know that, if it were possible for her to learn faster, she certainly would). It seems that all human beings, no matter how old or young, have a sense of dignity and personhood that suffers when disrespected or ignored. What if, instead of helping a person to ‘recover,’ we were dedicated to helping those at the beginning of life to develop in ways that are optimal (responsive to each child’s unique genetic blueprint and a precise match for their neurological and physiological requirements) in the first place? This concept is at the heart of Montessori philosophy, and our prepared environments at each level do just that! r


by Tim Seldin, President, The Montessori Foundation Author of How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way


t’s reenrollment time again, and in thousands of Montessori schools all over America parents of four-almost-five-year-olds are trying to decide whether or not they should keep their sons and daughters in the final year of their Primary Montessori experience or send them off to kindergarten in local, non-Montessori schools. The advantages of using the local schools often seem obvious, while those of staying in Montessori are often not at all clear. When your child can attend the local schools for free, why would anyone want to invest thousands of dollars in another year’s tuition? It’s a fair question, and it deserves a careful answer. Obviously, there is no one right answer for every child. Often, the decision depends on where each family places its priorities and how strongly parents sense that one school or another more closely fits with the hopes and expectations they have for their children. Naturally, to some degree the answer is also connected to the question of family finances, although, we are amazed at how often families of very modest means make their children’s education a top priority and see the choice of staying in Montessori as an important investment in their children’s future.

So here are a few answers to some of the questions parents often ask about Montessori for the kindergarten-age child.

What would be the most important advantages of keeping my five-year-old in Montessori?

In a nut shell, what would be the most important short-term disadvantage of sending my five-year-old to a local school?

Montessori is an approach to working with children that is carefully based on what we’ve learned about children’s cognitive, neurological, and emotional development from several decades of research. Although sometimes misunderstood, the Montessori approach has been acclaimed as the most developmentally appropriate model currently available by some of America’s top experts on early childhood and elementary education.

When a child transfers from Montessori to a new, traditional kindergarten, she spends the first few months adjusting to a new class, a new teacher, and a whole new system with different expectations. This, along with the fact that most traditional kindergartens have a much lower set of expectations for five-year-olds than Montessori programs, severely cuts into the learning that could occur during this crucial year of their lives. In most cases, Montessori kindergarten children have already been exposed to a great deal of learning. For example, their understanding of the decimal system, place value, mathematical operations, and similar information is usually very sound. With reinforcement as they grow older, it becomes internalized and a permanent part of who they are. When they leave Montessori before they have had the time to internalize these early concrete experiences, their early learning often evaporates, because it is neither reinforced nor commonly understood.


One important difference between what Montessori offers the five-year-old and what is offered by many of today’s traditional kindergarten programs has to do with how it helps the young child learn how to learn. Over recent years, educational research has increasingly shown that students in many schools don’t really understand most of what they are being taught. As Howard Gardner, a leading educational psychologist and advocate of school reform, wrote: “Many schools have fallen into a pattern of giving kids exercises and drills that result in their getting answers on tests that look like understanding. Most students, from as young as those in


kindergarten to students in some of the finest colleges in America, do not understand what they’ve studied in the most basic sense of the term. They lack the capacity to take knowledge learned in one setting and apply it appropriately in a different setting.” Montessori is focused on teaching for understanding. In a Primary Montessori classroom, three- and four-year-olds receive the benefit of two years of sensorial preparation for academic skills by working with the concrete Montessori learning materials. This concrete, sensorial experience gradually allows the child to form a mental picture of concepts, such as: How big is a thousand? How many hundreds make up a thousand, and what is really going on when we borrow or carry numbers in mathematical operations? The value of the sensorial experiences that the younger children have had in Montessori has often been underestimated by both


parents and educators. Research is very clear that young children learn by observing and manipulating their environment, not through textbooks and workbook exercises. The Montessori materials give the child concrete sensorial impressions of abstract concepts, such as long division that become the foundation for a lifetime of understanding. But won’t my five-year-old spend her kindergarten year taking care of younger children instead of doing her own work?

They help to set the tone and serve as an example of appropriate behavior for the class. They often help younger children with their work, actually teaching lessons or correcting errors.

advanced; however, academic progress is not our ultimate goal. Our real hope is that these children will feel good about themselves and enjoy learning. Mastering basic skills is a side goal.

Most five-year-olds have been waiting for the longest time to be one of the ‘big kids.’ The experience of playing the leadership role does wonders to reinforce the five-year-olds’s sense of autonomy and self-confidence.

The key concept is readiness. In Montessori, if a child is not developmentally ready to advance to a new skill or level of understanding, he or she is neither left behind nor made to feel like a failure. Our goal is not ensuring that children develop at a predetermined rate, but to ensure that whatever they do, they do well and feel good about themselves as learners.

And finally …

No, not at all! When older children work with younger students, they tend to learn more from the experience than their ‘students.’ Experiences that facilitate development of a child’s independence are often very limited in traditional schools.

Five-year-olds are beginning to reflect upon the world. They pay closer attention, notice more details, ask more questions, and begin to explain the world in their own terms. The kindergarten year is a time when the child begins to integrate everything she learned in the first few years.

Five-year-olds are normally the leaders and role models in the Primary Montessori classroom.

By the end of age five, Montessori students will commonly develop academic skills that may be quite

When the time comes to decide, we hope you will choose to give your child the gift of Montessori for the kindergarten year. r


Enjoy Some Science Inquiry Time Together by Margot Garfield-Anderson photographed by Michael Anderson


t was time again for my annual weekend visit with Blakely Jayne, my oldest granddaughter (she’ll turn four at the end of March). Each year since she was born, my son-in-law ventures down from Rochester, New York to Sarasota, Florida, where I live. While he plays golf with his granddad, I get special time with Blakely. It’s a win-win for all. While she’s here, I invite her to participate in experiences that will always stay with her and will build on our collective memories. She still talks about our visit to Jungle Gardens and the parade we had with the hundreds of flamingoes following us around, and she looks forward to our visits. Now that she’s older, some of the fun activities can be found right in our own kitchen. The decision this year was easy because the Kitchen Science Experiments I chose for our time together were presented at the Montessori Foundation’s 16th Annual International Conference this past November in Sarasota. Each year, hundreds of Montessori teachers, guides, administrators, heads of schools, board members, and parents gather for a weekend of workshops and inspiring keynotes. One of our regular presenters is Dr. Ann Epstein, Early Childhood/Middle Childhood Program Coordinator for the University of Wisconsin

This year the Oxford dictionary chose “Science” as its word of the year. Imagine that? KITCHEN SCIENCE: Inquiry-Based Activities for Early Childhood Students at La Crosse. When Ann submitted her proposals for this year’s conference, I was immediately drawn to the science experiments, knowing these would be fun to try with Blakely. I picked a few science experiments and went ‘shopping’ in my own kitchen for the ingredients. I actually had almost all of them. Although I don’t have a specific early childhood environment in my house, I do have a nice, large covered lanai that made for the perfect outdoor alternative. It’s very important to set the child up to succeed, regardless of the activity, and it is important to make certain that a ‘prepared environment’ is at the top of the list to achieve this goal.

As we took all our ingredients to the table, I read the questions Dr. Epstein says we should pose. These questions are geared not only to make children think beyond their own personal space, but to help engage them in conversation while introducing them to new words and ideas. Always remember to conclude activities before a child gets too tired. Always end on a high note. These are some of the activities we did together. Since some required precise measuring that is a bit beyond her skill set, I pre-measured some of the ingredients, but let her do all the mixing, pouring, and transferring. We had a wonderful time with our experiments and hope that you do as well.


Apply these guidelines for each experiment: OBSERVATION: See if you can find 3 different colors PREDICTION: What will happen? COMMUNICATION: Tell us how… CLASSIFICATION: Is this a solid or a liquid? INFERENCE: Does this remind you of a food we might have for dessert?


Experiment 1

Experiment 2

Experiment 3

Experiment 4

MATERIALS rr mixing bowl rr large metal or plastic spoon rr 1-cup measuring cup rr 1 measuring spoon rr box of baking soda rr white vinegar rr food coloring (optional)

MATERIALS rr small dish for mixing rr Q-tips rr food coloring rr small container with approximately half a cup of dish detergent rr small pitcher of whole milk

MATERIALS rr large mixing bowl (glass works best) rr large box of corn starch rr pitcher of water rr newspaper to cover table surface (or tray large enough for bowl) rr wooden mixing spoon.

PROCESS 1. Measure 1 cup of vinegar into mixing bowl. 2. Measure 1 T baking soda. 3. Mix slowly and carefully; add vinegar by tablespoons until reaction occurs. 4. Encourage children to discuss how the bubbles are formed (gas is released when baking soda and vinegar are mixed).

PROCESS 1. Pour about ¼ cup of whole milk into small dish. 2. Add several drops of food coloring into dish (can be different colors). 3. Dip Q-tip into dish detergent. 4. Gently lower Q-tip to surface of milk and food coloring. 5. Encourage children to guess why swirls occur (detergent ‘attacks’ fat /grease in milk).

MATERIALS rr flat pan or plate with raised edges (glass pie plate works well) rr bar of soap (‘hard’ soap such as Dial™ works better than ‘softer’ soap such as Ivory™) rr black pepper in shaker rr water

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Dish Detergent and Whole Milk

Black Pepper and Bar Soap

PROCESS 1. Pour about 2 cups of water into pan or plate. 2. Sprinkle pepper across entire surface. 3. Gently touch edge of bar of soap to surface. 4. Encourage children to guess why pepper quickly disperses to the edge of the container. (surface tension of water has been broken by soap). 5. Repeat. Encourage children to guess why pepper does not move again (surface tension has already been broken, so it won’t ‘hold’ pepper in place).

Oobleck (Corn Starch and Water)

PROCESS 1. Pour about 1½ cups of corn starch into the bowl. 2. Slowly add water, stirring as you pour. 3. You may need to tweak these amounts. Your goal is a honeylike consistency. 4. Gather a small amount into the palm of your hand. It should form a very soft ball. 5. Clench your fist. As you do this, the mixture will turn to liquid and drip through your fingers. 6. Encourage children to discuss the transitions from liquid to solid and back to liquid. 7. Why does this occur? Surface tension is, again, at work to hold particles in place. Pressure disturbs the surface tension, turning the solid form into liquid.

INQUIRY-BASED SKILLS: Observation, Prediction Check out an amazing video at the end of this Oobleck description. Participants walk and run across, and then jump into a pool of Oobleck! (The participants are great fun to watch, but we need our Spanish speakers to translate for us!)



Additional KindergartenAge Science Activities You Can Do at Home rr rr rr rr rr


rr rr

­CALENDAR March 20 - 22, 2014 Montessori Foundation & IMC 10th West Coast Conference The Courageous Path to Building Cohesive Communities San Jose, CA (800) 632-4121

Simple circuits: large battery, wire, alligator clips, small light bulb with holder. Sink and float Magnetic vs. non-magnetic Color mixing with shaving cream Sprouting seeds: lima beans work well because they are large and will sprout in individual sandwich baggies with a ½ sheet of paper towel and a little water How plants drink: stand celery stalk (fresh cut at bottom) in colored water (red works well) for 2 – 3 days; watch water creep up celery veins Wind experiments Bubble experiments

We actually created our own extension of the baking soda and vinegar experiment. We took all the mixed ingredients and scooped them onto a plate. We patted it down and felt it with our fingers. It was wet but didn’t seem to leave liquid on our hands. We set it in the sun to dry. Once the vinegar was absorbed by the sun (after several hours), it hardened. It gave Blakely something more to think about. Upon completion, I gave Blakely a pail of water and a small sponge, and she did a lot of table scrubbing. This kept her almost as busy and engaged as the experiments themselves, and she did all the cleaning up. Guiding your grandchildren to maintain the environment from start to finish is all part of the process they are learning in their Montessori classrooms. As grandparents, we try to support, encourage, and foster these same values when we are enjoying time with them. r Margot Garfield-Anderson is the IMC Membership Director and Conference Coordinator for the Montessori Foundation’s Annual Conferences in Sarasota (Florida) and San Jose, (California). She’s grandmother to three granddaughters now, and while Blakely isn’t able to attend Montessori, we try to bring as many Montessori moments into Blakely’s life as possible. Creating traditions, memorable experiences, and giving Blakely a foundation steeped in Montessori principles and practices is very important to her. We hope that you will share these experiences with your child’s grandparents as well, so that they, too, can create special times together.

March 27 - 30, 2014 American Montessori Society (AMS) Annual Conference Montessori: Unity in Diversity Dallas, TX (212) 358-1250

November 6-9, 2014 Montessori Foundation & IMC 17th Annual International Conference Sarasota, FL

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odomo no Hi (Children’s Day) is a Japanese national holiday, which takes place annually on May 5 (the fifth day of the fifth month) and is part of the Golden Week. It is a day set aside to respect children’s personalities and to celebrate their happiness. It was designated a national holiday by the Japanese government in 1948. The day was originally called Tango no Sekku and was celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th moon in the lunar calendar. After Japan’s switch to the Gregorian calendar, the date was moved to May 5. Until recently, Tango no Sekku was known as Boys’ Day (also known as Feast of Banners), while Girls’ Day (Hina-Matsuri) was celebrated on March 3. These two holidays were combined in 1948 to become Kodomo no Hi. Elements of both festivals are incorporated into the celebration.

Hina-Matsuri Hina-Matsuri was known as the Japanese Doll Festival. It has always been a happy holiday in Japan, especially for families with little girls. It was a day for parents to express their love for their daughters. Prior to 1948, it was celebrated on March 3rd during Japan’s seasonal cherry and peach blossom festivals and was a time to wish their daughters happiness throughout their lives. Japanese dolls continue to be of great importance during today’s Japanese Children’s Day celebration. Traditionally, each Japanese family has a very special collection of dolls, symbolizing the ancient royal court of Japan. This set is usually a family heirloom, and the children treat it with great respect. Each doll has a name and a treasured place in family history. The dolls are beautifully made and dressed in gorgeous silks and brocades. Needless to say, they are very expensive. Not all families can afford a complete set and may sometimes display a single doll.

To prepare the dolls, families carefully unwrap them and set them on a special display shelf designed like a five-tiered broad stairway, covered with bright red cloth. The two most impressive dolls represent the Emperor and Empress of Japan. They are placed on the top shelf in front of a small gold screen. A small lantern is placed on either side of the Emperor and Empress. They are dressed in their traditional royal robes and wear crowns.

Japan's Golden Week Japan’s Golden Week (often abbreviated to GW) is a Japanese term applied to the period containing the following public holidays: April 29 The Emperor's Birthday Showa Day May 3 Constitution Memorial Day May 4 Greenery Day May 5 Children's Day

On the second shelf are placed three ladies-in-waiting to serve the Emperor and Empress. They are also dressed in traditional kimonos. On the third shelf are five court musicians with their traditional instruments: a flute, reed pipe, gong, and drum. Dolls representing two ministers of state of the ancient Japanese court are placed on either end of the fourth shelf from the top.



Finally, on the bottom shelf, are three dolls representing members of the royal court. Miniature orange and cherry trees are placed

on either side of the courtiers.

waiting. The miniature furniture is placed between the two ministers.

The display is completed with a collection of miniature furniture. Each piece is a marvel to young children. The set includes: a chest with a complete change of clothes for the dolls; a dressing table for the Empress; mirrors, makeup; miniature plates and bowls; a bookcase filled with tiny books; and a carriage for the royal couple. The bowls and plates are placed between the three ladies-in-

The display is admired, enjoyed, and shared with visiting friends. The dolls are not everyday playthings! As the dolls are unwrapped and set up, family stories are remembered and passed on to the next generation. Part of the ceremony involves a special tea party for the dolls, complete with real food and tea. Traditional foods associated with this celebration include: brown

beans, popped rice, colorful cakes, and a sweet drink made from sake and rice malt. The dolls are served, too, on their tiny plates. Children are allowed to bring their everyday dolls to the tea party. The children sing to the assembly of dolls, play games with them, and share their food, just as if they were alive. When it gets dark, the mother helps her child/ ren light the two lanterns that top the display.

Tango no Sekku Tango no Sekku (originally known as Boy’s Day) is also called the Feast of Flags or the Iris Festival and is celebrated along with Hina-Matsuri on May 5th as part of Children’s Day. Tall bamboo poles are erected in front of Japanese homes. A pinwheel is attached at the very top to make a rustling sound with the breeze. Below the pole is a rope pulley, from which the special fish kites of this celebration will be flown. The kites are designed to resemble carp, a fish that the Japanese revere for it courage and strength. These fish kites are made out of strong, light-weight cloth decorated in bright colors. They are designed to work like a windsock, filling with wind and assuming the shape of a fish thrashing about as it fights its way upstream. They come in different sizes, the largest one, representing the father, is flown at the top, with smaller ones for each child flying just below. Often, the kites will be arranged in size according to the ages of the children, all the way down to a tiny kite for a newborn child. Like the dolls, these kites are handed down from generation to generation and are looked upon with great pride. In the evening, parents put iris leaves into their children’s bath water to represent the strength and courage of the carp. On this day, families also display ancient artifacts of weapons and armor. Dolls representing warriors are often added to complete the display, along with a paper lantern bearing the family crest. The children hear, once again, about the bravery of their ancestors. Traditional foods for this celebration include: sticky rice cakes wrapped in oak leaves and sweet rice buns with red bean jam wrapped in bamboo leaves.



Preparation of the Children

Preparation of the Environment

“This week, we are going to learn about Japan. Japan is in Asia. The country is made up of two islands in the Pacific Ocean. As we learn about Japan, we are going to celebrate two very special holidays that are part of Kodomo no Hi (Japanese Children’s Day): Hina-Matsuri (once known as the Japanese Doll Festival) and Tango no Sekku (once known as Boys’ Day).

Create a Japanese environment using:

This celebration occurs each year in the spring on May 5th. This week, we will discuss many interesting things about Japan, especially how they celebrate. On the day of the party, all children may bring a favorite doll to school. Today we will listen to a Japanese recording. We will listen to children singing. The music is very different from our own but quite lovely.”

r Posters, maps, and pictures of Japan r A real or artificial cherry tree r Vases filled with forsythia or other blossoms r Paper umbrellas r Japanese dolls r Traditional Japanese dishes, cups, chop sticks, and little bowls r A traditional Japanese tea pot r Japanese paper lanterns r Origami artwork r Kimonos

r Japanese children’s toys r Japanese children’s books and magazines r Japanese hanging scrollwork r Traditional Japanese art prints r Audio or video presentations of traditional Japanese music r Japanese musical instruments, such as the reed, pipe, and koto r Japanese money and postage stamps

Activities & Projects MAKE A FAN Let children decorate a sheet of paper. You can use different kinds of paper and crayons or pencils. For older children, use rice paper and brushes and water-color or ink. When dry, fold, and staple.

PAPER CHERRY BLOSSOMS & A JAPANESE GARDEN If you don’t have your own cherry trees in blossom, make lots and lots of artificial cherry blossoms from paper. Fold pink and white tissue paper into four sections, and let the children unfold and stick them onto empty branches the children have collected from around their school. Round off the edges to really get the feeling of a blooming tree. If you have a small table fountain, set it up. A few rocks and Japanese dolls can give you the feeling of a Japanese garden. You can buy a tabletop Japanese zen garden with a little rake, sand, and stones. Allow the children to work with the tools to create a feeling of serenity, harmony, and perfection. If you have a corner of your campus where you can plant a Japanese Tea Garden, you will have a lasting garden to enjoy for years to come. Use some nice rocks, sand for the ‘river,’ and the right plants. Create a little pond with a babbling waterfall, if possible. If it will blossom in your climate, plant a Japanese Cherry Tree. Years later, the children will return to visit the garden.

ORIGAMI Check the internet, your library, and Amazon for information on making simple origami with children. Better yet, if you have a Japanese family in your school, ask for help to make this a wonderful demonstration and hands-on project for the whole class.



MAKE A TRADITIONAL JAPANESE FOLDING BOOK Japanese children make little books by folding paper in a series of accordian folds. This requires a roll of nice, heavy paper. (White, uncoated shelf paper lining works well.) A piece of paper 60 inches long would make a good book of four double-sided pages with two leaves left over to glue to the covers.

rative objects into a paint or dye and then use them to make an imprint on the paper. You can also use potato prints in the shape of traditional Japanese symbols, such as flowers or fish. Many Asian stores (and online merchants) sell attractive rubber stamps made in Japanese designs that are ideal for this project.

Because the folds must be very accurate to end up with even pages, young children may find this method too difficult. You may wish to practice folding with them, or try a more simple method. The easiest method is to use the 4-inch square sheets of paper that Montessori classes prepare for Metal Inset drawings. Have the child make a stack of four or more sheets that can be stapled in between the covers.

When the cover has been printed and dried, glue it onto two pieces of thin cardboard for stiffness. Then, glue your two covers on either side of the folded paper. Tie a pretty ribbon or strand of yarn around the book to keep it together. Better yet, punch two holes through the two cover sheets before gluing on the paper. Once the paper is fastened, use a plastic yarn needle to thread a length of yarn through the holes. Tie a bow.

The cover is made by decorating two pieces of construction paper the same size as the individual paper folds of the Metal Inset sheets. Japanese children typically decorate the covers of their little books by pressing leaves, flowers, or other deco-

Children may wish to paste pictures of Japan that they’ve downloaded from the internet or cut from magazines into their little book. Traditionally, Japanese books start at what we consider the back of the book and work from left to right.

DARUMA DOLLS Daruma dolls are a popular children’s toy in Japan. They are named after Daruma, the founder of Zen Buddhism, who, it is said, once sat in one place for nine years thinking and praying. After sitting for so long, he lost the ability to walk, and so he rolled himself along as he preached about his beliefs. The little Daruma dolls are made to roll back into an upright position whenever they are tipped over. You can make a Daruma doll by attaching paper cones to a base made out of half a rubber ball. You will need a hollow rubber ball for each pair of dolls you wish to make. Cut the ball in half (adults only for this step) using an x-acto or utility knife. Fill the ball halves with modeling clay. Make two cones that will just fit on top of the half spheres, using colored construction paper. Glue or tape the sides of each cone together, then glue or tape the cones to the top of each ball. Paint a happy face on each Daruma doll and enjoy.

JAPANESE FISH BANNER The traditional Japanese fish kites are not meant to fly free like a kite on a string; instead, they work like a windsock that fills with wind to form the shape of the colorful carp. As the wind fills the open mouth of the kite, it tends to sway rapidly back and forth in the breeze, looking very much like a fish swimming. Similar fish kites (made of much less durable paper) are normally made to be hung as decorations in the home or classroom. They are too fragile to be flown outside. To make your fish banner, you will need a large piece of heavy paper, such as craft or butcher paper. Your rolls should be at least 36 inches wide and approximately 4 to 5 feet long.


Fold the paper in half lengthwise. Draw the fish on one side of the paper so that it fills one entire side. Holding the two sides together, cut out the fish. You can keep the two sides together with a few staples or glue along the top edge. Leave the bottom open, so that you can stuff the banner with newspaper later on. Now your banner is ready for painting. Use bright colors! After one side is painted and dry, turn the fish over and do the other side. When you are finished, stuff the fish with crumbled newspaper. Stuff it lightly, so that your fish will not be too heavy when hung. Now, glue or staple the remaining opening shut. Hang the fish in your home or classroom.


IKEBANA The Japanese are famous for the delicate art of flower arranging: Ikebana. Ikebana stresses simplicity, using just a few perfect blossoms rather than an abundance, as is so common in America. The Japanese people believe that, through their art, they are able to appreciate not only flowers but also the beauty of nature. In your own arrangements, you can use real flowers or make them from tissue paper. Try to achieve a pleasing form, working with a pretty vase or little bowl. Experiment with single blossoms, two or three mixed sprigs, or even buddng branches of flowering trees. You may wish to include a chrysanthamum, since this flower, with its sixteen petals, is found on the well-known crest of the family of the Japanese Emperor.


Now that we have access to the internet, there are many resources for ‘kid-friendly’ Japanese recipes. Some favorites you might want to include are: Sushi, Gohan, Chicken Yakitori, Gyoza, Sukiyaki, Yakisoba, and Cucumber Salad. Here’s just one of many websites to help you make your Japanese celebration a huge success: http:// japanese. Always remember to check ingredients to avoid allergens. With Asian cooking, half the battle is properly preparing the rice (Gohan). Here’s a website that will help: viewrecipe/285. Also check YouTube for step-by-step help to get the rice just right.

On the next page is one recipe from the original edition of Celebrations of Life that remains a special favorite dessert: Orange Blossom Basket. This is a favorite dessert at the annual Doll Festival, but it is perfect for classroom celebrations. Although it requires some adult help, it is a huge hit with the children.



Put tea in your smelling bottles. Use rice in your spooning exercises. Walk on the line with arms folded as if wearing a kimono. Bow politely as they do in Japan. Sit quietly, as for a tea party. Say “thank you” and “hello” with bows. Sayonara! Use a sake set for pouring exercises. Sake is rice wine. It is served in a small bottle with small cups that are delicate and perfect for small hands. Put the sake set on a pretty Japanese tray, consisting of one small bottle, four small cups, and a funnel. Let the children pour from the bottle into the cups. They can use the funnel to pour the water back into the bottle from the cups.



ORANGE BLOSSOM BASKET The Orange Blossom Basket is basically a tasty fruit salad served in little baskets cut out of whole orange skins. For each child, you will need one orange. Cut each orange in the shape of a little basket as shown, carefully scooping out the fruit without breaking the handle. Prepare a filling of either orange gelatin or sherbet mixed with bits of oranges or other fruits.

THE PARTY Wear a Japanese kimono. Set the dolls up in the corner. Give the children time to show them to their friends and talk about them. When you sit down for your party, sit Japanese style. Go down on your knees; then lean back. Do this at circle time. Have everybody take off their shoes. Line the shoes up neatly. This is a good tidying exercise, but allow lots of time for it. Put a pretty centerpiece, such as a Japanese vase with cherry blossoms, in the middle of the circle. Serve snacks in small Japanese containers. If you want to be more ambitious, invite a knowledgeable parent to make sushi with the children. Serve the food from a lacquer box. It looks beautiful. Eat slowly and ceremoniously, as they do in Japan. Read Haiku poetry to the children, with Japanese music playing softly in the background. Tell the story of the Emperor Planting Rice. Tell it in your own words.

The Story Of The Emperor Planting Rice “Since Japan is an island in the Pacific Ocean, the sea provides the main source of protein: seafood. The other food grown on land is rice. With so many people living in limited space, the Japanese people have developed great respect for food. Even the Emperor of Japan shares this respect with his people. Every year, he plants a patch of rice in the Imperial Gardens of Tokyo, where he lives. He looks after it, just as the rice farmers do. This is a symbolic act, of course, but it reminds a whole nation of its basic health and survival crop. It also explains to us why Japanese people are appalled when Westerners leave rice in the dish uneaten. It is still treated with reverence and considered the ‘national delicacy.’ Long ago, people were paid in rice. People who had a lot of rice were considered rich and fortunate.”

RESOURCES When Celebrations of Life was first published more than twenty years ago, the internet was not available. There are far too many incredible resources online to list in this article. Plus, by the time we publish this issue, more resources will have become available. For books to add to your school’s library, spend a few minutes (or hours) on Amazon, perusing children’s books about Japan. Or visit your local bookstore or library. Our very big world has become so much closer thanks to the internet. Find great cultural resources online to share with the children in your lives.



by Chelsea Howe, Psy.D.,

The Montessori Foundation

Montessori Teachers: How DO they do it?


’m sitting at home right now, drinking my second coffee of the day. My two boys have finally given in and are taking naps (at the same time!), and all is right with the world. It is a snow day, and this morning, when I saw the cancellation notice with the name of my kids’ school go by at the bottom of the TV screen, I silently sighed. I love my children, but the thought of a whole day snowed in … two against one …all that ‘boy energy’ … another sigh. This is snow day number two. My husband stayed home with them yesterday, and I received several texts from him reassuring me that they were alive (though he was only barely). Then, hours later, I received another text telling me that he was going to get Hudson’s head examined after a mishap with a ‘monorail’ that they had constructed in the house. Sometimes it’s just better not to ask. My husband has a degree in engineering, so a monorail running through the house is entirely possible. Anyway, an hour later, my 15-month old’s forehead was super-glued back together and as good as new. Nothing surprises me with these boys, NOTHING. I don’t know how their Montessori teachers do it and remain positive and upbeat every day. I drop my children off in the morning,

wish them a good day, transition through my own busy work day, and am worn out by the time I return to pick them up. They, on the other hand, are not worn out. I return to school and find my children happy, playing outside, and not ready to go home! In fact, I often get a tantrum about their intense desire to stay at school and play with their friends. And, I get it! I’m not nearly as cool as their peer group. But, I wonder how these teachers do it. I once asked my older son’s teacher if she is exhausted at the end of the day, and she said, “No, they are great.” Either she is a great liar or that woman drinks more coffee than I do! But, I’ve been given the opportunity to observe her, and she is genuinely loving, caring, kind, compassionate, and warm. She speaks to the kids firmly but as though they are people, not kids. When one of them behaves badly, she explains what was wrong with their behavior and shares that they need to apologize. She has a heart of gold and wears it up and down her sleeves. And, the kids love her. One day, I came to pick up my kids, and she shared with me that my lovely child hit another child (as if I ever thought he was an angel). I asked her how she handled the situation so that I can model

my behavior based on hers. She shared the following: “I sat down, eye-level, and said,‘That is not nice. These hands are made for hugs and helping other people, not hitting other people. These hands can do amazing things without hurting others.’” She had him sit in a chair until he had calmed down, walked him to the little boy, and the two hugged while my son said he was sorry.

The main lesson that I continue to learn about parenthood is that it is not easy. It is particularly not easy if you put on your parent goggles and reject the idea of asking for and receiving help. No matter how much you think you know, there will always be ideas and solutions that are new to you and may just be exactly what you and your family need to make life a little bit less stressful.

Seriously?!?!?! How does she do it? At home, my older son will hit my younger one (or vice versa), and he laughs and snickers at me when I attempt to discipline him. But, that’s just it! His teacher attends to him and sees it as an act of communication rather than a reprimand. I have come to realize that we are constantly learning from our teachers, even when they are no longer OUR teachers. These teachers are setting the example of how to interact, inter-personally and intra-personally … with the children and with the parents.

I may be exhausted and sleep deprived, but I am still able to appreciate life’s little lessons that creep up on me, daily. My kids are no angels. But, they are kids. And, I am reminded about the care that their teachers (who actually spend more time with them than we do) give my children when I observe their private moments: laughing, continuously hugging, consoling, and loving them. This is co-parenting at its best. r



BOOK REVIEWS Now, she has once again “hit the nail on the head” when it comes to managing our boundaries and privacy in a world, where so many people feel overwhelmed by social media, emails, and our ‘smart’ phones. Read what Monique Muhlenkamp has to say about Ms Katherine and her latest book:

Boundaries in an Overconnected World: Setting Limits to Preserve Your Focus, Privacy, Relationships, and Sanity by Anne Katherine

“Over the past decade, 24/7 connectivity has given us not only convenience and fun but worries about privacy, interruptions while working or trying to enjoy family or other downtime, and new compulsions – from shopping to tweeting and cute-cat watching. Anne Katherine, one of the authors who brought boundary setting to a mass audience, has now written a book on how to set healthy boundaries with technology.… Learn to protect yourselves online in every way – from predators and data mining as well as time-devouring friends and acquaintances (with emphasis on preserving and optimizing meaningful personal connections). Anyone who has ever wondered if their cute little gadget was actually an enemy invader will welcome Anne’s strategies for ensuring that your life is truly your own.”

Years ago, in the 90s, I read a book titled Boundaries: Where You End and I Begin by Anne Katherine. It was a book that really helped me take a closer look at myself and my relationships with friends, family, and co-workers. When I received an advance copy of Boundaries in an Overconnected World by the same author, I was thrilled! Being a In this book you will find answers to Montessorian and trying to figure out questions about: how to help parents and children with the ‘new’ grace and courtesy lessons §§ Intrusion violations versus gap that we must create in our technoviolations logical world, I am always looking for §§ Fencing Goliath – tips on keeping guidance from others … and now it focused at home and at work is here! §§ Matching the message to the medium Therapist Anne Katherine specializes §§ Tools for diagnosing a violain helping with boundaries, eating distion and setting appropriate orders, and food addiction. She wrote boundaries for preventing a next the first simple book on boundaries occurrence and was talking about food addiction §§ Kids and technology twenty years before most people had §§ How to put a stop to ‘data mining’ even heard of it. She holds a MA in §§ The top five ways, without knowpsychology from Vanderbilt University ing, we weaken our boundaries and has forty years experience as a §§ Before you share; appearance therapist in agencies, hospitals, and and intention and how to protect private practice. your reputation


§§ Constant pecking and

One of the pages illustrates other plants that have cordate leaves as does the morning glory. [Editor’s note: Cordate leaves are shaped like hearts Parents! This book is another ‘must … just in case you didn’t know!] The read’ for your sake and the sake of other page offers additional ideas your children! You can purchase for teachers and parents to explore it now. Guess where? Online or areas related to the story. I am lookin bookstores. ing forward to seeing and using the complete series in our classrooms. The — Reviewed by Lorna McGrath books would be wonderful additions to home libraries as well. The series of four stories can be purchased at checking: what to do if you can’t set boundaries for yourself.

— Reviewed by Lorna McGrath

A Persistent Vine by Han Tran and Christinia Cheung Illustrated by Hsiao-Yen Chi This gorgeously illustrated book is a fictional story about a young girl Ella’s Kitchen: whose identity becomes merged with The Cookbook the morning glory flower. The story line of this book will probably cause Created by Ella’s Kitchen some interesting discussions about and Harris + Wilson the girl and her family. This cookbook is for anyone from inA Persistent Vine is part of a series of fancy on up; however, it is especially books designed to be used with the designed for parents of babies and Botany Cabinet, which is found in young children to have fun creating Montessori classrooms. Its intention is yummy, healthy foods for lunches, to enhance the use of the cabinet and snacks, quick dinners, and light meals. to integrate many other areas of study through making connections between There are 100 yummy recipes that leaves and plants, connecting plants include everything from “First Foods to stories, increasing awareness of in- for Tiny Taste Buds” – mush, mash, ternational geography, reading stories and beyond; “Yummy Lunches and from many historical periods, stimu- Speedy Snacks”; “Dee-licious Dinlating reflection on various issues, ners,” such as Lovely Lasagna, Quick discovering a range of art media, and Quesadillas and Teeny-weeny Turkey encouraging a multi-dimensional in- Burger Bits; and “Perfect Desserts.” tegration of literature and visual arts. The recipes are designed to allow children to participate, and there are I was most impressed by the colors color-in pages, as well as stickers inand artwork in this book. I also ap- cluded in the book. preciated the pages in the back of the book for further resources and study.


BOOK REVIEWS The creators of Ella’s Kitchen, the fast- The following will give you a quick est-growing name in organic baby and sampling from each book. toddler’s food, “think it’s important to always approach things from a child’s Father to Son point of view.” The book is filled with §§ Encourage the joy of learning. wonderful photographs of young chil§§ His favorite game will be playing dren enjoying life, as well as mouthwith you. Be available. watering photos of the foods that you §§ Give him responsibilities. It sepaand your child can create together! rates boys from men. §§ Let him grow up. Ella’s Kitchen: The Cookbook is §§ Teach him to be on time and packed with clever twists, shortcuts, to call if he is going to be late. and imaginative alternatives, and it is Always. full of ideas for getting kids involved! §§ Believe in him. You and your family will really enjoy the creating and eating! Father to Daughter §§ Ask her about her day every day. — Reviewed by Lorna McGrath Share her wonder. §§ Be prepared to be amazed by her accomplishments. §§ Always remember that the most sacred thing shared between a father and daughter is trust. §§ Teach her not to be afraid of boys but to challenge them.

Father to Son and Father to Daughter by Harry H. Harrison, Jr.

Mother to Daughter and Mother to Son

Mother to Daughter §§ Be her mother, not her best friend. §§ Have a girl’s night with her once a month: a night when you paint toenails; watch silly TV shows; laugh; and have fun. §§ Be a strong, confident woman. §§ Be a good wife. You’re shaping her future relationships with men. §§ Help her learn the art of conversation. It will take her everywhere in life.

Mother to Son §§ He will want a bike. He will fall off it. He will live. by Melissa Harrison and Harry H. §§ As wild as they may be, little boys Harrison, Jr. need hugs for security. So give big ones. Four little books packed with humor, §§ Right around the age of three, he common sense, and timeless lessons will heroically start to think he’s your for parents. They would make great protector. This never goes away. gifts for new parents or soon-to-be §§ He’ll always look for you at his parents. Each page contains a snippet game. Sit where he can see you. of wisdom for moms and dads.

You’ve got the idea. Wonderful, little inspirational books that parents can always pick up and open to just the right page! — Reviewed by Lorna McGrath

Jack Goes to Montessori School by Allyson Collins Illustrated by Lindsey R. Smith This charming book was written and illustrated by two Montessori moms from Texas. It is an enjoyable read for Montessori children and an educational read for grown-ups. Written through the eyes of Jack, a young Montessori student, children will recognize their Montessori materials and relate to a day in the life of a fictional, engaging four-year-old child with whom they share common experiences. It is a fun way to explain Montessori to grown-ups who are considering enrolling their child in Montessori or for friends, neighbors, and grandparents who have questions about this mysterious thing called the “Montessori Method.” It is available through Amazon. — Reviewed by Joyce St. Giermaine, Editor

Read Any Good Books Lately? The Montessori Foundation is always looking to share great reads with parents and teachers. If you have a book you would like us to review, please send a copy to: Lorna McGrath c/o The Montessori Foundation 19600 East SR 64 Bradenton, Florida 34212 (books cannot be returned)

Content of books should be relevant to all things Montessori and good parenting. Please remember to include either the website or publisher's information, indicating where this title can be purchased.

We shouldn’t teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. —B.F. Skinner TOMORROW'S CHILD © w JANUARY 2014 w WWW.MONTESSORI.ORG



Flashcards for Toddlers

DEAR CATHIE, I have been considering using flashcards with my young toddler. I read that children can do amazing things by using the flashcard method, and I want to give my child every opportunity to reach her potential! Some of my friends are doing this and say it is a great way to spend time with their child and ensure that their child is learning what she needs to know. When is the best time to start this teaching, and what are the best flashcards to use? — An Excited Mom

Dear Excited Mom,


applaud your enthusiasm and decision to do everything you can to help your daughter reach her potential! I can tell that you are a person who is well-read on parenting and education. As a parent, you will hear about and consider many techniques, ideas, and suggestions regarding your parenting. While each of these may be worth reading about and reflecting upon, not all will be things you will embrace or even try! It is good to ponder such things from many angles, and I am happy to share my thoughts.

though the child may indicate that he enjoys the flashcards and the special time with his parent, he is not choosing that activity. At the heart of the Montessori Method is the belief that children inherently know what they need to do to develop themselves. All children enjoy one-onone time with their parents, and most parents have a limited amount of time to spend with their child. So, while doing flashcards might be interesting and fun (even productive), is that the best way to spend your limited time with your child? Might your time be better spent doing an activity that lets you really see and experience your child’s personality, interests, curiosity, or creativity?

children to learn from their interaction with activities, as well as by experimentation. These thoughts do not apply to older children using flashcards to master math facts or other information. Many students find this a useful technique and even create their own flashcards. This is positive when it is student initiated and self-driven. Many Montessori classrooms have flashcards as part of their shelf work, and the students enjoy quizzing themselves and each other.

Glenn Doman developed the idea of using flashcards to ‘teach’ infants and toddlers. His work began with children who had brain damage, autism, and developmental delays. His institution, The Institute for the Advancement of Human Flashcards are externally adPotential, grew out of this ministered. An adult chooses

So, while it will not hurt your typically developing infant or toddler to spend some time with flashcards, I suggest it is not the best use of your time, your child’s time, or your special time together. Spend time together experiencing nature, visiting museums, playing games, sharing cooking experiences, reading books, buildSo, while it will not hurt your typically developing infant or toddler to ing something, or doing a craft spend some time with flashcards, I suggest it is not the best use of your or a science experiment! You time, your child’s time, or your special time together. and your child will find this time more fulfilling educationwork, and he began applying which flashcards to use, how ally, and you will have shared these techniques to children many cards to present in a ses- experiences and memories. who were developing normally. sion, how fast to change them, and how often to practice Best Wishes, While there is nothing in- them. Time spent using flashherently wrong or damaging cards does not allow the child about using flashcards with time to explore, make sense of your child, you should con- his environment, or practice Cathie Perolman sider some aspects of this ap- developing his own interests. is an experienced proach. For example, a flashMontessori guide card program is a program My last concern is that chil- at the 3-6 level. that is administered to the dren who have had significant She is a Monteschild by the parent. It is done experiences with flashcards sori teacher on the parent’s timetable and may see information as educator and at the decision and will of the something that is decided publisher of educational materiparent. While it is a way for upon and presented to them als. Cathie lives in Columbia, parents and children to spend from the adults in their lives. Maryland. She can be contacted time together, it is scripted While this is one way to get through Tomorrow’s Child at: time in which the child has information, in the Montes- very little input or control. Al- sori Method, we encourage





Quiet Time is Important by Maren Stark-Schmidt

e get so busy doing that we neglect to stop and consider our being. A quote from Kurt Vonnegut reminds me of that innate human need to maintain balance between doing and being. “To be is to do - Socrates To do is to be - Sartre Do Be Do Be Do – Sinatra” When we get the balance between do and be, life is improvisational. Doing gives us experience. Being helps us take the time to assimilate all that we have learned through doing. Taking the time to reflect about what we have done and where we are going lets us decide what to do next. It gives us time to make sure we are doing what we want to do and making the progress we want – not just keeping busy. If we’ve taken a wrong turn, pausing to ‘be’ will help us make some important realizations; if we’re headed in the wrong direction, we don’t need to go faster. We need to stop. Our be-ing informs our do-ing. Quiet time is important for our children to take their experiences (their doing) and assimilate those experiences into their being. We (child and adult) need a place and time to simply ‘be’ – a place where we can stop in solitude and gather our thoughts while having time to examine those thoughts.

lesson in order to maximize their learning or prevent them from being bored. Instead of trying to cram learning with activity after activity, it is better to have an environment where children can quietly explore, investigate and inquire with help from a guide. If a child is interested in looking at rocks, an adult can offer a bit of information by perhaps pointing out the different structure of the rocks (igneous, sedimentary or metamorphic) and then retreat, offering the child the quiet opportunity to do further exploration, think, or simply consolide new and old information.

A child’s learning is deeper when it comes from within versus being forced by using flash cards, worksheets, questioning, and on and on.

Children need opportunities to simply sit, rest, observe, quietly explore, and be. We need to offer a balance between activity and tranquil, undisturbed time.

If we each look at our individual style of learning, we’ll perhaps see that we learn best when we choose our activity, do it to our satisfaction, and then have a period of rest or contemplation to unify our thoughts. When I’m mentally stuck during a project, a quiet walk helps me consolidate new ideas and incubate my impressions into intentions.

Children bustle off to gym class, to swim, to dance, to lesson after

Children’s learning and growing also need this time to consoli-

date new experiences and then to choose what activity to do next to create meaningful learning. By the process of selecting what to do, our children reveal to us who they are. With time to choose, learning becomes personal and powerful. Through their choices, our children are telling us their likes, their dislikes, their interests, their passions, their weaknesses, and their strengths. It all begins with being quiet and having time that is unencumbered with activities that aren’t evaluated, judged, or prioritized by adults. When we fill our children’s days with busy work that does not tap into our being’s powerful way to learn through quiet reflection and choice, we do our children a disservice. Our children need quiet time to let actions and thoughts sort out and result in robust learning and growth. For optimum development, we each need quiet time,


to sit and think, and time to do nothing. Quiet time is important. Do Be Do Be Do. A reminder to take some time to simply ‘be.’ r Maren StarkSchmidt is an award winning teacher, writer, and founder of a Montessori school. She holds a Masters of Education from Loyola College, has over 30 years experience working with young children, and holds teaching credentials from the Association Montessori Internationale. She currently writes a syndicated parenting column, available at www.KidsTalkNews. com and is author of Understanding Montessori: A Guide For Parents, and Building Cathedrals Not Walls. Contact her at and visit



I Just Want Him to Be Smart: The Problem with Labels by RB Fast


s parents we all have the same primary, long- term concern for our children: we want them to be successful people who lead fulfilling lives. As a society, we have collectively defined those qualities that we most admire in others, and we have used them to define what makes a person ‘successful.’ Some of those qualities include: being smart, attractive, friendly, strong, and creative. Although these are all positive qualities that we regularly see in people, we have turned them into something more concerning: labels. The 1970s marked a turning point in the culture of parenting in America. This is when the concept of parenting for self-esteem became the norm. Parents began to teach their children to feel good about themselves and believe in themselves so that they could see the infinite possibilities for success in their lives. This practice has resulted in parents working to give their children positive labels to live up to. At this point, I would like to clarify that I think self-esteem is fantastic and important, but it needs to be built in a way that is intentional and approaches the child as a whole being. When a child is given a label, be it positive or negative, the child begins to define himself as that label. The child will work very hard to ensure that everyone can see that he can live up to his label, and he will shy away from any situation that might challenge that label. It is easy to see this example when it comes to the way children are sometimes negatively labeled. For example, the class ‘bad boy’ would be the last person to volunteer for a school improvement activity, even if it involved something that


interested him. This is because it would compromise the niche that he has, and it is a very scary thing to step out of a social niche, especially in school. The same situations can arise when we put ‘positive’ labels on children. We are so concerned with helping our children feel good about themselves that we talk them into situations where they feel so imprisoned by their label, that they ultimately end up restricting the possibilities of their own lives out of fear. One of the most common positive labels that we use in our culture is ‘beautiful’ or ‘pretty.’ We are especially focused on developing strong self-esteem in our girls when it comes to their physical self-image. An easy way to try to do this is to repeatedly tell them how pretty they are. It is true that the child will believe that she is pretty, but she will also begin to believe that this ‘pretty’ thing is very important, because people tell her about it all the time. This, then, becomes so important to the child that she can become afraid to ever not be pretty. This fear shows itself in the form of young girls who won’t be seen in public without full make-up, won’t eat in front of boys, or won’t participate in activities that they would enjoy because of fear of how their body might look while doing it. Most often, these girls are extremely ‘pretty’ people, but they are paralyzed by their need to maintain the perception of beauty, and it causes them to struggle in other areas of their life. The other label that can be incredibly hurtful to a child’s long-term success is ‘smart.’ We all want our kids to be smart. The fact is all of our kids are smart. They are inquisitive and creative, and they

absorb all of the knowledge we give them with a full acceptance of it as the truth. There was a very interesting study about using the ‘smart’ label with fourth-grade children. These children were given a very simple puzzle to complete. One group of children was told that they must have completed the puzzle successfully because they were smart; one group was told they were successful because they tried hard. Then they were given a second puzzle that was much more difficult. Most of the children in the ‘smart’ group refused to try the puzzle. All of the children in the ‘tried-hard’ group tackled the puzzle enthusiastically. The ‘smart’ label seemed to create a fear in the children that if they weren’t successful at the difficult puzzle, people wouldn’t think they were smart anymore, so they chose to not compromise their label by not trying.

We want our children to be happy, well-rounded, successful people. However, our job is to let them know that we believe in them and allow them to define themselves and their place in the world. I want my daughter to tackle her life with enthusiasm, and it is my hope that she never stops herself from trying something new because she fears that it will alter someone else’s definition of who she is. We can all work to emphasize hard work and good choices with a respect for self, others, and environment. Then, we can rest assured that our children are constructing themselves with genuine self-esteem. r “The word education must not be understood in the sense of teaching but of assisting the psychological development of the child.” –Dr. Maria Montessori


Where Do We Go from Here? by Tim Seldin, President, The Montessori Foundation


hanks to people just like us, my grandchildren (and your children) will have the opportunity to graduate from a Montessori high school. Our youngest grandchild, Hudson, is only 15 months old. He has been a Montessori student since he was 10-weeks-old, and he is blossoming. Fifteen months old? Why are we thinking about his high school education now? For that matter, why should you? The answer is simple. Today, there are only about 100 Montessori high schools in the US, compared to more than 5,000 Montessori schools in America as a whole. This means that most Montessori students will have to transfer to a conventional public or private middle or high school when they ‘outgrow’ the programs offered in their Montessori schools.

Will they be successful? Yes, in terms of grades, but for most, before long, the light in their eyes will fade away and school will become what many educational professionals refer to as a ‘race to nowhere.’ Assignments and tests will come, be done, and soon be forgotten in an endless blur. Many ‘good’ students get tired of running on a treadmill, burn out, and ask, “Why am I working so hard to get a job that I may not even enjoy?” Burnout may happen in high school; it could come in college; or it may show up in mid-life. Burnout happens for many bright and supposedly ‘successful’ young people much more often than most of us want to admit. On the other hand, in more and more schools, like the NewGate School in Sarasota, Florida, students have a choice. [Editor’s Note: NewGate is The Montessori Foundation’s Lab School.]

The Montessori High School

Students at NewGate can start in Montessori as toddlers and go all the way to graduation in 12th grade. Nationally and around the world, students who are able to remain in Montessori seem to never lose their sense of wonder and love for learning, creating, and building. They innovate. They collaborate. They celebrate their lives. If you’ve known any Montessori graduates, you’ve probably seen this for yourself. In Montessori high schools like NewGate, we are working to revolutionize the way we educate teenagers in America and abroad. Here’s a shockingly simple concept: Secondary education does not need to dehumanize adolescents any more than early childhood and elementary programs need to destroy children’s creativity and joy for learning! That’s why we spend so much time and energy working to


Secondary education does not need to dehumanize adolescents any more than early childhood and elementary programs need to destroy children’s creativity and joy for learning! ensure that, when he is ready for high school, there will be a Montessori high school program ready for Hudson and for all


SOME BASIC ELEMENTS OF SECONDARY MONTESSORI PROGRAMS Montessori high schools are organized into small communities (often referred to as ‘houses’) ranging in size from 30 to 75 students. Each ‘house’ will typically have a team of Secondary Montessori teachers, who work with this community of learners on a full-time basis. While students may also take courses from other teachers, this team of adults serves as their advisors, mentors, and primary teachers. Ideally, each house will have its own suite of classrooms and common meeting areas. Montessori Secondary programs are typically organized in one of two ways. If the program is organized into three ‘houses,’ each covers a two-year grade span: ages 12 to 14 (7th & 8th grade); ages 14 to 16 (9th & 10th grade); and ages 16 to 18 (11th & 12th grade). A different choice would be to organize the Secondary program into two ‘houses,’ each covering a three-year grade span: ages 12 to 15 (7th to 9th grade] and ages 15 to 18 (10th to 12th grade). While students normally have friends at every grade level, each ‘house’ is a small ‘school within a school.’ Daily Meetings: Students and teachers gather every day in a Town Meeting, where they learn how to work together as a team, present their thoughts honestly and effectively, resolve disagreements, compromise, and reach consensus. This creates a real sense of community.

our Montessori children, across America and around the world. A growing number of Montessori schools have gone a step further and also offer Montessori high school programs that are integrated with the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programs, giving students the opportunity to receive an IB diploma that is recognized and welcomed around the world.

A bit of historical perspective … The first Montessori secondary schools were founded in Europe in the 1930s. In the United States, a number of secondary programs organized along Montessori principles developed as early as the 1940s, but they did not openly use Montessori’s name. In the 1970s, a number of early adolescent programs, openly identified as being “Montessori influenced,” were established in


the United States, including: The Barrie School in Silver Spring, Maryland; Near North Montessori in Chicago, Illinois; the Ruffing Montessori School and Hershey Montessori School outside Cleveland, Ohio; Lake Country Montessori School in Minneapolis, Minnesota; and the Columbus Montessori School in Columbus, Ohio. Two early Montessori secondary programs are no longer in operation: the Montessori Farm School in Half Moon Bay (California) and the Erdkinder School near Atlanta (Georgia). In 1982, my alma mater, the Barrie School outside Washington, DC, became the first Montessori High School program to be officially recognized by the American Montessori Society. That year, the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies in Silver Spring (MD) and the Dallas Montessori Teacher Education Program in Dallas (TX) opened the first Montessori Secondary teacher education programs.

Curriculum: Faculty and students typically follow a carefully considered core curriculum in the humanities and sciences, designed to both prepare students for college and help them form a sense of the big picture of our world and culture: how knowledge was discovered; how it is used in everyday life; and how apparently separate ‘subjects’ fit together. The goal is to help our students learn what we cover in depth, rather than skip through material so quickly that it is soon forgotten. Secondary Montessori teachers begin with respect for the child, respect for the family, and respect for all life. Respect permeates a Montessori school. It produces the warm, comfortable tone for which our schools are best known. We assume that our students are responsible and capable, that they have within them the ability to succeed, and that our task is not simply to teach from the book, but to facilitate their learning and help them get the most from their education. While our standards are high, we don’t believe that competition and stress are the best ways to motivate learning. Over and over again, students hear us say that our primary goal is to challenge them to think — really think! Structure of the School Day: A typical aspect of Secondary Montessori programs is that the school week will be designed to encourage students to learn how to plan and structure their time. The schedule almost always includes unscheduled work periods for individual and group tasks, as well as labs, seminars, lectures, and group projects and committees. Montessori recognizes that people learn in different ways and at different paces. While much of our learning involves group discussions and projects, when possible, the programs allow for a great deal of flexibility. Students can often spend more time on areas that they find difficult and move ahead more quickly in those subjects in which they excel. Beyond that, we encourage students to pursue areas of special interest. We encourage them to collaborate and work together.


Montessori Secondary teachers believe in letting students know their goals and objectives for successful learning right from the start. Together, teachers and students develop the best path to achieve these goals in accordance with their individual learning styles. Students learn how to pace themselves and take responsibility for their work — skills that are critical to success in college. Learning in Montessori rarely involves passively sitting back and listening to a teacher talk. We do sometimes lecture, but, more often, Montessori Secondary teachers facilitate learning through hands-on experiences, seminar discussions, and individual research. There are all sorts of activities at the high school level: field trips; internships; special projects; research and investigation; and dramatic ‘re-creation’ experiences. This kind of learning asks students to get involved, question, and think! Above all, it is rarely boring. Immersion Learning: Most Montessori Secondary programs build immersion-learning experiences into the school year. This allows them to extend the curriculum through full-day or week-long integrated projects and experiences that would never be possible in a traditional schedule. Some schools build one ‘extension day’ a week into the school calendar; others may work on a rotating calendar with a week of immersion experience scheduled every six weeks. There are many ways immersion-learning experiences can be designed, but the purpose is to get students and teachers out of the classroom and into the community: to museums; galleries; the theater; university libraries; courtrooms; local governments; laboratories; and outdoors! These experiences lead students to see society in the making and learn first hand from the men and women who are making history. Most Montessori schools use immersion-learning programs to work on special projects or to study issues in-depth. Students contact and visit government agencies, public-interest groups, and relevant industries. They pour through public records and interview key public figures. They assemble information and attempt to interpret the big picture. Students form their own opinions and defend them in class in spirited debates. Lessons in Practical Life/Occupations and Student Businesses: Lessons in practical life skills continue from early childhood through secondary. In adolescence, the skills that we teach focus on real-life situations, from interpersonal relations to cooking; making repairs; working with tools; planning parties and events; packing for trips; running businesses; managing money; bookkeeping; caring for animals; and so much more. These experiences vary from school to school, but (by definition) they are ultimately lessons that students enjoy, respond to, and find empowering. Naturally, they are always appropriate to the situation and culture that surrounds the school. Some schools sponsor student-run businesses, such as the fully licensed “Wake up Montessori” breakfast café run by the middle school students at Sun Grove Montessori School in Fort Pierce, Florida. Others run a full-scale farm program, such as the Hershey Montessori Farm School in Huntsville, Ohio. One of the great lessons during these years is to work together in teams and as a community. Students need to learn to be dependable, to plan and follow through, to be good leaders and followers, and to work with integrity. If part of the task is to care for the chickens, the consequence of forgetting to feed the chickens will have serious repercussions. The counterpoint is the lesson that everyone plays important roles completing meaningful work and that we are all interdependent. Adolescents need to feel connected to others, and cherish the feeling of belonging to a caring community. This is one of the key elements that makes Montessori Secondary so special, and it is often the inspiration of students’ self-confidence and internal motivation to succeed. Community Service and Internship Programs: Community service and internship experiences are other aspects of Montessori Secondary programs. At certain points of the year, students engage in internships in the business, professional, or public-interest communities. They can be found: interning at a local charity; volunteering at the local zoo; assisting in doctors’ offices, architecture firms, veterinarians’ clinics, radio stations, newspapers, hospitals, retail businesses; volunteering in shelters for the homeless, day-care centers for victims of Alzheimer’s disease; and assisting in the school’s elementary classrooms. Many students develop long-term relationships at their internship sites. Students also begin to think about their career interests; as they discover their ability to make a difference in the world, they become more self-confident and independent. Travel: Many Montessori Secondary programs take at least one major out-of-town field-study trip over the course of the year. These trips could be somewhere within the country or an international adventure. Montessori education is worldwide, and we have sister schools throughout Europe, Asia, and South America. With our strong orientation toward ecological studies, Montessori Secondary programs also tend to sponsor camping, canoeing, and sailing expeditions during the course of the year. Students typically use the profits from their school businesses to help defray the costs of travel.


During the 1980s, a number of other programs for young adolescents opened in the United States and Canada, including: the Franciscan Earth School in Portland (Oregon); the School of the Woods in Houston (Texas); St. Joseph’s Montessori in Columbus (Ohio); the Toronto Montessori School in Ontario, Canada; and the Athens Montessori School in Athens (Georgia). Today Montessori Secondary programs have developed in hundreds of public, charter, and independent Montessori schools in the United States and Canada.

Redefining Adolescent Education Montessori education is the fastest growing organized system of education in the world. Even though Montessori is best known for its success with younger students, Montessori Secondary educators are working to design replicable programs that will spread around the world. We are literally re-writing the playbook on how middle and high schools may look tomorrow, and we are doing it our way ... the Montessori way! One of the most basic principles of Montessori education is the call to design schools that truly meet the developmental needs and personality of children at each stage of human development. We believe that schools should be centered around their students as people, rather than organized around the demands of administrative efficiency. As a physician doing pioneering work on brain development and child psychology, Dr. Montessori recognized that the primary developmental tasks of adolescence are social, emotional, and spiritual. She observed that teenagers often find it difficult to concen-


trate on their studies; their lives are not centered on school work, but on learning how to be comfortable around one another. If you have any doubt of the truth of that premise, observe the importance of social media in the lives of our teens. She proposed that the ultimate objective of secondary education must not be limited to preparing students to enter college or the workforce; instead, we need to give them an ‘education for life.’ The primary goal of middle and high school education must, therefore, be to help teenagers to discover, accept, and confirm their self-worth as individuals.

Contemporary insights into adolescent brain development show that, in teenagers, the prefrontal cortex (the brain region responsible for making complex judgments and considering outcomes) is not yet mature, which explains why many teenagers can be so impulsive and illogical. The poor judgment and impulse control of teenagers can be explained by normal processes of adolescent brain development. In addition, compound the situation with adolescent hormonal changes, and it is easy to see why adolescents are profoundly influenced by peer-group pressure. If they fall in with the wrong crowd, young people may find themselves making some very poor choices. This is much more common than most parents of teenagers realize or want to accept; however, in small, close-knit, and supportive settings during this very vulnerable period, adolescents are given a better opportunity to grow into confident, warm, accepting, and supportive adults. Montessori Secondary programs can take many forms. In general, most tend to have a few hundred students at most. The defining element is the creation of a protected community of students


She observed that teenagers often find it difficult to concentrate on their studies; their lives are not centered on school work but on learning how to be comfortable around one another. and adults, a social laboratory in which adolescents can clarify their values, build strong interpersonal relationships, and learn to communicate their thoughts and feelings articulately and maturely to one another.

Why Large High Schools Are Not Designed to Meet the Needs of Adolescents

The schools in which we place teenagers tend to be large, impersonal, and filled with bored, apathetic, over-worked, and overstressed, students. We ignore teenagers’ developmental needs and focus as if they were already

in college—ready for serious academic life. We try to motivate them with the fear of not getting into good schools, while attempting to distract them with athletics.


As we continue the Montessori approach to education and more and more children and families are exposed to it, communities will begin to change and as the communities change, the nation will change.

Brain Development

Most people assume that large high schools are a basic part of growing up. I disagree.

That’s how I drive education forward. RHONDA LUCAS-SABATER, M.ED. ’08

Even though most Americans take them for granted, large contemporary middle and high schools are poorly designed to meet the developmental needs of adolescents. Adolescence is a period of life, where the primary challenge is to become much more independent, mature, emotionally balanced, socially skilled, and responsible.

Founder and Principal, Shining Stars Montessori Academy, PCS Washington, D.C.






The Marriage of Two Good Ideas: Montessori and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program is recognized worldwide for academic excellence. It provides structure, credibility, accountability, and flexibility. Montessorians understand the needs for providing the environment and guidance necessary for adolescents to flourish, giving students the tools that speak to them in human terms at times and in ways when they are developmentally ready to process and make the most of their secondary educational experience. Merging the best of what both programs have to offer results in a transformative experience. The Montessori Foundation is committed to finding a better way to meet the needs of our adolescents. We know that we need to prepare them for the future, but we are also committed to preserving what their early years in Montessori have given them to help them develop into the human beings we so desperately need for our next generation of innovative leaders and peacemakers.

The Montessori Leadership Institute

12 WEEK COURSES Building a World Class Montessori School Jan 5 - Apr 2, 2014 UPATED AND REVISED! Overview of Montessori Principles & Curriculum (for non-Montessori trained heads of Montessori schools) Summer 2014 6 WEEK COURSES NEW! Building Enrollment & Community Jan 15 - Feb 26, 2014

An excellent and convenient way to gain new leadership skills and understanding, no matter what your current level of experience and Montessori background happens to be. Learn on your computer, in your own office or home, lead by Tim Seldin and Sharon Caldwell of The Montessori Foundation.

Special discounts for IMC member schools’ staff and for multiple attendees from the same school. For more information:

Montessori School Boards Jan 15 - Feb 26, 2014 Starting a Montessori School from the Ground Up Jan 15 - Feb 26, 2014 Curriculum Theory & Montessori Applications Jan 15 - Feb 26, 2014

At our lab school (NewGate) we are literally re-writing the curriculum. We are almost there and hope to announce our accreditation as a Montessori-IB Diploma program this year. When that happens, we will share the challenges and outcomes with readers of Tomorrow’s Child and Montessori educators around the world. At NewGate, and more and more Montessori schools across the United States, Canada, and the world, there is an answer to the question that Montessori parents ask us every day: “Our children’s Montessori school ends at the eighth grade. Where do we go from here?”

5237 Ashton Road, Sarasota, FL 34232 (941) 922-4949 §


Montessori High School, of course!r TOMORROW'S CHILD © w JANUARY 2014 w WWW.MONTESSORI.ORG


CLASSIFIEDS Montessori Teachers (Toddlers through 12th grade) (FL) The NewGate School in Sarasota, the Lab School of The Montessori Foundation, continues to grow, and we anticipate that we will have openings available on our faculty at every age level from toddlers through the 12th grade. We are always looking for outstanding Montessori educators who would like to join our closeknit Montessori learning community. Interested in learning more? Visit NewGate online at www. or learn more about the work of The Montessori Foundation at Write to Tim Seldin, President of The Montessori Foundation and New Gate School at timseldin@ For more information telephone 561-745-1995.

Administrative Director We are seeking a dynamic, enthusiastic individual with strong administrative and interpersonal skills, along with a track record of leadership. A Bachelor’s Degree and experience is required. Montessori background is preferred.

Montessori Administrator (NC) Immediate opening for experienced Montessori administrator in an established Montessori and charter pre-K-8 school in Morrisville, NC.The successful applicant will possess initiative, leadership, management, and organizational skills. In addition, the ability to problem solve and communicate effectively with staff, parents, children, and board of directors is imperative. Position requires at least 5 years as a lead teacher and 3 years as an administrator and is designed to lead to Executive Director position on the retirement of the current ED. Salary commensurate with experience. Please visit our website at http:// for more information. Campus Director/Associate Head of School (beginning July 1, 2014) (VA) The Montessori School of Northern Virginia (Annandale, VA) is seeking a Montessori certified Early Childhood leader with significant teaching and administrative experience. We are a non-profit, dual campus school located outside Washington, D.C. The Campus Director oversees all operations at our Valleybrook Campus and works closely with the Head on whole-school planning, decisions, and implementation. For details seehttp:// HEAD OF SCHOOL (CO) Children’s Garden Montessori School, Denver, CO Contact: Jayne Palu, Search Committee Chair cgmontessorihos@ Start Date: June, 2014.

Competitive Salary and benefits provided. Send resumes and cover letters to lazarian@turtleriver-

Children’s Garden Montessori School (CGMS) is seeking a talented leader and educator as its

Montessori Teachers & Administrative Director (FL) Turtle River Montessori in Jupiter, Florida, a well-established Montessori school with two beautiful campuses serving over 250 children ranging in age from 2 years old through Middle School is currently accepting applications. Located in a beautiful beach community north of Miami in a state-of-the-art Leed’s certified building. Teachers Pre-primary (2-3), Primary (3-6), elementary (6-9 and 9-11) and Middle School professionals. Interested candidates must have Montessori teaching credential and a Bachelors Degree, experienced preferred.


Head of School (HOS), commencing with the 2014/15 school year when our current Head of School retires. We are in our 40th year, providing nurturing and childcentered Montessori education to students aged 18 months to 6 years. The HOS serves as the school’s chief executive, responsible for overseeing all aspects of the school’s operation and implementing its educational mandate and strategic priorities. The new HOS will join a successful, vibrant preschool and will work with dedicated teachers, experienced administrative and admissions personnel, and committed board members in guiding CGMS into its next chapter. To learn more about this opportunity, interested candidates should visit the school’s website at http:// head-school-search/. Director (CT) The Montessori School, located in Fairfield County, CT, seeks a committed Director to lead a community of children, ages of fourteen months through eighth grade, 39 faculty, and 12 staff. The position description may be accessed at Montessori.pdf. Please send a cover letter expressing interest, a resume, a statement of educational philosophy, and five references to marguerite.lloyd@carneysandoe. com or Part Time Middle School Math Teacher (CA) Casa di Mir Montessori School (Campbell, CA) is seeking a credentialed Montessori teacher. The ideal candidate will possess a current California teaching credential in math or related subject and have at least two years’ experience teaching adolescents. We are seeking a mature

and enthusiastic individual with excellent English-language communication skills and the ability to work effectively as part of a team. Please visit our website at to learn more about our school. Please email your letter of introduction and resume to ATTN: Karen Schuler. Montessori Teacher for Private Tutor/Nanny (United Arab Emirates) A private family in Abu Dhabi (UAE) requires a qualified Montessori teacher as a full-time tutor for their 4-year-old son. The candidate must have experience in Montessori methods/equipment and early-childhood care, be fluent in English with excellent communication skills, a positive demeanor, be trustworthy and reliable. This is an amazing lifestyle opportunity to experience a culturally rich and diverse part of the world for a 1 or 2 year contract. To be considered you must have: ¡ Montessori Teaching Qualification ¡ Early Childhood teaching experience Remuneration: ¡ Salary USD $40,000 (paid tax free), negotiable on experience ¡ Accommodation Provided ¡ Annual Air Ticket ¡ Medical Insurance Start Date: Immediate / ASAP To Apply: Send your CV and a recent photograph to: Montessori Teachers (FL) Come be a part of our dynamic teaching team! Palm Harbor Montessori Academy is located on the beautiful west coast of Florida close to shopping, airports, cultural activities and sandy beaches. Located on a beautiful 5-acre campus, we serve children ages 1-14. Our ideal candidates should be Montessori


CLASSIFIEDS (cont.) trained with a background in education. Please send resume, letter of interest and salary requirements to . Founding Head of School (AZ) This is an exciting opportunity for a Founding Head of School Creo = “Creativity:”The Creoō Montessori School will open in the fall of 2014. It is being founded by a small group of committed Montessori parents, who are working closely with The Montessori Foundation to develop a world-class Montessori school from the ground up. Gilbert, Arizona is a town that flourishes as a forward-looking, family oriented community with a small-town atmosphere. Gilbert has the resources to grow as a quality community. It is weleducated, and young families are finding in Gilbert a perfect place to raise their families. Creo has chosen Gilbert as its location, since there is a great need for private, secular, forwardthinking schools. Creo will be one of the only private schools in the area and the only Private Montessori Elementary School within a 10-mile radius. Creo plans to open with Early Childhood and Elementary, extending upward through the Secondary level. The school is affiliated with the International Montessori Council and the American Montessori Society. Creo is looking for a Montessori educational leader with the right balance of charisma, vision, professional education, and experience in Montessori leadership, recruitment, community building, and public-relations skills that will ensure that he/ she will lead the Creo Montessori School through its crucial first few years and beyond. The

position begins July 1, 2014. Please send your resume to Tim Seldin, President of The Montessori Foundation, at Elementary Guides (AZ) Creo Montessori School (see above ad) is looking for Lower and Upper Elementary Montessori teachers to work in a bilingual English/Spanish program. Our plan is for at least one Montessori guide in each class to be a native (or fluent) Spanish speaker. Our school will be a closeknit and stable community, and we particularly value a balance of charisma, patience, energy, vision, professional education, and effective communication skills. Positions require AMI/AMI or IMC Elementary Montessori certification, a 4-year college degree, and successful Montesssori teaching experience. We will begin August 1, 2014.

Email your resume to Tim Seldin, President of The Montessori Foundation, at timseldin@ Questions? Feel free to call Tim’s cell at 941.914.4103. It’s never too late to place a classified ad with Tomorrow’s Child. If you miss our print deadline we will post your ad on our website. Ads are $2 per word with a $50 minimum. Simply email your ad to TCMAG@ MONTESSORI.ORG exactly as you want it to read. Don Dinsmore, our office manager will email you back a contract. Once paid your ad will go on the website and make it into our next print version. It’s that simple.

The Montessori Foundation Bookshelf offers a wide collection of hard-to-find publications, videos, and software about Montessori education and of special interest to Montessori school administrators, board members, teachers, and parents. Here are our 4 top sellers: The Montessori Way by Tim Seldin & Paul Epstein, Ph.D. The book is what we refer to as the encyclopedia of Montessori. It’s so well read that it’s used in training centers around the globe and always a favorite gift for new parents. The World in the Palm of Her Hand by Tim Seldin This oldie but goodie was updated a few years ago. It's a fabulous curriculum resource book for brand new teachers to seasoned guides. It’s a History and Geography curriculum for ages 2.5-7. Also mandatory reading for most training center students. How To Raise An Amazing Child by Tim Seldin This book makes the perfect babyshower gift to new parents. Written from the heart, Tim recounts Montessori lessons he learned along the way as a parent himself. The Observer’s Notebook by Paul Epstein, Ph.D. For any classroom guide, regardless of years in the classroom, this book is a must. It’s being used by training centers around the globe and is being translated into other languages. To purchase any of these books, just go to home page and enter the bookstore or contact: margot@montessori. org. Training centers get a discount on bulk orders and need to contact Margot.



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

Leave a Legacy

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

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

The Montessori Foundation

Montessori THE



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

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

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



Now There Are Three Ways to Purchase Tomorrow’s Child: The Magazine with Benefits! The Montessori Foundation always strives to help schools and parent organizations provide the most cost effective ways to get Tomorrow’s Child magazine into the hands of parents. At the same time, in oureffort to conserve natural resources and save trees, we’d like to introduce Tomorrow’s Child, the electronic version.

1 Standing Bulk Orders for the 2014/15 School Year

Tomorrow’s Child magazine is the best way for schools to help parents stay connected on key issues in Montessori. Articles on parenting, research, how Montessori is done internationally, schools showcasing their uniqueness, graduate achievements and valuable calendar of events make this one of the most widely read Montessori resources worldwide. Administrators who put the cost of the magazine into their tuition understand that the benefits far exceed the minimal cost. When parents are informed and embrace the time tested & proven results that a Montessori education can bring to their families they will thank you! We greatly discount the print version to our schools. In the US a standing bulk order costs just $16.00** per family per year. 50 minimum in a standing bulk order. That’s just $800.00** annually! (Should your school have fewer than 50 families call our main office at 800-655-5843 to get approval for a smaller quantity.) Standing Bulk Order subscribers will also have access to Tomorrow’s Child OnLine (see inset).* **TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL AND PAY JUST $13.75 PER FAMILY FOR THE YEAR. Orders must be paid in full before 5/31/14.

2 Individual Orders (Print)

You may purchase our regular print version, same as always or you may sign up for the electronic version by using this form or by going through our publication center’s online bookstore at .

Those with current print subscriptions will continue to receive the publication mailed to their addresses.

3 Individual Orders (Electronic)

When you subscribe to the electronic version you will be emailed a link to Tomorrow’s Child OnLine’s parent resource center along with a user name and password. Remember, the electronic version is not for our current standing bulk order subscribers, but for those who wish to have an individual subscription sent electronically. Each time we publish an issue, you will receive an email notifying you that the electronic version is ready for you to access through TCOL. Log on, go to the TCOL page and you’re ready to read. Just turn the pages using the arrow. It’s that easy and sounds just like you are flipping pages in a print magazine. Electronic subscribers will also have access to Tomorrow’s Child OnLine (see inset)*.

Tomorrow’s Child OnLine *Free Benefit for Standing Bulk Order & Electronic Subscribers Tomorrow’s Child OnLine, the parent resource center provides you with many other free articles and video presentations on effective parenting and how to incorporate a Montessori way of life into your daily family routines. Hosted by the Foundation’s Parent Education Director, Lorna McGrath, there are many short video clips on critical issues of parenting. This added benefit is available to bulk subscribers and electronic subscribers.

Contact Information:

Make checks payable to: The Montessori Foundation.

Mail to: 19600 E. State Road 64, Bradenton, FL 34212. Fax: 941 745 3111. Schools needing invoices, please contact:

The Foundation always strives to keep printing costs under control as well as conserve resources and, therefore, we no longer keep an inventory of back issues nor large quantities of the most current issue. We will always try and fulfill new standing bulk orders with the most currently released issue. If that isn’t possible, we’ll start your order with the next one in the cycle and pro-rate your order.



Order Form

Standing Bulk Orders (SBO) for the 2014/15 school year Order Now & Take Advantage of Our Early Bird Special (Offer Expires 5/31/2014)

❒ For USA Orders_____subscriptions X $16.00 $13.75 US funds TOTAL DUE____________ Your SBO will start with the September 2014 issue ( subject to availability). SBO’s are for schools with 50 or more families. Schools with fewer than 50 families need to call our main office at 800-655-5843 for approval. Schools requesting a PO or located outside of the USA please call 800-655-5843 or email for pricing information.

Individual Subscriptions: Print Version

Tomorrow’s Child ... is published four times per year: September, November, January, and April.

Special Sale ... While Supplies Last!

I would like an individual subscription starting with the most current issue. ❒ For USA Orders_________subscription X $30.00 per year, US funds ❒ For Outside USA Orders_____subscription X $45.00 per year, US funds TOTAL DUE_______ Individual Subscriptions: Electronic Version ❒ Yes, please send me the electronic version of Tomorrow’s Child

magazine. I understand I will need to provide a unique email address that will accept the notices announcing a new issue is ready to be read.

For anywhere, worldwide _____subscription X $20.00 per, US funds TOTAL DUE______

Newly Revised Special Expanded Issue!!!!!

Our special double issue that combines our two most popular publications: Montessori 101: What Every Montessori Parent Should Know and A Guided Tour of the Montessori Classroom. 72 pages with more than 200 pictures was updated and reformatted and in stock ready for you to order. Montessori 101: Special Expanded Version 1-34 copies USA $15 Now $7 (plus s/h) Outside USA $15 Now $7 (plus s/h)

35 copies in a box Special $225 (includes USPS Shipping) $280 (includes USPS Shipping)

#Copies_____________ x General Price $__________ = TOTAL DUE______________ Credit Card Number:__________________________________Expiration Date:__________ Email Address (please print): _________________________________________________ Name on Card:___________________________________________________________ Shipping address: (For orders over 35, we reserve the right to ship using FEDEX or USP and will quote pricing before sale completed) For your convenience, we continue to accept Contact Person’s Name:____________________________________________________ payment by credit card: Visa, Mastercard, School Name:___________________________________________________________ Discover or American Express. Please remember: Tomorrow’s Child is a copyright-protected publication. Duplication of the magazine in any form without permission is prohibited by law and prevented by your integrity.


Mailing Address:_________________________________________________________ City:_____________________ State:______ Country_______ Zip Code:__________ Daytime phone number, in case we cannot reach you by email: (We never sell your information. But if we have a question regarding your credit card we will call.)_______________________




The Montessori Foundation 19600 E SR 64 • Bradenton, FL 34212

Online Montessori Record Keeping Software Classroom Management | School Administration | Parent Communication *Includes Comprehensive Scope & Sequence with Common Core Alignment!

Record daily classroom activity & observations in mere seconds from ANY web-enabled device! No cumbersome steps, no needlessly long learning curve. MC is a great solution for busy Montessori Educators who are seeking a record keeping solution that just works. All record keeping data is saved and tagged to student profiles in real-time. Progress reports can be generated instantly and parent communication has never been easier. MC includes a comprehensive Montessori Scope & Sequence (Infant - Age 12) with CCSS alignment. In addition, parentfriendly descriptions & photos of Montessori materials are available to help educate the parent alongside the child.

Classroom Management Features: Record Keeping Classroom Observations Attendance Lesson Plans Customized Trackers & Much More!


Montessori Compass is the user-friendly online record keeping system you have been searching for!

School Management Features: Student Profiles Messaging School Calendar Real-Time Student Metrics Standards Alignment & Much More!

Parent Communication Features: Online Parent Portal Classroom Photos Daily/Weekly Activity Reports Comprehensive Progress Reports School Directory & Much More!


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