montessori

some new updates on my class, in no particular order:

we are very interested in telling time, and good at it.  i probably should have started the older children on the concepts of o’clock and half-past sooner in the year, but it’s taken a long time for everyone to settle into the basics of grace and courtesy, and even classroom routines that the five-year-olds have been following for two years now need refreshers most weeks.  we had an obstacle course a few weeks ago because it had been so cold outside.  we planned it for 10:15.  two of the children ran to watch the clock, pointing out that it was now 10:00 and so they’d wait until the long hand was on the 3 to tell me it was time to start.

one child brought a photo of his father’s police dog to show us.  he called it a canine when he introduced it, and i wanted him to repeat the word as he explained it to give the others a chance to catch this new vocabulary, so i asked, “what do you call a dog when it works for the police?”

he answered, “a police dog,” which was a good answer, and another child said, “a k-9 one unit,” which is funny if you know about montessori decimal work.

we did a reminder lesson on not plugging the toilets with toilet paper.

a parent pulled up in a parking space outside our classroom window.  a child asked me who it was, and i said, “that’s one of [our classmate’s] dads.”

the child considered this and then asked, “how many dads does he have?” with a sort of “like a whole houseful??” tone, and when i said he has two, he went back to pondering and said, “wow, two dads.  i also have a dragon umbrella.”

the new plant washing work is popular.  all around, the class is getting more responsible with water work, and so we have several trays with droppers, glass pitchers, and sponging transfer work available.  i might bring out the landforms again soon, as long as we don’t always just end up with lakes …

two of the children set out to wash the wall behind the easel, that always gets splattered with paint.  they moved the shelf to reach it, and the baby food jar we use to wash our paintbrush fell and broke.  one of the children turned to the other and said harshly, “you weren’t careful!” i saw tears forming, so i made sure to follow up with both of them.  they managed to work things out without too much help and made multiplication booklets together for the rest of the morning.

we got new early reader books of fairy tales.  one of the boys has fallen in love with the story of puss in boots, but he calls him “putz in boots.”  because he likes the name so much, his friend suggested he name his future child “putz.”

one of the older boys thinks i don’t know what a whizzpopper is.  he’s using the word to circumvent my no pottytalk rule.

i read the older children “racso and the rats of nimh.”  during the book, i asked them to draw me a picture of what they think they would look like as a rat, only realizing after that they might someday blame me for their fursonas.

mostly they came up with reasonable approximations of rat/human hybrids, but then one child was frustrated with the idea and came up with this:

which i think about sums up creative distress.

Dropping Out of High School and Why American Educators Are Idiots

So I dropped out of high school this week in order to pursue my career as a jockey. Obviously, when I told him I was dropping out, my principle requested to meet with me and discuss alternative options, my reasons, etc. 

The conversation went as follows: 

Him: So, you’re leaving us, eh? May I ask why? I feel as though you’re only doing this because you don’t do well in classes and you don’t want to try. The easy way out.

Me: I want to be a jockey. I’ve always wanted to be a jockey. It’s time for me to start chasing those dreams. I’m already old to be starting to get my name out there. The racing world doesn’t wait. It has nothing to do with my grades. 

H: You can chase those dreams with a high school diploma, you know. You won’t get anywhere in life without one. How are you gonna get a job??? 

M: I already have a full time job. Besides, I’m still getting my GED. I’m taking online courses and all. 

H: But nobody cares about GED’s. If you get a GED, you still won’t get a job. 

M: ……..but you don’t even need a GED to get jobs in the racing world. You pass the test, you have the experience and the talent, you’re all set. 

H: But you won’t get a job in the real world. 

M: I don’t understand. 

H: Real people graduate high school. I did.

M: Not a single person I respect finished high school. Every single trainer and jockey I’m close with dropped out to work at the track. 

H: So you’re dropping out just because they are? Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean you should.

M: Yeah? Most people get their diploma. So just because everyone here is getting their diploma, does that mean I should? 

H: ………..*confused silence*…….You won’t make it in the racing world. Firstly, you’re a girl, secondly, it doesn’t pay, thirdly, eventually you’re going to realize you don’t like it.

M: I’ve already gotten twenty job offers as an exercise rider. Trainers were following me around and asking if I’d ride for them. I don’t care how much it pays; I don’t want to be rich, I want to ride. It’s been my dream since I was a little girl. I’ve been on the track for two years and I love it. It’s home to me.

H: But it’s a dream!!!! People don’t achieve their dreams, that’s why they’re dreams. You either aren’t gonna make it or you’re gonna hate it or both. No kid ever ends up doing what they wanted to do. People don’t get what they want. 

——-

And this is our education system, people. A man whose life is dedicated to helping kids get where they want to be is sitting here, telling me that people don’t achieve their dreams. Telling me that leaving the mainstream academic system to chase happiness is wrong, because most people don’t do it. 

I don’t understand. 

yesterday i put my classroom’s print of the constitution on the wall.  i explained to the children that it was a list of rules for how to treat people in the united states, to make sure that people are safe, happy, and able to have what they need.

we discussed what people need.  i expected them to say things like “vacations” and “gogurt” but they were once again very practical and gave me answers like food, clothes, blankets, beds, and “company.”  collectively they put an emphasis on taking care of the earth, since everyone they know lives here.

we wrote down ways that they (even though they are small) could help make sure that everyone has what they need, and put them up around the constitution.  i’ll take some photos today.

Analog Diary : 35 mm - April 2017, Children House Montessori Tokyo. Audrey Fondecave & Jatinder Singh Durhailay, a workshop : “ What does this music look like? ”

6

PLANTING THE SEEDS OF COMMUNITY…

On Friday, a perfect Spring morning,we had our first all-school event on our new property. The adolescents led the younger students - all the way from Children’s House through to the Upper Elementary classroom- in planting all the flowers and vegetables in the farm garden. The beds had to be cleaned first and then seeds planted and the rock garden finished.

I stood back and watched students from 3-18 work together peacably and cooperatively to complete the task at hand. The sudden appaerance of a large worm or beetle, the poky weeds, the feel of the moist earth, the soft grass and the scores of dandelions, all came together to offer the students a rich and memorable, sensorial experience. The sounds of delight, laughter, perfect tapestry of sound.  

Idyllic…our own piece of paradise!

Método Montessori

El método Montessori es un método educativo y pedagógico que se basa en el desarrollo del niño. Fue ideado por la educadora italiana María Montessori a finales del siglo XIX y principios del XX. Su libro El método Montessori fue publicado en 1912.

Este método educativo se caracteriza por poner énfasis en la actividad dirigida por el niño y observación clínica por parte del profesor. Esta observación tiene la intención de adaptar el entorno de aprendizaje del niño a su nivel de desarrollo. El propósito básico de este método es liberar el potencial de cada niño para que se autodesarrolle en un ambiente estructurado. El método nació de la idea de ayudar al niño a obtener un desarrollo integral, para lograr un máximo grado en sus capacidades intelectuales, físicas y espirituales, trabajando sobre bases científicas en relación con el desarrollo físico y psíquico del niño. María Montessori basó su método en el trabajo del niño y en la colaboración adulto - niño. Así, la escuela no es un lugar donde el maestro transmite conocimientos, sino un lugar donde la inteligencia y la parte psíquica del niño se desarrollará a través de un trabajo libre con material didáctico especializado.

How can we speak of Democracy or Freedom when from the very beginning of life we mould the child to undergo tyranny, to obey a dictator? How can we expect democracy when we have reared slaves? Real freedom begins at the beginning of life, not at the adult stage. These people who have been diminished in their powers, made short-sighted, devitalized by mental fatigue, whose bodies have become distorted, whose wills have been broken by elders who say: “your will must disappear and mine prevail!”—how can we expect them, when school-life is finished, to accept and use the rights of freedom?
—  Maria Montessori, Education for a New World

some updates on my class:

if you didn’t already know, i’m a montessori children’s house teacher. so my students are all 3-6 years old and just wonderful. seriously, they say things like “please don’t call me pasgetti” and “i would be delighted” to each other.

right now they’re really into the decimal system and washing chairs.

i pick at my thumb when i get stressed out, and since we’re planning our wedding right now i’m always stressed out–and my class always notices my bandaids and asks me (SO CONCERNED) “is your thumb okay???  what happened?????”

i have been cultivating a pandora station since summer to play inoffensive but danceable songs in the afternoons.  my class’s favorite songs are by ratatat and starfucker, not that they know that.

one of my newest students has a stutter.  her voice is so quiet it was hard to catch, but it’s the kind of stutter where the speaker draws out the first sound in their word and then all the other syllables fall all over each other once they actually get out of their mouth.  my class follows my example of not interrupting her and letting her finish her thought, and that makes me just SO proud i can’t even.  she’s only been at school for two weeks and she’s warming up and is just painfully sweet and kind.  when she cries i feel like crying too, because she has so much trouble telling me what happened, i worry about her.

one of the kindergartners wanted to write in their journal that “ms. c has hair all over her body.”  (that’s me.  thanks kid.  i’m never teaching you about mammals again.)

this is a goat that one of them drew:

he was super disappointed that my suggestions ( “they have sort of a rectangular face, and eyes and horns”) did not translate into photo-realism when he attempted it.  he said “this just looks like a rectangle with eyes and horns.”  yes.  it does.

and they did this:

somehow.