photo by Garrett Craig
Pause beside a busy playground on a sunny afternoon and listen. “Look at me!” children shout as they run and swing, climb, slide, and hang from monkey bars. For kids, knowing someone is watching is affirming, motivating, and restorative. Observation is the foundation of Maria Montessori’s educational method, an essential habit of good teachers and parents. Continue reading “Thoughts on Attention”
The first years of my teaching career passed quickly in a Montessori classroom just outside Atlanta, Georgia. The school was near of Emory University, the King Center for Social Justice, Georgia State University, The Centers for Disease Control, Eggleston Children’s Hospital, and Agnes Scott College. Culturally and economically, it was an extraordinarily diverse population. SomeContinue reading “We Shall Overcome”
Hana’s chubby cheeks were pink and dimpled, her freckled face framed in soft strawberry blond curls. There were times when she sat on the floor of our classroom with her three-year-old friends, giggling until she fell over backwards. Before her mom arrived to pick her up every day, Hana would turn toward the door, justContinue reading “A Healthy Appetite”
The year our daughter turned six, she celebrated the first day of summer with our neighbor. It was a hot day, so they set the sprinkler in the sun, found last-year’s bathing suits, and ran the afternoon away; back and forth through the cold water, laughing. When they finally stopped for popsicles, they decided theyContinue reading “Summer Reading”
Education cannot be effective unless it helps a child to open up himself to life.–Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child Anna Many years ago I had a student who was an unintentional and most unlikely source of great inspiration. Where Anna is now, I couldn’t say. I suppose she is in the midst ofContinue reading “Why Wait?”
No matter how old a mother is, she watches her middle-aged children for signs of improvement. It could not be otherwise for she is impelled to know that the seeds of value sown in her have been winnowed. She never outgrows the burden of love, and to the end she carries the weight of hopeContinue reading “Montessori’s Second Period”
One weekday morning many years ago, I sat beside our daughter on her bedroom floor. She was five years old then, concentrating on the bottom drawer of her dresser, considering her socks. “Mom,” she said, holding up a pair of socks. “Do you think these socks would be good for dancing?” I didn’t respond quickly,Continue reading “Dance”
August Mornings in Maine August mornings in Maine are cool, perfect for hiking through the mountains that border the Atlantic Ocean. Bears are still active near some forest trails, but we never saw one. The solitude and beauty far outweigh the risk. Our children are old enough now to climb and hike, still young enoughContinue reading “Skipping Stones”
We were two chapters into our second volume of Pippi Longstocking when Isabella entered our classroom for the first time. “Don’t worry about it,” she said. “I know who she is.” Apologetic but reassured, we resumed reading where we had left off the day before. Pippi and her two best friends, along with Pippi’s monkeyContinue reading “Educationally, Nothing Compares to a Friend”
A few summers ago, we built a pond. Our sons were then 16 and 12, and our daughter was 10. They grew up in Montessori classrooms that were beautiful, carefully prepared communities where they learned to concentrate, read, collaborate, and master difficult tasks. Their teachers instilled a deep reverence for the natural world. They wereContinue reading “Building a Pond”
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