THINKING ABOUT EDUCATION
Hopefully there will come a time in the not too distant future that the word “Covid” in the title of this blog post will be meaningless and we shall have returned to normal, safe, healthy life. Already it is clear that people are re-thinking education because of the situation. Some children thrive at home, others thrive at school. In the future education may be very different than it has been for the last few generations.
AID TO LIFE, MONTESSORI BEYOND THE CLASSROOM
Renaissance Parenting, a previously published newspaper column is included in this book. It was a newspaper column published some years ago that is helpful now. Here are the words of an AMI Montessori consultant who shared this information with the students of a teacher-training course where she was assisting:
This document is more valuable than ever now that so many people are having to spend more time with their children who aren’t in school. I’ve seen some really awful advice given out to parents who seem to be panicking about what to do with their own children. Your common sense advice, given from your own experiences and Montessori perspective would be oil on troubled waters. Montessori Schools are also in need of something to give parents. If they were to provide a set for each parent it would be such a great support for them.
SHARING A MEMORY – AS AN IDEA OF A PROJECT AT HOME
A Montessori Slumber Party during my first year as a Montessori teacher
It was 1972, nearing the end of my first year of teaching Montessori. The previous year I had earned the AMI 2.5-7 diploma at the AMI training center in London. My first class back in California was 25 children from the ages of 2.5 to 5, all completely new to Montessori and attending school full day. Thanks to my wonderful training it was a very successful year. In the spring I wanted to celebrate by having a slumber party. Parents were thrilled and so were the children. My husband and two daughters helped the children lay out their sleeping bags all over the living and dining room and brush teeth. We sang songs and settled down to sleep. I got up at 4 in the morning to prepare the dough to make a Swedish tea ring like the one pictured above. Later, after the dough had risen and as a few of the older children were awake, we made the filling, rolled and filled the dough, cut the two rolls into enough pieces to feed everyone, and put it in the oven to bake.
It was great fun and very educational for me. I learned SO MUCH about parenting during those hours. Not my own parenting but other parenting styles. One example was the 4-year-old who was very surprised to learn that none of the other children wore a diaper to bed!
Later, having started my own school, I realized how little time a school administrator or teacher has to help parents because preparing the environment, giving lessons, keeping records, office work, and so forth take all one’s time and energy. Yet many parents really want to learn as much as possible about how to use Montessori ideas in the home.
FIRST BOOKS TO READ
Because of these experiences for many years I have been helping parents (and helping schools help parents) understand some Montessori principles that make their own lives easier, and bring awareness to the changes in their children’s needs and abilities as they grow. .
For more information or to find the books CLICK HERE: first books
Here is an Amazon review about the book Montessori Homeschooling, One Family’s story:
We do not home school and we were not really familiar with Montessori until reading this book. Now, after reading it we feel more confident in facing the task of overseeing “virtual” learning during this pandemic. While juggling work with having kids at home, many parents and grandparents, I’m sure, fear their children aren’t receiving the education they want for them. (At least in our family that is the case). From this book I learned the importance of looking at the big picture of what education is all about. Most importantly it is about kids learning they are part of a family, community, society. It’s about learning compassion for others, and being kind and respectful to all.
I am a grandmother whose grandchildren spend half the time with us. The silver lining in this pandemic has been that we have gotten to spend valuable time together as a family. Having this time, our grandkids have been able to feel valuable in helping with all of the daily work of the family. Also because of this book many of our dinnertime conversations include discussions of different cultures and academics of all kinds. This book validates the importance of learning outside of a traditional school setting; it brings to our awareness the fact that real education can help children uncover their own unique gifts. This book is a tool for parents and grandparents desiring to make all this possible for their kids.
ACADEMICS AND REAL LIFE
As we all continue to invent life and break new ground in creating the best possible lives for our children let us keep in the mind what this grandmother said:
I learned the importance of looking at the big picture of what education is all about.
Although the modern academic curriculum is important and necessary today, academic subjects are best mastered when children are allowed to choose what to work on, and then given long uninterrupted, unscheduled periods of time to work on their chosen projects. When this is the case what is studied is actually retained, or “learned”.
When this is not possible, and children have to learn in front of computers and through assignments and schedules, let us remember that this is not natural or healthy. This awareness can help keep the situation today in perspective as we consider the happiness of all.
In our modern society today much time and money is spent on preparing for college or a professions and very little on other important skills. It seems that we are expected to magically just “know” how to be good parents and partners!
Being largely removed the wisdom of elders we can be guided by Montessori wisdom. We can help our children practice and learn the skills needed to be a good partner, parent, son or daughter, sibling, friend, employee, employer, student, and more. During the pandemic we have the opportunity to concentrate on and to practice all of this.
I hope I have not given you, parents and other educators, too many words to read, and that the pictures are as inspiring than the text!
All best wishes to you in figuring out a happy and balanced life today. And stay healthy.
Best Wishes for a Happy and Healthy 2021,
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