MMS News April, 2011

 

Spring Break: School is closed from Monday 4/18-Tuesday 4/26.  School RE-OPENS 4/27.  I hope everyone has a wonderful break!

Soccer Returns:  Hopefully we won’t get rained out this Thursday 4/14.

Spring has sprung! Has anyone noticed the small blooms on the trees?  Very exciting!  There’s hope that winter will end!

The Auction is coming up in May!  Get ready to party and raise some money for our scholarship find.  Everything you donate and purchase helps make our school accessible to more families! .

 

What does that mean, a “modified Montessori” program?  This is a commonly asked question.  It is an idea that we ask ourselves all the time as well.   On a macro level, it is a work in progress.  There is no one way to modify the Montessori method.  The Montessori method developed from Maria Montessori closely observing her students and teaching to their interests and developmental level.  That is exactly what we do as well.  So in that sense, maybe we are not modified at all.  We do incorporate pedagogical techniques and materials that were not developed by Ms. Montessori, so in that sense , we are modified. How we modify the Montessori approach and materials is not a prescription, it is organic and grows from our experience with children.  The most common modification that we do,  is in the curricular extensions.  For example, in Language, we teach letters and words with the moveable alphabet (Montessori).    We extend this lesson to writing in a journal (general early childhood practice).  Journal writing may take the form, at first, of a child drawing and the teacher writing their story below the picture.  It grows to children using their own writing to tell their story.  That is not a Montessori practice but a general early childhood habit.

Throughout our classrooms you will see traditional Montessori materials alongside more recently developed materials. It is interesting to think about the interaction of two types of  materials and techniques.  Maria Montessori was a brilliant educator who changed the direction of early childhood education by following the lead of the child.  When we talk about new materials we consider them “non-montessori”, but that often misses the idea that, if Maria were alive today, would she be doing the same lessons with exactly the same materials?  There are many who think not.  Being the smart woman that she was, it is realistic to imagine that she would have incorporated some new thinking and materials into her philosophy.  As she used observation of children and their interests, it is easy to imagine that she would have grown her approach as well.  So maybe modified Montessori is just modern Montessori.

In the two pictures below, you see a classic Montessori material and a more modern early childhood material.  In both, children learn about shape and dimension.  The Montessori material is more tactile while the insta-learn material is more visual perceptual.  The insta-learn is a higher level way to think about shape and dimension.

 

In these two materials children work with aspects of shape as well.

 

Below is a classic display of a traditional math Montessori material and a more modern application of number.  In the work on the right, children count and sequence beads of increasing number.  After they build a pyramid with the beads, representing increasing numbers that are color coded, they re-create a paper representation of the work.  The domino work also encourages number sense and representing that number in written form.

 

These examples of traditional and new materials show how they work in tandem.  I hope this helps you to understand how each philosophy and material work together.