Friday, February 24, 2012


Last weekend I attended the AMI Montessori refresher course in Forth Worth.  It has been 5 years since I last attended one, and that one being my first since I received my diploma in 2005.  I truly was refreshed and back to the enthusiasm and energy that I had while taking the training.  Each day was filled with information that we already knew, but a new way in which to look at it, and implement it in the classroom.  For me, I took it as how I can implement this in my home and maintain the right attitude with my children.

The topic or theme for this year was about the formation of the human personality.  It was so beautiful and meaningful and I had a moment on Sunday when we were discussing the vital aspect of the outdoor activities and cooking that it made me so happy.  I had a moment of pure joy when I realized that who I am and what I do are one.  I suppose this makes my job easier :)  My two personal loves; nature and food are integral aspects of the Montessori environment besides the material.  I hope that I am able to provide for my children at home what they may or may not get at school. 
 Working in the garden
Helping mix and make burgers for dinner.

Many people have asked me what makes Montessori education different than traditional schools.  It's not something that was easy for me to respond with but the word that was used a lot over the weekend was RESPECT.  It sounds harsh to say that schools and teachers don't have respect for children and only Montessori schools do.  This is not true.  I have many great friends who are teachers, and I know what an amazing job they do.  The difference though is that the Montessori environment itself respects the natural tendencies and psychological developments of the child; and that in itself is respectful to the child.  It is something that is unsaid and unseen.  It is a natural flow that the adult and the environment present to the child.  This is why there must be a properly trained adult who is able to observe the needs of the child without judgement or reservation.  The needs of the child outweigh the needs of the adult or the school.  The needs of the community outweigh the needs of a single child.  These are all very delicate and interlaced and built up in steps and stages through the varying developmental stages of the child.  Each child learns that they are then part of a greater community and one must work towards "social cohesion". 

This is one of my favorite aspects of the Montessori classroom as well.  Nothing is mine, everything is ours.  There is only one of everything and each child learns to care for it as it is shared by the community.  They also learn to wait, if something is in use.  This is something we are striving very hard to maintain in our home.  Although, we have to set limits and boundaries with electronics and such.  A 3 year old is fast to pick up on "ours" to mean that they can also use the computer.  So, there are sets of rules that only adults use certain things in the house, but it is for all the adults.  With freedom comes responsibility, and freedom must be regulated initially so that the responsibility is not overwhelming to a child.  They can only handle so much, so we must protect them and give them only as much as they can handle.  This is also where limited choices comes in.  Many people think I'm strict or that I don't allow my kids to choose, but in fact it's the opposite.  I want them to have the ability to make decisions for themselves, but for the young child endless choices are too difficult.  Narrowing it down to 2 or 3 give them freedom to choose with limits that they can comprehend. 

I have so much more to share, but I must get back to organizing this house.  I'm so excited for Spring and Summer gardening as we are expanding and trying out new things.  We've been pretty busy the last few months getting ready.  I hope to post more frequently, but that seems to be what I say each time I get on here.  Well until next time.

 Homemade gluten free pizza with arugula from the garden.

 Paella with friends to celebrate new beginnings.
Crema Catalan (aka flan) made with steeped orange zest and cinnamon.
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