Child development begins at conception, as does our responsibility to protect it and remove any obstacles that will hinder its progress. Here are my thoughts on ultrasound and child development…
One more reason to have your baby at home or in a birthing clinic…
Ever wonder why fantasy is not a part of the Montessori approach? Read all about it in my new article in www.MariaMontessori.com!
One of my classmates found this article in the Washington Post. Here’s the summary:
“While debate rages in the education world about how to measure effective teaching – or whether it is even possible to do so – research funded by a prominent advocate of data-driven analysis [the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation] has found that growth in annual student test scores is a reliable sign of a good teacher… The foundation in the past year has collaborated with local teachers’ unions on reshaping teacher pay and evaluation in several major school systems.”
Guess who was paid $45 million to do the research? Educational Testing Services. Because nothing says “impartial research results” like hiring the country’s largest test-producer to point out the importance of testing to evaluate both children and teachers!
Basically, here’s how I imagine the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would define a good teacher:
Good teacher: (n.) 1. One who bribes, threatens, punishes, and in many other ways manipulates children to reach arbitrary markers set by moronic politicians. 2. One who robs children of the joy of learning in order to procure a bonus and pension.
Here’s my definition of what they consider a “good teacher”:
Good teacher: (n.) 1. One who is bribed, threatened, punished, and in many other ways manipulated to reach arbitrary markers set by moronic politicians. 2. One who is robbed of the joy of teaching in order to finance a broken and corrupt system.
I’m seeing a pattern…
Author’s note: Shortly after posting this, Alexa pointed out that the New York Times had also written about this study, although they give a somewhat different take on the methodology and results. Here’s an excerpt:
“Teachers whose students described them as skillful at maintaining classroom order, at focusing their instruction and at helping their charges learn from their mistakes are often the same teachers whose students learn the most in the course of a year, as measured by gains on standardized test scores, according to a progress report on the research.”
I still have major issues with equating “students who learn the most” with “gains on standardized test scores” and pegging the blame or glory on the teacher…
Tags: bill and melinda gates foundation, children, education, educational testing services, kids, montessori, nclb, no child left behind, public school eduation, public schools, schools, teachers, teaching, testing, tests
Greetings from the land of “oh my gosh when am I going to finish these observation reports and write two essays and type up countless presentations”.
I interrupt my regularly scheduled academic freak-out to bring you this: The Michael Olaf Christmas catalog.
Heck, if those well-meaning relatives and friends of yours insist on buying your child stuff, it might as well be beautiful, age-appropriate, developmentally supportive, and long-lasting, right?
I know that’s where I’ll be shopping when hubby and I have kids…
Now back to work curves… *sigh*
I have posted in the past about the overwhelming amount of plastic toys children seem to have nowadays (the average child gets 70 toys per year). I’ve also worried about how I will manage to keep to a minimum the amount of gifted plastic toys in our household when I have children of my own. Commenters have discussed how their efforts to minimize commercial toys have been thwarted by well-meaning friends and relatives who give these less-than-ideal items as gifts.
But, much to my relief, one of my favorite bloggers has proved that it CAN be done! You CAN control what type of gifts your child receives, you CAN create awareness for your child and your close ones, and you CAN make a positive impact in the lives of others while doing it! Head on over to About a Girl and read about simple but AWESOME birthday gifts that keep on giving…
If you haven’t yet seen the 12-minute animated YouTube video based on Sir Ken Robinson’s 55-minute speech, then I suggest you head on over to KellyNaturally.com. Kelly has done an amazing job transcribing the best parts of the talk, and she also shares her viewpoint as a parent (you can also see the video on her blog!). It’s wonderful to know that there are so many parents who understand the importance of supporting their child’s creative thinking abilities. If you’re one of them, what are you waiting for? SPREAD THE WORD!!!
I’m so behind the times these days, that you have all probably seen this video elsewhere. But in case you haven’t, it’s a must-see (short and powerful)… Enjoy!
How does a Montessori teacher maintain order and harmony in the classroom without the use of rewards and punishments? How do 25 or 30 young children manage to spend their days together in an environment of respect and community? How can little tykes develop so much self-discipline and self-control at such a young age?
Find out by reading the November issue of Tomorrow’s Child magazine (published by The Montessori Foundation), where I write about all this and more! You can subscribe to a digital version of the magazine or get the hard copy delivered in or outside the U.S. by going here! It’s a great resource for home schooling parents, teachers, and anyone who’s curious about Montessori education and the role it can play in the lives of families.
Originally posted on www.MariaMontessori.com on Sept. 29th, 2010
At my mom’s acupuncture clinic in Mexico City, I struck up a conversation with a patient in the waiting room. She was a fashionable and wealthy 40-something woman, and when she found out I was the doctor’s daughter, she asked me what I did for a living.
“I’m a Montessori guide,” I replied, well aware of the misconceptions surrounding the type of work I do. I expected her to ask, ‘What’s Montessori?’ or to disdainfully say something like, ‘Oh, isn’t Montessori where children do whatever they want?’
Instead, she almost jumped out of her chair and exclaimed: “Oh my goodness, I LOVE MONTESSORI!!!”
Before I could get a word in, she began to tell me her story:
“I have two daughters,” she began. “My eldest was in a great pre-school when we lived in another state, but then we moved to Mexico City and I didn’t know where to enroll her (in Mexico, all middle-class children attend private fee-based schools chosen by their parents). I visited the school that was across the street from my house, but they told me that they used the Montessori method through kindergarten and that since my daughter was six years old, she would not be able to start first grade until the following year.
“It saddens me now to think that I didn’t know what Montessori was and believed all the misconceptions that float around. No way would I enroll my child in a hippy New Age school where children do whatever they want. All kids want to do is play! How were they ever going to learn? What kind of education didn’t use homework, tests, or grades? Heck, my husband and I are both products of traditional education, and we turned out just fine!”
She laughed, rolled her eyes, and continued…
“Some friends highly recommended a traditional all-girl school that had been around for generations, and although it didn’t align exactly with my spiritual beliefs, I went along with their suggestion and enrolled her there. The school told me they would accept her into the first grade, which thrilled me because she would be exposed to more academic subjects!
“By the middle of the school year, my daughter was a wreck. She had developed gastritis, refused to eat, was having trouble sleeping, and would cry every day on the way to school. Her grades were mediocre at best, so of course I took it upon myself to help her improve, and I became her teacher in the afternoons. I bought a chalkboard and a stool and would sit with my daughter, going over her homework and reviewing what she had learned at school. I would drill her for hours: ‘Two plus two is four, four plus two is six, now it’s your turn!’ Let’s go!’
“When final exams came around, I was so stressed by her lack of progress that I… I…” She looked down at this point, and when her eyes met mine again, they were filled with tears. “I hit my daughter over the head with a book and yelled, ‘Why aren’t you getting it?’ You see, her performance validated my success as a parent. We were turning in the homework. We were getting a C – on a test. We were writing a book report.”
I was taken aback by her honesty and openness. This is a very typical phenomenon among middle-class families around the world, yet very few parents have the courage to look within themselves and realize the implications of their choices. The woman continued…
“During Summer vacation, I laid off the academics and watched my daughter blossom. She played the piano by ear, did pencil sketches and worked with watercolors, and organized her bedroom impeccably. I couldn’t understand why at school she had such a hard time remembering her books, organizing her calendar, and following the teacher’s instructions!
“When second grade began, my daughter became a mess again. A few months into the school year, her teacher, the principal, and the school’s psychologist called me in for a meeting. ‘Your child has A.D.D. and you’re going to need to medicate her,’ they declared.
“That one sentence triggered the maternal protective instinct that had lain dormant inside me. I took my child to a private psychologist, who spent several weeks getting to know my daughter. She then asked me: ‘You’re her mother and you know her better than anyone else. Do you think she has A.D.D.?’ I thought back to the Summer and answered from my heart: No.
“That same afternoon, halfway through the school year, I went looking for a new school for my daughter. The psychologist recommended the school across the street from my house, the very same one I had dismissed because of their Montessori program. I went to them and begged them to accept my daughter mid-year. They told me they would have to move her back to the first grade, which was no longer Montessori but still respected several tenets of the method, including group work and research-based learning. I told them to do whatever they had to do, I was that desperate.
“At that time, my younger daughter was almost three and seemed ready to start pre-school. The director of the school asked if I would be interested in enrolling my little one in their Montessori program. I told them: ‘Sure, whatever, I don’t care, I’m just worried about saving my older one at this point!’
“They gave me some brochures about the method, and that’s where I learned who Maria Montessori was, where the method originated, and how things really worked in the classroom. I was invited to observe a class in progress, and I couldn’t believe my eyes! Everywhere I looked, tiny little children were working with so much purpose and determination! One watered the plants, another made orange juice, a third was building a tower, while another one formed sentences with plastic letters on a rug. There were probably 30 children, each one doing something different, and the teacher was off in a corner giving a lesson. Nobody was running or yelling or breaking things! I finally realized that this is what education should look like.
“That was seven years ago. Today, my older daughter still struggles with school, although she is more comfortable in this new learning environment. She gets by with a C-average, although I know she’s very brilliant. She has a hard time keeping her school work organized and needs my help to get through homework, although at home she’s very detail-oriented and continues to excel in music and art. Meanwhile, my younger daughter, who is now in fourth grade, is the flip-side of the coin. She is extremely responsible and loves to learn, not only from books but from everything and everyone around her. I never have to ask her about her homework and she is always challenging herself. For one child, learning is a struggle; for the other, it’s a joy.
“I often wonder what life would have been like for my older daughter if I had found Montessori when she was young. I can’t change what happened to her, but I can help parents avoid the mistakes I made. Now, every time I meet someone with a young child, I tell them to enroll their child in a Montessori school. You’d be surprised at how many parents tell me they don’t like their child’s school but are afraid that the transition to another school will be difficult. I tell them that nothing is more difficult than seeing your child systematically lose their joy for learning.
Our care of the children should be governed not by the desire to ‘make them learn things’, but by the endeavor always to keep burning within them the light which is called intelligence.
– Maria Montessori
Quote of the Month
On My Mind
What People Are Saying
|Miss Anna on The Force of Dr. Montessori…|
|Anna Poliakova on My Story|
|the full monte(ssori… on My Story|
|annapoliakova on My Story|
|Jacquie on My Story|
Montessori by Month
- February 2012 (1)
- September 2011 (3)
- June 2011 (1)
- May 2011 (1)
- April 2011 (2)
- March 2011 (2)
- February 2011 (3)
- January 2011 (1)
- December 2010 (3)
- November 2010 (4)
- October 2010 (4)
- September 2010 (2)
- August 2010 (4)
- July 2010 (6)
- June 2010 (4)
- May 2010 (16)
- April 2010 (2)
- March 2010 (7)
- February 2010 (7)
- January 2010 (4)
- December 2009 (1)
- November 2009 (1)
- October 2009 (2)
- August 2009 (5)