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1 MontessoriLife THE MAGAZINE OF THE AMERICAN MONTESSORI SOCIETY FALL 2015 VOL.27 NO.3 CLAY IN THE CLASSROOM How sourcing clay from nature transformed one Montessori school s art education program Page 38

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4 FALL 2015 VOL.27 NO.3 LETTERS FROM 5 THE EDITORS 6 THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR 9 THE PRESIDENT AMS CONNECTION 12 DISPATCHES 13 DEPARTMENT OF SCHOOL ACCREDITATION Why AMS Accreditation? By Sara Wilson, MEd 14 FIVE QUESTIONS Koren Clark, Golden Oak Montessori School 17 DEPARTMENT OF TEACHER EDUCATION AMS Awards Teacher Education Scholarships 18 TEACHERS SECTION The Joy of Our Journey By Suzanne Bayer IN EACH ISSUE 4 INDEX OF ADVERTISERS 36 GALLERY 60 TEP LISTINGS 62 BOOK REVIEWS 63 LAST LAUGH 64 MONTESSORI PARENT FEATURES 30 The Healing Garden A Peace Seed Grant recipient offers a new perspective on peace education in the Philippines. By Marissa J. Hartwig 38 Clay in the Montessori Classroom Art, science, and Practical Life combine when children learn to work with real clay. By Claire Willis 46 Renewing Children s House Science A teacher educator mines the Montessori method s scientific past to protect its future. By Teresa Ripple PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRIAN POWELL / STOCKSY UNITED (COVER) PHOTOGRAPHY BY CLAIRE WILLIS (THIS PAGE) 2 MONTESSORI LIFE

5 Teacher Education Program Designed to offer exceptional Montessori teacher training, we are dedicated to excellence..... Programs commence with a summer intensive session, followed by seminars throughout the academic year and finally a capstone practicum experience. MCTD respects the needs of Adult Learners and the traditions of Montessori. MCTD provides meaningful learning experiences and opportunities for exploration and active participation. MCTD prepares and empowers Adult Learners to become effective Montessori educators. MCTD holds full affiliate status by the American Montessori Society and accredited status by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education for its Early Childhood Teacher Education Program. Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education 108 Second Street, SW, Suite # 7 Charlottesville, Virginia Phone Fax Convent Station. NJ

6 INDEX OF ADVERTISERS MATERIALS Azoka Company 28 Flyleaf Publishing 10 In Other Words 56 M&M Materials 4 The Materials Company of Boston 10 Montessori Outlet 25 Montessori R & D 29 Nienhuis A Heutink Brand Back cover SCHOOLS Qingdao Amerasia International School 4 SERVICES Crow Canyon Archaeological Center 28 InResonance Inside Front Cover Music Together 24 New Child Montessori 59 TADS 25 TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAMS Center for Montessori Education NY 11 Cincinnati Montessori Secondary Teacher Education Program 54 Delaware Institute for Montessori Education 55 Houston Montessori Center 23 Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies 23 Institute for Montessori Innovation at Westminster College 55 Lander University 54 Mid-America Montessori Teacher Training Institute 58 Montessori Center for Teacher Development 3 Montessori Education Center of the Rockies 56 Montessori Educational Institute of North America 57 Montessori Education Institute of the Pacific Northwest 28 Montessori Elementary Teacher Training Collaborative 57 Montessori Institute of Advanced Studies 56 Montessori Teacher Education Center San Francisco Bay Area 59 Montessori Teacher Education at Oklahoma City University 11 Montessori Western Teacher Training Program 58 Montgomery Montessori Institute 58 New England Center for Montessori Music Training 58 Princeton Center for Teacher Education 55 Seacoast Center for Education 28 Seton Montessori Institute 27 St. Catherine University 27 St. Mary s College of California 56 Summit Montessori Teacher Training Institute 59 Van Loan School at Endicott College 11 West Side Montessori School Teacher Education Program 26 Xavier University Inside Back Cover 4 MONTESSORI LIFE Montessori Materials by Lakeview CHECK OUT OUR NEW MATERIALS! Additions to Pink, Blue & Green Levels Sorting Sheets Science & Science Sorting Pre-Reading Grammar Word Study Geography & Cultural Materials (Click Flyer on our home page for details. Use Coupon Code MM1013 for 10% off online orders.) The Most Complete Line of Pink, Blue & Green Level Classroom-Ready Language Materials Available Anywhere. OBJECTS! OBJECTS! OBJECTS! OBJECTS! OBJECTS! OBJECTS! Phone: Fax: Rhodes Drive, Windsor, ON Canada N8W 5C2 Developing materials for Montessori classrooms for more than 25 years

7 MONTESSORI LIFE EDITORS Kathy Carey & Carey Jones ART DIRECTION Pentagram Austin GENERAL MANAGER Marcy K. Krever DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING Michele Eldon COPY EDITOR Brenda Modliszewski EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Dane Peters (Chair), MA, Vice President, AMS Board of Directors; School Consultant, Greenland, NH. Julie Bragdon, MEd, Treasurer, AMS Board of Directors; Assistant Head of School, Montessori School of Denver, Denver, CO. John Chattin-McNichols, PhD, Associate Professor and Director, E. M. Standing Center for Montessori Studies, College of Education, Seattle University, Seattle, WA. Marta Donahoe, MEd, Director, Cincinnati Montessori Secondary Teacher Education Program, Cincinnati, OH. Marge Ellison, BS, Head of School, Montessori Country Day School, Houston, TX. Catherine O Neill Grace, MA, Senior Associate Editor, Wellesley magazine, Waltham, MA. Erika Ohlhaver, MEd, Director of Educational Training and Consulting (ETC Montessori); Academic Director of Montessori Educational Institute of North America (MEINA), Houston, TX. Elizabeth Park, PhD, Assistant Professor and Director, and Montessori Programs, Chaminade University of Honolulu, Honolulu, HI. Montessori Life (ISSN ), the official quarterly magazine of the American Montessori Society, is published for all individuals and groups interested in Montessori education. Montessori Life seeks to provoke thought and promote professional development through sharing information, both practical and theoretical, and to provide a forum for discussion of issues and ideas in the field. In addition, it is a place for sharing news of the AMS community. The opinions expressed in Montessori Life editorials, columns, and features are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of the magazine or AMS. Montessori Life is printed by Anderberg Innovative Print Solutions, St. Louis Park, MN, and mailed at bulk rate in Minneapolis, MN. REPRINTS Requests for permission to reprint material from Montessori Life in another form (e.g., book, newsletter, journal, electronic media) should be sent in writing to Kathy Carey at Permission to reprint is not required for copies to be shared with parents, teachers, or students; for library reserve; or for personal use. Our copyright notice must appear on each copy: Copyright (year of publication) by the American Montessori Society. All rights reserved. MANUSCRIPT SUBMISSIONS Exclusive submissions only. Style guide is the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed. Montessori Life is a refereed publication: All feature stories submitted are read by qualified reviewers. Guidelines available from the editors on request. Submit all editorial material to ADVERTISING Acceptance of advertising does not represent AMS endorsement of any product or service. AMS policy requires that advertisers for teacher education programs be AMS full affiliates at the time of contracting. The advertiser must maintain the required affiliation during the contract period. Rate and size information are available at Submit all advertising material to, or call Michele Eldon, AMS director of advertising, at SUBSCRIPTIONS, or call SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION A subscription to Montessori Life is a benefit of AMS membership. An online edition of Montessori Life, for AMS members and nonmember subscribers, is available at In addition, members living in the United States receive a print edition. Members living outside the U.S. can purchase a print subscription for an additional fee. To join AMS, or to purchase a nonmember subscription to Montessori Life, visit the AMS website at, or The cost of a nonmember subscription (4 issues) is $60 (U.S.) or $70 (international). LETTER FROM The Editors Stay young, always, in the theater of your mind. Mary Oliver, from Good Morning in Blue Horses To be a Montessorian is to engage in an ever-evolving awareness of interactions between the self and others, to actively demonstrate that learning and development are achieved by each individual through his or her efforts, and to do so in a climate of empathy and respect. For Maria Montessori, being a teacher was a sacred calling, requiring the stamina of youth and the wisdom of age; for it is the teacher, in tandem with the parent, who prepares the field upon which the child will develop himself. The preparation of the environment is the teacher s work; the development of self is the child s work. Both take place in the real world, a world continually in flux. In this issue of Montessori Life, the reader enters the world of a country devastated by destructive weather, a place where the author encounters the resilience of the human spirit and her own capacity to give (page 30). An article on clay in the classroom considers levels of involvement with the earth probably not often considered, proposing tasks that surely will satisfy the young child s need for direct exploration and big work (page 38). And another article suggests that science, the scientific method, and the development of scientific inquiry can be inserted into any classroom s daily work beginning with nature study and proceeding to other subjects such as engineering, physics, and technology (page 44). As always, we welcome your feedback let us know what issues and topics you want to read about in this magazine. Page 30 Page 38 Page 46 FALL

8 LETTER FROM The Executive Director Advancing Montessori in China By Richard A. Ungerer In early April, I traveled to Beijing, China, to take part in the formal signing ceremony of an agreement for a cooperative project between AMS and the Chinese Society of Education. The CSE, founded in 1979 and connected to the Ministry of Education of the People s Republic of China, is a leading academic organization in China. Binglin Zhong, CSE president (and former president of Beijing Normal University), gave an opening presentation, and then I made a few formal remarks. Later, we viewed a video of congratulations from AMS Board president Dr. Joyce Pickering. It wasn t until afterward, as I mingled with other Chinese educators and the media, that I fully understood and appreciated the significance of this project to CSE leadership, as well as the Chinese government and academic community. Planning for this ambitious project began in 2014, when the CSE invited AMS to explore how we might be able to help them identify fundamental components of quality Montessori education and philosophy using AMS s school accreditation standards. A team of senior leaders from both organizations held several meetings in New York City. We were then asked to submit a proposal to provide consulting services to the CSE to help them develop their own standards specifically tailored to traditional Chinese culture. The CSE sought out AMS among other Montessori organizations because of our commitment to high standards of quality, our experience in managing a quality assurance accreditation system for Montessori schools, our track record of working cooperatively with other organizations, and our reputation for being sensitive to a country s culture. When AMS began its work in the United States in the early 1960s, Dr. Nancy McCormick Rambusch wrote: The AMS commitment to culturally relevant versions of Montessori education was a self-imposed task of enormous complexity. In all of its literature, the society s intention was made clear: Placing Montessori education in a viable American context was a recurrent theme in the early organization and conduct of AMS. (Loeffler, 1992) Over the past 55 years, we have learned that when we practice Montessori education over time and in different cultures and incorporate innovations and ideas resulting from technological advances and the latest research, there is a need to go beyond Montessori as it was articulated in the early part of the 20th century. On June 1, AMS and the CSE held a video conference call to begin work on the project. On the call, Yang Nianlu, CSE general secretary, remarked that by coincidence that day was National Children s Day in China and that our work together would truly be a great gift to the children of the world. We have an ambitious and extremely important agenda before us. This work aligns with the AMS mission to provide leadership and resources to make Montessori a significant and enduring voice in education and takes us one step closer to our vision of a world in which quality Montessori education is widely recognized, highly desired, and accessible to all. RICHARD A. UNGERER is executive director of AMS. He welcomes your comments, questions, and ideas. Contact him at richard@ Reference Loeffler, M. H. (1992). Montessori in contemporary American culture (pp. 7 16). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. AMS BOARD OF DIRECTORS EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE DIRECTORS Joyce S. Pickering, President of the Board Dane L. Peters, Vice President of the Board Julie Bragdon, Treasurer of the Board Ginger Kelley McKenzie, Secretary of the Board Robyn Breiman, Member-at-Large Richard A. Ungerer, Ex Officio BOARD MEMBER DIRECTORS Suzanne Bayer, Chair of the Teachers Section Gary Bowman Frank Brainard, School Accreditation Commission Representative Marilyn Horan Susan Kambrich, Chair of the Heads of Schools Section Beverley Alexander McGhee Darla Miller Dorothy Paul Laura Saylor Mary Schneider, Chair of the Teacher Educators Section Munir Shivji Sandra Marie Stevenson, Family Representative AMS STAFF Richard A. Ungerer, Executive Director Rob Boucher, Marketing & Communications Coordinator Eddie Byrnes, Accountant Jessica Carhuapoma, Business & Program Services Associate Kristine N. Cooper, Director of Development Jeff Covello, Marketing & Communications Manager Jennifer Demel, Teacher Education & Information Technology Associate Andrew Hofland, Manager of Information Technology Carla Hofland, Director of Member Services Angelique Keller, Teacher Education Services Coordinator Abbie Kelly, Director of Teacher Education Services Marcy K. Krever, Senior Director of Marketing & Communications Joan LaRacuente, Senior Director of Finance Sophia Merendini, Administrative Assistant Maria Meyerovich, Bookkeeper Tendo Mutanda, Membership Coordinator May Parker, Membership & Conference Associate Marcy Rice, School Accreditation Coordinator Destiny Rodriguez, Administrative Assistant Doris Sommer, Senior Director of Teacher Education Carol Starmack, Associate Executive Director Alexandra Torres, Business Services Assistant Sara Wilson, Director of School Accreditation & School Improvement Leah Zak, Conference Manager AMS CONSULTANTS & SUPPORT Kathy Carey, Carey Jones, Editors, Montessori Life Michele Eldon, Director of Advertising George Markham, Conference Exhibits Manager Brenda Modliszewski, Copy Editor Angela Murray, Senior Researcher & Coordinator Paula Sharpe, Professional Development Consultant Pentagram Austin, Art Direction, Montessori Life Molly Yurchak, Communications Consultant AMS VISION We envision a world in which quality Montessori education is widely recognized, highly desired, and accessible to all. AMS MISSION We provide the leadership and resources to make Montessori a significant and enduring voice in education. We serve our members, advocate for quality Montessori education, and champion Montessori principles. 6 MONTESSORI LIFE



11 LETTER FROM The President AMS Standards: A Model We Share AMS has developed nine standards that indicate the quality of a school and is sharing these standards with the Chinese Society of Education. As discussed on page 6, AMS was invited by the CSE to assist in developing standards for Montessori schools in China. Many Montessori schools have recently been founded in China, reflecting Chinese parents interest in alternatives to the traditional education system. While some of these are authentic Montessori programs, others are not; this is where the idea of sharing AMS standards comes in. This year, experts from both AMS and CSE are participating in a series of video conference calls, in which individuals will review the nine standards below. (For the Chinese participants, each of these standards, described in detail, has been translated into Mandarin.) Many Montessori schools have recently been founded in China. While some of these are authentic Montessori programs, others are not. STANDARD 5: PERSONNEL The quality Montessori school provides for ethical, fair, and nondiscriminatory practices for all teaching and non-teaching staff. STANDARD 1: MISSION AND VISION The quality Montessori school establishes and communicates a shared purpose and direction for enhancing the development of students and the effectiveness of the school. The school s vision is consistent with the Montessori philosophy of facilitating the student s development of full potential. STANDARD 2: GOVERNANCE, LEADERSHIP, AND CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT STRATEGIC PLAN The quality Montessori school promotes student learning and school effectiveness through strong governance and leadership and establishes, implements, monitors, and refines a strategic planning process to demonstrate continuous improvement. STANDARD 3: TEACHING AND LEARNING EDUCATIONAL NATURE The quality Montessori school operates comprehensively within Montessori philosophy and provides a Montessori curriculum and Montessori instructional methods and materials that facilitate learning for all students. STANDARD 4: DOCUMENTING AND USING RESULTS LEARNER OUTCOMES The quality Montessori school enacts a comprehensive assessment system that monitors and documents outcomes and uses these results to improve learner outcomes and school effectiveness. JOYCE PICKERING, MA, SLP/CCC, HumD, is president of the AMS Board of Directors. She is executive director emerita at Shelton School & Evaluation Center, in Dallas, TX. She is AMS-credentialed (). Contact her at STANDARD 6: FACILITY RESOURCES The quality Montessori school provides facilities, sites, and equipment that are functional, safe, and that fully support the school s mission and beliefs. STANDARD 7: FINANCES The quality Montessori school maintains strong and prudent financial management practices and adequate fiscal resources to support its mission and vision. STANDARD 8: RECORDS, RESOURCES, AND SUPPORT SYSTEMS The quality Montessori school maintains records and has the resources and services necessary to support its mission and vision. STANDARD 9: STAKEHOLDER COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONSHIPS The quality Montessori school fosters effective communications and relationships with and among its stakeholders. The goal of the AMS and CSE collaboration is to use the American standards as guidelines to develop quality standards for Chinese Montessori schools. AMS is honored to participate in this consultation and to be able to engage in cordial and respectful exchanges that will benefit Montessorians in both countries. FALL

12 The Materials Company of Boston Montessori Materials SALE! SALE! Montessori Work Rugs #G822 Globe with Stand Montessori Math Beads #e501 reg $55.00 Sale $ % cotton, washable, natural color. large enough for the long rods and all floor work. Beautifully woven. 22 x 42. reg $13.00 ALWAYS... Sale $ Lowest Price 9 No Restocking Charges 9 Friendly, Responsive Service 9 No Distributor Mark-Ups 9 Replaceable Parts #G804, #G808, #G807 USA, Asia, Africa Puzzle Maps reg $ Sale $99.00 #G806 Europe Puzzle Map reg $ Sale $99.00 Control maps labeled countries, unlabeled, labeled capitols will be included at no extra charge with the purchase of the puzzle map. individual beads on real copper wire #B Bead Cube reg $50.00 #B706 Ten Bars reg $0.70 ea #B702 Units 100 reg $4.50 Sale $35.00 Sale $0.40 Sale $3.00 Call us for new or replacement Montessori materials. Ad prices will be in effect for 30 days. Flyleaf Publishing s Books to Remember Series Written by a Montessori teacher, endorsed by national reading experts. This beautifully illustrated series contains one book for each Sandpaper Letter sound. Carefully written texts allow students to apply the skills they have learned to authentic, meaningful literature. Supplementary Learning Cards and Teacher s Guides enhance Montessori Language lessons and align to the Common Core State Standards. Preview materials on our website: Orders & Brochures: Orders by Fax: MONTESSORI LIFE

13 AMS-AFFILIATED MACTE ACCREDITED* Earn your Bachelor Degree Join the cohort at Endicott College and get your Bachelor of Arts with other Montessori educators from around the world. Receive up to 30 credits for your Montessori education and experience. We accept up to a total of 85 transfer credits. For more information please contact Contact Laura Douglass, Ph.D. at 376 Hale Street Beverly, Massachusetts Endicott College is is accredited by by the the New England Association of of Schools and and Colleges. MONTESSORI CERTIFICATION AND MASTER OF EDUCATION Experienced Authentic Innovative Educating, inspiring, and celebrating Montessori Teachers and Administrators on every step of their professional journey Infant and Toddler* (Year-Round) * (Summer Intensive) CMSM: Course for Montessori School Leadership (Summer Intensive plus Year-Round Support) Plan ahead to attend our Regional Montessori PATHWAYS CONFERENCE JULY 21, YEAR FAST TRACK! At Oklahoma City University you can obtain your AMS certification and M.Ed. in just one year! ONE OF A KIND! The Montessori program at Oklahoma City University is the only Montessori graduate program in Oklahoma! Oklahoma City University s Montessori Teacher Education Program is accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education. To find out more about the Montessori program at OCU visit petree/education/montessori 2501 N. Blackwelder, Oklahoma City, OK (405) Join our new cohort for a MASTER S of EC Education & NY State Certification, 0-2nd grade For further information and course schedules visit: FALL

14 AMSConnection N E W S F R O M T H E A M E R I C A N M O N T E S S O R I S O C I E T Y C O M M U N I T Y DISPATCHES KATHY ROEMER REPRESENTS MONTES- SORI AT QUALITY OF LIFE CONFERENCE Kathy Roemer, executive director of New York City s Twin Parks Montessori Schools (and former AMS Board president), shared perspectives about the Montessori method as part of a panel discussion called Recognition moderated by Emma Crosby, chief anchor of the UK s 5 News at a Quality of Life Conference this past spring. Hosted by the French company Sodexo, in New York City, the conference sought to engage a collective movement of global leaders who believe that placing people s welfare at the heart of society and the economy can be a powerful driver of performance for all. Other conference speakers included Arianna Huffington, Magic Johnson (via video), and Jeremy Rifkin, as well as young adults from Sodexo s Future Leaders Initiative. Young Environmental Heroes in Virginia CHESAPEAKE MONTESSORI SCHOOL, CHESAPEAKE, VA In recognition of their efforts toward litter control, beautification, promotion of environmentally healthy practices, education, and recycling, Chesapeake Montessori School was awarded the 2015 Mayor s Outstanding Service Award, presented annually to an individual or organization that has made a significant contribution to promoting environmental improvement for citizens of Chesapeake. Sixthyear Chesapeake Montessori School student Danny Goelz and art teacher and Green Time and Gardening Club facilitator Donna Wooley accepted the award on behalf of the school at the Chesapeake Environmental Improvement Council luncheon, held this past March. (AMS Full-Member School) Members of Chesapeake's Green Time and Gardening Club: What they plant today will grow tomorrow. ST. VRAIN COMMUNITY MONTESSORI SCHOOL LONGMONT, CO SVCMS Upper Elementary students are celebrating 3 years of operating their student-run, nonprofit store, Upendo Emporium. All profits go to Upendo School (Usa River, Tanzania) and have funded Upendo s first library shelf, an ultraviolet water-purification system, science materials, sports equipment, art supplies, classroom furniture, books, and more. The SVCMS connection to Tanzania began when Betsy Hoke, former head of Evergreen Montessori School (Evergreen, CO), asked several schools to consider sewing waterproof backpacks so students in Tanzania could bring books home to read to their families for the very first time; SVCMS seized the opportunity. Upendo students sent back letters of thanks, and pen pal relationships were born. In 2012, SVCMS students voted to create Upendo Emporium to support their new friends school. SVCMS students recently sent art supplies to Tanzania, and their pen pals sent back bookmarks and friendship bracelets they had made, which are now for sale at the emporium. (AMS Initiate-Member School) 12 MONTESSORI LIFE

15 DEPARTMENT OF SCHOOL ACCREDITATION Why AMS Accreditation? AMS school accreditation is a rigorous process for validating a school s compliance with the AMS Standards. The decision to undergo accreditation is voluntary and available only to schools that are full members of AMS. The process engages the entire school community and takes about 2 years. It is reflective, mission-driven, and a tool for ongoing improvement. Of the approximately 1,400 schools that are members of AMS, 167 are also AMS-accredited. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF AMS ACCREDITATION? Schools benefit from both the status and the process of AMS accreditation. AMS accreditation: Leads to discoveries that validate and empower the entire school community. Encourages continual self-evaluation. Assesses a school s effectiveness in delivering on the promise of its mission, advances mission-driven initiatives, and helps to ensure the school s future capacity. Affirms that a school meets a standard of excellence recognized within the Montessori community and by educators worldwide. Carries weight in marketing to the public; offers families assurance of quality Montessori education. Is increasingly recognized by state policy makers, granting significant advantages to AMS-accredited schools, such as recognition within a state s quality rating and improvement system or exemption from particular state licensing requirements. Is recognized by the National Council for Private School Accreditation as a credible accreditation; schools accredited by AMS are also accredited by NCPSA. Enables cooperative accreditation with 20+ national and regional accrediting associations a school can earn multiple accreditations for the work of one. WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS TO QUALIFY FOR AMS ACCREDITATION? A school must be a full member of AMS, meaning that all lead teachers either hold a Montessori credential, issued by an AMS-recognized teacher education program (AMS, NCME, AMI, or other MACTEaccredited program), for the level(s) they are teaching, or are enrolled in an AMS-recognized Montessori TEP. A school must be in at least its third year of operation. The school must utilize the following multiage groupings. Infant &Toddler: Children from birth to 3 years of age may be grouped in varying multiage configurations; SARA WILSON, MEd, is AMS director of school accreditation & school improvement. Contact her at sara@ : A 3-year age group within the range of 2.5 to 6 years; Elementary: 6 to 9 years and 9 to 12 years or 6 to 12 years; Secondary: The school must offer an age grouping of either 12 to 14, 14 to 16, and 16 to 18 years of age or 12 to 15 and 15 to 18 years of age. WHAT S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AMS MEMBERSHIP AND ACCREDITATION? AMS membership is available to any Montessori school and includes valuable benefits. Accreditation is only available to full-member schools. Only those schools that have successfully undergone the accreditation process have been affirmed to adhere to the AMS Standards for quality Montessori schools. WHAT DOES AMS ACCREDITATION COST? The largest expense related to AMS school accreditation is the cost of maintaining full membership with AMS. Another expense is the cost of hosting the onsite visit: The school is responsible for covering the travel, lodging, and meals for the visiting team. The costs of the visit vary depending on geographic location, size of the school, and age levels served. Expenses to budget for (based on FY16 dues and fees) include: Annual dues and fees: Full AMS membership: $17.50 per student ($4,500 maximum) Accredited school annual report fee: $195 (due when the school achieves accreditation) Fees associated with the accreditation process (due every 7 years, during reaccreditation): Application fee: $725 Self-study report review fee: $225 Costs of hosting on-site visit We recommend amortizing the fees over 7 years, since these expenses are not incurred every year. In many cases (depending on the size of the school), the cost of AMS accreditation is less than $20 per student per year of the accreditation term. Our accredited schools agree that this is a steal for the benefits they receive! FALL

16 FIVE QUESTIONS Koren Clark Lower Elementary Teacher Golden Oak Montessori School Castro Valley, CA WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST EXPOSURE TO MONTESSORI? Twenty years ago, researching local private and charter schools, I visited a Montessori school in Berkeley, CA. Entering the school grounds, I saw several Elementaryage children walking in a slow, meticulous manner, concentrating on each step. I was intrigued. What mission were these children on? What afforded them so much focus? Why were they granted the freedom to wander outside without the accompaniment of an adult? What caused them to move with such a striking sense of composure and personal responsibility? In the classroom, I saw other children focused on work: scrubbing tables, reading books, and working with beautiful beads. These children were not moving to the beat of an adult but to the beat of their own hearts. They were liberated with each step. On that day, I discovered a newfound freedom and a pedagogy that honored education in its truest form. WILL YOU SHARE A POWERFUL CLASSROOM MEMORY? Each year, as new first graders enter my classroom, some are full of zeal and others are more timid. One year, a new student entered, refusing to talk. Days, weeks, months went by, but she didn t speak. Her previous teachers had given up. I was determined to find a way to get her to speak, but I saw pure terror in her eyes when opportunities arose to verbally express herself. Over time, it became easier to anticipate her needs by reading her body language, and she became a loving but mute member of our community. I realized I needed to change my approach; the transformation had to start with me. I had to stop thinking of her as a silent girl so I could see her as the verbal, social girl I knew she could be. I began greeting her each morning, expecting her to reciprocate. Good morning, I would say second pause. How are you?...30 second pause. Are you going to speak to your friends today? I know they want to hear from you. When the talking stick was given to her at circle time, she would hold it contemplatively. When it was her turn to speak, her classmates waited hopefully. Four months into the school year, the moment finally came. She spoke and danced with joy in front of the class! Now in Upper Elementary, we still hear the sweet resonance of her voice. WHAT ARE YOU READING NOW? Creating a Life Worth Living, by Carol Lloyd; Theta Healing: Introducing an Extraordinary Energy Healing Modality, by Vianna Stibal; The Daily 5: Fostering Literacy Independence in the Elementary Grades, by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser; and What about Rose? Using Teacher Research to Reverse School Failure, by Smokey Wilson. WHAT IS ONE IMPORTANT THING YOU DO IN YOUR CLASSROOM EVERY DAY? I shake my students hands every time they come through the door and smile to encourage them to leave their emotional baggage behind and to let them know that they are entering a safe environment. Some mornings I hear, I am sad, my grandmother is sick ; I made a very cool project that I want to share ; or I went to my dad s house and I miss my mom. When they come in from recess or another classroom, I offer the same handshake. It is then that I hear whose feelings may have been hurt on the playground and what peace talks may need to happen before work period. Sometimes I discover that I need to change my schedule to reset the mood of the class. The power of these routine interactions is amazing. They create a space where my students feel secure and harmonious enough to express themselves and explore various aspects of who they are, which brings them closer to fulfilling their cosmic task! WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT MONTESSORI EDUCATION? Through an intense desire to empower the world s youngest and most underrepresented beings with self-knowledge and independence, Maria Montessori created an educational philosophy that serves the common core of humanity. If we spent more time emphasizing, upholding, and strengthening this philosophy, many problems we see in Montessori education would disappear, and we would be more effective in our efforts to expand its reach. We would also find it easier to create equity and meet the needs of a diverse student body. Some Montessori educators may have impeccable, well-organized environments; mixed-age groupings; and free-choice seating. Yet if a teacher does not humbly confront the unique features of each child, allowing the teacher to understand the unspoken language of the child s spirit, that classroom is not practicing authentic Montessori. If the teacher has not taken the time to observe the child, watching and learning without interfering, and if the teacher is not willing to truly follow the child, that is not an environment where authentic Montessori philosophy thrives. Montessori implores us to honor the spirit within each child. We must demonstrate the courage to meet these needs by reinventing ourselves. When we do this, we inevitably renew our commitment to the Montessori philosophy and to creating a better world. 14 MONTESSORI LIFE

17 DISPATCHES AMSConnection CREATIVE MONTESSORI SCHOOL HOMEWOOD, AL The Creative Montessori School Board of Trustees recently named Greg Smith as director of CMS, after he had served as interim director for nearly a year. Smith, who holds AMS Elementary I credentials, has been teaching for two decades and had taught at Creative Montessori School for 10 years before accepting the interim director position. (AMS Initiate-Member School) Exploring the Ocean s Many Treasures DISCOVERY MONTESSORI SCHOOL, JACKSONVILLE BEACH, FL Upper Elementary students at Discovery Montessori School recently examined the ways in which global warming impacts marine biomes. The culminating activity was a 3-day, 3-night field trip to Newfound Harbor Marine Institute (a Seacamp program), in Big Pine Key, FL, where students waded/snorkeled to a nearby island to study mangrove ecology; utilized the scientific method in a jellyfish environmental stress lab; rotated through stations in an Echinoderm lab to observe sea stars, sea biscuits, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and brittle stars; and a favorite lab searched for animals living in samples of local species of algae. The trip ended in a boat ride out to a coral reef for more snorkeling. (AMS-Accredited School) A Discovery Montessori student uncovers a gift from the sea. MONTESSORI TEACHER EDUCATION CENTER/SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA SAN LEANDRO, CA Staff at Montessori Teacher Education Center/San Francisco Bay Area have been collaborating with Montessori Senior Residential Care, an assistedliving community that opened last May, to design every aspect of the facility and the program, according to MTEC program director Pamela Rigg. Located in Brentwood, CA, MSRC is for seniors requiring 24-hour support services. Pamela explains that the program s Montessori-inspired prepared environment emphasizes individualization, encourages maintaining self-help skills with Practical Life work, and includes Sensorial activities for sensory acuity as well as language and science activities to support intellectual engagement. (AMS-Affiliated Teacher Education Program) BROOKLYN HEIGHTS MONTESSORI SCHOOL BROOKLYN, NY The Middle School experience at Brooklyn Heights Montessori School culminates in a trip planned entirely by eighth graders. This past school year, the group planned to visit Baltimore. Students raised over $6,000, more than half the cost of the trip, with a weekly pizza business. They researched accommodations, transportation, and educational outings to the National Aquarium, the American Visionary Art Museum, Historic Ships in Baltimore, and the B&O Railroad Museum. Students planned meals and evening leisure activities and mapped out transportation routes. When the Freddie Gray protests erupted in Baltimore a month before the trip was scheduled to take place, teachers and students took a deeper look at the city, exploring issues of class, race, and social justice. (AMS-Accredited School) FALL

18 DISPATCHES Taking Time to Give Back MONTESSORI SCHOOL OF PENSACOLA PENSACOLA, FL Montessori School of Pensacola debuted new courts for 10 and Under Tennis this past spring made possible by $17,000 in grants from the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and USTA Florida. This category of tennis uses specialized equipment, shorter court dimensions, and modified scoring rules, which, in addition to making the game more child-friendly, makes it more accessible to seniors and those with disabilities. The school will be offering a Masters Tennis program this fall for residents of the nearby Summer Vista Assisted Living Community, as well as a Special Olympics tennis program. (AMS-Accredited School) MONTESSORI SCHOOL OF LONG GROVE, LONG GROVE, IL Students at Montessori School of Long Grove completed two service projects this past January. The extended day and Elementary students donated new socks and personalhygiene items; the socks were then filled with the personal items as well as snacks. In all, 74 pairs of stuffed socks were delivered to A Safe Haven, a shelter in North Chicago. Additionally, students collected nearly 6 dozen clean used towels from school families and delivered them to Skycrest Animal Clinic, to be used at animal shelters in the area. (AMS-Accredited School) Preparing socks for donation to A Safe Haven, in North Chicago MONTESSORI ELEMENTARY TEACHER TRAINING COLLABORATIVE LEXINGTON, MA METTC co-directors Michael and D Neil Duffy delivered keynote presentations this past April at the fifth annual Polish Montessori Institute conference, held in Warsaw. The Duffys spoke about Cosmic Education and intrinsic motivation, subjects of two books they co-authored; approximately 600 educators attended. (AMS-Affiliated Teacher Education Program) JARROW MONTESSORI SCHOOL BOULDER, CO Jarrow Montessori partnered this past school year with the University of Colorado Boulder s Environmental Design program to create a new canopy-bench structure for Jarrow s entrance gate. The project, which commenced during the spring semester and was completed over the summer, was a collaboration from start to finish between Elementary students and staff. (AMS-Accredited School) MONTESSORI HOUSE DAY SCHOOL TAMPA, FL Beginning with 6.75 pounds of raw wool, Montessori House Day School Upper Elementary students learned to clean, card, spin, and, finally, knit the wool into 115 eight-inch squares. The inspiration for this work was an organization named Knit-a-Square, which sews the pieces together to make blankets for AIDS orphans and other abandoned, orphaned, and vulnerable children, in South Africa, who might otherwise go without the basic necessity of warmth. (AMS-Accredited School) 16 MONTESSORI LIFE

19 AMSConnection DEPARTMENT OF TEACHER EDUCATION AMS Awards Teacher Education Scholarships Every year, the American Montessori Society awards teacher education scholarships to aspiring Montessori teachers who are enrolled in or have been accepted/ are in the process of being accepted to an AMS-affiliated teacher education program. Candidates submit a detailed application, which includes, among other things, a personal statement about why they want to be a Montessori teacher and documentation of financial need. Applications usually about 100 per cycle are reviewed by a small AMS work group, under the leadership of the AMS Board of Directors Teachers Section chair (currently Suzanne Bayer). Since the program s inception, AMS has awarded over $550,000 to more than 200 aspiring teachers. It is with great pleasure that we recognize the recipients of AMS Teacher Education Scholarships for the academic year, who received a cumulative total of $32,000. We wish them success in their studies. MARYAM BEIRAMI (), Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies, Silver Spring, MD SARAH BROWN (Elementary I), Montessori Education Center of the Rockies, Boulder, CO SAXON BROWN (), Hope Montessori Educational Institute, Lake St. Louis, MO NEUS CARMONA SAUS (), New England Montessori Teacher Education Center, Goffstown, NH SARAH GALLEY (), Center for Montessori Teacher Education/NC, Angier, NC MONICA GUCWA (Elementary I), Montessori Education Center of the Rockies, Boulder, CO *KRISTINE HABELMANN (Elementary I), Montessori Education Center of the Rockies, Boulder, CO MOLLY HARDY (), New England Montessori Teacher Education Center, Goffstown, NH **DANIELLE HINES (Infant & Toddler), Virginia Center for Montessori Studies, Richmond, VA KAYLA IANNUZZO (), Summit Montessori Teacher Training Institute, Davie, FL FARZANA KHAN (), Dallas Montessori Teacher Education Program, Dallas, TX DEEPIKA KOTTE GANGODA THALAPITIGODAGE (Early Childhood), Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center, Libertyville, IL CHRISTINA KRENICKI (), Northeast Montessori Institute, Warren, ME An adult learner masters the Constructive Triangles. LAUREN LUND (Secondary I II), Cincinnati Montessori Secondary Teacher Education Program, Cincinnati, OH KYLEE MEYER (), Center for Montessori Education/NY, White Plains, NY EILYS ORTA (Infant & Toddler), Village Montessori Training Center, Miami, FL ALYNA PHETSINOR (), Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center, Libertyville, IL ELISABETH ROSOFF (Infant & Toddler), West Side Montessori School, New York, NY LISA SCHAD (Elementary I II), Montessori Elementary Teacher Training Collaborative, Arlington, MA TAYLOR WEBB (), Hope Montessori Educational Institute, Lake St. Louis, MO *Scholarship awarded is from the Zell Family Scholarship Fund. **Scholarship partially funded by the Joanne P. Hammes Scholarship Fund. Scholarships were drawn from three sources, all administered by AMS: the AMS Living Legacy Scholarship Fund, for which monies were raised in honor of 2015 Living Legacy Maria Gravel; the Zell Family Fund, established by Dr. Pamela Zell Rigg to honor the memory of her late mother, Agnes Kister, and her late brother, John Kister Zell; and the Joanne P. Hammes fund, established by an anonymous donor to honor Ms. Hammes lifelong work as a Montessori educator. Scholarships for the academic year will honor Carolyn Kambich, AMS s 2016 Living Legacy. Visit for more details. FALL

20 TEACHERS SECTION The Joy of Our Journey When I became a Montessori Primary directress over 25 years ago, I was so excited to work with young children and certain that I would have moments of tremendous satisfaction as I guided them to the wonders of knowledge. When I read This is education, understood as a help to life; an education from birth, which feeds a peaceful revolution and unites all in a common aim, attracting them as a single centre in The Absorbent Mind, I knew that I had truly chosen a unique path in education. What I didn t know at that time was that I was the one who would grow, change, and be filled with awe, wonder, and absolute joy. This journey becomes a way of life and we get to start fresh at the beginning of every school year. And just like the children, we get to learn from our mistakes. Before setting foot in the classroom, new Montessori teachers complete an intense period of preparation. They learn the practical matters of setting up a classroom, create numerous albums from which they will never be parted, and study Montessori s inspirational teachings. I was no different. Once I set up my first classroom all those years ago, I was ready to teach. But I felt uncertain about a few things. The idea of meeting, partnering with, and remembering the names of all of the parents was a bit unsettling. I had no idea about the amount of time that I would spend creating new materials (and started to see everything with an eye toward creating new materials). And I wondered about two terms: false fatigue and normalization, which I had been assured I would recognize. In the end, I did not remember every parent s name, but I was moved to tears on the day that I realized I did have a normalized classroom. It was as if the children did not need me to be present; they were totally involved in their own learning! My journey was underway. An experienced Montessori teacher has the confidence that, regardless of students entering the classroom each fall, there will be normalization. She knows that the classroom setup should have a particular flow in order for calm movement of students. He takes note to remember the names of family members and makes notations on the progress of each student. She easily and successfully encourages the children to try new material. He is able to make connections with each of his In the end, I did not remember every parent s name, but I was moved to tears on the day that I realized I did have a normalized classroom. SUZANNE BAYER is chair of the Teachers Section of the AMS Board and Middle School program coordinator and teacher at Valley Montessori School, in Livermore, CA. She is AMS-credentialed (Early Childhood). students, no matter his or her skill level. Years of shared learning with other teachers inspires her to take on new projects maybe yoga or cooking or environmental work. Emily Fisher, a Middle School teacher at Valley Montessori School, in Livermore, CA, has developed a sewing and recycling curriculum that draws on her passion for sewing. The students create clothing, fit for a fashion show, from recycled items. The experienced teacher finds great satisfaction in working with students and continues her journey by mentoring other teachers, parents, or individuals entering Montessori studies. Toddler teacher Vicki Sartori, also from Valley Montessori School, regularly teaches a Mommy and Me class for parents of infants. Vicki finds it as satisfying as her work in the Toddler classroom, and the community s response is enthusiastic. These adult students and parents will become friends and partners in Montessori education. Our Montessori journey is affected first by our early studies and initial experiences. As we become more confident, we enrich our classrooms, presentations, and studies. Experienced teachers exude grace and courtesy, sure that Montessori is the right choice for them. And the mentor teacher invites others to join the journey. The joy, awe, and wonder of the Montessori journey is still vibrant for me 25 years in, just as it is for the leagues of Montessori teachers, whether they have much experience under their belts or are joyfully beginning their first year of teaching. To all of us enjoy the journey! 18 MONTESSORI LIFE

21 DISPATCHES Field Trip to the Farm BRICKTON MONTESSORI SCHOOL, CHICAGO, IL Middle School students from Brickton Montessori took an Erdkinder agrarian trip to Shenandoah, IA, this past May, to the childhood farm of their teacher, Charles Martin. The students planned the trip themselves, figuring out travel, housing, recreation, food, and learning experiences for the week. While on the farm, they learned about modern farming, raising livestock, ethanol production, and small-town life. (AMS-Accredited School) A Brickton Montessori student watches the sun set from the farm. AMSConnection THACHER MONTESSORI SCHOOL MILTON, MA Last year, Thacher Montessori organized a high-effort, low-attendance journey event to educate parents about the school s progression. This year, after reassessing, the school changed the experience into a night out event, with child care, dinner, student presenters, and lead guides of different levels in the same room. The reimagined program was met with rave reviews. (AMS-Accredited School) WYOMING VALLEY MONTESSORI SCHOOL KINGSTON, PA This summer, Wyoming Valley Montessori School began constructing a greenhouse, supported by a donation from Al Beech West Side Food Pantry, a local organization, and in collaboration with the Children Feeding Children Greenhouse Project. The greenhouse will be built into the curriculum, reinforcing the teaching of eco-friendly gardening practices, food sustainability, and nutrition. Harvested produce will be donated to the Al Beech pantry, which currently serves 70 families. Additionally, transplants from the garden will be donated to local youth-based organizations, for edible landscaping. (AMS-Accredited School) MAITLAND MONTESSORI SCHOOL MAITLAND, FL Christopher Tozier, author of the Olivia Brophie series of books, visited Maitland Montessori s fourth eighthgrade classes, giving a presentation on working through writer s block. On his previous visits, Christopher had asked Maitland students for suggestions about Olivia s future adventures and actually incorporated some of their ideas into his second book, Olivia Brophie and the Sky Island. (AMS- Accredited School) NORWOOD-FONTBONNE ACADEMY PHILADELPHIA, PA This past spring, Norwood-Fontbonne students collected more than $2,200 to help outfit the new Mulamba Memorial International School, in Iganga, Uganda. Student council leaders challenged classmates to donate toward ipads, lockers, Montessori materials, desks, and chairs. Handwritten greeting cards were also sent to the children who will attend the school. (AMS- Accredited School) FALL

22 DISPATCHES Three Schools for One Cause BRANDON MONTESSORI SCHOOL (VALRICO, FL), RIVERVIEW MONTESSORI SCHOOL (RIVERVIEW BEND, FL), SOUTHSHORE MONTESSORI SCHOOL (APOLLO BEACH, FL) The children, parents, and teachers of Brandon, Riverview, and SouthShore Montessori schools rallied together to support the American Cancer Society s Relay for Life. Children donated from their piggy banks; families, teachers, and local businesses donated money, supplies, and time and sponsored relay participants, who walked in shifts for a total of 18 hours. Together, the community raised $9,205 to go toward cancer research, support, and programs. (AMS-Accredited Schools) A youthful participant in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life COUNTRYSIDE MONTESSORI SCHOOL CHARLOTTE, NC Countryside Montessori implemented an independent study program this past school year that enables high school students to earn a college preparatory diploma while pursuing independent interests. Brittany, a junior with an interest in computer illustration and graphic design, has been working with a published author to write and illustrate her own children s book, while also collaborating with professional illustrators and sending her work to publishers for review. And Miguel, a senior, has been working toward a personal training certificate through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. To prepare for the certification exam, he logged more than the required 140 hours of work for this independent study. Part of his study incorporates trying various combinations of macronutrients and exercise to find the best way to gain strength while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Other students independent inquiries included jazz performance, American Sign Language instruction, triathlon, and child development. (AMS-Accredited School) METROPOLITAN MONTESSORI SCHOOL NEW YORK, NY In the midst of a statewide competition, Metropolitan Montessori School s Robotics team challenged themselves to do something new. They had already completed four challenges of the 2015 NYC FIRST Lego League Championship but wanted to solve a fifth: to program the robot to carry a ball, throw it over a fence and into a net, and then return to base. After considerable critical thinking, practice, collaboration, and determination, they succeeded and ended up placing third (out of 80 teams) for teamwork and design. (AMS-Accredited School) XAVIER UNIVERSITY MONTESSORI TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAM CINCINNATI, OH Candidates for an credential at Xavier University Montessori Teacher Education Program can now earn a double major and dual-state license in and Special Education in a 4-year undergraduate program. Successful completion of the program results in a bachelor of science in Montessori and Special Education, an AMS EC credential, an EC resident educator license P 3, and an EC intervention specialist license. (AMS-Affiliated Teacher Education Program) 20 MONTESSORI LIFE

23 AMSConnection JAMES N. GAMBLE MONTESSORI HIGH SCHOOL CINCINNATI, OH Gamble Montessori teacher Krista Taylor has been named the 2015 Dr. Lawrence C. Hawkins Educator of the Year. The award, given annually by the Western & Southern Financial Group, honors the late Dr. Hawkins, who is credited with elevating the educational process in Ohio public schools. It is hoped that recipients of this award will serve as role models, encouraging other educators to achieve excellence. As part of the designation, Krista was awarded $10,000, which she gifted to the Gamble Montessori Foundation. Krista received her Secondary I II credential from the AMS-affiliated Cincinnati Montessori Secondary Teacher Education Program where, true to the mission of the award, she is now being groomed for a role as teacher educator. Says Barb Scholtz, an instructor at CM- Step, I am proud to say that Krista is a gem and that if ONE award has to be given (which I think is crazy), I m glad it was she who got it! (AMS Full-Member School) MONTESSORI SCHOOL OF DENVER DENVER, CO MSD Middle School students spent a week focused on Breakthrough: How One Teen Innovator Is Changing the World, by Jack Andraka, who, at age 15, developed an early detection test for pancreatic cancer (and who was a keynoter at the AMS 2015 Annual Conference). The students discussed issues raised in Jack s book, such as depression and bullying, as well as the importance of resiliency in pursuing one s passions, and also took part in hands-on science and math lessons from the back of the book. Additionally, combining inspiration from Jack's work with cancer patients and the MSD mission to do good in the world, students decorated lunch bags and birthday cards for Project Angel Heart, a local organization that delivers nutritious food to people living with life-threatening illness. (AMS-Accredited School) VALLEY MONTESSORI SCHOOL LIVERMORE, CA In the wake of last spring s earthquakes in Nepal, Valley Montessori Middle School s Community Service and WeAct committees organized a school bake sale to support relief efforts, raising $3,116. All of the money was donated to the American Red Cross to help those affected by the disaster. (AMS-Accredited School) LEXINGTON MONTESSORI SCHOOL LEXINGTON, MA Elementary students at Lexington Montessori School participated in UNICEF s Kid Power program, an initiative to encourage children to leverage wearable technology to support a good cause by engaging in a movement-based curriculum. The students were provided with UNICEF Kid Power fitness bands, which displayed how many steps they d taken and the resulting number of points earned. Points accrued were converted into monetary donations to go toward purchasing therapeutic food for children in malnourished communities. (AMS-Accredited School) UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN RIVER FALLS MONTESSORI TEACHER PREPARATION RIVER FALLS, WI In early 2015, the University of Wisconsin River Falls hosted a Pedagogy of Peace workshop. Montessori and peace educator Rebecca Janke facilitated, guiding participants toward discovering their own capacities as peacemakers and peacekeepers. Attendees also explored strategies for involving children in creating a culture of peace. (AMS-Affiliated Teacher Education Program) PRINCETON CENTER TEACHER EDUCATION PRINCETON, NY This past summer, a new leadership team took the helm at Princeton Center Teacher Education. Gwen Shangle, PCTE s new director, replaced Ann Wilson, who retired earlier in the year. Gwen was joined by Michelle Morrison, PCTE s new executive director and the current head of Princeton Montessori School; Elizabeth Clarke, the new associate director; and Banu Eser, serving as admissions and business associate. (AMS- Affiliated Teacher Education Program) Send Us Your News! We are seeking news that will interest, engage, and/or inspire the wider Montessori community.* Please do not send stories about routine events, such as graduations, practicum starts and finishes, etc. News dispatches should be 50 words maximum (plus school, TEP, or individual name, as appropriate, and location). We will be publishing a limited number of photos in this section. If you have an exceptional high-resolution image you d like us to consider, please it, along with a hand-signed AMS photo release for each person pictured. (Release forms may be downloaded at Photos submitted without releases will not be saved. To submit: Following the guidelines above, your news brief to by November 1, 2015, for consideration for our Spring 2016 issue. *As always, send news about school and AMS-affiliated teacher education program anniversaries to for listing in the Anniversaries section. Anniversaries Happy Anniversary! Congratulations to the following AMSmember schools on achieving a significant anniversary milestone. We wish them continued success in the future. 15TH ANNIVERSARY Academie de Montessori Jacksonville, FL Mary E. Saltmarsh, Director Brown Tufts Montessori Woodbury, CT Nana Sledzieski, Head of School Ross Montessori Charter School Carbondale, CO Sonya Hemmen, Head of School 25TH ANNIVERSARY The New School of Lancaster Lancaster, PA Mary Cae Williams, Head of School 30TH ANNIVERSARY Kirkwood Children s House Montessori School St. Louis, MO Kerry Moran, Director 45TH ANNIVERSARY The Montessori House Day School Tampa, Florida Tom and Kay Murrell, Owners The Montessori School Dresher, PA Laura Stulb, Head of School 50TH ANNIVERSARY The Children s House of Bucks County Fairless Hills, PA Susan P. Weir, Head of School The Montessori School for Shreveport Shreveport, LA Angie Day, Head of School Seton Montessori School Clarendon Hills, IL Anna Perry, Executive Director If your AMS-member school or AMS-affiliated teacher education program will soon be celebrating a 5-year, decade, or quarter-century anniversary, we want to know about it! Contact Carey Jones at Please include your organization s name, location, and head of school or program director, and put Anniversary in the subject line of your . Calendar AMS ANNUAL CONFERENCES 2016 March 10 13, Montessori: Principles, Values & Perspectives. Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers, Chicago, IL 2017 March 9 12, Town and Country Resort & Convention Center, San Diego, CA 2018 March 22 25, Sheraton Denver Downtown, Denver, CO 2019 March 21 24, Washington Marriott Wardman Park, Washington, DC 2020 March 12 15, Hilton Anatole, Dallas, TX SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS EVENT AMS Winter Retreat Dreams Los Cabos Resort Cabo San Lucas, Mexico January 15 18, 2016 FALL

24 AMSConnection UPCOMING DEADLINES Dissertation & Thesis Awards: Applications due November 1, Research Mini-Grant: Applications due November 1, Ursula Thrush Peace Seed Grant: Applications due December 1, For more information, visit AMS WEBINARS Webinars take place 7 8:30 PM (ET). Each can earn you 1.5 hours of continuing professional development (CPDs) that qualify toward the AMS professional development requirement. Thursday, September 24 Building Community in the Montessori Classroom Presenter: Adam Darlage Thursday, October 1 Conducting Effective Parent-Teacher Conferences Presenter: Marie Conti Thursday, November 5 Including Children with Autism in the Classroom Presenters: Natalie Danner, Mary Anderson, and Deb Ryan For the most up-to-date list of AMS webinars: In Memoriam SISTER BARBARA JEAN CISZEK Sister Barbara Jean (Bee Jay) Ciszek, of LaGrange Park, IL, died Thursday, May 28, 2015, at the age of 70. Bee Jay was a longtime member of AMS and broader Montessori communities and served as an teacher, consultant, and administrator in both Montessori and non-montessori environments. Considered an expert on the language and aesthetic development of the Montessori child and adult, she was founder and principal of Cardinal Bernardin Early Childhood Center, in Chicago, IL, and a lecturer for the Early Childhood Education program at Seton Montessori Institute. She held AMS credentials (Infant & Toddler; ). Bee- Jay received a BA in elementary education from Loyola University in Chicago, IL, and an MA in early childhood development and a CAS in School Administration from Concordia University in River Forest, IL. She was also member of the Congregation of St. Joseph of LaGrange and recognized for 50 years of devotion to religious life. Contributions in Bee Jay s memory may be made to Cardinal Bernardin Early Childhood Center ( org) or the Congregation of St. Joseph ( DR. PAUL J. DUNN Dr. Paul J. Dunn, of Viroqua, IL, died March 24, 2015, at the age of 95. He was a pioneer of Montessori education in the United States, a pediatrician, and an advocate of holistic and preventive approaches to medical 1961, he and his wife, Kathy, founded Alcuin Montessori School, in Oak Park, IL. Together with Celma Perry and others, the couple got Seton Montessori School (Clarendon Hills, IL) off the ground in From 1962 to 1965, Paul served on the board of directors of the American Montessori Society. He was also president of Alcuin s board of directors. With Kathy, he was a founder of the Illinois Montessori Society. His involvement in Montessori led to an interest in treating brain-injured children, leading him to leave his pediatric practice to found the Chicago Center for the Achievement of Human Potential, where he served as medical director. He later returned to private practice and founded the Center for Integrative Treatment and Biochemical Nutrition in Oak Park. Among many other positions, Paul served as president of the International Academy of Preventive Medicine, as a member of the Illinois Commission on Children, as assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University, and on the staffs of St. Anne s, Oak Park, Loretto, and West Suburban Hospitals. KATHRYN DOOLEY DUNN Kathryn Dooley Dunn (Kathy), of Viroqua, IL, died June 18, 2015, at the age of 87. She and her husband, Dr. Paul Dunn, were leaders in the Illinois Montessori community, serving as co-founders of Alcuin Montessori School and guiding the opening of Seton Montessori School. Kathy was AMS-credentialed and also served as a member of Alcuin s board of directors and vice president of the Illinois Montessori Society. Kathy was a graduate student in physiology and studying to become a doctor when she met Paul. She ultimately put her medical career aside to raise their 10 children and to work with her husband to improve the lives and health of children and adults.when Paul left his pediatric practice to found the Chicago Center for the Achievement of Human Potential, Kathy designed the center s visual-motor integration program. Later, they co-founded the Center for Integrative Treatment and Biochemical Nutrition, and she joined the center s staff, serving as a certified clinical nutritionist. Kathy lectured extensively at many colleges and universities and served as vice president of the International and American Associations of Clinical Nutritionists. Donations in Kathy s memory may be sent to Hospice Program, Vernon Memorial Healthcare Foundation, 507 S. Main St., Viroqua, IL, School Accreditation News The AMS accreditation designation indicates that an AMS member school meets a well-defined standard of excellence. Congratulations to the following schools, which recently earned accreditation or were reaccredited. FOX VALLEY MONTESSORI SCHOOL (Initial accreditation) Aurora, IL Denise Monnier, Head of School MONTESSORI SCHOOL OF GREATER LAFAYETTE (Reaccreditation) West Lafayette, IN Suman Harshvardhan, Head of School WINFIELD CHILDREN S HOUSE (Reaccreditation) Falmouth, ME Michelle Vogel, Head of School Miscellaneous PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT EVENTS If you are an AMS credential-holder looking for opportunities in your area to help you satisfy the AMS professional development requirement, check out the Local Professional Development Events listings on the AMS website (you can also suggest events to be added): SEND US YOUR PICTURES! We re looking for captivating photos for Montessori Life and will pay up to $25 for those used in feature articles and up to $200 for images used on the cover. We are interested in pictures showing students from AMS-member schools actively engaged in Montessori environments. Diversity in race and age is a plus. your high-resolution photographs to Carey Jones at careyjones@ All photos must be accompanied by signed AMS photo releases for all subjects depicted. Release forms and submission rules are available on the AMS website: Photos submitted without releases cannot be considered. ADVERTISE JOB OPENINGS ON THE AMS WEBSITE Our Employment Opportunities webpages receive nearly 2,000 visitors per week! All AMS member schools and AMS-affiliated teacher education programs can advertise there is no fee. To post a position, visit Jobs. To view open positions, go to 22 MONTESSORI LIFE

25 The Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies Quality teacher education since Layhill Road, Silver Spring, MD p f Certification Programs Infant and Toddler (ages birth 3) (ages 2.5 6) Elementary I and II (ages 6 9, 6 12) Dedicated and experienced faculty Beautiful 45-acre campus on which to learn and explore Graduate credits available On-campus internship opportunities available through Barrie Montessori Affiliated by American Montessori Society Accredited by MACTE Approved by Maryland Higher Education Commission FALL

26 Singing, dancing, and playing their way to learning. At Music Together, we ve been teaching children, parents, and educators through music for over twenty-five years. When our program is a part of your school s curriculum, music isn t just fun it s a powerful learning tool, too! Call us to discover how you can bring the power of singing and dancing to your early childhood learning community. (800) MONTESSORI LIFE

27 Why Choose Montessori Outlet? 15% OFF Coupon Code AMS1510 Corporate Advisor: Bert Nienhuis (Former Nienhuis Montessori Co-Owner & CEO) Products made based on authentic blueprints approved by Mr. Nienhuis 70% Off Nienhuis before additional discount 99% Materials in-stock for fast shipping Compatible with Nienhuis materials Tested at UK Intertek & German TUV laboratories Satisfies Federal CPSIA HR4040 Safety Law Satisfies USA ASTM-F963 Toy Safety Standards Satisfies European EN-71 Toy Safety Standards Water based non-toxic finish (lead free) FSC & PEFC certified lumber (green products) add: 1926 West Holt Ave. Pomona, CA USA tel: 888.MOUTLET ( ) fax: web: FALL


29 LEAD. INFLUENCE. Enrich your teaching skills. Advanced Montessori Programs. Where Montessori educators come to advance their careers, their profession and their world. If you have a passion for making the world a better place through Montessori learning, consider: AM2 Montessori Master s. A transformational, online master s degree you can complete in less than one year. Montessori STEM Certificate. Innovative science, technology, engineering and math learning within an authentic Montessori curriculum. Montessori ReNEWal Certificate. Refresh your Montessori content and pedagogy in an authentic Montessori environment and renew your spirit. Learn more at St. Paul Minneapolis Seton Montessori Institute Formerly MECA-Seton Considering Montessori Certification? Preparing Educators and Administrators World Wide Since 1970 Other Programs: For mo e Seton Montessori Institute FALL

30 CROW CANYON ARCHAEOLOGICAL CENTER experiential curriculum aligned to Montessori s Great Lessons field trips multiday programs summer camps , ext. 146 Cortez, CO CST Azoka Company Simply Beautiful Classrooms Textiles Time Lines Cultural Batiks Seacoast Center Montessori Elementary I-II Program voic /fax Quantity Discounts AMS-affiliated/ MACTE-accredited Programs offered in New Hampshire, FL, and SC M.Ed Partnership with Plymouth State University voic /fax MONTESSORI LIFE


32 Bringing peace back to the region: Estancia Central School students work on their garden plots. PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARISSA J. HARTWIG 30 MONTESSORI LIFE

33 THE HEALING GARDEN PROJECT A Perspective on Peace Education By Marissa J. Hartwig We often realize how insignificant we are only when nature decides to unleash its wrath. In the summer of 2014, I was given the opportunity to experience what many people would call a life-altering reality check. Thanks to an Ursula Thrush Peace Seed Grant from the American Montessori Society, and with the help of family, friends, and a local government, I was fortunate to serve the child victims of supertyphoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines on November 8, Haiyan packed winds of over 315 kilometers (almost 200 miles) per hour, devastating islands in the Philippines ( JTWC, 2013). More than 6,300 people lost their lives, and almost 30,000 more were injured or reported missing (NDRRMC, 2014). Whole towns and cities were destroyed, reduced to a wasteland of fallen trees, washed-away homes, and twisted metal from foundations of buildings. Bodies were strewn all over, and people were forced onto the streets, looking for their families or others who could help. One does not have to be a victim to empathize with the Filipinos; one merely has to be human. I am a native of the Philippines, so this event had a special impact on my life and led me to reflect on what mattered most. Disturbing images of the devastation, shown for over a week on television, were seen by billions of people and prompted me to help. I decided to visit the land of my birth. The Philippines, a beautiful archipelago of more than 7,100 islands in Southeast Asia, has weathered hundreds of typhoons before, but this time was different. Haiyan tested the mettle of the Filipinos, challenging their integrity as a people and their strength as a nation. Millions of dollars in aid poured in from all over the world. But as sometimes happens in countries in similar situations, dishonesty, politics, and mistrust plagued the relief efforts (Philippine Daily Inquirer, January 11, 2014). In particular, I wanted to help the children, as they are often the silent victims of the harsh realities of this world. If we are to preserve our existence in this home we call Earth, we need to start with the children. If we are to create an everlasting peace in this world, we need to model peace for our children and nurture their inner peace. Years ago, my father had a small garden with orchids and other ornamental plants. I sensed his peace of mind and simple joy when he was tending to his plants. But I did not fully realize how therapeutic a garden could be until we started a gardening project at my school in Florida in We created plant beds for each classroom; the children brought and planted seedlings. They visited the garden when they could to look for any developments on their plots. They observed caterpillars that ate leaves, butterflies that hovered about, spiders that spun webs, tiny snails that inched through the soil, and worms that wriggled as they dug into the dirt. They pulled weeds, laid out mulch, and sat quietly on a bench, gazing at the peace pole. We created a garden journal and artwork to go with the gardening experience. Observing the children s joy and wonder when they were working on their plots made me appreciate the positive effects of a garden. My students enjoyed and took great pride in the garden, and the garden also had a peaceful, calming effect on them. For 2 years before Haiyan, my school s gardening project was a model for If we are to create an everlasting peace in this world, we need to model peace for our children and nurture their inner peace. sustainability, peace education, work ethic, and the arts. After the typhoon, I decided that if I were to help the children of Haiyan heal, I would use gardening as my vehicle, starting with a garden like the one at my school, even expanding it into an arts and language curriculum. But the true purpose underlying all these activities would be peace education. There were several towns and cities affected by Haiyan. It was not going to be easy to select a recipient FALL

34 THE HEALING GARDEN PROJECT *For information about the Ursula Thrush Peace Seed Grant, see pg. 22. for my personal aid. I consulted my nephew, a surgeon for Doctors Without Borders, who worked with Haiyan victims in a town in the province of northern Iloilo called Estancia. He recommended I contact his friend from the area, a nurse who served with him during the Haiyan relief efforts. I also wrote to the mayor of Estancia. Upon further discussions with my nephew, the nurse, and officials of the local government, we chose Estancia Central School, the largest school in the area, serving seven municipalities. It sustained the most damage and had a few areas suitable for a garden. I needed resources to make the project a reality. A co-worker told me about the AMS Ursula Thrush Peace Seed Grant*, designed to help fund an endeavor to promote peace. I submitted my proposal, The Healing Garden, and was overjoyed to learn that I had been awarded a grant. To augment the money received from AMS, I designed a fundraising activity in my school. I sold raffle tickets for two prizes: a Reiki session (a form of alternative medicine and spiritual healing that I practice) and a Montessori at Home consultation. I also asked for donations from family and friends. To implement my chosen curriculum, I purchased books on peace and asked the teachers and parents at my school to donate new and slightly used books; I then shipped a huge box of books to the Philippines. I communicated via with my nephew s friend and the personal secretary to the mayor of Estancia, and we worked together to get the project started. I made There were classrooms in tents, classrooms made from galvanized tin, and a classroom in the dilapidated gymnasium with a mangled roof. plans to go to the Philippines and asked my sister, a plant nursery owner who resides in the Philippines, to accompany me to Estancia and advise me on the soil I needed, the plants suitable for the area and weather conditions, and the upkeep of the garden. She would also introduce me to plant growers in an adjacent town. I booked a hotel close to Estancia Central School. On June 15, 2014, I arrived in Estancia. The devastation was gut wrenching. Seven months after Haiyan, there was still evidence of numerous buildings and houses destroyed. Leaves on the trees that survived the typhoon, and other smaller vegetation, were the only significant signs of new life. My sister and I went directly to the school. Again, the sight of dilapidated buildings was shocking. A local council member took us on a tour, and we chose a site for our garden an elevated, empty lot, strewn with garbage and wooden materials from buildings destroyed by Haiyan. The lot was nestled between two buildings 3 fourth-grade classrooms and a classroom for children with special needs, which also doubled as a guesthouse. The nearest water source was a deep well a quarter of a mile away. While the space was appropriate for my project, there was no shade, so we realized we would have to design a garden that would work given these conditions. The next day, we met with the mayor, his staff, and the principal of the school. In my previous correspondence, I had requested volunteer workers but was informed that there would be no one available to volunteer; therefore, the children would have to help with all the preparations. Since there would be very difficult, tedious tasks involved in preparing the area for gardening, I chose to pay four laborers to work 8 hours a day for 10 days. The mayor s secretary was able to secure these workers, who, much to my delight, were also farmers in their respective towns. I was told that due to the garden s location, I would only be working with fourth graders from three classrooms next to my garden site (about 150 students out of 500 total fourth graders), and it would have to be in conjunction with their agriculture program. I met the program s lead teacher and two other teachers and reiterated my goal of establishing peace education through gardening activities. Estancia Central School has 3,300 students, from kindergarten through sixth grade. As a result of Haiyan, this public school lost 43 classrooms, a gymnasium, library, cafeteria, and an office building (Reyes, 2014). When I arrived, the vacant school grounds served as the children s playground and gym, while small stores selling mostly junk food lined the corners, since there was no cafeteria. There was evidence of the efforts of UNICEF and a couple of NGOs in the reconstruction of classroom buildings plus an office building at the school. Each classroom from first grade on had between 50 and 60 students, with one teacher and no assistant. One classroom I visited had just one lightbulb and one desk fan that the teacher bought. There were classrooms in tents, classrooms made from galvanized tin, and a classroom in the dilapidated gymnasium with a mangled roof. Children had to carry chairs from one classroom to the next, due to a shortage of furniture. Teachers were also in short supply, so they were juggled from one class to the next. The school s toilets were not flushable; children had to fill buckets to pour water into the bowls to flush them. There were no shelves for school supplies and no 32 MONTESSORI LIFE

35 PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARISSA J. HARTWIG books. Children had to buy their own supplies and uniforms. If the teacher wanted improvements in his room, he had to pay for them himself (in one case, a teacher had to buy lumber so he could build tables for the students). These conditions would be deplorable for many people, but since 95% of these children had had their own homes and lives destroyed by Haiyan, their school now served as a second home (Reyes, 2014). As much as I wanted to help with the infrastructure, my funds were limited to my project and whatever school supplies I could provide. My focus was the garden, so I bought spades, trowels, soil, watering cans, pails, and drums to hold water so the children would not have to go to the well. The laborers had limited, somewhat primitive tools, so I supplied them with hammers, nails, sacks to store the garbage, and bamboo for the fence and trellis. My brother, who worked for the country s Department of Agriculture, donated 6,000 packets of seeds. (This proved to be the most helpful material I needed to further develop the project, allowing me to extend it to other grades in the school and to towns in the area.) The painstaking work of creating the garden took 6½ days. The laborers built raised beds from pieces of wood salvaged from Haiyan-destroyed buildings. I visited the site every day to inspect the work. My sister and my guide, the nurse friend of my nephew, helped by going with me to the market to buy supplies as needed. We transported everything, from the nails to the huge water drums, in the only public transportation available in the town, a motorcycle with a covered sidecar. When it rained, which it did a few days while I was there, the driver and the sidecar had to be covered with a clear plastic tarp. The roads were rugged, and the lanes in town were narrow. It was no small feat to transport our materials two miles from the market to the school. While the laborers worked, I was in the classrooms working with the children. I knew that the school had little funding for art and writing activities, so I bought the supplies. I communicated with the children in Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines, and read and discussed books on peace and other related topics with them. I secured some books written in the local vernacular, which the students also enjoyed. They created garden journals and decorated them using markers, colored pencils, and crayons. The children were delighted as they gently held the pretty colored paper and folded it with great focus and deliberation. Every child was respectful to me and very polite when asking for materials, always saying thank you. The teacher told me that the children waited for me every day with excitement, looking forward to whatever activity we were going to do. I was greeted with warm smiles and sweet Estancia Central School on November 9, 2013, the day after supertyphoon Haiyan devastated the island FALL

36 THE HEALING GARDEN PROJECT Sharing stories under the garden's bamboo arch good mornings each time I entered the classroom. The children were well-behaved, quiet, and eager to listen. I talked to the children about their role in the gardening project. In addition to being caretakers of the vegetable garden and recording information about this in their journals, they would also use their journals for art and writing ideas. We started with each child taping down in his or her journal the seeds that were used in the plots. There were seeds for 11 kinds of vegetables, some to be planted directly in the soil and others to be germinated. We shared ideas on how to care for the garden, what plants needed to grow, when to harvest, and what they would do with them. The children excitedly discussed their jobs and brainstormed ideas on how to share their project with others. Before Haiyan, many of the children had lived on family farms, so they were no strangers to farming. But before I came, they had to buy seeds from a limited selection. They were thrilled to know that not only would they have 11 kinds of vegetables in their school garden but also would be taking home some seeds. With 6,000 packets, I had plenty of seeds to go around. I divided them into 6 large bags. One bag remained at Estancia Central School. I gave one to another school district, one to the local agriculture department, one to my guide s hometown (to be given to two schools there), one to my laborers who lived in a nearby town, and the last to the mayor s personal secretary who requested it for another town. Some of the beneficiaries asked for my advice on how to create a peaceful garden for their children and the rest of the community. When the laborers finished their work, I was very impressed. My concern about having some kind of shade was answered with a trellis that formed an arch in the middle of the garden. Bitter gourd would be planted at its base so that when this vine grew, its leaves and fruit would provide shelter from the sweltering heat. The design was perfect! The laborers had listened carefully to my expectations and requests. There were 11 plant beds in the perimeter of the garden and four small boxes for the bitter gourd in the center arch. Another trellis was installed in the back, for vegetables that crawled, such as two varieties of squash contained in three boxes. Sacks with garden soil, along the fence in the front and on the sides, were added for more creeping vegetables. There was a platform for the two huge water drums, with a spigot on each of the drums so the children could gather water. Rice hull covered the grounds to deter the growth of weeds and decrease the mud and slush that would collect during the rainy season. I brought the children to the garden and gave them trowels, spades, a few seeds, and instructions for planting; the laborers also advised and assisted the children, who were all amazed at how beautiful their garden looked. In addition to the garden plots, I had also wanted to create a space for quiet and peaceful reflection. The laborers solved this problem by placing logs along the perimeter of the garden to be used as seats; they also constructed a bench. The children were asked to paint labels to identify the vegetables and also to make a sign that read Peaceful Garden. This was their special place, their sanctuary. After the children planted the seeds, I had them sit on the logs and on a mat I bought that was laid on the ground above the arch. They were very excited as they gathered around me. I distributed markers and colored pencils and told them to draw the garden in their journals. They walked around the area and drew what they saw. Most of them drew and colored plants that were to grow in the plots. We continued the activity in the classroom to avoid the brutal heat. They politely exchanged writing implements while talking about their pictures. There were no fights, no exchanging of unpleasant words, and no grabbing of materials. There was a peaceful silence and contentment on the children s faces. Next, I had the children reflect on their experience in the garden. They talked about how good they felt about sitting in the garden and drawing. Some talked about how thrilled they were envisioning the vegetables when they sprouted. We discussed their roles in caring for the garden and the schedules that they would arrange with the other classrooms. My plan for the garden project included many other activities, but due to the limited time I had in the Philippines, many of these would happen after I left and PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARISSA J. HARTWIG 34 MONTESSORI LIFE

37 would be implemented by the teachers. I met with the teachers to discuss some of my ideas, including drawing and writing about the progression of the growth of the plants, what the plants needed to grow, their responsibility in the garden, how it made them feel to be in the garden, what the garden did for the school and community, how they could expand the concept of a peaceful garden to their communities, what peaceful garden meant to them, what cooking activities they could do with the vegetables, what animals they would observe in the garden, what would be harmful to the plants and animals, how they could protect the garden from these harmful elements, and what other vegetables or fruits they would want planted. I told the teachers that I hoped the children could do a painting of the garden and showcase their artwork for the rest of the school. It was also brought up that the bench, the plant beds, and the platform where the drums were placed could be painted to create an even more beautiful setting. The possibilities were endless. It was my hope, too, that the children would be given a chance to contribute their own ideas on what to do in the garden and what to add to their journals. A few days before I left, I told the children that I wanted my students in Florida to correspond with them. I asked each of them to write their name, age, grade, section, and school name on a sheet of paper along with the words, I am glad to meet you. I wanted to establish a pen-pal program between my school and these fourth graders. I also took a class picture to show to my students. The children seemed to be pleased with the idea, and they carefully wrote down all the information I requested. After 12 days in Estancia, it was time for me to go home. I felt that I had done what I could and I could leave the rest with the teachers. They promised to keep me posted on the project s progress and to send me pictures. On my last day, a child handed me a thankyou card with hearts and flowers on it. I read the card, thanked the child, and hugged her. Afterward, each and every one of the children lined up before me, each handing me a thank-you card. They drew the garden, hearts, people, trees, flowers, the sun, and wrote words that melted my heart. They all thanked me for helping them create a garden and for donating school supplies. Most of them expressed wishes for me to come back and work with them again. The plane ride to Manila and then back to the United States seemed like an eternity. I imagined the pain and suffering these Filipino children had to endure when Haiyan struck. Their smiling faces masked the grief that I saw when I asked them to raise their hand if their houses were destroyed by the typhoon. All hands went up. Their demeanor changed, and their smiles slowly faded. I pictured their classrooms, their school, and the terrible conditions they must have encountered after the typhoon. Then I pictured my students back in Florida, who, by comparison, had everything. I saw them in their clean classrooms, rich with materials, their comfortable homes, fancy cars, fine clothes and shoes, and the best education money could buy. How would they fare in the conditions that I experienced in Estancia? We can never understand the full extent of how blessed we are until we have witnessed the misfortunes of others. Haiyan and other numerous catastrophic events jar us from our comfort zone and expose us to the cruel realities of an abrupt violence and its aftermath. We see victims stripped of their pride and forced to face challenges that test their humanity. Though it is unfathomable to comprehend the impact of such pain on children and families unless we have been through something similar ourselves, many of us respond by performing acts of charity and service, and in so doing, we discover the profound and poignant effects of such efforts. We must question our commitment to making the world a better place. How can we heal and peacefully coexist with our neighbors? How can we keep our children safe? After Haiyan, I did what I thought I could to contribute to the well-being of children in my homeland. To do nothing, or wait for others to help, was not a choice. My Healing Garden was a small step toward rebuilding the peace and comfort that the children of Estancia had momentarily lost. They will be haunted by the images of the storm for a very long time. But I hope that they will also be reminded of the peace within them that has always been there they just had to find it again. The garden is a haven, a reminder that life does go on. When the last leaf falls, you can always gather more seeds and replant, restart, and rebuild. As long as there is life, there is hope. As long as there is hope, there is a chance. Let us keep peace alive. MARISSA J. HARTWIG is an author, Reiki master, and recipient of an AMS 2014 Ursula Thrush Peace Seed Grant. She teaches at Children s House Montessori School North Boca Campus, in Boca Raton, FL. She is AMS-credentialed (). Contact her at References Joint Typhoon Warning Center ( JTWC). November 8, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). April Reyes, Reynaldo (Office of the Mayor of Estancia, Iloilo, Philippines). June 16, Philippine Daily Inquirer, January 11, FALL

38 GALLERY 1 Norwood-Fontbonne Academy, Philadelphia, PA 2 Kawaiaha'o Church School, Honolulu, HI 3 Pioneer Valley Montessori School, Springfield, MA 4 Montessori Country Day School, Houston, TX 5 Christopher Academy, Scotch Plains, NJ 6 Undercroft Montessori School, Tulsa, OK 7 Lotus Montessori School, Hoffman Estates, IL 8 Acton Montessori School, Acton, MA 9 The Woods Academy, Bethesda, MD 2 Visit to learn how to submit your AMS member-school photos for the Gallery MONTESSORI LIFE



41 Clay in the Montessori Classroom CONNECTING ART, SCIENCE, AND PRACTICAL LIFE By Claire Willis PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRIAN POWELL / STOCKSY UNITED What am I doing? I thought the first time I watched myself heave 50 pounds of dried clay into a Dumpster. I had recently begun working as a ceramics teacher at a local community center and was shocked to learn that rather than recycling and reusing leftover clay, I was supposed to throw it away even though most of this clay only needed to be mixed with a little water and left to sit for a few days to be perfectly functional again. The motivation for this practice, which is common to many schools and centers that offer clay education, seems to be partly economical, partly cultural, and perhaps even partly spiritual, reflecting the values of a society based on consumption. Real clay is much cheaper than commercially available products, but like most real things, it requires care and work in order to maintain it. Many schools use an air-dry or oven-bake variety of clay, which hardens through chemical reactions or as a result of exposure to air. Clays that never dry out are usually wax- or oil-based, often used for modeling. Schools often use one of these types of clay, or simple playdoughs. The objects made from these clays can be fascinating and evocative. However, these materials, while interesting and valued for their FALL

42 CLAY IN THE MONTESSORI CLASSROOM consistency and versatility, do not obey the same laws of transformation as what I am calling real clay." Real clay comes from the ground, is found most everywhere, and can be fired (baked at a very high heat) in a kiln or through exposure to another form of high heat, such as a bonfire. Once fired, the clay transforms into another state, resembling glass, stone, or brick more than its previous form. Much of what our children are getting these days, even in the form of so-called art education, is premixed, prepackaged, and predigested, with all the thinking done for them. I remember the plastic molds that came with the playdough sets of my childhood, telling me what a bear or a flower should look like, and subtly imposing the idea that I needed neon colors and cartoon forms as inspiration. The material itself held a deep fascination and attraction for me (who could resist the smell?), but its creative potential was limited, as it eventually crumbled and hardened. As a child, I wondered, What if there were a way to bring it back to life again? But who would want to waste their time rehydrating playdough when the craft store or toy store nearby has new containers on sale for only pennies? Not to mention its manufacturers want you to throw it away so you have to buy more. Understanding the human element involved in turning raw materials into usable objects allows children to see all the ways nature serves us. The same thinking held true when I became a ceramics instructor. Even though we were using real clay at the community center and had invested in a large high-firing kiln, the steps involved in recycling clay were viewed as inessential to the process of ceramic art education. Bringing dry clay back to life, though possible, is an involved process and is usually considered a waste of effort. Why pay someone for the long hours involved in the process of reconstituting it when new clay is just 20 cents a pound? Yet how could an activity that holds so much interest and so many lessons really be a waste? In a way, it takes a kind of reverence for the process and for the lessons inherent in the age-old traditions to go against the grain and resist throwing away reusable materials. Unlike commercial products, recycled clay does not lose any of its pizzazz once it has been rehydrated. Mastering the steps of reconstituting real clay connects an individual to the material in a deeper way. You see more possibilities and are able to understand its natural properties more fully, something the first humans discovered thousands of years ago. As an adult, you can learn these steps quickly enough much faster than our ancestors did over the course of thousands of years but to carry them out takes time (something we think we never have enough of) as well as effort, effort which seems mindless and boring to most adults. But if we skip this kind of work, our children never get to see us engage in complex activities spanning days, weeks, and sometimes years. When children see us involved in multi-stepped processes, new pathways and deeper understandings of cause and effect develop and a greater interest in life emerges. Compare opening a can of soup to the steps involved in making it from scratch. When my grandmother made chicken stock, she began collecting scraps weeks in advance and freezing them, over time gathering enough to make the stock. When we spend time preparing something, we are more likely to give it value and respect. Each step involved in the work of processing clay provides opportunities for inquiry and profound insight into the material as well as into ourselves. There is a kind of contemplative process that can occur while remixing clay that is comparable to peeling potatoes, washing dishes, or sweeping. When, little by little, children collect dry bits of clay in a bucket over the course of the year, they are not necessarily thinking of the process to come, but they find it satisfying in its own right. However, when one fine day, weather permitting, it is time to bring out the buckets and mix the dry clay with water and see what happens, that moment is like magic. In the classroom, aspects of scientific study join Practical Life as the child explores the physical properties of the clay and then gradually understands how to manipulate it in various creative ways. Clay has a utilitarian purpose it can make bowls and cups but it also supports spiritual and physical development as the child becomes able to dictate what form the clay will take. Clay can be an excellent means for the child to develop awareness and mastery of his or her emotions and physical movements. WHY NOT USE REAL CLAY IN THE CLASSROOM? The strongest objections I have heard to using real clay focus on the mess and time it takes to prepare and maintain. If you are going to use clay in your classroom, you must allow yourself to get messy with the clay, experience that out of control feeling, and then find the most efficient and beautiful way to clean up. Just as in all other large Practical Life work, there is an order of operations that allows the process to flow without becoming overwhelming. 40 MONTESSORI LIFE

43 PHOTOGRAPHY BY CLAIRE WILLIS MY CLAY STUDY Over the course of 2½ years, I experimented with different ways of bringing clay into the Montessori classroom and developing awareness in the children as a result. When I first began my internship, at Seton Montessori School, in Clarendon Hills, IL, I was able to work with 3 6-year-old children in structured projects during extended-day hours as well as in after-school programs. I presented small group projects where they could make objects from clay that I then fired for them. The older children learned to glaze their pieces and could appreciate the transformation that occurred when the material took on a gloss, could hold water, and no longer returned to clay when wet. During this time, I observed the children s need for greater sensorial exploration with the material. I began to wonder how to integrate clay into the classroom as an available activity for the child to freely choose. I researched other philosophical approaches, such as Reggio Emilia and Waldorf, as well as modern psychology, to understand the child s need for deep sensorial exploration and to help inform my approach. Quite a few variables determined the way I presented activities, not the least of which was the necessary awareness and encouragement of my supervising teachers and school administration. As an intern, I was unsure of how to integrate clay into the regular classroom curriculum. Thankfully, my expertise with clay was tapped to fill a necessary structured group activity time during the extended-day program. From there, I was asked to teach pottery as an after-school class, in addition to my regular internship time with the morning and afternoon classes. Considering my background in Elementarylevel ceramics instruction, I naturally started where I felt most comfortable: with structured, project-based activities. We made bowls from coils, pinch pot bird nests with eggs, wall pockets, and beads. As I observed the children in these groups, it became clear that many of them would be just as happy simply smushing, squeezing, poking, and stabbing the clay; the 5- and 6-year-olds were the ones most interested in making useful things for the environment or to take home. With this in mind, I returned to the idea of classroom work and began designing shelf activities that could be used sensorially but were limited to the space of a tray, for use during work time. I made a simple bead-making work, using real clay, which was very popular and could have stayed on the shelf all year. Another simple shelf work included Plasticine clay in a small container with a canvas tray. This was intended to replace the playdough work previously on the shelf. I preferred the Plasticine because the children had to work to warm it up before sculpting, which assisted their fine- and large-motor development. The older children also made counters for Cards and Counters with the real clay from the bead-making work. Though these activities were used regularly, a basic and deep sensorial clay exploration was missing. I would observe children outside playing in the dirt and mud, using sticks to dig in the ground, pretending to be scientists looking for fossils or something to uncover. Then something exciting happened. The children discovered the presence of usable clay on our school property, and we began digging and processing clay outside. The children exploded into self-directed, factory-style productivity as they dug, hammered, crushed, ground, and pulverized the raw material. Adding water to the dry clay provided another interesting experience. We discussed the states of clay (slip, wet, leather hard, dry, bone dry, fired, glazed) and learned to distinguish clay from soil, silt, and dirt. I had access to a kiln, so I tested our clay, finding that it easily fired to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit (in pottery terms, cone 05 ) without melting and could be made Students showing off pinch pots and beads made from clay they dug themselves FALL

44 CLAY IN THE MONTESSORI CLASSROOM Students break dry clay into small pieces so it can absorb water more easily. into functional objects that would hold up to foodsafe, low-fire glazing. Eventually I was able to bring it all back into the classroom with the construction of a clay table where open-ended exploration was an option. The children responded with enthusiasm and interest, using it regularly. Several children in our classroom who had been identified as having behavioral and/or developmental differences gravitated to the clay table regularly. It seemed to provide a means for self-calming and exploration that no other material in the classroom could offer. After I presented our clay table to the other teachers, at a monthly staff meeting, I began seeing them in the other 3 6 classrooms. The response was a strong affirmation of the observable need for open-ended clay exploration. One teacher, who has a background working with children with learning differences, told me she sometimes has children make a letter using clay as a means of developing phonetic awareness and letter formation. Not long ago, children would find clay in a garden or riverbed and freely explore and learn from it. In order for children to understand that many objects in the physical world are made of basic materials and that one substance can often be transformed into another, it is as essential for them to have experiences with raw materials as it is to have examples of things made from these materials. Pottery bowls, woven rugs or baskets, and sewn fabrics are just a few examples. Understanding the human element involved in turning raw materials into usable objects allows children to see all the ways nature serves us and the intricate, fascinating ways humans have interacted with the earth s materials to create many things taken for granted today. Through their experiences working with clay from the woods and exploring clay on a sensorial level, the children in our classroom learned that clay comes from the ground. They discovered that clay becomes sticky when wet and can be made into slip, a form of liquefied clay, when more water is added. They also know that clay can be made into useful things that serve human life: bowls, tiles, pitchers, cups, water sprinklers, beads, and planters. They know from experience that items made from fired clay can break if dropped and so must be handled with care. They are confident in their ability to get messy and to wash their hands and clean up their workspace afterward. At this point, introducing pottery from other cultures or presenting the children with different forms of pottery making (such as using a potter s wheel or seeing large water jugs being made) would provide a concrete foundation from which they could expand their awareness of the material and its possibilities into the greater world of art history and the diverse cultural manifestations of clay brought to life through human hands. What follows are several presentations I created for clay work in my classroom. If you ll need supplies to get started, check out these resources: Amaco, Blick Art Supply, Continental Clay Company, Sheffield Pottery, 42 MONTESSORI LIFE

45 PHOTOGRAPHY BY CLAIRE WILLIS PRESENTATION #1: EXPERIENCING NATURAL CLAY MATERIALS Large tarp 25 pounds of natural pottery clay, preferably white (non-staining), available at art or ceramic supply stores Bucket of water Large sponge Towel for drying hands and feet Place for temporarily storing shoes and socks Airtight container or bag large enough to store the clay AIM To allow the child to fully explore the sensorial properties of clay with his body (this works for a group of children as well) AGES 2 and up; can be modified for younger children NOTES This initial presentation is adapted from the Reggio Emilia approach and is described in The Language of Art, by Ann Pelo. Photo documentation and recording of children s observations are recommended throughout this initial exploration. PREPARATION This activity can be done indoors or outdoors. Lay the tarp on the ground, and place the entire block of clay in the middle. Prepare a cleaning station on one end, with the bucket of water, sponge, and towel. PRESENTATION 1 Bring the children to the tarp, and introduce them to the clay: Children, I would like to introduce you to clay. You will need to take off your shoes and socks and roll up your sleeves before stepping on the mat. Then you can touch the clay. 2 Have them take off their shoes and socks and place them in the designated temporary storage space. 3 If they are hesitant, you can invite one child to start, or you can demonstrate first by poking the large block of clay. 4 As children begin to touch the clay, ask questions to encourage exploration, such as: What happens if you stand on it? Can it hold you? 5 Eventually the clay may spread out or crumble into small pieces. You may wish to narrate the process as it is occurring. The clay is getting dry. 6 If children get tired of touching the clay, invite them to sit and watch on the tarp or to take a piece of it and start modeling it in their hands. They should be allowed to engage and disengage freely. 7 When they are finished, have the children step back and look at how the clay changed. 8 Ask if they have anything they d like to share about their experience with the clay. 9 Record observations (yours and theirs). 10 Show the children how to clean the clay off using the sponge, bucket, and towel (you do not need soap to clean up clay). 11 Have them dry their feet and put on their shoes. 12 Put the clay into the airtight container to be used again another day. PRESENTATION #2: DIGGING UP AND PROCESSING CLAY MATERIALS Source of naturally occurring clay or an abundance of collected, dry pottery clay Buckets or old pillowcases Shovels Pitcher and water source Old sheet or tarp Tools for processing, such as hammers, nails, and chisels; stones; a mortar and pestle; sticks; and rubber or wooden mallets AIM To understand the concept that clay is a natural material and comes from the earth; to introduce a concrete example of recycling AGES 3 and up VOCABULARY Slip: Clay that is liquefied. Often used to attach pieces of clay together when building or pouring into molds for slip casting. It is also what we will make in order to have smooth, new clay after recycling. Bone Dry: Clay that has no tangible water left and feels dry as a bone. Leather Hard: When clay is in between soft, wet clay and bone dry clay, it is called leather hard and has a tactile quality similar to leather. It can be carved at this stage but is too dry to form into new shapes. NOTES This activity can be adapted for elementary-age children to demonstrate that clay has a variety of qualities based on its particle size, water content, and mineral composition (for example, red clay has more iron, or rust, and finer particle sizes make the clay more plastic, or bendable). PRESENTATION STEP 1: IDENTIFYING CLAY 1 Ask the children if they know where clay comes from. Respond to and answer their questions, guiding them to the idea that clay comes from the earth. 2 Show them a sample of clay from the ground, and invite them to feel it in their hands. 3 Ask if they would like to go for a walk to hunt for clay. Where do they think they should look? 4 You may include some geological information about how clay is often found near riverbeds, especially if you have a stream or other water form near your school. 5 Take a walk with the children and look for clay. If you have a garden bed that has clay in the soil, this can be a good place to start and is an easy way to initiate a discussion about the difference between soil and clay. 6 Bring back any samples you find. 7 Compare the clay to a sample of soil or dirt. What happens when you add water? Experiment with the substances and engage in conversation about the children s observations. How to identify clay: Clay has finer particles than dirt. The particles are shaped like flat, elongated discs and glide over one another. You can identify clay, even when it is dry in the ground, by the way the surface looks. Clay clumps and separates differently from dirt, soil, or mud. Striations on the surface are usually a clue, but the defining characteristic is that the particles look like they like each other. There is a density and compactness to the visual quality that is difficult to describe. Dirt, soil, and mud usually have a component of clay in them, but they will not be plastic, or malleable, like clay; there is a high percentage of sand or organic matter that will have round particles instead of platelets and which do not hold together. A clay deposit will consist of pockets of solid clay. These deposits are usually located near riverbeds, or places where water flowed many years ago. The best way to tell if a material is clay is to try to work with it, adding water, if needed. Clay will be pliable and hold its shape, and when water is rubbed on it, the surface will become slick and smooth. Coarse sand or small rocks may be present; rocks are undesirable when firing clay as they can be made of limestone, which expands during or after firing, causing the walls of the pieces to explode when the limestone absorbs additional moisture. STEP 2: COLLECTING CLAY As each situation is unique, adapt clay collection according to your location. Gathering dried clay from the classroom could also be considered clay collection. 1 Once you have found a source of clay, invite the children to join you in collecting clay for the classroom. 2 Either have the children help you find the things you will need to gather clay or have the items already prepared: bucket(s) or pillowcase(s) and a collection of shovels. 3 Take the children to the clay site and encourage conversation about the clay, describing observable physical properties. 4 Collect the clay. 5 Be sure to instruct the children on how to return the site to its original state and to ensure there are no holes that could be a safety concern to others walking through the area. 6 Have the children help you carry the clay back to the classroom. FALL

46 CLAY IN THE MONTESSORI CLASSROOM Collecting clay: My students used small shovels, spades, and their hands to collect the clay from our deposit. The clay we found was about 100 feet from a small stream, alongside a path going through the woods. A child found the first bit, brought it to me, and showed me where he found it. A few days later (after I had tested it in the kiln to be sure we could use it to make functional pieces), we came back as a group and dug some from the ground. I made a point of trying to keep the surrounding environment safe and intact so no one would fall or trip where we had been digging. In the end, you could not tell we had been there, though we had collected a big bucket of clay! Before our first collection, there had been a recent rain, so the freshly dug clay had all the properties necessary to work with immediately. The children explored the clay as we dug, some making little things with it, but most were simply delighting in the sensation of the raw clay between their fingers. If you don t have a natural source of clay, pottery clay bought from a store will work just as well; in this case, collecting the clay will mean placing it aside for recycling/rehydrating as it dries out. STEP 3: REFINING THE CLAY 1 Once the clay is collected, bring it to a location where it can be left to dry completely. 2 Spread an old sheet out on the grass. 3 Dump the clay onto the sheet. Allow it to dry completely before proceeding to Step 4. (Drying can be done by leaving the clay in the sun for a few hours or keeping it in a bucket with the lid off for a few days, weeks, or months.) 4 Show and name the tools you have to refine the clay. 5 Demonstrate how to use the tools to grind the clay into pieces smaller than the tip of a child s finger and where to put the ground-up clay (a nearby bucket). 6 Remind the children to be mindful of others around them and to keep their tools safely in their own space. 7 Invite the children to begin. 8 Monitor their activity and allow them to continue until all the clay is ground up or it is time to clean up. 9 Show them how to put the materials away. 10 Gather the corners of the sheet with the remaining clay (if there is any) and twist to prevent any clay from spilling. Move the clay to a dry location, such as a bucket or bin. Refining clay: This activity can go on for a short or long time, depending on the amount of clay you have. In our case, we brought out the clay-refining sheet daily, for about an hour each time, over the course of 2 weeks, and made lots of clay. Dry clay (ideally broken into small pieces) absorbs water much better than leather hard or slightly wet clay and lends itself much better to reconstituting. STEP 4: MIXING THE CLAY WITH WATER 1 Once the clay is ground into small pieces or powder and collected in a bucket, ask the children what they think will happen when water is added. 2 Have them take turns adding water and stirring the mixture. 3 Continue to add water and mix until the clay is wet and liquid (slip). 4 Move on to Step 5, or allow the clay to sit for up to several days, adding water if needed to keep it from drying out. Mixing clay with water: While some children will only touch the clay with a tool, others might want to be immersed up past their elbows in sticky, slippery clay. A large sponge and a bucket of clean water will help clean the clay from children s bodies and clothes. Showing how to dip and squeeze the sponge into the bucket repeatedly helps with effective cleanup. STEP 5: DRYING THE CLAY 1 Invite two children to help hold open the top of an old pillowcase. 2 Work together with other children to pour the contents of the wet clay bucket into the pillowcase. 3 Secure the top of the pillowcase with a rubber band, and put it on a stone walkway to dry, or hang it up someplace nearby. 4 Clean up. 5 Wait for the clay to dry to a workable consistency, checking it every day. Drying clay: Drying clay in pillowcases was something I first tried in graduate school, while digging clay in Alabama. I was surprised by how well it worked, even with liquid clay slip. Drying times will vary depending on temperature and humidity levels, but this is also a point of interest to the children. STEP 6: USING THE CLAY Finished clay can be used in the classroom or outside. The children in our class were eager to work with the clay, so when it was ready, we set the bag on an outdoor table and I allowed them to work with it freely. After this initial exploration, I moved the clay into the classroom, where it supplied our clay table for the remainder of the year. See the other presentations for ideas on how to use clay in the classroom. PRESENTATION #3: BEAD MAKING MATERIALS Small tray Air-dry clay or other type of self-hardening clay Airtight container to store clay Wide wooden skewer for piercing holes Destination for finished beads If children take home finished beads rather than keeping them in the classroom, you will also need: Small plastic cups, small pieces of paper, and pencils AIM To make beads from clay; coordination of fine-motor movements, formation of a ball or sphere AGES 3 and up NOTES This initial presentation is adapted from the Reggio Emilia approach and is described in The Language of Art, by Ann Pelo. Photo documentation and recording of children s observations are recommended throughout this initial exploration. PRESENTATION 1 Invite the child to use the bead-making work. 2 Bring the tray to the table and put on an apron before sitting down. 3 Open the clay container and pinch off a small piece. 4 Close the clay container (later emphasizing that the clay will dry out if the container is left open). 5 Roll the clay into a ball using your fingers and the palms of your hands. 6 Show how to pierce a hole through the center of the ball with the wooden skewer. 7 You may wish to show how to make dots with the point of the skewer to decorate the outside of the bead with a letter or design. 8 If the children keep their beads, show them where to get a cup and label for their work. 9 Place bead(s) on a shelf to dry. 10 Put the clay into the airtight container to be used again another day. EXTENSION Beads may be painted once they are dried. You may wish to make a separate work for this activity. If so, you will need a tray with a container for paint, a paintbrush, and a selection of paint colors from which to choose. Water-based paints, such as tempera or watercolor, can be used but will rub off eventually. I recommend acrylic craft paint, which can offer interesting variations, such as metallic and gloss, but does not clean up as easily. PRESENTATION #4: CLAY TABLE MATERIALS Table covered with canvas (I used a staple gun to attach canvas under the table.) A softball-size amount of real clay, processed from the ground or purchased from an art supply store *Note: The type of clay you ll need depends on if you will be firing the pieces made by the children; if so, the specifications will be 44 MONTESSORI LIFE

47 dictated by the temperature of the firing. Red (terra-cotta), white, and brown are all variations. Stoneware will have more grit, whereas porcelain and earthenware will be smoother in texture. Airtight container for storing clay Small bucket for cleanup Large sponge for cleanup Labeled buckets with lids for keeping extra clay: one for wet (fresh) clay one for dry clay to be recycled AIM To allow the child opportunities for open-ended exploration with clay during classroom time; encourages awareness of material, fineand gross-motor development, and creative thinking AGES 3 and up; can be modified for younger children EXTENSION The clay table can be used to demonstrate landforms, volcanoes, or hemispheres of the earth. Children can also make geometric solid forms or letter formations or learn to make objects such as counters or beads for the classroom. Some children wish to document their work and draw what they have made. You may wish to write their title or description on the back of the paper. CLAIRE WILLIS is AMS-credentialed () and has been working at Seton Montessori School for the last 3 years. In addition to making her own functional pottery, she has taught pottery to children and adults for over 10 years in a variety of settings. Since discovering the Montessori method, Claire has worked to integrate her passion for clay with her understanding of Montessori philosophy. Contact her at PHOTOGRAPHY BY CLAIRE WILLIS NOTES The first few months it is in the classroom, the clay table should be set up with no additional tools. A small cutting knife may be appropriate, depending on your children, but exploration should not involve cookie cutters, rolling pins, or anything that may distract or overly complicate the experience. Often I leave the child to work first, telling her to find me when she is ready to be shown how to clean up, as it involves too many steps for an eager child to sit through. PRESENTATION 1 Invite the child to the clay table: I would like to show you how to use the clay table. 2 Put on an apron. 3 Pull out a chair, and sit at the clay table. 4 Show the child how to open the clay container. 5 Tell the child that this is where we keep the clay. (You may wish to mention that if the lid is left open the clay will dry out.) 6 Take out a piece of clay, set it on the table, and close the container s lid using two hands. 7 Pick up the clay, and begin to squeeze it. Try rolling it, poking it, or pounding it. Depending on the child and his age, you may wish to show how to make a pinch pot, coil, or some other form. 8 When you are finished, roll up the clay into a ball and return it to the container. 9 Say, Now that I am finished, I will clean up the table so it is ready for the next person. 10 Show the bucket with sponge designated for cleaning the table. 11 Fill the cleaning bucket partially with water. 12 Use the large sponge to clean the table, being careful not to add excess water to the table. (When more cleaning is required, you may wish to remove items from the table to a floor mat or towel next to the table.) 13 Use the sponge to clean hands and the outside of the clay container. 14 Empty the dirty water into the sink. Big clay pieces that are too wet to put back into the container can be put in the slip bucket or with clay to be recycled. 15 Clean the bucket and sponge and return them to their appropriate places. Wipe off the apron if necessary, and hang it up. 16 Push in the chair. VARIATION Use a floor table or an outdoor environment, weather permitting. You may choose to add a pitcher and dish for water to the table. Be sure to tell the children what they are for and how to use them: 1 Fill a small pitcher at the sink, and return to fill the small dish. 2 Ask the child what he thinks will happen when water is added to the clay. 3 Dip a finger in the water, then rub it on the clay and share observations. Pottery tools, such as fettling knives (blunt metal knives with wooden handles), sculpting tools, or handmade clay stamps, can be added over time. Children can be shown how to make clay stamps. Suggested Reading for Adults: Art and Creative Development for Young Children, by Robert Schirrmacher (1988) Clay in the Classroom: Helping Children Develop Cognitive and Affective Skills for Learning, by Sara Smilansky, Judith Hagan, and Helen Lewis (1988) Clay: The History and Evolution of Humankind s Relationship with Earth s Most Primal Element, by Suzanne Staubach (2005) The Language of Art: Inquiry-Based Studio Practices in Settings, by Ann Pelo (2007) Mudworks: Creative Clay, Dough, and Modeling Experiences, by MaryAnn Kohl and Kathleen Kerr (1989) Poking, Pinching & Pretending: Documenting Toddlers Explorations with Clay, by Dee Smith and Jeanne Goldhaber (2004) Trauma Healing at the Clay Field: A Sensorimotor Art Therapy Approach, by Cornelia Elbrecht (2013) Suggested Reading for Children: Children of Clay: A Family of Pueblo Potters, by Rina Swentzell and Bill Steen (1992) From Clay to Bricks, by Stacy Taus-Bolstad (2003) The Little Lump of Clay, by Diana Engel (1989) The Mud Family, by Betsy James (1998) The Pottery Place, by Gail Gibbons (1987) The Pot That Juan Built, by Nancy Andrews-Goebel (2002) When Clay Sings, by Byrd Baylor and Tom Bahti (1972) FALL


49 RENEWING CHILDREN S HOUSE SCIENCE A Study of the Past with an Eye Toward the Future By Teresa Ripple PHOTOGRAPHY BY CARA SLIFKA / STOCKSY UNITED In any Montessori Children s House, you will see iconic materials like the pink tower, the red rods, the golden beads, and the sandpaper letters. These materials typically occupy 4 to 5 shelves each in the Mathematics, Language, and Sensorial areas. In addition, the Practical Life area occupies a central space, with at least as many shelves as the aforementioned areas. In contrast, there are often only 1 or 2 shelves devoted to science. Did Montessori consider science optional? Or are there other reasons why she developed few science materials for the Children s House? There is considerable evidence that Montessori did value science, as she was a scientist herself. Biographer Rita Kramer described Montessori as poring over thick volumes of zoology and botany, physics and chemistry, late into the night while the other young women she knew were reading romances and dreaming of homes and husbands (1988, pp ). Historian and Montessori lecturer Paola Trabalzini wrote that Montessori possessed enthusiasm for the new horizons which scientific research was opening up for biology, embryology, anthropology, mental illness, genetics and hygiene, and all this fitted in well with the atmosphere in her family that was so permeated with positive scientific interest (2011, p. 11). One of the key differences between Montessori and other educators and education theorists is that she developed or refined concrete materials to explicate her theoretical observations. These materials, particularly in the Mathematics and Sensorial areas, are concrete representations that lead to abstract thinking. They isolate the difficulty in a presented concept, enabling children to grasp the intended meaning easily and accurately. The Mathematics materials and many of the Sensorial and Language materials spiral throughout the entire Montessori curriculum, culminating in presentations during the Elementary years and beyond. While evidence of Montessori s genius is represented in her materials in the Mathematics, Language, and Sensorial areas, the science materials mainly encompass nomenclature cards FALL

50 RENEWING CHILDREN S HOUSE SCIENCE Exploring nature, today and in Montessori's time and perhaps puzzles, with few of the hands-on elements containing the breadth and depth of information present in other areas of her pedagogy. Montessori did address science in her books. In The Discovery of the Child, she exhorts readers to let the children be free; let them run outside when it is raining; let them remove their shoes when they find a puddle of water; and when the grass of the meadows is damp with dew, let them run on it and trample it with their bare feet. (1972, p. 68) She was clear that children should experience nature and suggested that children have a special affinity for the natural world: Only children and poets can feel the fascination of a tiny rivulet of water flowing over pebbles (1972, p. 70). Three chapters in Creative Development of the Child pertain to information on biology and botany at the Elementary level, although Montessori wrote that a younger child enjoys studying plants with great joy and interest. A child of three may merely be interested in the parts the roots, the stem and the leaves. A child of five years is interested in the botanical classification of plants more than in anything else (1998, p. 198). In The Secret of Childhood, Montessori described, over several pages, with scientific accuracy, the great care mammals give to their young, concluding that Through her [the mammalian mother s] affection and her tender care, she awaits the birth of the latent instincts. And for men we might say by analogy that, through delicate care of the newborn man, we should await the spiritual advent of the man. (1998, pp ) The role of nature, revealed in botany and biology, was of primary interest to Montessori. She wrote that her approach to discovering the child was that of experimental science based on observation (1991). Her son, Mario, continued her study by contributing materials regarding the shape and classification of plants and animals (for the nomenclature cards in the and Elementary environments) and emphasizing the need for gardens in Montessori environments (Montessori, 1972, p.75). So while Montessori encouraged the adult to let the child experience nature, she did not develop any particular sequential study or materials for the Children s House. She wrote that for the young child, studying a leaf was not a study of botany, but merely a way to offer the child new names to enrich his vocabulary. The names that we offer are connected with reality, with real objects that exist. As such it is a wonderful preparation for the later study of botany and biology. (1998, p. 200) Obviously, she intended the application of science to come later in the development of the child. There is historical precedent for this view. At the time Montessori was writing, studying, and perfecting her approach to education, the Nature Study campaign reached its zenith (Lorsbach & Jinks, 2013, p. 9). Nature Study was an influential movement [that] sustained mainstream popularity from the late 1800s through the early 1920s and promoted a conservation ethic in children through education and primary experience in and with nature ( Johnson, 2013, p. 16). The impetus for nature study came as industrialization prompted more and more families to leave the country farms for the city. Anna Botsford Comstock was a leading proponent of the Nature Study movement, and her Handbook of Nature Study contained a collection of introductory science and pedagogical techniques designed to guide teachers in the construction of a curriculum. Wherever elementary school students sprout beans, grow sugar crystals from solution, and count the number of robins in their yards, the Handbook exerts its influence. (Lioi, 2010, pp ) DIGITAL.LIBRARY.UPENN.EDU/WOMEN/MONTESSORI/METHOD/METHOD.HTML. PHOTOGRAPH (TOP) BY TERESA RIPPLE. PHOTOGRAPH (BOTTOM) COURTESY OF 48 MONTESSORI LIFE

51 Comstock, in much the same way as Montessori, intended this more in-depth study of nature mainly for the Elementary child. Wilbur Jackman was another early advocate for Nature Study as a part of the educational curriculum. He also sounds much like Montessori but echoes her emphasis on Practical Life as well as on nature as he advises that teachers of nature should meet the practical needs of the pupils for a knowledge of nature in their daily living ( Jackman, 1903, p. 103). Researcher and professor of education John L. Rudolph (2011) described turn-of-the-century Nature Study as follows: Classification and systematics, definitions and vocabulary were passed over in favor of exposing students directly to objects and organisms, most often as they were found in their natural settings. The ideal learning outcomes informed by the new educational psychology of the era advocated by the likes of G. Stanley Hall and others were more often aesthetic, affective, and even tactile than cognitive or rational. It was a hands-on pedagogy of natural things in local settings and the connections that could be made between those things and the interests of children. (p. 271) This approach aligns with Montessori s admonition that a child needs to live naturally and not simply have knowledge of nature. The most important thing to do is to free the child, if possible, from the ties which keep him isolated in the artificial life of the city (Montessori, 1972, p. 67). By World War II, Nature Study s popularity was on the decline. By Montessori s death, in 1952, science emphasized textbooks and lab work, instead of fieldwork, and the general science curriculum was being revised accordingly (Tolley, 1994). At the same time, Mario Montessori was insistent that the authenticity of Montessori s work must be maintained, leaving the pedagogy and content in stasis. He favored a master class approach. Within this model, novices learned from masters... in a lengthy, ritualized process that was part transmission of tradition and part celebration of that tradition (Whitescarver & Cossentino, 2006, p. 5). When Mario s American emissary Nancy Rambusch requested more scientific rigor in the training process, as well as other changes, Mario refused, and they parted ways in 1963 (Whitescarver & Cossentino, 2006, p. 4). Since this schism, the Early Childhood science area has not evolved much in AMS Montessori s approach to discovering the child was that of experimental science based on observation. or AMI teacher education. There is no consensus among teacher educators on what science materials are necessary in. A study by Angeline Lillard found that 80% of AMS and AMI educators found the animal and botany cards necessary, while 63% of AMS educators and no AMI educators found the botany and animal puzzles necessary. Additionally, 94% of AMS educators found sink and float and magnetic/nonmagnetic experiments necessary, while no AMI educators did (2011, p. 24). Even a 20% dissimilarity in the importance of animal and botany cards is significant, in that those educators are conceivably either not presenting this nomenclature or emphasizing other work than that devised by Mario Montessori for science and vocabulary enrichment. Montessori did not include sink or float or magnetic/nonmagnetic in her materials (Lillard, 2011), which suggests that at least 94% of AMS educators have decided to supplement what Montessori and/or her son prescribed. Lillard quotes Nancy Rambusch as saying that American Montessori education needed to be as diverse and pluralistic as America itself (2011, p. 26). A diverse and pluralistic approach certainly allows for innovation but does not preclude some unity. Montessorians could benefit from commonality in the study of Children s House science to ensure that all children are being exposed to its richness. A unified primer could be developed to direct guides in preparing children for the steps they will take in Elementary Montessori science, as happens in Mathematics and Language. Elizabeth Pomeroy Collins, who was first a student and then a friend of both Montessori and her son, commented that Montessori was always working on some new idea. If she was left alone for a minute we d come back and find her working out some new material in geometry or inventing some kind of game.... (Kramer, 1988, p. 316). If fidelity to Montessori s original ideas is a concern, her work could be best maintained by deepening and expanding the approach she began, as well as following the basic principles of Montessori, such as control of error and isolation of difficulty. It seems appropriate for Montessorians to respond to the tremendous discoveries and advances that have taken place in the scientific world since her death. Most Montessori programs present the world as the plant kingdom and the animal kingdom. But what about accurate classification for the 3 6-year-old? FALL

52 RENEWING CHILDREN S HOUSE SCIENCE Spears (2004) suggests that children need to know that there are organisms that do not belong to either the plant or animal world. Allowing for updates to the story of plants and animals is especially important given that there are changing views in scientific classification. As an example, the number of the higher-level domains (above the level of kingdom) continues to be debated today, and all these changes and developments over the years are indicative of the dynamic and controversial nature of the scientific content in the field of biological classification (McCarthy & Sanders, 2007, p. 125). The stories of plants and animals could be presented as living organisms we can see with our eyes, and perhaps the rest can be described as living things that are too small Children can be guided to provide simple solutions to problems, just as engineers and technologists do. or too simple to be a plant or an animal (Spears, 2004, p. 41). To this end, Montessorians are not given much guidance. Lillard stated that science is not an area that is much discussed in Montessori s books for Primary, but it is much discussed in her books with regard to Elementary. Perhaps less is more at this level: Having fewer activities in this area would leave the child more time for using materials that give a basic foundation in number and language and sensory perception. (2011, p. 14) While it is possible that less is more, momentum currently leans toward including more science, not less. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) curriculum is often in the news, and not just for Elementary or Secondary students. In a widely circulated position paper, the National Science Teachers Association stated that learning science and engineering in the early years can foster children s curiosity and enjoyment in exploring the world and lay the foundation for a progression of science learning in K 12 settings and their entire lives (NSTA, 2014, p. 1). In addition, funding from multiple sources is becoming widely available for science education. Adding physical science to the curriculum, as well as introducing engineering and technology, seems especially relevant given that: [The] National Science Foundation s Discovery Research K 12 program has begun to solicit and fund proposals to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational programs that support prekindergarten children and those who teach them. Technology and banking industry leaders also support efforts to make STEM accessible to preschoolers. (Brenneman, 2011, p. 1) While most practitioners do not advocate the use of computers in the environment, many support the teaching of technology as it relates to engineering, which is simply the development of useful tools (NAEYC, 2012). Much of the misuse of materials in the Montessori Sensorial area may simply be an outgrowth of the need to construct, to test theories of gravity and motion that are contained in physics, engineering, and technology. Moomaw, a professor of early childhood education, and Davis, an early childhood intervention specialist, stated: Several children in our classroom were particularly interested in blocks and outdoor play. These seemed ideal for introducing two activities related to physics and engineering: pendulums and inclines. Both activities encourage active experimentation. In addition, both are examples of technology that have a work-related purpose: knocking structures down (pendulum) or moving objects faster and more easily (incline). (2010, pp ) Instead of constant redirection, or frequent replacement of the pink tower and brown or broad stair, teachers could add physics and engineering work to their shelves, from gravity experiments to simple machines to activities such as building towers and bridges from balsa wood. Children can be guided to provide simple solutions to problems, just as engineers and technologists do. A scope and sequence is necessary for these science activities, just as there are sequences in other Montessori curricula. The point is not to supplant the science teachings of Montessori but to add structure for the guide and a deepening of experience for the child. This approach could help to prevent the uneven presentations of science that sometimes occur across Montessori programs. So, where to begin? Montessori stated: freedom without organization of work would be useless. The child left free without means of work would go to waste, just as a newborn baby, if left free without nourishment, would die of starvation. The organization of the work, therefore, is the cornerstone of this new structure of goodness [in education]. (1965, pp ). In addition, Gretchen Hall, an AMI Primary director of training at the Montessori Training Center of New England, stated that random discrete facts are not accessible by the intelligence without interrelatedness, an association, or a relationship (2011, p. 17). The framework must exist to contain ideas and presentations and move the child from the concrete to the abstract. What was once called Nature Study is an appropriate place to start. Nature is where the child first has an uncon- 50 MONTESSORI LIFE

53 Looking for samples of what animals eat: Would birds like these berries? PHOTOGRAPHY BY TERESA RIPPLE scious experience with his or her cosmic task, the connectedness of all things, and all the other ideas that permeate the Elementary years. The child can observe and study real flowers and animals, observe the facets that make up their being, and begin recording these observations with words and/or pictures in a science journal. Children then can move to the next steps of abstraction, such as growing a plant from a seed, experimenting with light and water, determining by observation how the plant responds, and recording those discoveries. Approaching Nature Study this way can introduce the scientific method of inquiry to children. The guide models scientific methodologies by helping the child ask questions and make predictions. Children are shown how to compare their predictions to the actual outcomes. Scientific inquiry allows opportunities to predict, investigate, estimate, classify, and graph.... Modeling the use of I wonder What if...? and How can we find out? introduces children to the basics of scientific inquiry. When children pose a question, we can introduce the processes of observing, researching, creating, and testing hypotheses, and collaborating to find answers. (Bosse, Jacobs & Anderson, 2009, p. 12) The scientific method of inquiry provides an approachable guide to science because every teacher can encourage children to observe, ask questions, predict, experiment, and discuss their findings, no matter how comfortable they feel with science content (Gerde, Schachter & Wasik, 2013, p. 316). FALL

54 RENEWING CHILDREN S HOUSE SCIENCE Removing corn kernels to put in the winter feeder As an example, children can study water by watching rivulets run down a hill and recording what is occurring or learn about insects by observing an anthill. Guides can support children by using children's observations to formulate questions and experiments. The youngest children can keep their science journals close at hand and draw their predictions. Older children can write their questions and observations and record events. Children can carry a science bag, with their journals, magnifying glasses, pencils for recording and sketching, and specimen containers. This subtle change from simply existing in the outdoors to becoming a scientist in the outdoors allows children to become active, critical thinkers and exercise their natural curiosity about the living world. Guides provide the scaffolding to help children develop their scientific approach and expand their awareness of nature. Existing nomenclature can be the next step in the curriculum, used to enrich spoken and written language and to provide children with the common academic language of scientists. Using science vocabulary interspersed in daily exchanges builds on children s curiosity and desire to understand the world (Bosse et al, 2009, p. 14). Bosse et al also suggest that as children build their literacy skills, [teachers] provide forms for recording observations so they can also grow in their inquiry skills and practice using scientific vocabulary (2009, p. 15). This form can be the science journal. Children expanding their vocabulary through nomenclature, and journaling observations and experiments in a science journal, will likely become better readers and writers, as well as critical thinkers. The only significant change from our existing approach of science in nature is to explicitly add scientific vocabulary, or academic language, when conversing, observing, and writing about our discoveries. After incorporating scientific inquiry into the more casual (yet crucial) interactions with nature, Montessori education programs could turn to experiences in the environment. Teacher education programs generally break down the natural sciences into physical science and life 52 MONTESSORI LIFE

55 PHOTOGRAPHY BY TERESA RIPPLE science (the latter is also called biological science). Some further break down physical science and pull out earth science, even if it is primarily to deal with nomenclature. Those existing card materials, and other existing materials and presentations, can be grouped into life science (plants and animals), earth science (much of geography), and physical science (much of any added experiments). From those small beginnings, teacher educators could address the deepening of the pedagogy in the same sequential format that the other areas of Montessori study employ. Engineering could be added as a fourth section in our science albums, with an emphasis on technology, simple tools, and experiments that provide a foundation for the Elementary lessons. This particular area is not provided for with at least a few materials as are the other science areas in, so the focus will need to be developed. Luckily, many ideas are already available for children: Teaching STEM in the Years (2013), by Sally Moomaw, is one of many good resources. A word of caution: Developmentally appropriate practice and Dr. Montessori s discoveries must always guide the approach to any new activities. The child in the first plane learns through his or her senses, hands, and physical interactions with the natural world. As Hall cautioned, science demonstrations can become nothing more than magic shows. They may attract curiosity, but for the first-plane child, they do not lead to knowledge. This is either because the concepts demonstrated are not attainable through the senses or because they have no context. (2011, p. 17). It is vitally important that any additional presentations build upon concrete experiences in the environment, indoors and out; that they are part of a consecutive schema; and, most importantly, that they follow the child s interest. Teacher education programs can strengthen science exploration for the young child by planning the Early Childhood scientific pedagogy and providing a sequential framework for the new guide who might not feel adept at providing a rich science experience. Gerde et al stated, The relatively poor quality of early childhood science may be due to teachers lack of knowledge in the area of science (2013, p. 316). There are many excellent books and articles to aid Montessori teacher educators in this task. Perhaps the most useful exercise is to consider what is to come in the Elementary science sequence and to establish an introduction for it in the Children s House. As Early Childhood teacher Tilan Langley exhorted Montessorians in Montessori Life, in 2009, We must bring core science lessons back to life with an emphasis on learning the scientific method, a process that can help us foster creativity and innovative approaches to problems (p. 36). Science can then hold the importance in the Children s House that it held for Montessori herself. TERESA RIPPLE is an assistant professor in the Advanced Montessori Programs and Education Department at St. Catherine University, in St. Paul, MN, and a doctoral candidate in Higher Education Leadership at Bethel University. She is AMScredentialed () and has over 15 years of experience as a teacher, administrator, consultant, and lecturer. Contact her at References Bosse, S., Jacobs, G., & Anderson, T. (2009). Science in the air. YC Young Children, 64(6), Brenneman, K. (2011). Assessment for preschool science learning and learning environments. Research and Practice, 13(1), 1 9. Gerde, H., Schachter, R., & Wasik, B. (2013). Using the scientific method to guide learning: An integrated approach to early childhood curriculum. Education Journal, 14, Hall, G. (2011). How science fits into the whole Montessori curriculum. NAMTA Journal, 36(1), Jackman, W. (1903). Courses in teaching of the natural science in the college of education. The Elementary School Teacher, 4(2), Johnson, K. (2013). The Nature Study movement. Green Teacher, 99, Kramer, R. (1988). Maria Montessori: A biography. Cambridge, MA: Di Capo Press. Langley, T. (2009). Creating a curriculum that fosters scientific thought. Montessori Life, 21(3), Lillard, A. (2011). What belongs in a Montessori primary classroom? Montessori Life, 23(3), Lioi, A. (2010). Teaching earth. Transformations, 21(1), Lorsbach, A. & Jinks, J. (2013). What early 20th century Nature Study can teach us. Journal of History Education and Experience, 7, McCarthy, S. & Sanders, M. (2007). Broad classification and the provisional nature of science. Journal of Biological Education (Society of Biology), 41(3), Montessori, M. (1965). Dr. Montessori s own handbook. New York: Schocken Books. Montessori, M. (1972). The discovery of the child. Toronto, Canada: Fides Publisher. Montessori, M. (1991). The advanced Montessori method (Vol.1). Oxford, UK: Clio Press. Montessori, M. (1998). Creative development of the child (Vols. 1 2). Thiruvanmiyur, India: Kalakshetra Publications. Montessori, M. (1998). The secret of childhood. London, UK: Sangam Books. Moomaw, S. & Davis, J. (2010). STEM comes to preschool. YC Young Children, 65(5), Moomaw, S. (2013). Teaching STEM in the early years: Activities for integrating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. St. Paul, MN: Redleaf Press. National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). (2012). Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8. Retrieved from National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). (2014). Early childhood science education. Retrieved from Rudolph, J. L. (2011). Science education: History at the edge. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 42, doi: /j. shpsc Spears, P. (Spring 2004). Suggestions for Montessori science studies. Montessori Life, 16(2), Retrieved from Tolley, K. (1994, April). Study nature, not books: The Nature Study curriculum Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 5 8, 1994). Speeches/Conference Papers (150) retrieved from ERIC 29p. Trabalzini, P. (2011). Maria Montessori through the seasons of the method. NAMTA Journal, (36)2, Whitescarver, K. & Cossentino, J. (2006). Establishing an American Montessori movement: Another look at the early years. Montessori Life, 18(2), Retrieved from FALL

56 Cincinnati Montessori Secondary Teacher Education Program Educate. Experience. Inspire. Secondary I and II credential program Graduate credit and Master s Degree option from Xavier University Based on the Montessori Method and work of the Clark Montessori Jr and Sr High School teaching team Clark Montessori Jr. and Sr. High School was recognized as a top model school in the U.S. by the Center for School Change: Top Ten Most Amazing Schools in America by Ladies Home Journal One of three finalists in President Obama s Commencement Challenge CMSTEP is AMS-affiliated and accredited by MACTE Katie Keller Wood and Marta Donahoe, Co-Directors For course content and scheduling information: visit call write P.O. Box Richmond, VA A Summit on Montessori Education in South Carolina s Public Schools September 11-12, 2015 Lander University, Greenwood, SC 2015 Summit Speakers: Dr. Keith Whitescarver Founding Director, National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector Dr. Jacqueline Cossentino Senior Associate & Director of Research, National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector With Guest Speaker Dr. Brooke Culclasure Research Director, The Riley Institute at Furman University Topic: A Five-Year Study of Public Montessori in South Carolina Join us for this in-depth exploration of the current topics and trends in Montessori education in South Carolina s public classrooms. Summit Workshops Include: Serving 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds in full-day programs Multi-aged grouping: Maintaining fidelity to the Montessori model Adolescent programs Teacher certification Charter schools For more information about the 2015 Summit, contact: Martine Fezler, Barbara Ervin, Your State University in Greenwood, SC LANDER 54 MONTESSORI LIFE

57 Teacher Training Certification for: Infant & Toddler Elementary I Elementary I & II Conveniently located in Delaware with close proximity to Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C INSTITUTE FOR MONTESSORI INNOVATION Earn your Montessori Teaching Credential at Westminster PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:, Elementary I, Elementary I-II, and Administrator programs Option to pursue credential-only, undergraduate minor, or master of education Summer session beginning in June Distance learning options for students outside of Utah Institute for Montessori Innovation AMS-affiliated and MACTE-accredited montessori learn. At PCTE, we are committed to guiding adults in their learning and understanding of Montessori pedagogy. grow. Personal growth happens exponentially as one explores and discovers truths about childhood, learning, and optimal educational environments. transform. Our graduates are confidently equipped with the tools needed to succeed in their career. The result is transformative. Learn More at Affiliated Teacher Education Program PCTE is accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) and is affiliated by American Montessori Society (AMS) and is an approved AMS teacher education program (TEP). FALL

58 MONTESSORI TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAMS Transformational Learning. Innovative Teaching. Inspirational Leading. Montessori Education Center of the Rockies * 4745 Walnut Street Boulder, CO * Credential Elementary Credentials Montessori Teacher Education NOW is the time to get your Credentials! Are You Ready? Join us and discover your path. Master of Arts Degree in Montessori Education Affiliated by the American Montessori Society (AMS) Accredited by Montessori Accreditation Councils For Teacher Education (MACTE) Designed for the working adult For more information please contact: Patricia Chambers (925) 1928 St. Marys Rd, Moraga, CA Become a credentialed Montessori teacher. Offering small classes with individual attention, our experienced faculty will guide you on your journey toward preparing children for life. MACTE accredited American Montessori Society teacher credential courses Infant & Toddler (b-3) (2½-6) Elementary I (6-9) Elementary I-II (6-12) Federal Student Financial Aid Affiliated Teacher Education Program Montessori Institute of Advanced Studies Visit: Contact: Address: Canyon Ct., Castro Valley, CA MONTESSORI LIFE

59 Please come to BOSTON for Montessori Elementary Training METTC Montessori Elementary Teacher Training Collaborative Collaborating in the progress of Montessori education for 33 years Programs Elementary I (6-9) Elementary I-II (6-12) Elementary II (9-12) (for holders of an AMS Elementary I credential) We have learned to become Montessorians, not just Montessori teachers. - M. Mathai, MA The instructors are so passionate and committed. Lexington Montessori School Affiliated Teacher Education Program Discover the World of Montessori MACTE accredited - AMS-affiliated Teacher Education Program Approved by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (2½ -6) course Elementary I (6-9) course Uniquely positioned to work with public and charter Montessori programs MEINA MONTESSORI EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTE OF NORTH AMERICA 278 Cooper Anderson Road Jackson, Tennessee FALL

60 Invest in the gift of learning... become a Montessori Teacher Infant/Toddler (0-3 Years) (2.5-6 Years) Elementary I (6-9 Years) / Elementary I-II (6-12 Years) Earn credits toward a Masters Degree MONTESSORI WESTERN TEACHER TRAINING PROGRAM Pacific St. Omaha, NE Montgomery Montessori Institute shaping the future of education Specializing in Montessori Infant & Toddler and Teacher Education Courses Darnestown Road Rockville, Maryland Approved by Maryland Higher Education Commission Affiliated by American Montessori Society Accredited by MACTE for music educators and classroom teachers: Montessori Music Training Weeklong Intensive or Weekend Introduction & Refresher Courses with Matilda Giampietro, PhD Details and schedule: New England Center for Montessori Music Training Washington Montessori School 240 Litchfield Turnpike New Preston CT Matilda brings song, dance and joy to teachers and students. Her gifts create community, add laughter and empower all she touches! -- Carole Korngold, Founder of CMTE AMS Past President and Living Legacy 58 MONTESSORI LIFE

61 Classic Montessori Training for Today s Teachers American Montessori Society-affiliated MACTE Accredited Course Offerings in Infant/Toddler, & Elementary 1 S ummit Montessori T eacher T raining I nstitute Jeanne Hudlett Judy Dempsey Program Highlights ~Montessori Philosophy ~Child Development ~Classroom Management ~Curriculum Design & Strategies ~All Academic Subjects ~Practical Life Excellent Instructors Summer Intensive Programs & Weekend Workshops or SW 64th Avenue, Davie FL New Child Montessori A Guide for the Montessori Classroom ~ ages 3 to 9 A set of 4 guides that integrates all areas of the Montessori classroom plus grace and courtesy, yoga, art, & peace education in a theme based on Maria Montessori s cosmic education. Art for the Montessori Classroom 240+ pages ~ how to set up the art area, supply lists, recipes, elements of art, principles of design, culture & theme based art + other basic art lessons set up individually for the Montessori classroom, ages 3 to 9. Mention AMS for a 10% discount. Contact: Gini Newcomb Montessori Teacher Education Center San Francisco Bay Area Since Affiliated by AMS - MACTE Accredited University Credits Available from California State University Masters in Education available through The College of St. Catherine Ins piring... S upporting... Dis c overing... C aring... Program Highlights: Montessori Philosophy & Theory Child Growth & Development & Psychology Observation in Child Development Expanded Montessori Curricula Classroom Leadership Complete Manuals & Beautiful Materials Available Exceptionally Experienced Faculty Callan Foothill Avenue, Boulevard San San Leandro,CA 945 CA (510) Fax (510) FALL



64 BookReviews Native American Tales by Julie Winette THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES By Paul Goble Aladdin, Simon & Schuster Paperback, $7.99 This Caldecott Medal winning book tells the story of a Native American girl who lives on the Great Plains in the time of the buffalo. She takes part in the work of the village, but her true love is spending time with and taking care of her tribe s horses; she has a special affinity for them. One day, while she is accompanying the herd in the fields away from her village, a great storm blows into the area. The horses stampede and carry the young girl away with them. They become lost, but a beautiful stallion welcomes them to join the herds of wild horses. A year later, the young girl is spotted with the herd and captured after a great struggle with the stallion that had claimed her. She returns to her people but languishes there and is given permission to rejoin the herd of wild horses. She returns to her village once a year, until one year she does not come. Hunters find the herd of wild horses with the stallion and a new, beautiful mare at the lead, giving rise to the legend that she was transformed into a horse to be happy evermore. Children will enjoy this story on many levels; it will be especially pertinent when they have studied the culture of the Plains tribes and learned how important horses were to the people. Paul Goble s illustrations, colorful and detailed, convey a sense of movement across the page as the horses gallop, clouds drift, and wind carries the birds. Readers see the girl and her beloved horses peaceful then lost, frightened then joyous. The story is told with few words in the voice of a wise elder. I especially loved the description, after the storm came in with a loud thunderclap: Everything was awake. I would highly recommend this book to Lower and Upper Elementary Montessori students who are studying other cultures and have some awareness of fables, legends, and oral traditions. The attention to authentic detail about Native American lifestyles and spirituality, both in the text and illustrations, makes this book a great addition to any school or family library. HOW THE STARS FELL INTO THE SKY: A NAVAJO LEGEND By Jerrie Oughton Illustrated by Lisa Desimini Sandpiper Houghton Mifflin Books Paperback, $6.99 How the Stars Fell into the Sky is a simple retelling of a Navajo legend about the beginning of Earth, appropriate for Lower Elementary students. On the First Day, the First Woman and the First Man talk about how the people will know the laws. The First Woman decides to tell the laws by writing them in stars in the night sky. She says she would be happy to continue this task for the rest of her life. She is joined by Coyote, who at first places the stars as carefully as she does. However, his impatience leads him to fling the remaining stars indiscriminately into the sky, making a shamble of the First Woman s efforts, leaving the people never knowing the reason for the confusion that would always dwell among them. The illustrations that accompany this Native American legend are simple and beautiful; their deep colors and dark tones lend solemnity to the tale and hold the viewer s imagination. 62 MONTESSORI LIFE

65 LastLaugh PHOTOGRAPHY ALITA ONG / STOCKSY UNITED My then-3-year-old son, Shep, and I were in the car one morning, each lost in our own thoughts, when he exclaimed from the backseat, Mama, every time I yawn, my ears go on speakerphone! Brenda Modliszewski, Bainbridge, OH We had a fire drill this morning. One of our Lower Elementary students exclaimed, When are we gonna have a real fire? I feel like we practice these things for no reason! Heidi Larson and Beth Woeber, Mercy Montessori Center, Cincinnati, OH Yesterday, a 3-year-old child came up to me holding a book from our classroom library. I read the title to her: On the Day You Were Born. She looked at me with a sense of wonder and said, Is this book for me? When another friend approached her, she repeated the title of the book and declared, This book was written FOR YOU AND FOR ME! Joanna Boone, Coral Reef Montessori Academy Charter School, Miami, FL The mother of a child at our school shared with me this funny story: My son, Jet, was feeding the fish at the Japanese Garden pond. He doesn t like it when the ducks swoop in and steal the food from the fish. One duck was more reserved than his aggressive counterpart. So he asked me why they were different. I said, They just have different personalities. He then said, No, they can t have personalities because they are not people. They have duckinalities. I almost fell into the fish pond. Amy Henderson, Montessori School of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX One day, I bought a plastic water bottle that was labeled BPA-free. When I got home and showed it to my 6-year-old daughter, she asked me, Where is the BPA that comes free with this bottle? Supriya Jayakumar, Bangalore, Karnataka, India Send your funny and poignant stories to Carey Jones, at careyjones@ Please include your name, your location, and if you re a teacher or an administrator, your school s name. FALL

66 MontessoriParent The Longest Runway By Dane L. Peters Models have 45 seconds to present the latest fashions to people sitting on either side of the 60-foot runway they walk. With spotlights illuminating every inch of the way, each model s gait, poses, and gestures help entice retailers to buy. There is another much longer runway a runway that parents use to model for their children. Instead of displaying fashions, parents present habits, opinions, actions, and life skills for children s viewing. Dr. Montessori helps us understand how important modeling is through mixed-age groups and the directress-teacher model. The actions of adults who raise and educate children are received, measured, evaluated, and assimilated by children from birth. Do either of these two scenarios sound familiar? Benny, not now, honey. I know I promised you that we would play a game, but I have to Auntie Laurie about the wedding. Or, Hey, sport, go play with the other kids while I check the football scores and my mail then I ll join you. Parents are addicted to their electronic devices. Anytime, anywhere texting, ing, checking a stock quote or the latest news headline. This is one example of how we are on a runway of life, modeling for our children how to shape their own lives. Even though we know children are watching or mirroring our behaviors, we invariably persist by rationalizing that this must get done now. Recently, I had the good fortune to say a few words at my son s wedding. How could I make the best use of that runway, with so many important people there? Longtime teacher that I am, I wanted to share something from my life experience that might stick with him, his wife, and those watching this beautiful union. I said something like this: You will face challenges throughout your marriage, often when you least expect them, and you will find yourself on a stage without knowing it. This is especially true when children enter the picture. To help deal with these challenges, I give you the three Hs. The first H is Helpful. Be helpful to each other and those around you, particularly those less fortunate. Many years ago, I had dinner with the author Sol Gordon, who told me about the Hebrew word mitzvah, which means a good deed. He said doing a mitzvah was the best way to overcome anxiety or depression. Always stand ready to pay it forward and lend a helpful hand, and know that children love to watch people performing good deeds. The second H is Humility. Author and psychologist Mary Pipher interviewed a man who was married to the same woman for over 53 years. She asked him to what he could attribute to his long-lasting marriage. He quickly replied, When I get up each morning and go into the bathroom, I look into the mirror and say, You aren t so hot either. Children need to see adults modeling humility. The third H is Humor. Never be afraid to model humor and use it regularly. (As if on cue, my 2- and 3-year-old granddaughters chose that moment to run up to me and grab my leg. Everyone laughed aloud. See, humor is good, I responded.) How you model yourself on the runway of life invariably touches those who are watching you children and adults. The runway exists for CEOs as they model best practices for their employees; teachers as they guide students in their lessons; and parents as they live their lives in front of their children, often oblivious to the impressions and consequences. DANE L. PETERS is vice president of the AMS Board of Directors and chair of the Montessori Life Editorial Advisory Board. Contact him at danelp88@, or visit his blog at www. Suggested Reading Another Country, by Mary Pipher (1999) The Students Are Watching: Schools and the Moral Contract, by Ted and Nancy Sizer (1999) The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age, by Catherine Steiner-Adair (2013) ILLUSTRATION BRIAN STAUFFER THEISPOT.COM 64 MONTESSORI LIFE

67 XAVIER UNIVERSITY MONTESSORI INSTITUTE LEADING MONTESSORI EDUCATION SINCE 1965 THE INSTITUTE Reflecting Xavier s reputation as an authority on Montessori philosophy and a world leader in Montessori teacher education. ONLINE MED IN MONTESSORI The Xavier degree is now available worldwide. MACTE credentials earn credit toward degree. INSTITUTE PROVIDES Professional development. Consulting services. Montessori materials. UNDERGRADUATE AND GRADUATE PROGRAMS Montessori credential courses for ages 2.5-6, 6-9, Grounded in Dr. Maria Montessori s philosophy of education. The Montessori teacher education program is affiliated by the American Montessori Society and accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education and the State of Ohio. FALL

68 AMERICAN MONTESSORI SOCIETY 116 East 16th Street New York, NY P: F: Change Service Requested NON-PROFIT ORG U.S. POSTAGE PAID PERMIT NO TWIN CITIES, MN A Heutink Brand Same trusted company new name For over 85 years Nienhuis Montessori, the world-leading Montessori brand, has been available to you through our company Nienhuis Montessori USA. We are proud to announce that as of April 1, 2015 our official name changed to that of our mother company - Heutink USA. With the same team, the same drive, selling the same familiar high-quality Nienhuis Montessori products, we also introduce 3 additional brands to the US market - Educo, Jegro, and Arts & Crafts. A wide range of global brands. 150 S Whisman Road, Mountain View, CA 94041, USA T or F USA

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