The History of Montessori Education by Giraffe Childcare
On Thursday, November 5th our Lower Elementary, 3rd Year students will have the opportunity to learn about the Navajo way of life at the Deer Valley Navajo Rug Show. For more than fifteen years, the Montessori Community School has sponsored our Navajo grandmothers through the Adopt-a-Native-Elder Program.
The following was written by Lower Elementary Spanish teacher, Diana Haro Reynolds.
Mathematics is the study of quantity, form, and magnitude. We live among it. It is in the position of the sun and in the shell of a snail. We carry math in our pockets, in our devices. It is what makes our communication possible. We touch and live math, whether we know it or not. It is our responsibility as Montessori guides to help the child discover this framework of mathematical order that makes up our world. This rationale proposes several reasons for teaching math in the Montessori classroom. It will explain the journey the child will take from concrete concepts through to abstraction.
Human beings have a tendency for order. Since the beginning of human origin, math has been used to unlock the mysteries of the world. It began with a man’s need to
keep track of his belongings. Then came early techniques that created the experience
with numbers of counting. After a long time, came comprehension, which led to
improvements and shortcuts. Finally, humankind reached abstraction. This same
process is seen in a child. (Doer, 2012)
Mathematical order leads to a mathematical mind. As the mathematical mind unfolds, it develops capacities such as sensorial interaction among objects, observation
of patterns, and awareness of the physical world, mental classification, abstract thinking, and knowledge of the power of relationships. Math supports understanding by encouraging order, concentration, independence, special relations, patterning, one to one correspondence, combination, difference, and similarity. Additional goals supported by math are predictability, exactness or sense of accurateness, concreteness, logic and reasoning, problem solving, and decision making skills, as well as refinement of the mind and thinking. (Stockton-Moreno, 2015)
Why the need to teach math in a specific Montessori way? There are a lot of aspects that prepare the child for math. These include the prepared environment, giving the child the power of choice. Practical life works build concentration and confidence. The child enjoys practicing a task over and over for the pure pleasure of it. The joy is in the process. This mentality is preparing him for the academic areas. Sensitive periods serve as the specific times in a child’s development where part of their needs include an insatiable thirst for specific tasks. There is a sensitive period for concrete tools of precision. We must capitalize on these sensitive periods. (Stockton-Moreno, 2015)
The aims of Montessori math are to make the child aware that math is a part of her life; to build confidence and prepare the child for life. Confidence comes from the sequential growth in which the materials are presented. It starts with the importance of the Three Period Lesson. The first period being the presentation of the concept. The
second period is where the child practices and shows that which has been presented. In math, this second period is much longer than in other areas of study. This is the time in which the child is practicing, exploring and making discoveries, day in and day out, about the concept presented. The third period is that in which the child shows understanding of the concept through teacher observation or helping someone else.
The main goal of Montessori math is to move the child from concrete to abstraction and helping him form a mathematical mind. In the book, A Way of Learning, Ann Burke Nerbert explains that “the mathematical mind derives from experience” (Stockton-Moreno, 2015). We must not rob the child from forming her mathematical mind. She must have ample time to experience the joy of working with the materials and for understanding and internalizing the processes and concepts. The materials are
multimodal in that they appeal to multiple senses. This aids in the "permanent wiring of the brain that will be available as your child gets older and uses her brain for analytical thinking and problem-solving" (Duffy, 2008). Knowing is not understanding. Montessori math provides the path toward understanding.
According to Michael Doer, the passage towards abstraction is done in four stages. The first is the Concrete stage. This is where the child works purely with the material. No works is shown on paper until the child is nearing the end of this stage. The second stage is Concrete Materials lead to Symbols. This is when the child works with
the materials and records the process in writing. This is the longest stage and requires
that the focus be on the process, not the end result. This is the time in which the child is “internalizing the algorithm” (Doer, 2012). Towards the end of this stage the child may begin to work with charts rather than manipulatives. The third stage is often overlooked perhaps because it is the shortest. This is the stage when Symbols connect to Concrete Material. Essentially it is the reversal of stage two. The child does the work on paper then uses the materials to check their answer. The Symbolic stage is the fourth and final stage. This is where the emphasis is on showing the written work. (Doer, 2012)
Doer also emphasizes mental calculations and mental carrying as the two key elements in reaching abstraction. Mental calculation or memorization requires that the
child know math facts with accuracy and speed. The child should take no longer than
three second to recall a fact, otherwise, memorization has not been reached and the
child is calculating. Accuracy should be no less than 98%. It should be recall only. The
second key, mental carrying, requires that the child be able to keep track of the carrying without making a mark on paper. Having the child work on other forms of memorization, such as poems or definitions, will greatly help achieve this goal.
Math is part of our society. We need it in order to function. But there is also a math phobia. Math in Montessori makes it more than accessible, it makes it real. Whenever possible, real life problems should be presented to the child so as to give her
the context for these new skills. Among with word problems, research in the area of
math is a great way to expose the child to the practicality of math. We must cultivate a love and understanding of mathematics in our children by proving the keys and allowing them to make their own discoveries.
Diana Haro Reynolds - Lower Elementary Teacher/Intern
Doer, M. (2012). Numbers: Montessori arithmetic for lower elementary.
Duffy, M. (2008). Math works: Montessori math and the developing brain. Hollidaysburg,
PA: Parent Child Press.
Stockton-Moreno, L. (2015). MONT. 633*01, week 1 notes [PowerPoint slides].
I choose a Montessori school for my son almost as an act of faith. At that time my knowledge of the method was null, besides having heard of small chairs and colored beads. But seeing my son happy day after day encouraged me to study and deepen the Montessori’s ideas. What I had discovered astonished me as a father and as a scientist. As a father, I found how children are really respected and prepared for the future. As a scientist, I found solid scientific foundations for everything Maria Montessori proposed.
Sign-up outside of your student's classroom.
Childcare will be provided, however, you must sign up in advance.
This is a really great night full of insight regarding the education of your child in relation to Montessori Philosophy. Don't miss out!
(Your attendance can go toward Parent Volunteer Hours).
The Montessori approach offers children intentionally prepared environments that are full of beauty and order. Materials in the classroom are appealing and designed to meet the developmental needs of each child. Montessori-trained teachers are the bridge between the environment and the student, first through careful observation of each child, and then by providing appropriate instruction and guidance.
This video was created as part of the documentary film project, Building the Pink Tower. "What if we were to set aside the noise of failing schools, teacher evaluations, test scores, achievement gaps, and funding issues — and ask, instead, what is the true goal of education?"
Winter is just a season away. Please keep in mind that all students participating in the Winter Sports Program this year will be REQUIRED to have helmets and goggles and there will be no daily rentals at the resort.
The PSA is working on potential discounts for MCS renters and will keep us updated. For now, please check out the list of Ski Swaps coming up.
Click here to see a list of upcoming ski swaps.
Food and meal times are an important and essential part of every day life. In a Montessori classroom we work to create a peaceful and healthful meal experience for our children as we place great value on both the experience and the consumption of food.
MCS was "rocking" on Friday evening, May 29th, as two high school bands from The Wasatch Music Coaching Academy performed for attendees at the "End of Year Carnival." The young performers impressed young and old alike with their performances and several children really showed off their moves during an outstanding rendition of Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk."
Early this month the Uinta class (Upper Elementary, 9-12 year olds) embarked on a great adventure to Fremont Indian State Park as part of their Great Outdoors Expedition. The students have spent time in the classroom studying the Fremont Indians and on GO they have given attention to human interaction with nature and so this was a great way to culminate their studies as they walked the trails and read the stories of the Fremont Indians while eating and sleeping in the out of doors. Students, teachers and parent chaperones worked together to create a comfortable camp space and prepare delicious meals to be shared.
Montessori education is unique, untraditional, and gaining popularity across not only the state of Utah but the entire country. During parent interviews we often ask parents "What are your hopes and dreams for your child?" and the following is among the list of heartfelt responses that we often receive:
- To develop leadership skills
- To develop self-discipline
- To develop a sense of personal responsibility
- To develop independence
- To develop initiative
- To discover their passions
- To develop a lifetime love of learing
- To build a strong academic foundation
Classrooms at Montessori Community School offer all that and more as we strive to follow each individual child, carefully prepare an environment that supports each of these goals, and work as a community in the best interest of each individual....
For the 2014 - 2015 school year Montessori Community School is excited to work with our students in a Service-Learning project to once again support our COEEF girls and our Grandmothers through the Adopt-A-Native Elder program. MCS has supported COEEF for more than seven years and the Native American Grandmothers of Adopt-A-Native Elder for over 20 years! We are happy to report that our girls in Ethiopia and our Native American Grandmothers are very grateful for the continued support from the MCS community of families and friends over the years....
"Eventually we gave up either punishing or rewarding the children."
—Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood
It's a new year and many of us make resolutions. As parents, in spite of our best intentions, we sometimes get stuck in patterns that are no longer working or may not be the most beneficial for our children. What are some new ways to deal with the normal day-to-day challenges of being a parent?
Re-Thinking Some Common Practices...
The holidays have come and gone and spring is just around the corner. This might be a fine time to consider sorting through your children's possessions. If you take a close look at the sheer volume of your child's books and toys, you may determine that just like adults he uses only a percentage of them.
Thinning the herd, so to speak, offers much to recommed it; Its a lot easier to find things if there are fewer things to find.