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“Weaving all begins with a string, and the string tells a story. For the base of the loom is the earth, and the crest of the loom is the Sky; and there is rain, sunlight, thunder, lightening and roots in between. With weaving, and with everything in our culture, there is a purpose.”

---Native Elder, Julius Chavez

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Each year we have the opportunity to take a field trip to the Navajo Rug Show and visit with our Grandmother Elvira and other Native Elders. It is our tradition to invite our 3rd year students in Early Childhood and Lower Elementary to join us on this occasion in honoring these special women and men. This is a wonderful event and tradition, hosted by the Deer Valley Resort in support of the “Adopt-A-Native-Elder” non-profit organization.

The purpose of this yearly event is to observe the traditions of our Native Elders, and to show support to our own Grandmothers as we join in the celebration of their traditional living and centuries-old skills. Through storytelling and music, jewelry making, and of course, the extraordinary artistry that is weaving; together we can appreciate the truly remarkable traditions of our Native Elders.

As we entered the gallery, we began our journey together and found ourselves surrounded by rich colors and warm hearts. While we took in the beauty of each hand-woven rug, we listened to the stories and legends of the Dine people and learned about their traditional way of life. We heard songs from some of the attending Elders, and as we listened, another group of Elders showed us the steps that are taken to create a traditional rug. It was truly an educational experience to witness first hand the life cycle of wool; as it is cut, carded and twisted into yarn, then dyed, and skillfully and artfully woven into a magnificent, authentic Navajo rug.

After the program, we went to visit with our own Grandmother Elvira. Each year she makes the long journey from her home and family in Arizona to participate in all of the activities at the Deer Valley Rug show and a very important part of her time in Utah is the opportunity to visit with our MCS children. Grandmother Elvira spoke to the children, and told them that they were her own Grandchildren. She spoke to them in love, saying that she prays for each of them, that they will be healthy and grow big and be happy. She then presented us with a gift of Cedar Beads, meant to protect us and create harmony with nature. The children made a gift to her also, cards and drawings that we collected and presented in a large pink valentine. She held it close to her heart, and gave her blessing to the children. Grandmother Elvira and the other Native Elders have so much to teach us. Through their stories, we can learn to be brave, to be passionate, to be grateful and to love.

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It has been our opportunity as a school to support our Navajo Grandmothers by way of our annual food drive and proceeds from our Spring Fun-Run. These donations go far in providing firewood throughout the winter, grocery certificates, and Walmart certificates that allow them to purchase basic necessities such as clothing and household items and even yarn for weaving beautiful rugs that are sold to provide further income.

We were so happy to visit with our Grandmother Elvira. Our students have created sent special cards and letters for our Grandmother Emma as well and they will be send to her, along with some gifts at Christmas time.

This year we have had to bid a loving farewell to our Grandmother Rosaline who died at the age of 94. We think of her often and wish her family well.

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As we return from a holiday marked by tradition and thanksgiving, we wanted to share our experience with all of our MCS families. We are grateful for the opportunity to give, to love and appreciate, to teach our students and our children the importance of knowing the world’s people, the needs of others, and the importance of family. In truth, we are all connected by the uniquely lived-in fibers of humanity. We can grow as human beings, and we can cultivate the human spirit if we are able to identify with one another, share our gifts and love.

A special thanks to all of our parents, students, teachers and staff who made this field trip possible, and a great success. In the words of Kindergartener, Carolyn Altman: “It was a hit!”

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by Edward Fidellow

It is amazing to observe the breadth of accomplishment that a Montessori environment fosters. Courage is not traditionally thought of as an educational outcome but then again Montessori is not traditional. For children, courage is the ability to try new things even if I am afraid. And as they mature courage becomes the ability to do what is right and to do what is good.

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For a child everything is new. That is the reality of childhood. The awesome task and purpose of childhood is to create the adult. Life takes courage to navigate and to become a fully functioning independent adult. And it is this kind of courage that must be nurtured and practiced for it to become a practical virtue.

We tend to identify courage with physical courage – running into a burning building, pulling people out of rivers etc. However, real life every day common courage demonstrates itself in intellectual, emotional and spiritual settings. The courage to do what is right, to do what is good for others, to use our gifts, talents and opportunities well and wisely is the kind of courage practiced and displayed in a Montessori environment.

We well understand that the opposite of courage is fear. But for a child fear doesn’t yet have a definition. It is represented by an indistinct but palpable feeling of unease. For a child fear is “defined” by the unknown, the unfamiliar. (That is why Montessori children love and are so at home in their environments because of its constant sameness and familiarity.)

For the child conscious fear starts from the unknown – the dog, the dark, strangers and then becomes attached to the inability (and frustration) of not being able to handle and control the environment – bringing it back to sameness. (Perfectionist children come to this earlier than others.) Then this fear attaches itself to the perceived rejection that comes from disapproval. The child, unconsciously thinks, that if I only do what is absolutely safe or what receives guaranteed adult approval I don’t have any reason to fear or face disapproval.

One of the hardest concepts for a new Montessori teacher to understand (and embrace) is that of not correcting children in the middle of their work. (This is particularly difficult for perfectionists and controllers.) Unless the child is damaging the material or endangering others or himself or being rude you let them continue. There are two outcomes to not correcting the child in the midst of the work. One, the child discovers his own mistake and corrects it which produces a sense of accomplishment and control. The second outcome is far more subtle. Because you are not corrected at every turn, you do not freeze up; you do not constantly look over your shoulder; you are not waiting for the next shoe to drop. You gain breathing room to make mistakes – that’s how we learn. In this way mistakes do not become the end of the universe or the world as we know it. The child is willing to try something new (which is an act of courage) without being weighed down with the fear of failure or reproof.

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Not being corrected (all of the time) is the strange and unique Montessori training ground for courage. In trying something new the child gets to practice courage every day. Eventually, the child becomes use to trying new things without the overpowering fear of failure. The child learns to work his way through mistakes which becomes a normal part of life and the learning process – which is a significant part of adult life.

Life requires courage to live fully. The Montessori classroom provides daily opportunities to develop and practice courage.

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Becoming a Montessori Parent

by Edward Fidellow

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This Montessori parent, and school administrator, joins her three Montessori children on a field trip this fall.

There are seven simple steps to becoming a Montessori parent. When we say simple we don’t mean that they are not challenging. It is a lot like the definition of bull riding. “The object is to keep the bull between you and the ground.” Simple – but challenging.

The first step to becoming a Montessori parent took place when you enrolled your child in a Montessori program. That in itself is a challenge. Most of us weren’t raised in a Montessori school. The whole concept is foreign and takes a bit of courage to step out of the norm and our comfort zone. We may have chosen the program because it wasn’t like our school experience (which is why we chose it.) Or we chose it because we saw something unique in a Montessori child we knew. Or we were just plain lucky and stumbled on to a Montessori school and were fascinated by what we saw. Even then we had to deal with the question, “If this is so great, how come the whole world isn’t lined up outside the door to enroll?” (Which is the same question Montessorians keep wondering about too!) But you made a complex and challenging decision to become a Montessori parent. And here you are. So how do you get the best out of your decision? You go to step two.

You begin to understand the core philosophy of what Montessori is all about. Fortunately, you don’t have to become a Montessori teacher to be a good Montessori parent. (You don’t have to know how to manipulate all of those materials and you don’t have to keep fifteen children from climbing the walls.) The most significant Montessori concept is to respect the child. I can almost hear the wheels turning “Of course I respect my child, I love them very much that’s why I have them in Montessori, I want the best for them.” Of course you love them – but respect is different. Respecting the child is first, to respect the nature of children. Children are not mini adults waiting to be molded. They are like tadpoles and caterpillars that have their own form and function of life waiting to become what they are intended to be. We are often impatient for them to become because we don’t realize that childhood – with its curiosity, playfulness, messiness and all – is part of the process of them transforming themselves into the adults they will become. We have to respect that process – which doesn’t mean they always get to do what they want. One of the operative words in Dr. Montessori’s writing is the word “train”. We do need to train our children but we need to train ourselves “not to destroy that which is good” in the nature of our children. The second part of respect is to respect the personality of your child. Your child is not a blank slate. They are already imbued with the unique characteristics of who they are. The artistic bent is already there. The math bent is already formed. The leader, the follower, the giver, the taker, the extrovert, the introvert are already dna’d into your child. Right or left handed, right or left brained are already formed.

So how do you cooperate with nature? You become an observer. That is the next step in becoming a Montessori parent – you train yourself to observe. What does your child gravitate to? What gives them great joy? What occupies them endlessly? These are all clues to who your child is becoming. You are fortunate that you have a trained helper in your child’s Montessori teacher. Your next parent conference should ask more than what has she done but who do you see her becoming. It is hard to cooperate with nature if you are not aware of the nature of your child.

Our third step is to become their champion. I know. I hear you say, “Of course, I’m their champion. I love them.” And so you do. But are their goals your goals? Translation: Do you have goals for them that do not take into account who they are. (There are many jock fathers who do not have jock sons.) Yes, you have many wonderful goals for them to be caring and loving, honest and faithful, upright, truthful, etc – and these are worthy, significant and meaningful goals which they should attain to. But the expression of their lives – career, vocation, work – is best met and fulfilled according to their gifts. When your five year old says, “I want to be a fireman.” He may be reflecting the latest book or television program he’s seen. However, if you continue to ask the why questions, “Why do you think that would be a good job? Why do you think that you would enjoy that?” you may discover that your child is not drawn just to the excitement but to the fact of wanting to help people or he likes the aspect of being part of a team. All are important clues to his personality. Your child needs you to champion and encourage his personality (especially, if it is different than yours.)

The fourth step is to practice what they learn at school – grace and courtesy. Please and thank you, may I, excuse me, please forgive me and a host of other considerations practiced (and modeled) at home will go a long way to giving your child every advantage in life. People respond favorably to a child with great manners.

Fifth, practice independence. Independence is the ability to be self-governing and that comes from making choices, living with the consequences and having responsibilities. As often as possible give your children choices. “What do you want for breakfast, cereal or eggs?” “Do you want two spoonfuls of carrots or one?” (Don’t offer choices where there are no choices. “Do you want carrots? They say no and you serve them anyway.) Give your children chores they can accomplish – making their beds, putting dirty clothes in the laundry, dishes in the dishwasher, etc. Chores build responsibility; responsibility builds independence; independence builds confidence.

Sixth, give them the gift of time. Give them time to accomplish their chores. Give them time to be children. Give them time to breath. Give them your time.

Seventh, practice humility. They have a lot to learn from you. What is easy for you as an adult is mystifying and beyond challenge for them. Let your words be seasoned with grace. Look for the good in what they do. Their motives are often pure; their actions imperfect. Yet, we have a lot to learn from them also. And when you are wrong (when, not if) practice the humility of saying, “Please forgive me.” It will not destroy your authority or their respect for you. It will teach them one of the great lessons of life – when you fail, whether it’s in a relationship, school, career or life – own the failure and start over again – to succeed another day.

Becoming a Montessori parent is to become the best parent you can be.

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A warm appreciation to all who planned and attended our Silent Journey and Discovery this November. As always, it was a delight to share this experience with many of you. As in past years, those who are able to experience the Silent Journey and Discovery have a renewed commitment to a Montessori education for their children. Below we have shared some comments from some of this years attendees.

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Parent practice using materials in an Early Childhood classroom.

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This 6th Year student volunteer models use of a pouring exercise in an Early Childhood classroom.

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This parent builds words with the Movable Alphabet.

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These SJ&D attendees receive a lesson on Checkerboard Multiplication.

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This parent practices sentence analysis.

"Our little girl started this October in one of the Toddler classes. We felt and understood how this would be a good environment for our daughter--we saw a difference in her after only a week! The only thing to say after experiencing Silent Journey is we THOUGHT we understood how good of an environment this is for our daughter. The progression through the classrooms and the works is absolutely brilliant. There is no way we would want anything different for our precious little girl. The system set in place is orderly, focusing on progression, growth, and learning pertaining to independence, reading, math, social skills, morals, ethics, and problem solving. We noticed how 'hands on' and multi faceted every work is designed to engage the children on their level with their own learning abilities and processes.

We were also so impressed with the educators- the individual time, care, and attention they put into their students. They truly know and understand each individual child they work with.

We discovered how the works build. The one that stuck out to us the most was the math. Starting early with dimensions, and stacking blocks moving toward cubes and counting- and onto multiplying enormous numbers by using a mat and beads- Absolutely incredible.

Math was a subject I struggled with and I can remember the exact time (2nd grade) when I got left behind. We had to pass off times tables with the teacher in front of the whole class. I was too shy and embarrassed to perform those simple times tables in front of the class for fear of getting them wrong or not being able to have them memorized the way all the other kids seemed to be able to do. I struggled the rest of my life with the ominous subject. During Silent Journey, when I reached Lower Elementary, I got it. I actually got a little emotional watching and doing the hands on mathematics. Both my husband and I just kept saying that we wished we would have had this type of learning environment available to us as kids.

We know the school is expensive; however, we walked away from Silent Journey thinking it is worth every penny and we would pay it twice over to have our children here. In our minds, there is no other way that can hone in on every aspect of learning for each individual child and still be able to provide loving, passionate, engaging teachers to foster a child's learning and progression. Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity and for this incredible school. You really do 'get it' here. "

Chad and Ashlee Haslam, Parents of a Toddler student

"I think it should be mandatory that every parent go through silent journey! Even though Aria has been here for 7 years, Azur 3 years, and I have taught art on and off during all of that time, I never really got it as I did Saturday. Suddenly, all that I had read about Montessori or observed in the classrooms made sense. It builds on itself in a beautiful way as the student moves from one phase to another. I loved seeing how things made sense in a concrete way and then transitioned towards abstraction. I'm so honored to provide my children with this opportunity."

Kindra Fehr, Parent of Early Childhood and Upper Elementary students

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is coming up next Saturday, November 9th from 9:00am to 1:00pm.
Sign up in the office, space is limited.
Attendance is free of charge, brunch will be served &
child care will be provided to those who sign up in advance. 

Join us to experience our classrooms, from Toddlers through Middle School, to see for yourself how the lessons learned in our early programs set the tone and lay important foundations for later learning. This is a wonderful opportunity to gain a sense of how the Cosmic Montessori Curriculum unfolds for the child.

Read about some parents experience of the Silent Journey and Discovery from previous years:

Having not grown up in a Montessori environment, it has been difficult for me to understand what exactly a day in the life of my Montessori students is like. I try to take in as much as I can at pick-up and drop-off, with the occasional visit and guided lesson by my children, but there is no way to fully understand without an experience like the Silent Journey and Discovery. It was an eye-opening voyage that I would recommend for every parent, and prospective parent. I want to do it again.

Going through a classroom from each cycle really makes the whole Montessori experience come full circle from seeing how the Toddlers get their first understanding of space and shape, to Early Childhood and their practical life lessons, to Lower Elementary and their grammar materials which encourage socialization, to the Upper Elementary complex math problems, to a Middle School student-led Socratic discussion. We only saw the tip of the iceberg, but the hands-on learning experience helped personify the school life of our children. I was struck by the thoughtful organization of each room; how comfortable and serene a small space can feel.

I also enjoyed the roundtable discussion following our classroom journeys. We were able to get some insight from teachers, staff, students and other parents. Because Montessori isn’t the “traditional” schooling for kids in our country, there are obvious concerns and hesitations with going outside the “norm”. Many of my concerns were put to ease and I feel my children are on the correct path for them at this time. I appreciated the book recommendations and feel they will help in understanding the Montessori Method and perhaps assist me with decisions for my family down the road.

My kids have been at MCS for three/four years now and I feel like I have finally been able to look beyond the curtain of their daily journey, something that every parent should see and experience. Now, when my kids and I have our chats at the end of the day, I can ask even more detailed questions and have a bit more understanding as to how their day went. That is priceless.

Thanks again to all who helped facilitate the Silent Journey and Discovery.

-Carrie Christensen, mother to Lucas and Emily

The Silent Journey and Discovery was a very emotional and powerful experience for me. I did not attend a Montessori school as a child so I am only familiar with the Montessori philosophy through what I have read and observed in the last two years. It gave me a great appreciation and understanding of the different developmental levels of the works. I loved seeing the progression and advancement of the works through Toddler, Early Childhood and up through Middle School. The grammar and math works were thrilling to learn and experience. The focus on the sensorial aspects of each work creates a love of learning. In addition to receiving an amazing education the students are also learning how to be independent, respectful and loving human beings. I think every MCS parent should participate in the Silent Journey and Discovery to really understand and appreciate the experience and education we are giving our children. I know that it made me realize that I will do everything in my power to continue my daughter’s Montessori education.

-Tonia Hashimoto, mother to Savvy Williams

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The Outdoor Classroom is a program that has been with the school for over seven years, and was conceived and developed by Ms. Donda Hartfield. This program is unique to our school, and gives our students a way to connect to their natural environment in a meaningful and expressive way. Spanning around the North- East corner of the school, our Outdoor Classroom is a beautiful natural trail, with gorgeous wildflowers, Utah-native plants, trees and geological treasures. The school also hosts a natural amphitheater, where Ms. Donda gives lessons and instructions before the children are free to explore on their own.

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Through activities, lessons and especially time set aside to spend within the natural environment, our children learn about their world and it's beauty. They come to understand the fragility of a plant, the necessity of a flower, the purpose of a bee. Miss Donda has enjoyed many years of her students' discoveries, and she shares with us her teaching experience:

"When a student makes references such as, 'The leaves of the California poppy look like reindeer antlers' or, 'I found a see-through plant' I can celebrate that these students are taking time to observe their natural environment closely and therefore, they are learning about natural nuances and details that make our world uniquely beautiful and effective." She continues by saying: "When a student shows deep concern for a tree that has string tied to its branches for bird-feeder ornaments because 'It might be pulling down on the branches,' I know I can trust that she is learning to care for her environment." "It is through these kinds of observations that I can smile and know that these students are appreciating and relating with their surroundings in a memorable way."

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It was a great pleasure to attend the first Early Childhood lesson on "Land." Miss Donda said to the children: "Look under your feet- you will see the land." "I am standing on the land, you are standing on the land." Her lesson reflected the great importance of the land. The children were able to dig holes in the soil together, but were asked to then fill the hole back up. There lies a genuine metaphor here: if you use the land, you must return it. The children might not know at such a young age what they are cultivating by their participation, but they are becoming considerate and thoughtful citizens of our remarkable planet Earth. Just as the Montessori Classroom places great trust in the hands-on learning process, so does the Outdoor Classroom program at MCS. The children learn through what they are able to see, touch and smell, and through the rare feeling of human freedom that one gets from living presently in nature.

Miss Donda tells us: "There is so much to be gained from simply engaging in our natural environment. And by engaging, I don’t mean necessarily hiking up to the summit of a mountain. Engaging is truly listening and looking at the landscape, the rivers, the trees and plants, the sounds of the birds and the passing of the clouds. Engaging is attending to our own naturalness through the breeze and the movement of the leaves, as well as the rise and fall of your own breathing and the subtle, yet profound connection between the two.

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The Children of Ethiopia Education Fund, or COEEF, is a Utah-based organization that provides crucial access to materials, uniforms and an absolutely vital private education to many children in Ethiopia. Fiercely dedicated to the protection and instruction of young girls, COEEF provides a new kind of life in an otherwise perilous, sexist, underprivileged and poverty-driven region of the world. We share the mission of this organization as we mark our 6th year of support to such a pivotal duty of the world’s edification. COEEF takes its place in the school within our Service Learning Program, a program designed to give our students a channel to ignite character, build trust and connect with others through acts of true service.

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COEEF was created by a local SLC couple: Norm and Ruthann Perdue, when they traveled to the country with a humanitarian mission. During their service, they learned of the great educational disparity in the upbringing of an Ethiopian child: with classrooms crowded, unfinished and ill-prepared. At the time, less than half of all Ethiopian citizens were able to read, and only half of all Ethiopian children had the opportunity to attend school. The two saw an immediate need for assistance, and they began working on a plan to improve these conditions.

While in Ethiopia, they learned of a child, 12 year old Kidest, whose father had died and whose mother had abandoned her shortly after, unable to manage under the strain of raising her alone. Kidest had been adopted by her grandmother, who managed to send her to a private school, the “Ethiopian Adventist College” with the mere wage that was paid to a hard-labor employee of the school. When Ruthann and Norm became aware of this situation, they connected with Kidest's grandmother and found her bereft in her struggle to finance her granddaughter's education. In her old age, she suffered physical fatigue, and she expressed that she did not know how much longer she could go on working to support Kidest in her pursuit of higher education.

This sadness would soon turn to joy, as after hearing her story, Norm and Ruthann decided that they would share some of the burden. They made a request to the school and discovered that for a donation of two-hundred dollars, they would be able to finance the girl’s yearly tuition, supplies and school uniform. This act of generosity would make them the first sponsors of the Children of Ethiopia Education Fund. When they returned to their home in Salt Lake City, they shared their story with everyone who would listen; and by 2001, they had convinced enough of their associates to become involved that they would return to Ethiopia to enroll 30 children in private education institutions. Shortly following this exceptional milestone, COEEF appointed a board of directors and was officially incorporated as a non-profit organization.

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Participation and arranged donations in support of the COEEF service program are available to all MCS parents, students and volunteers. Our school is responsible for the education of 7 young girls and we seek to make the greatest contribution we are able to this established purpose. By raising money during our Annual Spring FunRun, our students help us finance this commitment, and everyone is able to share in the excitement of giving an immeasurable gift.

It is said, “Educate a woman and you will educate a nation.” We are proud to be continued sponsors of COEEF and we intend to remain loyal in our stewardship.

* At this time, COEEF is collecting school supplies materials for the children they support in Ethiopia. If you or your child are interested in donating to this season’s care package, please drop off your donation at our front office and their delivery will be arranged to COEEF headquarters before humanitarian representatives travel to Ethiopia in early October. If you are interested in making a personal donation to COEEF, or becoming a child’s sponsor, we recognize you and invite you to visit the COEEF website to arrange for your own stewardship.

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The Upper Elementary program is an essential piece of the complete Montessori education design. During the Early Childhood years and Lower Elementary years, students are learning through their hands-on materials and environmental experience, but as they approach the second developmental stage, they enter a more abstract process of cognitive learning and memory. Upper Elementary is the next step; it is a program which serves the child in his reach for a more complex intelligence. The UE program incorporates many areas of interest, including advanced literacy, cultural and historical studies, mathematical applications, core sciences, service, and applied life skills. The program invests in the child with regard to individual study habits, identifying personal strengths, developing and following core values and creating a sense of true community within school boundaries and beyond.

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Language is a principal focus of the Upper Elementary program. The students learn through prepared lessons on vocabulary, grammar and word study; and are able to practice with Montessori prepared materials such as the Parsing Symbols, Sentence Analysis Charts and Synonym Matching cards. Students learn through their engagement in independent reading, journal and report writing and prepared oral speech. Group reading and literary analysis on written style, genre and technique provide students the opportunity to develop their own spoken language through impassioned discussion and group collaboration. Practiced writing skills are put to use each year as students select and promote campaigns for school improvement; this process allows for students to exercise responsibility and social awareness within their own environment.

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The science curriculum for Upper Elementary has been tremendously influenced by weekly excursions hosted by the "Great Outdoors" program. As a core resource to our students, the programs allows students to study through field trip experiences to local ecosystems on hikes, day trips and expeditions. This program combines classroom and field studies through observation of local biomes and water systems, and participates in environmentally conscious service projects throughout the year. As Miss Amy tells us, the UE students have recently been studying the hydrosphere, which has included experiments that investigate the water cycle (making clouds and watching plants transpire), water as a resource (making our own mini-well and water wheels), and learning about water's physical and chemical properties (performing pH tests and learning about density). In the Great Outdoors program, they have kicked off the year studying watersheds by exploring the high places and learning about headwaters, what defines a watershed, and learning how to map out an area. Together, they have explored many beautiful places in rain, sun and hail, such as Bloods Lake (Guardsman Pass), Provo River Falls (Uinta Mountains), and Silver Lake (Big Cottonwood Canyon).

With a class culture geared toward service, the students participate in many programs that enhance the spirit of their home community. In light of a school-wide study on watersheds, the "GO" program recently adopted a segment of the Jordan River, which students help maintain and keep healthy in their bi-annual visits. Upper Elementary students are also responsible for the school's recycling campaign, for which they collect, manage and deposit all recyclable materials on a daily basis. UE students also participate in the school's fundraising efforts and events to support our COEEF (Children of Ethiopia Education Fund) stewardship, and our Navajo Grandmothers within our Adopt A Native Elder program.

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The Upper Elementary students have been collaborating for the last few weeks, and are proud to be the titleholders of a new class name. Through a collective process and much deliberation, they have selected ‘Uinta’ to be representative of their class study and culture. Unique to Utah, The Uinta mountain range is the tallest in Utah, with Kings Peak being the highest point of our state. Our Upper Elementary students are well paired for such a title, as they hold themselves to a high standard in academics; but also in personal integrity, responsibility and proactive service. The Uinta class is diligent, with collaboration and dedication being key concepts in the success of the overall class. We are looking forward to another year of excellence in Upper Elementary.

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The Lower Elementary years are dedicated to the construction of abstract concepts through classroom exploration and individual discovery. As our students advance from Early Childhood, they are ready to take on a more theoretical approach to learning, with the curiosity to question and the imagination to find their own answers. Unlike the Early Childhood environment, where children are introduced to small concepts that gradually evolve into larger ideas, Lower Elementary students assume major theories, and from there they are able to explore the individual concepts that make up a larger framework.

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The Lower Elementary curriculum features a classic sequence developed by Maria Montessori during her exploration of these years, titled: “The Five Great Lessons.” As one of the most important and unique curriculum developments of the Montessori design, the Five Great Lessons tell the story of the Universe, the Earth and life on Earth. In succession, these lessons incorporate the following themes: The Elemental Story of the Universe, The Timeline of Life, The Story of Civilization, The Story of Language and The Story of Numbers. As a believer in the child’s ability to progress humanity, the Five Great Lessons teach peace and tolerance. These lessons are presented every Friday to our Lower Elementary students, and can serve as a reference for virtually all other forms of discovery and learning.

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As a socially sensitive period, elementary children are looking for a place of their own within the classroom and within a group. Through her observations, Maria Montessori discovered that as children arrive at the second plane of development, they develop a great thirst for social interaction and growth. It is because of this innate thirst that the Lower Elementary students are often given the opportunity to work in groups. Group work fosters communication, collaboration and the habit of contribution. Through friendship and shared interests, children find their capacity to belong.

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Lower Elementary truly is an explosive intellectual period, with great focus on human civilization, language and fundamental scientific principles; these are the subjects that guide each student through a journey of discovery. It is a discovery of earth, and the story of our race; and it is through these years of exploration that the elementary student will gain an appreciation for diversity and human heritage, and then find joy in becoming their own person.

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The Middle School program offers a highly advanced preparatory experience for both High School and for the child’s emergence into adulthood. As part of the third developmental plane, the youth of our Middle school seek to realize their place in a school society and their community at large. Driven by challenge, the Middle School student is at an age of empowerment- he or she is looking for a platform to invest acquired knowledge and individual talents in order to improve his own condition and strengthen his community. To meet his ambition, the Middle School student seeks out opportunities to advance his intellectual capacity and apply it to life.

The Montessori Secondary program is built on the “Six Pillars” [Paul Epstein] which are designed to serve the needs of the child in their third developmental plane. These are: self expression, trust, cognitive growth, commitment, responsibility and gender identity. These pillars are integrated through an intense curriculum presented to the Middle School student through themed study cycles. This six-week cycle begins with a study period that lasts about four weeks, allowing the MS student to identify effective personal study habits and analytical processing skills. The fifth week is meant to give the student an opportunity to self-evaluate, which provides an introduction to the practical life exercise of test-taking. This week is meant for the MS student to examine personal performance, observe skill mastery and identify curriculum areas where further study or practice is needed. The sixth week, or “Immersion Week,” involves the student’s ability to spread their intellectual wings. It could be planning a trip to a National Park, attending a career-building conference, or visiting a historic site- it is the MS student’s opportunity to integrate subject material from weeks past and process it through experience.

This week, the Middle School headed to Cedar City for a visit to the renowned “Shakespearean Festival.” During their Immersion Week, they have been attending plays, holding class workshops, and practicing performance techniques with a theater expert, Jake Johnson. In addition, they were also able to visit a national monument, Cedar Breaks for a few pictures. For the trip, they planned their event schedule, budgeted for every meal, and took turns cooking for each other. Here we have a few pictures of the Middle School students during their time in Cedar City:

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The program at a glance features a staggering course of study in all areas, but especially in that of Literature, Science, Practical Life and Economics. In Literature, the Middle School student has the opportunity to study traditional language and build vocabulary; she will practice grammar and learn the organization of professional writing as well as the authenticity and resourcefulness of creative writing. In Science, the MS student learns to identify the properties of cells, the structure of matter, the Earth’s Lithosphere and plant classification. These principles become solidified as students engage side-by-side in natural hikes, outdoor surveillance and community gardening. Practical Life and Economics seem to go hand in hand for the Middle School student, as with each new learning cycle, the class takes on a new “business venture” in order to raise money for a year-end Historic trip to Boston. These ventures include the refinement of skills such as gardening or cooking which are applied to the turning of a profit. Unique to Middle School, students participate in a weekly “Montessori Market,” for which they prepare and sell home-made items and natural goods. For these ventures, the MS student keeps accounting records, develops marketing tactics and principles of design, and practices negotiation strategy.

 

Not only are students of the Middle School immersed in the academic, but they grow on a different level through their study of guitar and music, outdoor appreciation and yoga. As the MS student is fast becoming an increasingly social being, much time is spent together through community learning and building. This group learning allows the practice of effective communication, positive relationships and skill building. What evolves is a respectful and diplomatic environment, with ambitious, forward-thinking leaders who seek to improve the world in their own way.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_images.jpgThe Early Childhood classroom is made up of several major components which construct the foundation for a Montessori education, the first of which is the Prepared Environment.  Doctor Montessori said: "Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment. "  A prepared environment refers not only to carefully selected materials set about a well-organized classroom, but to a lively and a passionate space, dedicated to the child in love and gratitude.  Peace and order are essential to the classroom, as is respect for the success of each individual learner.  The teacher becomes the essential link in this carefully prepared framework, as she provides a crucial connection between the child and the environment which will deliver his true self.

A second component of the Early Childhood Montessori classroom environment is the mixed-age group model.  The assembly of this division is in line with Dr. Montessori’s research on what she called the four planes of development.  This becomes a great benefit to each child, and it is due to the model’s dependence on the principle of imitation.  Children learn by example, so we can attest.  What is it about the multi-aged classrooms that benefit both the younger and the older child?  It is a unique opportunity to seek out answers in an experienced and collaborative group of community learners.  The younger students learn as they go, they grow gradually more accustomed to the culture and expectations of their class society, while at the same time developing their concentration skills.  The students in their second year practice learned concepts and develop greater intellectual and social aptitude.  The older students truly become leaders, remarkably responsible and well-prepared to impart their own understanding to a younger child.  This creatively established education model allows the child and their peers another strategic avenue to take on challenge.

These components serve the great development of Maria Montessori’s discovery of “The Absorbent Mind.”  This, we know is the child’s own capacity.  It is an intellectual capacity, but it incorporates an emotional, physical and social intelligence.  In the Early Childhood years, it becomes a conscious acceptance of one’s own environment, in which the child takes in, or “absorbs” what they need, and in fact a great deal more, to survive.  The Absorbent Mind involves each child’s potential to understand the complexities and qualities of their own world.

Competency is learned, and confidence is earned.  It is the child’s choice to truly become a Montessori learner.  It is the purpose of our work to lay the foundation, where a child may develop within their own character, with reason and grace.  The children we serve are brave, intelligent and generous on their own accord; however it is by the spectacular design of our own Maria Montessori, that they make themselves independent.

By Kellie Gibson, September 5, 2013

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This year, our teeny Toddlers from our Suns, Moons and Stars classes are making great strides in a school-wide practice of "Grace & Courtesy."  Our Toddlers are learning some of the most important life lessons of all, and that is how to be thoughtful of our friends and those we love.  Grace and Courtesy are learned through sharing a toy, taking turns on the slide, and being patient while a friend finishes a special work.  These lessons are also incorporated during lunch and snack time when children say "Please" and "Thank you" or "No, Thank you" while practicing table manners.  There are so many opportunities to exercise the principals of Grace and Courtesy both at home and at school, and we encourage parents to practice with their children.

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As we settle into a new school year, our Toddlers are learning to adapt to new environments.  Being away from Mom and Dad can be tough at their tender age, but our teachers are working with the young ones to help them become comfortable at drop-off time.  Currently, our Toddlers are learning about their school environment, in the classroom and on the playground.  They are having fun with the new materials that our teachers have set out for the new school year.  Our Toddlers are also learning friends' names this week, with songs from our wonderful teachers.

A health update on our friend Nico-  He was delayed in his intensive chemotherapy, because his blood count was too low.  As of a few days ago, Nico was back on the regime and all is going well.  His parents, Jeff and Shannon are hoping that he will have completed this series within a month from now.  We are all hoping that Nico can come back to school sometime in October.  Get well, Nico!

Written by Kellie Gibson, August 30, 2013

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In true Montessori form, the students of Montessori Community School celebrated the International Day of Peace today with our Silent Peace Walk.  The International Day of Peace, sometimes unofficially known as World Peace Day, is observed annually on the 21st of September. It is dedicated to world peace and specifically the absence of war and violence. The day was first celebrated in 1982, and is kept by many nations, political groups, military groups, and peoples. In 2013, for the first time, the Day was dedicated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to peace education, an obvious key beginning to peace for our world's future.

To inaugurate the day, the United Nations Peace Bell is rung at UN Headquarters in New York City. The bell is cast from coins donated by children from around the world, and was a gift from the United Nations Association of Japan. There is an inscription on the side of the bell that reads, "Long live absolute world peace".

Maria Montessori is well known for her advocacy of peace education and was quoted saying, "Education is the best weapon for peace." She was nominated three times (1949, 1950 and 1951) for the Nobel Peace Prize and her legacy lives in the hearts of Montessori Schools world-wide.

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At Montessori Community School we relish the opportunity to begin each new school year with an emphasis on Peace. Our Peace Curriculum is a valued and dynamic piece to our authentic Montessori curriculum.  This year, in honor of International Day of Peace, our students and staff decorated prayer flags and then walked peacefully as a community around our campus and to the front of the school where the flags were hung to show the larger Utah community our continued commitment to inner, community, and world peace.

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Students at Montessori Community School begin early on learning the tools for finding personal peace and the value of peaceful relationships when they are given a lesson on the use of a "peace table."  The peace table or shelf is an area in the classroom where books and pictures are found that educate the child, at the appropriate age level, about peace educators and other aspects that support their personal education.  Oftentimes, you will also find activities that allow a child to turn inside themselves and teach meditation.  Students also learn about peaceful conflict resolution.  This is taught throughout our Grace and Courtesy lessons as children learn by example, are introduced to objects that act as a "talking stick", and discussion is supported in class meetings.

We are honored to support Montessori in her desire to teach peace to children around the world and hope you will take the time to view the peace flags created by our students and staff that will remain on our campus.

"Averting war is the work of politicians; establishing peace is the work of education."Maria Montessori

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on Monday, 16 September 2013 in School News

The Montessori Community School has recently completed installation of one of Salt Lake City's largest private solar energy systems. The 52.2 kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) array will create enough energy to provide most of the school's electrical needs throughout the year. The system is expected to operate for a maintenance-free life of more than 25 years.

The project has a multiple objectives: To reduce dependence on outside electricity supply for the school, provide renewable energy education for students, lower demands on regional fossil fuel generators thus improving air quality, and raise community awareness about renewable energy options. A monitor screen in the school will track the system's performance in real time as a learning tool for students and the community.

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Using conventional financing, the project is being funded by lowering electrical energy costs at the school, a grant from Rocky Mountain Power, and State and Federal TAX credits. It is expected to have a payback period of about 8 years.

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See the featured article on Fox13Now.com

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In early September 2013, Montessori Community School of Salt Lake City will complete installation of one of the largest private solar energy systems in the state.  When completed, the large 52.2 kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) array, will create enough electricity to provide most of the school’s energy needs throughout the year.

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To add to the energy efficiency of the system, 197 Enphase micro-inverters (one per solar panel) are used to optimize energy output by working independently to harvest each panel’s potential, thereby mitigating the affects that periodic shade, snow and other factors may have on the collectors. A monitor screen in the school will be able to track the system's performance in real time as a learning tool for students and as a special interest feature for parents and interested public.


Dr. Bob Buchanan and his wife, Robyn Eriwata-Buchanan, who own and operate the school, applied for Rocky Mountain Power’s Solar Incentive Program earlier this year. Through this annual program, Rocky Mountain Power provides a rebate of a portion of the overall costs to selected residential and commercial electricity customers who install solar collectors. The system, which was designed and installed by Intermountain Wind and Solar, one of the region’s largest solar installers, is expected to operate for maintenance-free life of more than 25 years. Using quality American-made 265 Watt SolarWorld solar modules and an innovative tilted racking system manufactured in Utah County by TRA, Montessori’s new net-metered system is a renewable energy landmark for students, teachers, and the community atop this historic school building. These photo voltaic solar panels will provide an estimated 90% of the schools power and the remaining 10% will be supplemented by Rocky Mountain Power's Blue Sky Renewable Energy.

 

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The project has a three-fold purpose, to reduce energy usage for the school, provide renewable energy education for its students, and raise community awareness of renewable energy options. The installation is expected to reduce the school building’s electrical energy use by more than 95 percent each year, and demonstrates the Buchanans' efforts to promote and support renewable energy in Salt Lake City.

As always, Bob and Robyn's vision is an inspiration to the Montessori Community as we have the opportunity to be a part of this incredible process. The project not only reinforces our commitment to green education but also allows our students the opportunity to learn and observe, on a daily basis, the science behind the process.

Warm appreciations and congratulations to Bob, Robyn, Rocky Mountain Power, and all others involved in this process.

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on Monday, 26 August 2013 in School News

Welcome to the 2013-2014 Academic Year!

Last week we got off to a great start.  We started classes on Wednesday and our returning students had a great day reconnecting with their teachers and friends.  Then, our new students joined class on Thursday.  It's always so much fun to see how our returning students use their well developed skills in Grace and Courtesy to embrace new children in their class.  Montessori's vision of the beauty of multi-age classrooms is apparent from the first day as the new students enter a room where older or more experienced children work busily and with purpose.  Students assist their teachers in giving lessons and serving as a role model to those who are just joining the group.

The teachers are looking forward to talking about what you can expect in your child's class this year at Back To School Night. Even if you are a returning family to MCS, we encourage you to attend so that you can learn anything that might have changed this year.  Also, its a wonderful time to rub shoulders with other parents in your child's class. Children are in a sensitive period for social development and while this varies from program to program and child to child, it can be extremely beneficial for children to nurture their friendships outside of school.  Back To School Night is a great time to get to know the other parents in your child's class and open the door to interactions outside of school.  Early Childhood Back To School Night is tomorrow, Tuesday, August 27 at 6:30 pm and Elementary Back To School Night is on Thursday, August 29 at 6:30pm.

We look forward to a wonderful year and appreciate your continued support.

With Love,

Robyn, Ramira, and Britney

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on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 in School News

We are so excited about the upcoming school year!  We have missed many of our friends and are happy to have had our Summer Camp friends here to keep up company.  We hope you are all having a wonderful summer.  Below are listed the calendars for the 2013-2014 Academic Year.  Also, your Welcome Packet should be arriving shortly.  We invite you to take special note of the first day of school as some students start the 21st and some the 22nd.

 

SEE YOU SOON!

 

Click here for the 2013-2014 Toddler Calendar...calendar2013_2014toddlerspdf.pdf

Click here for the 2013-2014 Early Childhood Calendar...calendar2013_2014-ec_pdf.pdf

Click here for the 2013-2014 Elementary Calendar...calendar2013_2014elementarypdf.pdf

Click here for the 2013-2014 Middle School Calendar...calendar2013_14middleschoolpdf.pdf

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YOUNG CHILDREN

September 2001

Five Reasons to Stop Saying "Good Job!"

By Alfie Kohn

NOTE: An abridged version of this article was published in Parents magazine in May 2000 with the title "Hooked on Praise." For a more detailed look at the issues discussed here -- as well as a comprehensive list of citations to relevant research -- please see the books Punished by Rewards and Unconditional Parenting.

Para leer este artículo en Español, haga clic aquí.

Hang out at a playground, visit a school, or show up at a child’s birthday party, and there’s one phrase you can count on hearing repeatedly: "Good job!" Even tiny infants are praised for smacking their hands together ("Good clapping!"). Many of us blurt out these judgments of our children to the point that it has become almost a verbal tic.

Plenty of books and articles advise us against relying on punishment, from spanking to forcible isolation ("time out"). Occasionally someone will even ask us to rethink the practice of bribing children with stickers or food. But you’ll have to look awfully hard to find a discouraging word about what is euphemistically called positive reinforcement.

Lest there be any misunderstanding, the point here is not to call into question the importance of supporting and encouraging children, the need to love them and hug them and help them feel good about themselves. Praise, however, is a different story entirely. Here's why.

1. Manipulating children. Suppose you offer a verbal reward to reinforce the behavior of a two-year-old who eats without spilling, or a five-year-old who cleans up her art supplies. Who benefits from this? Is it possible that telling kids they’ve done a good job may have less to do with their emotional needs than with our convenience?

Rheta DeVries, a professor of education at the University of Northern Iowa, refers to this as "sugar-coated control." Very much like tangible rewards – or, for that matter, punishments – it’s a way of doing something to children to get them to comply with our wishes. It may be effective at producing this result (at least for a while), but it’s very different from working with kids – for example, by engaging them in conversation about what makes a classroom (or family) function smoothly, or how other people are affected by what we have done -- or failed to do. The latter approach is not only more respectful but more likely to help kids become thoughtful people.

The reason praise can work in the short run is that young children are hungry for our approval. But we have a responsibility not to exploit that dependence for our own convenience. A "Good job!" to reinforce something that makes our lives a little easier can be an example of taking advantage of children’s dependence. Kids may also come to feel manipulated by this, even if they can’t quite explain why.

2. Creating praise junkies. To be sure, not every use of praise is a calculated tactic to control children’s behavior. Sometimes we compliment kids just because we’re genuinely pleased by what they’ve done. Even then, however, it’s worth looking more closely. Rather than bolstering a child’s self-esteem, praise may increase kids’ dependence on us. The more we say, "I like the way you…." or "Good ______ing," the more kids come to rely on our evaluations, our decisions about what’s good and bad, rather than learning to form their own judgments. It leads them to measure their worth in terms of what will lead us to smile and dole out some more approval.

Mary Budd Rowe, a researcher at the University of Florida, discovered that students who were praised lavishly by their teachers were more tentative in their responses, more apt to answer in a questioning tone of voice ("Um, seven?"). They tended to back off from an idea they had proposed as soon as an adult disagreed with them. And they were less likely to persist with difficult tasks or share their ideas with other students.

In short, "Good job!" doesn’t reassure children; ultimately, it makes them feel less secure. It may even create a vicious circle such that the more we slather on the praise, the more kids seem to need it, so we praise them some more. Sadly, some of these kids will grow into adults who continue to need someone else to pat them on the head and tell them whether what they did was OK. Surely this is not what we want for our daughters and sons.

3. Stealing a child’s pleasure. Apart from the issue of dependence, a child deserves to take delight in her accomplishments, to feel pride in what she’s learned how to do. She also deserves to decide when to feel that way. Every time we say, "Good job!", though, we’re telling a child how to feel.

To be sure, there are times when our evaluations are appropriate and our guidance is necessary -- especially with toddlers and preschoolers. But a constant stream of value judgments is neither necessary nor useful for children’s development. Unfortunately, we may not have realized that "Good job!" is just as much an evaluation as "Bad job!" The most notable feature of a positive judgment isn’t that it’s positive, but that it’s a judgment. And people, including kids, don’t like being judged.

I cherish the occasions when my daughter manages to do something for the first time, or does something better than she’s ever done it before. But I try to resist the knee-jerk tendency to say, "Good job!" because I don’t want to dilute her joy. I want her to share her pleasure with me, not look to me for a verdict. I want her to exclaim, "I did it!" (which she often does) instead of asking me uncertainly, "Was that good?"

4. Losing interest. "Good painting!" may get children to keep painting for as long as we keep watching and praising. But, warns Lilian Katz, one of the country’s leading authorities on early childhood education, "once attention is withdrawn, many kids won’t touch the activity again." Indeed, an impressive body of scientific research has shown that the more we reward people for doing something, the more they tend to lose interest in whatever they had to do to get the reward. Now the point isn’t to draw, to read, to think, to create – the point is to get the goody, whether it’s an ice cream, a sticker, or a "Good job!"

In a troubling study conducted by Joan Grusec at the University of Toronto, young children who were frequently praised for displays of generosity tended to be slightly less generous on an everyday basis than other children were. Every time they had heard "Good sharing!" or "I’m so proud of you for helping," they became a little less interested in sharing or helping. Those actions came to be seen not as something valuable in their own right but as something they had to do to get that reaction again from an adult. Generosity became a means to an end.

Does praise motivate kids? Sure. It motivates kids to get praise. Alas, that’s often at the expense of commitment to whatever they were doing that prompted the praise.

5. Reducing achievement. As if it weren’t bad enough that "Good job!" can undermine independence, pleasure, and interest, it can also interfere with how good a job children actually do. Researchers keep finding that kids who are praised for doing well at a creative task tend to stumble at the next task – and they don’t do as well as children who weren’t praised to begin with.

Why does this happen? Partly because the praise creates pressure to "keep up the good work" that gets in the way of doing so. Partly because their interest in what they’re doing may have declined. Partly because they become less likely to take risks – a prerequisite for creativity – once they start thinking about how to keep those positive comments coming.

More generally, "Good job!" is a remnant of an approach to psychology that reduces all of human life to behaviors that can be seen and measured. Unfortunately, this ignores the thoughts, feelings, and values that lie behind behaviors. For example, a child may share a snack with a friend as a way of attracting praise, or as a way of making sure the other child has enough to eat. Praise for sharing ignores these different motives. Worse, it actually promotes the less desirable motive by making children more likely to fish for praise in the future.

Once you start to see praise for what it is – and what it does – these constant little evaluative eruptions from adults start to produce the same effect as fingernails being dragged down a blackboard. You begin to root for a child to give his teachers or parents a taste of their own treacle by turning around to them and saying (in the same saccharine tone of voice), "Good praising!"

Still, it’s not an easy habit to break. It can seem strange, at least at first, to stop praising; it can feel as though you’re being chilly or withholding something. But that, it soon becomes clear, suggests that we praise more because we need to say it than because children need to hear it. Whenever that’s true, it’s time to rethink what we’re doing.

What kids do need is unconditional support, love with no strings attached. That’s not just different from praise – it’s the opposite of praise. "Good job!" is conditional. It means we’re offering attention and acknowledgement and approval for jumping through our hoops, for doing things that please us.

This point, you’ll notice, is very different from a criticism that some people offer to the effect that we give kids too much approval, or give it too easily. They recommend that we become more miserly with our praise and demand that kids "earn" it. But the real problem isn’t that children expect to be praised for everything they do these days. It’s that we’re tempted to take shortcuts, to manipulate kids with rewards instead of explaining and helping them to develop needed skills and good values.

So what’s the alternative? That depends on the situation, but whatever we decide to say instead has to be offered in the context of genuine affection and love for who kids are rather than for what they’ve done. When unconditional support is present, "Good job!" isn’t necessary; when it’s absent, "Good job!" won’t help.

If we’re praising positive actions as a way of discouraging misbehavior, this is unlikely to be effective for long. Even when it works, we can’t really say the child is now "behaving himself"; it would be more accurate to say the praise is behaving him. The alternative is to work with the child, to figure out the reasons he’s acting that way. We may have to reconsider our own requests rather than just looking for a way to get kids to obey. (Instead of using "Good job!" to get a four-year-old to sit quietly through a long class meeting or family dinner, perhaps we should ask whether it’s reasonable to expect a child to do so.)

We also need to bring kids in on the process of making decisions. If a child is doing something that disturbs others, then sitting down with her later and asking, "What do you think we can do to solve this problem?" will likely be more effective than bribes or threats. It also helps a child learn how to solve problems and teaches that her ideas and feelings are important. Of course, this process takes time and talent, care and courage. Tossing off a "Good job!" when the child acts in the way we deem appropriate takes none of those things, which helps to explain why "doing to" strategies are a lot more popular than "working with" strategies.

And what can we say when kids just do something impressive? Consider three possible responses:

* Say nothing. Some people insist a helpful act must be "reinforced" because, secretly or unconsciously, they believe it was a fluke. If children are basically evil, then they have to be given an artificial reason for being nice (namely, to get a verbal reward). But if that cynicism is unfounded – and a lot of research suggests that it is – then praise may not be necessary.

* Say what you saw. A simple, evaluation-free statement ("You put your shoes on by yourself" or even just "You did it") tells your child that you noticed. It also lets her take pride in what she did. In other cases, a more elaborate description may make sense. If your child draws a picture, you might provide feedback – not judgment – about what you noticed: "This mountain is huge!" "Boy, you sure used a lot of purple today!"

If a child does something caring or generous, you might gently draw his attention to the effect of his action on the other person: "Look at Abigail’s face! She seems pretty happy now that you gave her some of your snack." This is completely different from praise, where the emphasis is on how you feel about her sharing

* Talk less, ask more. Even better than descriptions are questions. Why tell him what part of his drawing impressed you when you can ask him what he likes best about it? Asking "What was the hardest part to draw?" or "How did you figure out how to make the feet the right size?" is likely to nourish his interest in drawing. Saying "Good job!", as we’ve seen, may have exactly the opposite effect.

This doesn’t mean that all compliments, all thank-you’s, all expressions of delight are harmful. We need to consider our motives for what we say (a genuine expression of enthusiasm is better than a desire to manipulate the child’s future behavior) as well as the actual effects of doing so. Are our reactions helping the child to feel a sense of control over her life -- or to constantly look to us for approval? Are they helping her to become more excited about what she’s doing in its own right – or turning it into something she just wants to get through in order to receive a pat on the head.

It’s not a matter of memorizing a new script, but of keeping in mind our long-term goals for our children and watching for the effects of what we say. The bad news is that the use of positive reinforcement really isn’t so positive. The good news is that you don’t have to evaluate in order to encourage.

Posted by Britney Peterson
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on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 in Parent Education

Head of our Toddler Program, Nanette Cenaruzabeitia, shares about the incredible abilites of Toddler children and their sensitive period for independence.

 

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Seeks privacy when going in diaper Shows interest in using the toilet - may want to put paper in and flush (even if they haven't been able to "go") Shows curiosity at other people's toilet habits Has decided he/she wants to use the toilet Not afraid of the toilet Wants to wear underpants and use the toilet

What is the best way to approach toilet training?

Be matter-of-fact

Avoid the power struggle

Overlook failures

Avoid pressure or punishment

Don't lecture

Avoid constant reminders

Relax

Avoid extreme excitement or anger

How do and I start and when is the right time?

Start slow at child's first interest

Allow child in the bathroom with you or siblings when you use the toilet

Start with simple things like:

Dressing/undressing

Practicing flushing

Change diapers in the bathroom

Change diapers standing up (when possible)

Are there times I should avoid Toilet Learning?

Any major changes in the child's life:

New sibling, new school, new house

Switching from crib to bed

Weaning of bottles or pacifiers

Major illnesses

Sleep deprived

Any other stressful situations

What should I do when my child has an accident?

Accidents WILL happen....but it's okay, its a learning process.

The time line will be different with all children. For some it will happen quickly and for others it will take more time.

Some children wet the bed up until 8 years old, this is normal and no cause for concern.

BE PATIENT!

BE CALM!

Allow children to change their own clothing with minimal help when they have an accident.

What are the best diapers to use during the Toilet Learning process?

Once your child has begun the process of using the toilet and has been introduced to cloth underwear it is important that you don't go back to disposable diapers except at bed time.  Pull-ups are a glorified diaper and because they look and feel to the child like a diaper they prevent a child from adjusting sensorially to underwear.

How should I reward my child when they are successful using the toilet?

If a child gets a reward for doing something that is a normal part of development, it can lead to a child expecting a reward for any accomplishment.  Sometimes, rewards put undo pressure on the child and cause anxiety.  It is beneficial for children to learn to follow their internal instincts, reach  milestones individually and at the appropriate and normal stage in their development, and learn early to appreciate the intrinsic value of accomplishments.

What if my child is afraid?

Fear is a normal reaction for children when it comes to Toilet Learning.  It is important to address fears before beginning Toilet Learning.

When you do decide its time to start the process its important to make sure that all of the child's care givers are on the same page.  The routine should be consistent for the child no matter who is caring for them.  Send your child with a lot of extra clothing when they are with a care giver.  Also, be sure that your child is dressed in clothes that they can get on and off themselves.  (Avoid belts, too many layers, etc.)

YOU CAN DO THIS!

BE PATIENT! BE CALM! FOLLOW THE CHILD! ALLOW THE PROCESS! RELAX!!!

Thank you to Alia Boyle Hovius for gathering and sharing this information.