The Children's House

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Conversations about the secrets of childhood
Updated: 1 hour 25 min ago

The Third Year--Montessori Kindergarten

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 3:02pm
It's that time of year at MCH when parents of our second year students begin the decision making process for re-enrollment. We applaud and support them in this important process. It can seem like an overwhelming responsibility to choose the best class for your child. We hold a special meeting just for them at our school to offer guidance and explain which choice we feel is the best for our Montessori students. While not everyone can stay for the third year at our school, our hope is that those who can will do just that. It is a gift that will pay huge dividends in the child's outlook on learning. We feel so strongly about it that all of our scholarship money in the past has gone to making the third year choice an easy one for parents. As an authentic Montessori school, we are committed to the three year cycle in the classroom and to offering the best possible Montessori primary education to each child. We serve the Watcher (3 year old), the Worker (4 year old) and the Teacher (5 year old). It is both our mission and our pure delight.
Here are some of the videos we'll share at the information meeting:

Categories: Citizens

An Environment of Peace

Tue, 01/13/2015 - 3:17pm

After the passing of our beloved Bela bunny I wrote in our school newsletter about a new peaceful area in the classroom environment. This area was designed to help those seeking comfort with emotions and was set up after a discussion with the older children. On the table we have a book titled “Our Peaceful Classroom” which is written by children from Montessori schools around the world. Other items at the table include a stress ball, a large and small sand timer, a plant and a nature picture. The children also came up with a list of guidelines to follow while visiting the peace table. It is not visited as much now, but has remained an important part of the classroom.

Often at our school the entire environment is awash with peace and beauty as the community of children and adults work and thrive together, but there are also specific peace areas tucked away for children to access at their will.
As in many Montessori schools, our book area is called "the quiet corner".
Some schools call it the peace area, the silence corner, the peace table or the peace shelf. All these names and places in the Montessori classroom serve a similar purpose. It is an area where the children are able to go and calm their minds and bodies. It is often an area in the classroom for one child to visit at a time when they feel the need. While in this area, it is the expectation that the child is quiet and the other children are expected to not disturb the person visiting the peace area.

At times we have introduced another area we call the peace table. On this table we have a peace rose in a vase. The rose is used to practice conflict resolution and also when there is an actual conflict between two students. One brings over the peace rose to the student whom they are having a conflict with. While holding it, they state what happened and why they are upset to the other student. The rose is then passed. The child who was listening repeats back what the first child said. This is a skill that takes some work because it requires active listening during a conflict (something that is difficult for adults at times, too). The child who repeated the problem to the first student then gets a turn to either apologize or explain their point of view and it continues until the conflict is resolved. This takes practice, but the children appreciate the process and utilize it when a conflict arises.  
In the sensorial area of the room there is also a peace shelf that has a basket with a little sign that says "Silence", a Book of Peace (peace symbols and words from around the world), yoga cards, a blindfold and massager, finger labyrinth and a liquid timer (which is quite mesmerizing).  There is also a special basket used for practicing group silence that has a variety of quiet instruments (singing bowl, chime eggs, rain forest frog croaking) to play to signal the end of silence. Group silence is an activity practiced in both early childhood classes and elementary classrooms usually once per day. It is a time of quiet reflection and a chance to build self-control. 
 Peace education is an extremely important part of Montessori. We strive to give the children tools and opportunities to experience peace and learn about peaceful living in many ways. Consider making a peace area in your home for all the family to use. I am sure we could all benefit from some quiet time every now and then!


"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically... Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education."
--Martin Luther King Jr.
Categories: Citizens

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