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December 5, 2022

Archive for Montessori Education

An Odyssey: Montessori Style

posted in Montessori Education
09/14/2015  |  Comments Off on An Odyssey: Montessori Style

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Many schools start the year with orientation days or weeks for new students. Ice breaker activities, leadership workshops and fun games are all included to help new students feel like a part of their new class and to get to know their new classmates. In the Middle School, we do something a little different. We go on an Odyssey.

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Odyssey Packing 1

Odysseys are a key component of the Montessori Adolescent philosophy. It’s not just a school trip. An Odyssey is a long, eventful and adventurous journey. Perhaps not as long or eventful as Homer’s hero Odysseus in the ancient Greek epic poem but we hope our Odysseys embody the same spirit. This year, the Middle School students are embarking on an eight day wilderness canoe journey through the rivers and lakes of Temagami.

Odyssey Packing 2

Spending eights days away in the beautiful scenery of Temagami, immersed in the natural world and the Middle School community, is a transformative experience. While on Odyssey, students will face and overcome physical, mental and emotional challenges. Some will experience satisfaction from effort and communal contribution that it take to carry equipment and supplies over a 900 m portage. Others might uncover newfound depths of mental fortitude on a lake while steering a canoe for the first time. They will all practise a generosity of spirit and patience towards others as we live in close quarters with minimal personal grooming products.

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The trip will be full of adventures and events that will reveal new strengths and capabilities to the adolescents that will change how they see themselves and their classmates.

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Just like Odysseus, the adolescent’s experiences will have effected them. When they return to Clanmore on the 18th of September, see if you notice the difference. Do they stand a little taller? Are their muscles a little more defined? Will they do more for themselves than before? We hope so, but we do know for sure that our fifteen students will come off the water no longer as individuals but as a tightly bonded group–the Clanmore Middle School class of 2016.

Odyssey Group 2015

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A Montessori Summer Camp – Beyond the Classroom

posted in Montessori Education
07/31/2015  |  Comments Off on A Montessori Summer Camp – Beyond the Classroom

There’s no doubt that summer camp is loads of fun, but is there more to it than fun?

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Camp at Clanmore is unique! Sure, we offer experiences that cultivate friendships and lifelong skills and perhaps we even offer a break from summer cabin fever for the entire family, but at Clanmore the camp experience is so much more. We offer specialized programs for children that foster character development and self-regulation, which is rooted in the Montessori philosophy.

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Summer camps keep young minds growing during the summer months and studies show this helps children successfully transition back to school in September. Clanmore’s specialized programs, such as canoeing, kayaking, cooking, art, bike riding and sports provide children with an opportunity to keep theirs brains stimulated and their bodies active.

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Our camp programs also allow children to get their feet wet with an extracurricular activity without making a long-term commitment to a budding interest.

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Camp at Clanmore allows children to spend time with familiar friends and establish new relationships based on common interests, but we also help the children cultivate these friendships by developing each individual character through the practice of Restitution.

The children discuss what they value as a community and the staff guide the children to use these values in their day-to-day lives. The children regularly have discussions about what respect, safety, learning and peace mean to them. As Montessori is based in multi-aged groups, during these discussions the input of children as young as three years of age is valued as is the input of older children. This nurtures the development of healthy leadership and a respect for all. The multi-aged groupings allow for a natural learning process to occur between the various ages as younger children learn from older children and older children develop from interacting with younger children.

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As a camp rooted in Montessori, we foster self-regulation by giving the children the freedom to make decisions and to co-construct their day based on their interests and their own thoughts and feelings. This provides each child in our camp with the opportunity for independence. As conflict could arise in any environment, the children are guided with the tools for resolution by putting emphasis on fixing a conflict. This also encourages the children’s development of self-regulation and nurtures their spirit.

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While at camp, children may choose to work with materials when their intrinsic urge to explore a material becomes evident to them. Children are also encouraged to self-regulate feelings such as hunger by having snacks readily available to them throughout the day.

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At Clanmore the children’s inner-guides are valued and respected and they receive the support needed for development through the Montessori philosophy.

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So of course we have fun amongst all the other wonderful attributes of camp at Clanmore, but the best part? Because we are a day camp, the children return home at the end of each day to share these fantastic experiences with their families, around the dinner table or when they are being tucked in at night.

 

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The Transition from Toddler to Casa: Part 2

posted in Montessori Education
06/02/2015  |  Comments Off on The Transition from Toddler to Casa: Part 2

Our first blog post in this series focused on independence and the child’s work in constructing him/herself in order to become a contributing member of the Casa community. We will now delve a little deeper into the areas of language and the importance of what Montessori termed practical life.

Toddler Language

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Language

The Toddler child acquires language by taking in that which his/her surrounding environment provides. Upon this foundation, the Casa child explodes into the spoken, and then written word. Vocabulary previously taken in is now used, and used with a greater understanding of both meaning and context. Vocabulary becomes notably more precise as a consequence of a more refined awareness of the world. The desire to acquire new and more expansive vocabulary is insatiable.

Casa Curiosity

Casa children become consciously aware that language is a tool to express not just concrete objects but also emotions and thoughts. It has grammatical structure and the same word used in a different context or placement can take on a completely different meaning. Language for this child becomes something more than just an ability to name his/her world. It is something to play with, to explore and to take great delight in.

Casa Snack Table

Practical Life

Casa Dusting

The Practical Life activities, those activities performed in daily living, help to foster independence. In the preschool environment they are very much an extension of the home. Practical Life activities, at both the Toddler and Casa levels aid the children in adapting to the environment with ease, while the role modeling of the adults furthers the children in their physical and social independence. The Casa child then is able to take these tools to further him/herself personally (fix one’s shoes when they don’t feel quite right, pour a drink when thirsty), and also ultimately contribute to the community for the benefit of the group (set the table for lunch for example). Independence allowing for interdependence.

Casa Dressing Frame

It is interesting to note that recent neuroscience research strongly supports the importance of practical life activities in executive brain function. Brain development, as we know, is experienced based, and executive functions are the processes within the brain responsible for mental control and self-regulation.1

 

“The seeds of self-control begin in learning to control one’s own body.  … Practical Life is the first step for each child in building a foundation for a better brain, in the Montessori environment and beyond.” Dr. Steve Hughes, PhD, LP, ABPdN   For a fascinating look at Montessori and brain development we highly recommend:  http://www.goodatdoingthings.com  and http://www.BuildingBetterBrains.com (https://vimeo.com/stevehughes)

 

 

 

 

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The Transition from Toddler to Casa: Part 1

posted in Montessori Education
05/25/2015  |  Comments Off on The Transition from Toddler to Casa: Part 1

Who is the Casa child?

Casa children are working towards becoming even more independent. One of their tasks is to gain social independence among peers and ultimately become a contributing member of their community. They observe and imitate to construct themselves in order to transition from being an individual within the community towards being an integral part of that community. With this comes a fulfilled sense of belonging and purpose.

Toddler to Casa 1

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Like the Toddler child, they are still in a sensitive period for order (internalizing patterns and connections from the impressions of their environment). Having now entered the second half of what Montessori coined the first plane of development (0-6 years of age), they are moving from being the observer who takes in all impressions from the environment indiscriminately, to the child who can direct his/her attention towards specific interests and aspects of the environment.

Toddler to Casa 2

They take in patterns of language and mathematical concepts, refine the impressions their senses receive (colour may now be perceived in shades for example), note how human beings conduct themselves socially and absorb many other components of their world. A child of this age is constantly striving towards mastery of his/her environment. This is an extension and further development of their will.

Toddler to Casa 3

There are more materials in the Casa classroom in response to developmental necessity. Their senses are becoming more refined, new psychological characteristics emerge, they become more mindful and like their toddler peers are capable of great developmental work.

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Remembering Clanmore Montessori Summer Camp

posted in Montessori Education
03/24/2015  |  Comments Off on Remembering Clanmore Montessori Summer Camp

Remembering Clanmore Summer Camp

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The warm, sunny days of Summer. Remember them? Feeling the cool grass between your toes, sipping on lemonade and being carefree with your friends. Oh, if we could live in those childhood moments again.

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What are your fondest memories of childhood on warm Summer days? Were they spent in nature? Were they spent being creative? Were they spent practicing a new skill? I’m sure they were spent exerting what seemed to be your endless amounts of energy and I bet they were definitely spent making memories with friends?

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Clanmore Montessori Summer Camp offers something for every child, making memories with familiar friends, and new ones, in a familiar place, where the warmth of the Clanmore community aligns perfectly with the warmth of summertime.

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Last Summer we created many memories, canoeing, kayaking, geocaching, gardening and playing sports. We also explored robotics, aerospace, water and science, but most importantly, we created fun and friendships!

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We are looking forward to creating more warm memories this Summer and we hope you’ll join us!

Here is what some of our Campers have said about Clanmore Montessori Camp last year…

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“The canoeing and kayaking was fun… I wanna do it again.”
Lincoln age 7

“Camp was fun and educational. I loved learning about the wilderness. Canoeing was my favourite.”
Sophie age 11

“Awesome!”
Samuel age 4 and Gabriel age 6

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“I would definitely recommend Robotics, we learned in a fun way about gears and mechanics, I made a robot with armour that went to battle. We also learned about aerospace – gravity and aerodynamics”.
Caleb age 11

“I learned that I can paddle far and if everyone paddles at the same time and is consistent we can go fast.”
Jackson age 9

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“This is fun!”
Mia age 4

“We did a variety of interactive sports, it was a great experience and I would definitely do it again.”
Emilio age 11

For more information on Clanmore Montessori Camp, contact Teresa McLean, Summer Camp Program Co-ordinator at [email protected] or telephone (905)337-8283.

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A Placement Student’s Reflections on our Montessori Toddler Room

posted in Montessori Education
02/24/2015  |  Comments Off on A Placement Student’s Reflections on our Montessori Toddler Room

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Anna recently moved to Canada from Venezuela and last year completed a 9 week Preschool level placement at Clanmore.  Anna was a practicing paediatrician in Venezuela, and is also a mother of two. Our youngest students definitely found their way into her heart.

What follows are Anna’s thoughts on Clanmore – the toddler room, and her first experience of a Montessori environment.

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“First of all, thanks to the Clanmore community for giving me the opportunity to be a part of your family for a couple of weeks. In a few words, I will try my best to describe my impressions of this lovely experience.

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Two weeks observing the Toddler environment and interactions, being able to catch the idea of the general way they conduct their routine and also getting to know each and every child and their own way to handle a day at school, has been a fantastic experience.  There are many things that have impressed me about the daily routine, the space, the building, the light, the behaviour of the children and the way the teachers lead them throughout the day.

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I would like to start with the environment, simple I would say is a word that best describes it, less is more would also fit.  Child size furniture that allows every child to work comfortably, to feel it is their world.  Every set of work material is designed to be used and get advantage of.  Few elements to work with in every set, like for example four dogs in a basket, not more, so the child can manage the information and absorb it as they should. One colour to paint with or five tools in a tool box. Knowing every element, every name or function makes them feel secure.

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Most of the work is done independently, sometimes the children get together around an activity, but most of the time every child chooses a separate work to do and focuses on it usually with little distraction. How teachers communicate with children is delighting to observe.  They are constantly showing love and respect to them. They speak slowly and articulate every word repetitively to assure comprehension.  Always please and thank you and constantly in an adequate tone of voice, loving, but yet firm.

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The children are always encouraged to perform daily duties by themselves, such as putting on their outdoor outfit, cleaning after something has been spilled, helping at the table during snack time or folding laundry. Every task is performed in a smooth way, they have the time they need to do so, with no hurry.

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Every child teaches you something valuable and everyone has a huge potential and develops their progress at their own pace.

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The children look happy!  And that shows success by itself.  At Clanmore the community makes sure children feel at home, with family.  Being able to observe has been a privilege and for that I am grateful.  Thanks to everyone involved.”

Anna Ossott, 2014

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The Transition from Casa to Elementary: Part 3

posted in Montessori Education
01/28/2015  |  Comments Off on The Transition from Casa to Elementary: Part 3

At Home With The Elementary Child

Boy sweeping

In our previous blog posts: The Transition from Casa to Elementary, Parts 1 and 2, we discussed some of the characteristics of the child as he/she moves from the 1st plane of development to the 2nd.  Below is a chart which summarizes some of these changes as we now focus in this final post in our series on your elementary child at home.

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Some Characteristics

Casa Child (0-6 years)

Elementary Child (6-12 years)

Developmental Goal

physical independence

intellectual independence

Type of Work

individual, constructing themselves

building groups, community

co-operative and collaborative

Type of Exploration

sensorial/motor explorer, interested/engaged in the present, visible facts

reasoning/intellectual explorer

use of imagination to explore what can’t be seen (history, cosmos etc.)

Type of Mind

absorbent mind (taking in from the world around them)

reasoning mind (use of intellect)

Questions

who, what, where… (naming questions)

when, why, how

(cause & effect)

Type of Understanding

concrete

working towards greater abstraction in understanding

Attitude to Possessions

hard to share

not attached to their possessions (lose things), often use trading as a way to build relationships

Social Development

home important, focus on self-construction to work towards being a contributing member of a community

greater interest in the wider community vs. home

peers extremely important,

herd instinct, need to be like everyone else, always talking

Moral issues

black and white

will accept adult viewpoint

trying to understand the grey areas, great focus on right vs. wrong

seeking to make own opinions over accepting those of adults

deep sense or justice, compassion & mercy

Personal appearance

lower elementary: no focus on physical appearance

upper elementary: physical appearance starts to matter

Emotional Display

affectionate

less receptive to affection in public, especially if around friends,

less accommodating

Admiration

admire those in their immediate world

hero worship, admire achievements of others

At Home With Your Elementary Child

Work with them not for them

For example, making lunches.   If children have more choice, more control and a greater sense of responsibility, they are more likely to eat what has been chosen. Talk to them about nutrition and how to make wise choices. Involve them in making grocery lists.

Reading With Your Child

Responsibility and accountability are important

Children need to have responsibility within the home. They are part of a group, the family, and they need to have a role within this group. At school the elementary children have jobs to do, and if a job does not get done, the class talks about it and strategizes.

The feeling of contribution felt by children, even at a very young age, will be carried forward by them into their adult lives.

Child Gardening

The Child in the Family: Belonging

Children want to contribute, they need to know how they can help (look to practical life for ideas). If a child feels a sense of belonging in their family, that’s a happy child!

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The Family Meeting

It doesn’t have to be very long 15 – 20 minutes.
-the child’s ideas are heard
-adults concerns are heard
-a plan is worked out together → how to ‘fix’ it!

Restitution

What are your family’s core values? Discuss what these are and what what they mean.  Your children will carry these values with them.

Enjoying Nature

See also our post on The Social Curriculum at Clanmore Montessori School which references Diane Gossen and The Theory of Restitution.

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