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September 22, 2021

Archive for Montessori Social Curriculum

The Transition from Casa to Elementary: Part 2

posted in Montessori Education
01/19/2015  |  Comments Off on The Transition from Casa to Elementary: Part 2

Who is the elementary child?

Social Development

The elementary child’s need to expand beyond the home environment translates as well to a need for expanding social relationships. Peers become extremely important to elementary aged children; they are constantly building relationships.

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There is a ‘herd instinct’ within them, they naturally form groups, they want to be with their friends and questions of how to build community become extremely meaningful. Their constant talking is really evidence of this focus on building relationships.

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These children want to be like their friends, fads come to the fore, and to be accepted by the group is extremely important. From their perspective, rejection by their peers is one of the worst things that can happen. In the classroom, materials and concepts are often introduced in group presentations. There is a cooperative, collaborative focus as opposed to a competitive one. This too is part of how the children are learning to build community, learning how to get along with diverse personality types and with those who do or do not always bring out the best in them.

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When there is conflict, it is important that the adults in these children’s lives do not co opt these opportunities for growth. It is important that the children learn how to work it out themselves (with guidance where necessary).

[Clanmore’s Social Curriculum based on Diane Gossen’s Theory of Restitution provides a framework for how to handle social situations. All elementary students are introduced to the principles of Restitution annually and practice them throughout their time at at the school, and beyond.]

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Hero Worship Elementary children are looking for people to admire. They may be inspired by older children, but they can just as easily be inspired by unnamed heroes, for example those individuals who have done things to improve the quality of our lives. In their worshiping of heroes they question what is their role and what are they going to do to help humanity?

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Michael “Pinball” Clemons with a Clanmore Student

It is worth considering who we introduce and expose our children to. Who they may look to as a hero.

Our next blog post, The Transition from Casa to Elementary: Part 3 will focus on

A Home With The Elementary Child.

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The Transition from Casa to Elementary: Part 1

posted in Montessori Education
01/06/2015  |  Comments Off on The Transition from Casa to Elementary: Part 1

Who Is the Elementary Child?

Intellectual Independence

In the first six years of life children undergo tremendous change as they strive towards their developmental goal of physical independence. While the next six years of life are physically more stable, beneath this stable surface is a strong driver guiding the child towards intellectual independence.

Elementary Grammar Exercise

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Sometimes dubbed the “age of rudeness”, the 6-12 year old child is full of questions and rarely takes what is said at face value. They want to know why things are the way they are as they question their way towards constant intellectual growth. They are actually developmentally designed to do this at this age, they are meant to question.

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While in the first six years of life children are fully engaged in the present, learning through their senses, the six to twelve year old child approaches the world through the reasoning mind.

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To real experiences, past, present and future, they are able to apply the power of their imaginations. In contrast to fantasy play, this is an imagination which happily ponders such ideas as ‘what would life have been like…..’. History consequently starts to take on importance.

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While Casa children are starting to venture beyond the home environment, elementary children want to take on the universe. Their minds want to explore it all.

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Moral Development

Concurrent with this quest for intellectual independence, elementary aged children are also in a period of tremendous moral development.  As they try to reason things out and increase their moral understanding they are often heard to exclaim “it’s not fair”. Frustrating as this may be for the adults in their lives, it is simply evidence of the reasoning mind puzzling over moral questions.  Again, elementary aged children following their developmental mandate.

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It should be noted that elementary children will test boundaries as part of their moral development. There are exploring where the line falls. This requires the adults in their world to follow rules which are put in place. Failure to do so results in moral ambiguity which the elementary child quickly picks up on, learning that we don’t really mean what we say. Not ideal when these children are forming their sense of morality.

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Grey areas are where morality truly arises. These are the areas these children are trying to reason out, and it is these areas and the questions that arise therefrom that we should be discussing with them. Their intellect is the driving force here.

Tattling is also a feature of this stage of moral development. Really it’s just the elementary child checking in with you, confirming that someone did something wrong. In their minds they think it is wrong and they just want to know that they are correct.

Elementary children also need to know that just like in math for example, if they make a mistake, and they will, they can fix it. Justice, morality, compassion, mercy – these are topics which fascinate six to twelve year olds and which are even more pertinent to them as they become socially driven.

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The label social butterfly is apt; they are all over everything, although this fleeting nature will dissipate somewhat as they enter more fully into the developmental period. As a consequence of their heightened compassion, elementary children want to help others.

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They are motivated to fundraise for causes they believe in for example, and so it is timely for this desire to be nurtured and encouraged.

Our next blog post, The Transition from Casa to Elementary: Part 2 will focus on

Who Is The Elementary Child?  Social Development

 

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The Social Curriculum at Clanmore Montessori School

posted in Montessori Education
10/15/2014  |  Comments Off on The Social Curriculum at Clanmore Montessori School

At Clanmore Montessori School we role model and give lessons in Grace and Courtesy from Toddler through to Middle School. These lessons vary at different ages and are repeated throughout a child’s time here.  Grace and Courtesy is part of the Montessori curriculum, as is taking care of oneself, the environment and communicating with others in a respectful way.

 

Communication in a Respectful Way

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It’s learning how to blow your nose in the Toddler and Casa classrooms, it’s holding a door open to let another pass through; in a nutshell, it’s clear consistent social values that we help the children with so that they know what to expect and what they can expect from each other. The older children then role model appropriate behaviour for the younger children.

 

Role-modelling

 

In 1998 Diane Gossen gave a workshop on Restitution at a CAMT (Canadian Association of Montessori Teachers) conference, and in the early days of Clanmore her theories and strategies were implemented right away.  For Grace Kidney, one of the founders of Clanmore, the Theory of Restitution addressed exactly what the children needed for wholesome social development!

 

Restitution is a belief system – it sets the tone for the culture at Clanmore, fostering a spirit of generosity, of helping one another and connecting with one another; a sense of community.

 

Restitution Discussion

 

It’s helping a Casa child solve a problem with the ‘peace’ rock, which serves as a concrete reminder of who’s turn it is to talk, for at this stage of development a child is unable to abstract and may need help to wait until someone is finished or until it is his or her turn to speak. It’s conflict resolution, it’s respect and cooperation.

 

Casa Restitution Chart

 

It is during the second plane of development, the elementary years (ages 6-12), when the children are able to reason and are in a sensitive period for moral and social justice, that they also display a deep need to belong.

 

All the developmental work the children do prior to this second plane of development will assist them in their need and desire to be a part of the group. As parents and teachers we must visualize the child and meet their current needs, so that they can help direct themselves in the future.

 

Peace Sign

 

‘The process of making restitution strengthens people. One of the most important skills in life is to repair our own mistakes.”  Restitution, Facilitator’s Guide by Diane Chelsom Gossen

 

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