The Clanmore Voice

September 22, 2021

Archive for Montessori theory

The Elementary Going Out Program

posted in Montessori Education
05/11/2016  |  Comments Off on The Elementary Going Out Program

While toddlers begin to explore beyond the home environment and casa students begin to explore the school environment in its entirety, it is the elementary children who take exploration, curiosity and drive to a whole new level in the Montessori going out program. Discover how the teachers in partnership with their students guide them on this journey.

Intellectual choice and independence are goals for the children in the Elementary program. They are life skills; keys to the universe. The children need to explore beyond the classroom and to aid in this construction, we must provide opportunities for them to go out into society and experience it.

Food Drive

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Going out provides the opportunity to make choices in a safe manner as they are still under the protection of the family and the school. It provides further intellectual stimulation and contributes to the children’s growth and self-control. Going out begins at Clanmore by going to the library or to the art studio. The students then build on this foundation as they gain more responsibility outside of the classroom.

Cec _ B on train

“It has to do with the psychological characteristics and the human tendencies of the elementary children”… “one of the needs of this aged child is to be prepared to eventually take his/her place in society”. “It is more than acquiring knowledge it is about experiencing society.” CH

Kerr Street Ministries

‘Going Out’ is not a field trip that is organized by the teacher; it is part of the Elementary curriculum and has to do with the work and activities of the children in an elementary class. It is a small group of children who have done some work and have planned an outing to retrieve more information.

Remembrance Day

We cannot bring all elements of society into the classroom. The children need to explore geography, history, biology, cultural activities of society, language, social awareness and retrieve impressions that will inspire them for future work. It’s more than just acquiring knowledge, it’s about the experience and how it will launch them forward and manifest itself in ways that we can’t predict.

Erchless Estate

“They will explore the interdependencies that exist; the interdependencies of the environment, but also the interdependencies of human beings. When you take public transportation you have more appreciation of the job that these people are doing. So they begin to understand the Cosmic Plan which underlies the interrelatedness, the universe, the world and societies.” CH

The children in this plane of development are in the process of developing their moral sense.

Ryan

“We are helping the children come into contact with the moral sense of existence. What is the role of humans and how we affect the cosmos”… “one assumes that people are skilled at decision making but this is not always the case. If you are not shown as a young child how to choose wisely and understand that, ‘I can choose all by myself,’ then as an adult you may have an underdeveloped Will. To develop this Will children need a chance to make meaningful choices.” RO

AGO

We speak of the prepared environment and the work that begins in the classroom as their imagination gets fired up and their intellect begins to question what else there is to find out. Essentially, two environments are prepared as now the teachers prepare the children to go out. They prepare for any particular rules they may encounter, anticipate what is expected and things specific to that outing like how to interview a person, listen to a response and ask a follow-up question.

House of Commons

An Interview with some Upper Elementary students about their ‘Going Out’ experience.

Recently you went to the Oakville Humane Society, can you tell me why you decided to go there?

We were doing a fundraiser and needed more background information on how they do things. We wanted to see the animals that we were fundraising for, these animals are sick, they have diabetes and asthma and use puffers the same way humans do. We hope to donate money and supplies.

How did you prepare for this outing?

We spoke to our teachers, called the Humane Society and scheduled a tour. Then we needed to figure out who was going to drive us and what we needed to do so we prepared questions.

What did you gain from this experience?

F- Responsibility – knowing all these abandoned animals makes me more responsible for the pets I have. I felt proud when we were there and I gained more love for animals. Other classmates have done fundraisers for PETA and it got me thinking and makes me want to help in my own way.

B- I gained more information about animals, love for animals and how to organise an outing.

N- I gained an ability to understand animals, they have different emotions and different moods. I gained more knowledge of the Oakville Humane Society and the knowledge of how to set up balance between my time on the fundraiser and my schoolwork. It helped me organise my time, time management.

What does ‘going out’ mean to you?

N- It means to venture out of the boundaries of our school environment and into the world exploring while doing our school work.

B- Leaving school and experiencing the world, learning new things and trying to help the world.

F- Going out and learning new things, venturing out of daily life to get to sprout out into something new. New experiences in unfamiliar places and it’s not a field trip, somewhere we’ve been before or where we go every month, it’s like a DIY (do it yourself) day!

Humane Society photo 2

“The fun thing about it is, you have an idea and you begin to feel that it’s getting bigger and there are no boundaries and then N passed by and wanted to help and I felt this relief. Then B heard about it and asked if he could help and then we started to get organised. Everyone comes with special qualities and we all have different roles… drawing, organising, writing and describing. What I really liked, we did it by ourselves.” F – Upper Elementary Student

Humane Society photo 1

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An Odyssey: Montessori Style

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

Odyssey 1

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.

Odyssey 3

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.

Odyssey 2

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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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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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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The Transition from Casa to Elementary: Part 2

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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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