5 Tips in Teaching Your Kids Respect

1. Demand Good Manners

Acting polite isn’t merely a formality, says psychotherapist Ingrid Schweiger, Ph.D., author of Self-Esteem for a Lifetime. “When kids say ‘thanks’ after something is given to them, they acknowledge that there’s a mutual exchange going on, a give-and-take,” she explains. And by going through the motions, they eventually learn not to expect the world on a silver platter.

Even toddlers can learn to say “please” and “thank you,” while preschoolers should be expected to look people in the eye when they greet them and to say “hello” and “goodbye.” Be prepared to give plenty of gentle reminders. “When my boys were younger I was constantly cueing them to say ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘Excuse me.’ Now, as a result, it mostly comes naturally to them,” says Debbie Oser, of North Wales, Pennsylvania. But sometimes a nudge isn’t enough: If you’re taking your kids someplace that requires a specific kind of behavior (say, your office or an upscale store), make sure they understand what’s expected of them. “Before we go out to eat, we review proper manners and warn our kids that if they don’t act appropriately, they’ll be removed from the restaurant. And we make sure we follow through with that — even if we really want to stay,” says Sarah Natividad, a mom of four in Tooele, Utah.

When your kids successfully mind their p’s and q’s, reinforce their behavior by offering praise — and mentioning why those good manners mattered so much, says Dr. Schweiger. “I tell my boys, ‘It was very nice the way you thanked Tommy’s mom for the cookies. I know it made her feel appreciated for all of her hard work,'” says Patricia Rossia, of Tampa Bay, Florida.

2. Dealing with Rudeness

Don’t Tolerate Rudeness

Bratty behavior and back talk are so common these days that it can be easy to just roll your eyes when your kids call each other names or your daughter throws a fit after you announce that TV time is over. But a child who’s allowed to speak that way to his family may come to believe it’s okay to sass other people too, so it’s vital that parents respond to the behavior immediately.

Make it clear that no matter how annoyed your kid may be, it’s never acceptable for him to lash out at another person. Then help him express himself by making “I” statements (as in “I feel frustrated!”) rather than ones that start with “You” (as in “You are a jerk!”), says Dr. Schweiger. You can also encourage him to put his feelings into words by asking him questions, suggests Hodson. (If he’s making sarcastic comments, say, “You seem upset. Let’s talk about it,” or if he’s yelling at his brother, you might ask him, “You sound really mad to me. Can you tell me what’s going on?”). Giving your child a positive way to express his emotions lets him know that while it’s natural to feel angry or frustrated from time to time, that doesn’t make it okay to insult others or scream and shout.

Of course, little ones are still mastering impulse control and learning how to articulate the things that they’re feeling, so don’t be surprised if it takes a lot of work to help your young child get a handle on her temper and if she slips up quite frequently. Part of teaching respect is teaching kids that when we make mistakes, we say we’re sorry — it shows that you care enough about the person you’ve disrespected to take responsibility for your mistakes, explains Dr. Schweiger. So lead the way by apologizing yourself when it’s appropriate, and urge your kids to do the same, once they’ve calmed down about what’s bothering them.

Teach Listening Skills

By giving someone your time and attention, you let him know that you value him, explains Dr. Schweiger; it’s one of the most fundamental ways to show respect. The first step toward being a good listener: removing distractions and making eye contact. So teach your child to put down the Wii control and focus on you when you’re talking (by the same token, make sure you look up from your iPhone when your kid has something to say too).

You can further educate her in what it takes to be a courteous conversationalist — not interrupting, waiting for a turn to talk — by role-playing. Start with the don’ts; your child will get a kick out of pretending she’s an “interrupter” or someone who looks away when she’s speaking. Then she can tackle the do’s (wait until a person is done talking to comment, follow up on what the other person just said with a question) and notice the difference.

3. Establishing Rules

Setting boundaries teaches kids that the world doesn’t revolve around them; they also have to consider others with their actions. Moreover, “if they can’t follow your house rules, they won’t be able to do it in kindergarten and beyond,” says Dr. Schweiger. “By allowing them to do whatever they want, without consequences, you’re setting them up for failure later on. So it’s important to instill a regard for authority in your little ones, starting at home.”

In order to respect your house rules, your kids have to know exactly what they are, so sit down and explain them (post them on the fridge too). Also take the time to talk about why these rules matter. Your child may not immediately understand the connection between respecting the rules and respecting the people who set them and live under them, but you can break it down for him. (Leaving toys out may seem harmless, but it creates a messy household for everyone; roughhousing might seem like fun, but someone could get hurt.) Next, be clear about what will happen if the rules are broken. Finally, be prepared to repeat the rules regularly and to follow through with those consequences if necessary.

Encourage Open-mindedness

Treating others with respect means taking the time to get to know them and trying to see where they’re coming from — even when you don’t immediately hit it off. “We make it clear to our kids that they don’t have to like everybody, and that not everybody will like them — and that’s okay, as long as they give people a chance,” says Heather Lambie, of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Teaching your kid to keep an open mind will serve her well throughout life — allowing her to discover unusual activities, exciting friends, and fresh ways of looking at things. Start by encouraging her to stretch herself and make a connection with someone new (like the kid who just moved in down the block or a first-time sitter) by finding some similar interests. Sometimes, after spending some time together and hearing the other person’s point of view, kids will conclude they don’t have that much in common. Your job as the parent? To make it clear that even people your child isn’t buddies with deserve kind treatment — and to introduce the important idea of “agreeing to disagree,” says Dr. Schweiger. Kids who understand that there is more than one way to do something or think about something (Jack puts ketchup on everything and Harper hates the stuff, but both ways of doing dinner are okay) will be better problem-solvers in all aspects of their life.

4. Celebrating Diversity

Kids tend to notice right away when someone looks different from what they’re used to — whether it’s their skin tone, body type, or style of dress — and chances are, they’ll say something about it. Though these moments can be embarrassing for parents, teaching your child to appreciate diversity means addressing their comments rather than immediately shushing or dismissing them, says Dr. Schweiger. “It’s important to acknowledge we’re not all the same — and that that’s not a bad thing,” she says. Think of your kid’s curiosity as an opportunity to teach him about respecting differences.

Of course, in order to raise kids who embrace diversity, you’ll need to give them access to a variety of different cultures and traditions, says Hodson, and you can start by making sure the characters in your kids’ shows and books have a broad range of backgrounds. But there’s no substitute for firsthand, real-life experiences, so take your kids to explore new neighborhoods, try a new cuisine, or experience an important cultural event for a different ethnic group.

As you encounter new people, be sure to discuss not only the things that are different but also the things that are the same — for example, how the girl in the head scarf is an avid roller skater just like your daughter, or how the teen with a blue Mohawk loves ice cream just as your son does. By taking a respectful approach and learning to make a connection with people they encounter, Hodson notes, kids will be receptive to exciting new experiences and will eventually come to see the world as a place brimming with possibility for discovery. That’s a pretty powerful payoff.

5. Respect That Stuff!

When we teach kids to treat belongings with respect, we’re helping them develop a sense of gratitude and consideration. How to do it:

Explain value. Help kids understand what gives something its worth. So if your son picks a neighbor’s flower without asking, don’t just scold him; mention all the time she spends tending her garden so everyone can enjoy it.

Think less is more. Children don’t need a ton of stuff, and the more playthings they get, the less they’ll appreciate each item. Offer them fewer toys, and try to choose ones that they can use in a variety of creative ways.

Make it clear. Before you hand over a prized object, spell out the rules: “If you would like to use Mommy’s music box, you must be willing to stay seated, make sure you don’t shake it, and let Mommy turn the key.”

This article can be found here. It was originally published in the November 2010 issue of Parents magazine.

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How Many Toys Are Too Many? 12 Reasons Why Kids Benefit from Less

This Christmas season, while shopping for toys for your children, keep this in mind — children may actually benefit from fewer toys?! 

This article was originally published by Emily Wade on ThinkAboutNow.com.

Renowned child educator, Maria Montessori said “Play is the child’s work.” She meant that children are not just playing when they play, but they are working. Play is an important part of child development, and the types of toys that a child interacts with shapes their understanding of the world around them. Toys are the tools children use to accomplish their work, but it is best for the amount of toys that a child has to be limited.

Lawrence J. Cohen, Ph.D., writes about the importance of play in his award-winning book Playful Parenting. He states ‘Through play, they (children) practice cooking, cleaning, going to work, fighting, taking care of the baby—every adult activity they see around them. This kind of playful practice, performed over and over, makes them more confident.’ The author also says that play helps children cope with problems ranging from big traumas to little upsets and helps them process the new information they receive every day.

Toys help children play. They also help children self-entertain and become independent. It may seem that more toys provide more entertainment and help the child work, but that is not the case.

Here are reasons why it is best to keep toys minimal and simple:

1. Kids with less use their imagination more. Without many toys, children use their craft of pretending to imagine the scenario in which they are working. Studies show that Einstein was right when he stated that “the true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”

2. Kids maintain focus. Less toys mean less distractions teaching the child to focus on the task at hand. Toys that provide excess stimulation have been linked to ADHD.

3. Kids interact more with others. Communications skills are not innate; they are learned. Having less stuff allows for less to get in the way of social interactions. When children pretend together, they communicate together.

4. Kids learn to respect what they have. A child is more likely to value their work when they know they don’t have replacements.

5. Kids are more educated. When you choose toys like books, blocks, art supplies and puzzles, children work on skills like reading, building, drawing, and writing. Such toys can incorporate lessons about the world that the child is immersed in rather than distract them from it.

6. Kids become resourceful. Kids learns to use what they have to get the job done.

7. Kids share. As parents, we want our children to put people over possessions and to not be greedy. Interacting with others without objects coming between them allows children to value people over things.

8. Kids learn mastery. As a child focuses on a certain toy, they learn to master it and to be proud of their accomplishments.

9. Kids realize they can’t have everything they want. As it goes, “you can’t always get what you want, but you get what you need.” Parents may worry that not giving their child what their peers have may make them unpopular or feel under privileged, but it teaches them that a persons identity is built by character, not possessions.

10. Kids appreciate nature. Children have tons of fun outdoors once they are out there, but it may be hard to get them outside if they have endless entertainment inside the home.

11. Kids learn to be happy with what they have. What a child needs most is love, and they will learn that love and happiness can’t be bought.

12. Kids learn the value of having a tidy environment. A child will not have to dig through toy boxes and dump things about because having minimal toys allows for “a place for everything, and everything in its place.”

So what can you do when family and friends flood your house with toys for your children?

Over time, children will get bored with their toys and need more variety, but they do not need all of the toys at once. Toys can be stored and rotated to introduce new toys while keeping the amount of toys in use minimal.

Parents can kindly suggest that family members give toys like blocks, balls, shapes, puzzles and art supplies rather than loud, flashy objects and that require little to no imagination or fine motor skills. You can also request non-toy gifts or encourage the child to give excess to charity.

Original article can be found here.

Sharing: Why We Shouldn’t Force It

Photo by Kidstock/Getty Images

In this article by Christina Clemer, she explains why we don’t actually teach “sharing” in the Montessori classroom. Instead, we try to encourage the lifeskill of waiting. This article was originally published on Motherly.

As you probably know, being a referee for kids is pretty much a lose-lose situation. There is frequently no way to please everyone or make things seem fair. There is often no way to even decipher what happened or who “had it first.”

It’s not your fault, children just have such a strong (and often unreasonable) sense of justice. They want so badly for you to see their side, yet they’re often still learning how to see the other person’s side.

Many of these frustrating little fights pop up because of incidents of sharing, or a lack thereof.

There is nothing inherently wrong with sharing, it’s a beautiful idea and an important concept. The problem is, it’s really vague. There are no set rules and that can be confusing, and very frustrating, to a young child.

Imagine if you were really engrossed in a project on your laptop, but all of a sudden, you had to stop what you were doing and hand over your computer to a friend because it was her turn and you needed to share.

Or imagine you were cooking dinner, but suddenly had to give up your best knife because it was someone else’s turn. What if you couldn’t wear your favorite dress to a party because you needed to share? How frustrating would that be? It’s almost unimaginable, because it’s not the way the adult world works.

Play is children’s work and it is just as frustrating for them. Plus it puts you in the constant role of referee, which is no fun for anyone.

You might be surprised to hear that we don’t really “do” sharing in Montessori schools. In a sense, the children share everything in the classroom, but they are never asked to stop working with something because someone else wants it.

One main reason is that we want children to be able to work with something just as long as their stretching concentration will allow them.

Another reason though is that waiting is an important life skill. Montessori classrooms purposely have just one of most of the materials so that children have to learn to wait, to choose something else to do, when what they want most is not available.

So instead of asking the children to share, we have a simple rule—if someone is working with something, it is not available.

When the children see the material back on the shelf, they know they may choose it. They rarely come to us asking if they can have a turn because the rule is so simple, they know what the answer will be.

Sometimes there is a particularly exciting new material in the classroom and a particularly eager child who can barely contain himself with his desire to get his hands on it. In this case, we suggest to the child that he ask the person using it to let him know when they’re done so he can have a turn. The other child almost always graciously agrees.

We also assure the child that the material will be available for many days and they will get a turn to use it. Then we ask him to go choose something else while he waits.

I think there are times when talking about sharing is useful, like explaining to your child that when you have a guest over, the guest may share his toys. You can help your child put away any toys he is much too in love with to share, to avoid a battle.

You could also talk about sharing what we have with people in need, about how it’s important to help those who need it when we can.

But if you’re facing constant pleas of “Is it my turn yet?” or “She’s had it so long,” you may want to give this a try. Simply explain that the toy will be available when the other child is done using it, but he may use it as long as he likes. Then help your child find something else to do.

It also helps to show you understand the frustration and difficulty of waiting. You could say something like, “It’s hard to wait. This morning, I wanted to shower, but I had to wait until Daddy was done. Waiting is something we all have to practice.” This shows that you’re not dismissing how they feel, but that waiting is just part of life.

Learning to wait for what we want really is hard, but it doesn’t need to be a constant battle. Try taking yourself out of the equation and making a rule simple enough that the children can handle it on their own.

Then you can sit back and contemplate sharing a bottle of wine that night instead, because conquering this battle deserves celebrating.

7 Key Phrases We Use in the Montessori Classroom

This article was originally published by Christina Clemer on the blog, Motherly. We found it so true and very helpful and we wanted to share. This is a wonderful example of the language we use, the environment we strive to create, and the confidence we want to foster in our students. These phrases can also be used at home. This article gives great examples of  how we can facilitate a Montessori environment in how we speak to our children at home.

Montessori can be hard to sum up in just a few words—it is a philosophy on education and child development that runs deep. It’s a way of seeing the world. I think one of the easiest ways to get an idea for what Montessori means is to listen to the language that Montessori teachers use.

Montessori teachers use language that respects the child and provides consistent expectations. Words are chosen carefully to encourage children to be independent, intrinsically motivated critical thinkers.

Here are seven common phrases you’d probably hear in any Montessori classroom, and how to incorporate them into your home life.

1. “I saw you working hard.”

The focus on process over product is a key tenet of Montessori. We avoid telling the children “good work” or “your work is beautiful” and instead comment on how they concentrated for a long time, or how they wrote so carefully and their work could be easily read by anyone.

Praising your child’s hard work, rather than his results, helps instill a growth mindset where he believes he can improve through his own efforts.

Instead of telling your child, “You’re a good boy,” tell him “I noticed you being kind to your little brother yesterday when you shared your truck.” This shows him you see his good behavior, without placing judgments on him. Instead of telling him, “You’re such a good artist,” try, “I noticed you kept working on your picture until you got it just how you wanted it.”

2. “What do you think about your work?”

In Montessori, the child is his own teacher. The teachers are there as guides to give him lessons and help him but he discovers things for himself through the carefully prepared environment and materials.

Self-analysis is a big part of that discovery.

When your child asks you, “Do you like my picture?” try asking her about it instead of just saying you love it. Ask her what she thinks about it, how she decided what colors to use, and what her favorite part is. Help her start to evaluate her work for herself, rather than looking for your approval.

3. “Where could you look for that?”

Independence is another key value in any Montessori classroom or home. Our goal as teachers is to help the children do things for themselves. So while it’s sometimes easier to simply answer a child’s question about where something is or how to do something, we often answer questions with another question such as, “Where could you look for that?” or “Which friend could you ask for help?”

If your son loses his shoe and you see it peeking out from under the bed, try asking leading questions, rather than just handing it to him.

“Where were you when you took your shoes off? Have you checked your room?” This may take a little more time, but it will be worth it when he starts taking more initiative and coming to you less.

4. “Which part would you like my help with?”

In a Montessori classroom, children are responsible for many things, including taking care of their environment. Children often take great pride in this responsibility, spending time arranging flowers to put on tables, watering the garden, and happily washing the windows and tables.

Sometimes though, a job is just too big and overwhelming. In these cases, we ask the child how we can help. We don’t want to swoop in and “save the day,” sending the message that the child is not capable, but we also don’t want to leave the child overwhelmed.

For example: If your child is tired, but needs to put her Legos away before bed, all of those pieces can be overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing though. Try “which color would you like me to put away” or “I’ll put away the yellow pieces and you put away the blue” to show that you’re in it together.

5. “In our class, we ….” (Or at home— “In our home, we…”)

This little phrase is used to remind the children of any number of classroom rules and desired behaviors. Phrasing reminders as objective statements about how the community works, rather than barking commands, is much more likely to elicit cooperation from a child.

“In our class, we sit while we eat” is less likely to incite a power struggle than “Sit down.”

Like all of us, children want to be a part of the community, and we simply remind them of how the community works.

If you have a rule about walking in the house, instead of “stop running,” try saying “we walk inside our house” and see if you get fewer arguments.

6. “Don’t disturb him, he’s concentrating.”

Protecting children’s concentration is a fundamental part of the Montessori philosophy. Montessori classes give children big blocks of uninterrupted work time, usually three hours. This allows children to develop deep concentration, without being disturbed because the schedule says it’s time to move on to learning something else.

It can be tempting to compliment a child who is working beautifully, but sometimes even making eye contact is enough to break their concentration.

Next time you walk by your child while he’s focused on drawing a picture or building a tower, try just walking by instead of telling him how great it is. You can make a mental note and tell him later that you noticed him concentrating so hard on his creation.

7. “Follow the Child.”

This last one is an important one. It’s something Montessori teachers say to each other and to parents—not to the child. We often remind each other to “follow the child,” to trust that each child is on his or her own internal developmental timeline, that he is doing something for a reason.

This reminds us to search for the reason behind the behavior. It reminds us that not all children will be walking by one or reading by four—they haven’t read the books and couldn’t care less about the milestones they are “supposed to” reach.

Following the child means remembering that each child is unique and has his own individual needs, passions, and gifts, and he should be taught and guided accordingly.

If you can’t get your child interested in reading, try watching what he does love—if he loves being silly, it may be that a joke book is what piques his interest, not the children’s classic you had in mind. Remembering to “follow your child” can help you see him in a different way and work with him instead of against him.

One of beautiful things about Montessori is that it is so much more than a type of education—it is a way of seeing and being with children. Even if your child does not go to Montessori school, you can easily bring the ideas into your home and watch your child’s independence and concentration grow.

For the original article, visit Motherly.

Happy Birthday Maria Montessori

Today, August 31st, is Maria Montessori’s birthday! We are proud to celebrate this incredible woman, and all the wisdom she gave us in the area of children and education. She is still celebrated as one of the finest educators of our time.

Dr. Maria Montessori was born in Anacona, Italy on August 31, 1870. Maria Montessori had a childhood in which her mother believed in discipline. Her childhood had key moment that was prophetic of her future career. As a child Maria Montessori had already showed interest in the poor by doing some knitting for them daily. And one incident at home was that as her parents were having a heated argument, she dragged a chair in between them, stood on it and held their hands together as tightly as she could. This is foreseen as to the beginning of her peacemaking efforts of bringing the adult and the child together. When she was young she had overheard a teacher of her mention about her eyes and as a protest never raised her eyes at that teacher. It is here that Montessori principle of not talking about children in front of them and thus giving respect even to the youngest child.

Montessori method of education stresses the importance of respecting children – “Help me to help myself”.

 

At Trent Montessori, we strive to uphold Maria Montessori’s foundational truths. We endeavor to respect all children, we believe in their abilities to be successful, and we hope that peace will live in their hearts as they grow and walk into the world. Thank you for all you’ve given us, Maria Montessori!

Read more about Dr. Maria Montessori here: http://www.dailymontessori.com/

Fun Summer Learning Activities for your Kids

Summer is here! You made it through the school year, congratulations! We often feel a rush of relief once summer hits, but after a week or two, we need some fun ideas to occupy our kids during those long summer days.

We’ve put together a list of great resources and ideas to continue an active learning environment for your little ones this summer.

  1. Check with your local department of parks and recreation about camps and other activities. Find out what exhibits, events, or concerts are happening in your town over the summer.
  2. For the Kindergarteners, encourage them to read and write every day. See if they can read a few simple items on your grocery list. Or help them to write a postcard to their grandparents.
  3. Be active citizens. Kids who participate in community service activities gain not only new skills but self-confidence and self-esteem.
  4. Active bodies. Active minds. From the American Library Association, ilovelibraries has suggestions for staying fit and having fun that start at your local library.
  5. Get into geocaching. Everyone loves a scavenger hunt! Get in on the latest outdoor craze with geocaching, where families search for hidden “caches” or containers using handheld GPS tools (or a GPS app on your smart phone). Try a variation on geocaching called earthcaching where you seek out and learn about unique geologic features. Find more details about geocaching plus links to geocaching websites in this article from the School Family website, Geocaching 101: Family Fun for All, in Every Season. Or follow one young family on their geocaching adventure: Geocaching with Kids: The Ultimate Treasure Hunt.
  6. Watch a garden grow. Get outside and plant things together. The kids will love watching their seeds turn to flowers and vegetables. Check out the Kids Gardening website for lots of great ideas and resources for family.
These are just a few resources to get started — for more, check out our Pinterest page or this fantastic summer learning website from NAEYC (The National Association for the Education of Young Children).

Characteristics of Montessori Education

We recently attended the Cincinnati Montessori Society (CMS) Conference about the characteristics of Montessori Education. The following content is from Rosemary Quaranta, M. Ed.

“The child is truly a miraculous being and this should be felt deeply by the educator.” Maria Montessori

Authentic Characteristics of Montessori Education

  • Children are inspired through presentations
  • Allows for spontaneous activity
  • Individualized education — education that fits the needs of the child
  • Works from whole concepts and then breaks into parts
  • Children move from concrete to abstract
  • Beautifully prepared environments
  • Development of the whole child
  • Parent, child and teacher work together to support the child
  • Materials are developmentally sequenced
  • Multi-aged classrooms — 3-year cycle
  • Peer collaborative learning
  • Uninterrupted blocks of work time
  • Guided choice of work
  • Specifically designed developmentally appropriate materials
  • Materials are used to teach the concept; not textbooks or pencil and paper
  • Child repeats presentation with materials until a deep understanding is achieved
  • Teacher guides children according to “sensitive periods”

“Education should no longer be mostly imparting knowledge but must take a new path, seeking the release of human potentials.” Dr. Maria Montessori

Social and Emotional Development, Self Development, Cognitive Development

What are self-development skills?

  • Follows directions
  • Responsibility
  • Self-control
  • Exhibits self-confidence
  • Exhibits self-motivation
  • Seeks help and asks questions
  • Accepts guidance and direction
  • Independence
  • Concentration and focus
  • Organization of work
  • Organization of time
  • Able to transition
  • Takes on new challenges

(Stephen Hughes, Executive Functioning Skills)

Prepared Indoor Environment

  • Classroom environment supports group and individual activity and is suited to the needs of the students.
  • Rooms are open and spacious.
  • Children isolate their space on a rug or table.
  • Walls are uncluttered with beautiful pieces of art.
  • Each area of the curriculum is well defined.
  • Design and flow of the classroom create a learning environment that accommodates choice.
  • Environment encourages creative expression and spontaneous activity.
  • Everything is child-sized to support independence.
  • Spaces for large group, small group, and individual work space.
  • Classrooms have a feeling of home: rugs, lamps, flowers, plants, etc.
  • Classroom environment is free of clutter and ordered.
  • The teacher work space should not be in the classroom space.
  • Multiple kinds of work spaces.
  • You do not need a table for every child.
  • Space should encourage no more than two children to work together.
  • Preparation of the environment is done before children arrive or after they leave.

What is a “typical” Montessori student?

  • Independent
  • Responsible
  • Self-Disciplined
  • Self-Motivated
  • Concentrated/Focused
  • Joyful Learner
  • “Normalized”
  • Scientist
  • Respectful
  • Collaborates
  • Thinker
  • Problem Solver
  • Makes Connections
  • Makes a positive contribution to his/her community
  • Peacebuilder

Why Montessori?

  • Individualized education
  • Didactic materials
  • Allows movement
  • Teach to child’s interest
  • Differential learning
  • Have three years in one classroom
  • Have a supportive community
  • Understanding, respectful teachers
  • Teacher, child, and parents work together as a team
  • Teachers won’t ask for educational evaluation
  • Teachers supplement curriculum with new materials

Can we serve children with learning difficulties?

  • Maria Montessori first started with children with special needs.
  • She believed in the possibility of all children.
  • She developed didactic materials that with repetition reinforced a deep understanding of a specific concept.
  • She knew you had to arouse the interest in the child.
  • She said to saturate the children with presentations.
  • Through observation, she would change materials to meet the needs of the child.
  • First, look at your environment, then yourself, then the child.

Trent Celebrates 35 Years!

In case you missed it, we were featured in an article by Ft. Thomas Matters about our 35 year anniversary!

Fort Thomas resident Jan Haas decided that she wanted to work with children outside of the traditional teaching method while attending Hanover College. So, after receiving a B.A. in sociology and early childhood education, Haas took Montessori training with the dream of eventually starting her own school.

“During my written and oral exams, Renilda Montessori, Maria Montessori’s granddaughter, encouraged me to start my own Montessori school,” Haas says. “I worked one year for a Parent Coop in Fairfield, Ohio, and then decided to open Trent the following year.”

Since opening 35 years ago, Trent Montessori in Newport has served more than 400 children from Fort Thomas.

Thirty-five years ago Haas and her husband, Eric Haas (the mayor of Fort Thomas), lived in an 1889 Victorian called “The Trent House”—a Kentucky landmark—in Newport’s Mansion Hill neighborhood. “We started the school in this historic home,” Haas says. They applied through the Kentucky Department of Education as a private school and opened Trent Montessori’s doors on September 15, 1981. In 1982 they moved the school to its current location, a historic home at 305 Park Ave., Newport.

“When I started Trent I was pregnant with our first child, Lan,” Haas says. “I was so excited to start Trent so that I would be able to have my own children with me during the work day.” This job perk continues for Trent’s teachers today. “They are able to bring their own babies/toddlers to Trent during their work day, which allows them to be with their child during the wonderful, changing, early years of life. This is definitely a win/win for all.”

Two years later Ryan joined the Haas family; four years later, Erin. And each of Haas’ children stayed with her as she taught, sometimes sitting in the classroom while Trent children read them a story.

“We started with two families (four children) one Caucasian and one African-American,” Haas says. “I felt that this was the perfect beginning for what would become a diverse Montessori school.” Haas says she also wanted to offer an authentic Montessori school for all economic backgrounds. “Maria started her first Casa de Bambini in San Lorenzo, Italy, for children, some with learning difficulties, and living in the slums,” she says. “Eric and I were fortunate to visit her school and seeing the school and surroundings confirmed my thoughts that Montessori should be available for all children.” 

As such, Haas says she has tried to keep Trent Montessori’s tuition as low as she can so that all children may have the experience of a Montessori education if they wish. “We have grown from four to 60,” she says. “We added our Extended Care after four years and today many of our families are enrolled in our Montessori/Extended Care classes.”
13248566_10153467254002136_8892925363055997533_oSeveral of Trent’s graduates have returned to the school as part of the teaching team, and now graduates’ children attend. “Having my daughter working at Trent, and having my own grandchildren attend Trent is a dream come true,” Haas says.

Haas’ daughter, Erin Eckstein, received her B.A. in elementary education from Hanover College and then took an additional two years of training in Montessori. “I was so happy when Erin joined the Trent teaching team in 2012 and is now the Assistant Administrator and one of the lead Montessori Directresses,” Haas says.

Additional staff includes Jenny Adams (the other Montessori Directress and Fort Thomas resident); Cheri Helton; Megan Blosser; Courtney Blosser (a Trent graduate), Samantha McKinney (a Trent graduate and Fort Thomas resident); Jessi Ross; and Andi Tabor (Trent’s social media manager and blog contributor, and a Trent graduate and Fort Thomas resident).

“[They] are dedicated and caring individuals who are helping prepare our students for their future,” Haas says. “We will continue to be focused on preparing our students to be lifelong learners. While the Montessori method has been around for over 100 years, there has been more recent admiration for this teaching style. Our hopes for the future are that more parents become familiar with Montessori and decide to place their children in an environment to help them grow as independent, lifelong learners.” 

The mission of Trent Montessori is “to provide an authentic Primary Montessori education in a loving and nurturing environment. As a young child once said to Maria Montessori, ‘Help me to help myself’ we are dedicated to helping each child reach his or her fullest potential by meeting their developmental and social needs which will guide them to become successful members of their community.”

(To see how Montessori relates to Google and Amazon, go here.)

For more information about Trent Montessori and to find out about enrollment, visit their website here. “Most children are placed on our waiting list when they are infants,” Haas says. “The earliest you may put your child on the list is when the parent knows the sex of the baby.” 

Haas also notes that it’s important to observe a Montessori school prior to making your final decision. “Unfortunately Maria Montessori did not copyright the term, Montessori,” she says.

According to Haas, things to look for in a true Montessori school include a directress with a recognized AMI or AMS certification, limited adults in the classroom in order that the children will become independent, a mixed-age classroom of 3- to 6-year-olds, and a complete set of didactic Montessori materials “in a beautifully prepared environment for children to develop a love of learning.” 

“Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.” —Maria Montessori, 1870-1952

You can find the original story here: http://www.fortthomasmatters.com/2017/03/trent-montessori-celebrates-35th.html

 

Amazon, Google and Montessori

Steve Denning published the following article in Forbes.com titled Is Montessori The Origin Of Google And Amazon? Here’s an excerpt that we found interesting!

Let’s Learn From Montessori

The idea that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel was striking. The example of thousands of Montessori schools is before us. Montessori puts the student at the center. It is proven to work.  As noted by Sivadlk it’s working on every inhabited continent, at every economic level. The approach is over 100 years old but the ideas are timeless. The world is finally catching up with Maria Montessori’s insights.

Is Montessori The Key To Apple And Amazon?

There was considerable interest in the Wall Street Journal article by Peter Sims, author of Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries (Free Press, 2011) about the possibility of a “Montessori Mafia”, given that the Montessori approach has spawned a creative elite, including Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, videogame pioneer Will Wright, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, cook Julia Child and rapper Sean “P.Diddy” Combs.

The Montessori learning method establishes a collaborative environment without grades or tests, multi-aged classrooms, as well as self-directed learning and discovery for long blocks of time.

Montessori methods go against the grain of traditional educational methods but they have uncanny parallels in the success of their alumni:

  • Google [[GOOG] wasn’t launched by Larry Page and Sergei Brin as a brilliant vision, but rather as a project to improve library searches, followed by a series of small discoveries that unlocked a revolutionary business model.
  • Amazon’s [AMZN] strategy by Jeff Bezos involves developing ideas in new markets similar to “planting seeds” or “going down blind alleys.”  Amazon’s executives learn and uncover opportunities as they go, with many dead ends but also sometimes a huge, broad avenue.

Montessori Isn’t Just Primary Education

The impression that the Montessori approach is just for primary school was corrected. There are an increasing number of Montessori schools that educate kids in grades 7-12, as shown in this extensive overview of Montessori at the secondary level. The crown jewel of these programs, according to Daniel Petter-Lipstein, is the Clark Montessori in Cincinnati, a free public high school which provides these results for a class of 88 students:

  • 100% of the class of 2010 are expected to graduate
  • 100% of the class of 2010 are going on to college
  • 33% of current seniors are first generation in their families to go to college
  • 33% of current seniors receive free or reduced lunch

The Center for School Change, a research center issued a report on models of great small high schools and cited Clark as a model.

The Goal Of Education: Lifelong Learning

Overall, there was resonance with the idea that education concerns inspiring students to become life-long learners with a love of education.

Several readers (Geoff Barbaro, Robin Cangie) pointed to the dangers of the word “educated”, which wrongly implies that education is a destination rather than a journey. In that sense, one is never “educated”, one is always continuing to learn. If at any point, the point the journey stops, then education has failed.

Geoff Barbaro pointed to the need for education to be outward looking include the desire to face the situations of your life and to understand the situations of others, with the ability to gain the knowledge and create the experiences to achieve that desire.

Robert Picard suggested that education is really a way of looking at and interacting with the world. It involves having sufficient knowledge to ask good questions, having a willingness to consider different points of view, having the ability to analyze and make up one’s own mind and understand the basis for one’s opinion or decision. There are many ways to get an education and one of them is in school. Schools, however, turn out both educated and uneducated persons.

Randal Hendee is thrilled with A New Culture of Learning (2011) because it validates practices he started using in his high school English classes way back in the early 1980s. “In literature study, for example, student response came first, and the teacher’s interpretation was never presented as definitive. Seeking  to understand new material while interacting with classmates was valued over digesting spoon-fed teacher insights.”

Getting Away From Test-Driven Teaching

There was general horror at the current thrust to equate education with being able to deliver the expected answers on a standardized test.

Some noted that looking at education as producing outputs (students who could pass the test) was a very 20th Century way of looking at the world, and out of sync with what is going to move society forward in the 21st Century.

Looking at education as lifelong learning is more and more in sync with what is happening in the workplace and marketplace, which is basically very good news. Firms need, and are beginning to want, people who are genuinely “educated.”

Read more here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2011/08/02/is-montessori-the-origin-of-google-amazon/#467a7c6c467a

The 3 Most Important Questions

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician, mother, writer, and has incredible insight into kids and families. She offers a free e-book for those who signup to her online newsletter that discusses the three most important questions you can answer for you child. It is a great read, and if you are interested in the full e-book, you can signup here. If you just want the CliffsNotes, here’s a great excerpt:

…[It is important to] focus less on your performance as a mother or father and more on what you can be to them. Why is this important? Kids look to us for cues about who they are and they use those cues to shape their identities. If a son learns from his father that he is smart, then he believes he’s smart. If a mom tells her daughter that she is stupid, then she believes that she is not worth anyone’s time or attention. Our children are walking sponges before us: listening, watching and scouring our face for clues about who they are in our eyes so that they can soak up those messages. They then internalize those messages and their identity begins to form. Our children become, in part, who we believe them to be. So we must pay very close attention to what we are communicating to our little (and even adult) sponges so that we answer the questions they need answered in a healthy way.

Specifically, we must answer three questions that burn in every child’s heart. These three questions are:

Mom or Dad, what do you believe about me?

Mom or Dad, how do you feel about me?

And finally, Mom or Dad, what are your hopes for me?

When we answer these three questions, we build the core of our child. We secure a great relationship with them (we win their hearts) and ultimately we help shape their character.