Saturday, August 25, 2012

Am I Montessori Material?

A couple of readers have written or commented lately to ask questions as they consider whether or not they're cut out to be Montessori guides. Here were my thoughts on the most recent:

Catalina wrote:
I'm passionate about the Montessori method, but have never had to take care of any child, so I don't know how to answer the question: Do you like to work with children? All I know is that I love this method and the idea of contributing to a great development for children excites me. I was just wondering, though, if I'm the right person to become a Montessori Teacher (3-6). Would you (could you) formulate a few questions for me to answer maybe as a guide to discover if I am meant to do a job like this? 
 Hi Catalina,

Part of me thinks your lack of experience with children might make you an ideal person for the role of Montessori guide. Someone like me, who worked with children for many years before discovering the wisdom of the Montessori approach, has old habits that must be undone. Especially in the year immediately following my training, I had to constantly remind myself not to offer help that wasn't needed, not to comment incessantly on children's work, etc. To be able to begin your work with children only after having already studied Montessori's ideas seems like a wonderful thing. 

I would be quite surprised if you thoroughly enjoyed learning about the fascinating, absorbent mind of the child but did not enjoy working with children, so I already have a sense that you would love this work. That said, I think the only way to answer your question for certain would be to spend some time with children. Is there a Montessori school within a reasonable distance from you? I would recommend setting up an observation, or if you are really seriously considering Montessori education as a future career, even volunteering your time on a semi-regular basis if your schedule allows. Of course you could also seek out friends or family members with children if possible and offer yourself as a babysitter or tutor just to see how you enjoy caring for children in that capacity. I know you were looking for questions you might ask yourself, but this is one I don't think can be answered in the mind alone. You just have to give it a try!

Best wishes to you!


Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Montessori Teacher's Resume

Photo Credit: Charlotte West on Flickr
Used by Creative Commons License
While I don't post here terribly often, since I'm on a hiatus from the classroom*, I do take a look at the stats every so often and I seem to get at least one visitor a day who arrives after searching for, "Montessori Teacher Resume" or similar. I don't like it when I know that visitors aren't finding what they came for, so I thought I would create a post dedicated to that very thing.

I hesitate to share my resume with you because it makes me feel rather vulnerable, but if it will help someone, I can't see a reason not to do it. So here you are. 

I have uploaded the Montessori specific version of my resume (with a few omissions of information for my own privacy) to google docs and made it available for anyone to view. You can click here to have a look. I'm sure it isn't perfect, and I'm sure there are better examples out there, but it's ask and you shall receive around here!

*You can find me here almost every day!

Monday, January 24, 2011

AMI vs.AMS

I received the following question by email:

"I am just now getting into all this Montessori stuff and I have LOTS of decisions to make. I am now located on the West coast, but will be relocating to the East Coast in a couple years. I am stuck between AMI vs. AMS training and was wondering which one you do/did? From looking at their websites, it appears as though AMI is more popular on the West Coast than on the East Coast? I have been away from the east coast for years, so I was wondering how Montessori is accepted over there and what your experience was with AMI vs. AMS?
Thanks!!"

This is not an area of expertise for me, but I tried to help with the following answer. If you have insight to share, I know it would be appreciated. Please share your experience in the comments.

Congratulations on your decision to (maybe?) pursue Montessori training! I am an odd duck on this subject, because my training is lesser-known here in the states - it is neither AMI nor AMS. My certification is from Montessori Centre International (MCI), which is a training center based in London that was started in 1998 when Montessori St. Nicholas. joined together with the London Montessori Centre. There was an MCI training center in Denver, which is where I completed my training.

I did, however, intern under AMS certified teachers and have only taught in AMS affiliated schools since my internship, so my knowledge of AMS vs. AMI is based solely on things I've read and what I have learned from other teachers. The whole of my teaching experience was in Colorado and Texas, so I'm not particularly knowledgeable on the East Coast vs. West Coast subject either. AMS is more popular in Colorado, which may have to do with the fact that it is home to a large AMS training center (Montessori Education Center of the Rockies, or MECR), and from what I gathered in my short time there, is also more common in Texas.

My thought from the experience that I do have in the Montessori community is that passionate teachers are always needed. The philosophical differences between AMI and AMS are minor, but they do exist. To me, the most important thing would be which one you feel is more aligned with your style of interacting with children, as I would expect that you could find a job regardless of whether your training is more popular in the area where you live. While I have had to explain what my training was to every interviewer I have met with, I have had no shortage of job offers. If both programs are equally feasible for you, I would recommend that you observe in at least two AMS schools and two AMI schools, talk with teachers, and make your decision from there.

I'm sorry that I'm not more help on this particular issue. I will post your question and my answer on my blog and see if anyone else can jump in and offer some insight! Good luck to you!

Melissa

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Looking for Something?

It has recently come to my attention that despite the fact that I have recently entered the stay-at-home-mom phase of my Montessori life and therefore am not actively using this blog at the moment, it still gets traffic.

Many people seem to be finding us through internet searches on various Montessori topics, or referring here from lists of Montessori blogs.

Since I am trying to remain current on Montessori topics, and trying to apply Montessori philosophy to life at home with my infant, and I do plan to return to the classroom eventually, I definitely still enjoy discussing Montessori.  I find the whole method and its application in the classroom very exciting, which is, of course, why I went to training in the first place.  That said, if you came looking for specific information, or discussion on a certain topic, feel free to add your question in the comments here.  If I feel that I have insight to offer, I'll gladly write on the topic you request, or answer your question privately via email.  If I don't have what you're looking for, I will do my best to direct you to a place online that does, assuming I know of one.  You can also find my email in my blogger profile (accessed by clicking my photo on the right-hand side of this page).  I'm always happy to hear from other Montessorians and the Monte-curious!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New Blog

I won't be writing a ton here until I'm back in the classroom, and that won't be for awhile : )

If you do want to keep up with me, I'm writing about my sweet girl and life as a new mom over here: The New Mommy Files: Memories, Missteps, and Milestones.  Otherwise, I'll catch you all when Annabelle is old enough for Children's House and I emerge from my blissful stay-at-home-mom cocoon!

Be well!

Monday, June 14, 2010

LOVE this Poem

Taken from the blog of a Montessori school (Sweetwater Bay Montessori Preschool), I had to post this here because I know I will want to reference in the future.




Today I did my math and science.
I toasted bread, halved and quartered, counted, measured, and used my eyes, ears and hands.
I added and subtracted on the way.
I used magnets, blocks and memory tray.
I learned about a rainbow and how to weigh.
So please don't say -

"ANYTHING IN YOUR BAG TODAY?"

You see, I'm sharing as I play, to learn to listen and speak clearly when I talk
to wait my turn and when inside to walk.
To put my words into a phrase, to find my name and write it down.
To do it with a smile and not to frown, to put my pasting brush away.
So please don't say -

"ANYTHING IN YOUR BAG TODAY?"

I learned about a snail and a worm.
Remembered how to take my turn.
Helped a friend when he was stuck.
Learned that water runs off a duck.
Looked at words from left to right.
Agreed to differ, not to fight.
So please don't say -

"DID YOU ONLY PLAY TODAY?"

Yes, I played the whole day through.
I played to learn the things I do,
I speak a problem, find a clue and work out for myself just what to do.
My teachers set the scene, and stay near-by to help me when I really try.
They are there to pose the problems, and to help me think.
I hope they will keep me floating and never let me sink. All of this is in my head and not in my bag.
It makes me sad to hear you say -

"HAVEN'T YOU DONE ANYTHING TODAY?"

When you attended your meeting today and do your work I will remember not to say to you -

"WHAT DID YOU DO?"


- author unknown

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Montessori and Birth

The preparation for Annabelle's birth led to my becoming something of a birth junkie. I was absolutely amazed and exhilarated by my own birth experience and am now addicted to reading about, talking about, and thinking about birth. While most of the preparation for our birth experience happened in the 8 or so months that I actually knew I was pregnant, I started preparing mentally right around the time I started my Montessori journey.

What, you ask, does childbirth have to do with Montessori? I'll tell you ...

I come from a relatively large and more or less fertile family, so I grew up around babies being born. It wasn't a particularly scary thing, or a foreign thing, but I never gave it much thought. I did know that you showed up at the hospital and they gave you something called an epidural. Assorted family members hung around the waiting room and wandered in and out of the birthing room until that baby was finally out. Someone usually had a video camera and interviewed various family members, who gushed about their excitement as they waited. Eventually, the baby came out and everyone piled into the room where he or she was passed around from person to person for ooohs, aaahs, and photo ops. And that's how it was done.

When I began my Montessori journey, however, my idea of everything having to do with children changed. I was barely 18 when I began reading The Secret of Childhood and it was then that my whole picture of birth was completely turned upside down. Dr. Montessori writes,

But what care have men taken to assist the child as it makes the most difficult adjustment of all, that of passing from one mode of existence to another? At no other period in his life does man experience such a violent conflict and struggle, and consequent suffering, as at the time of birth...it has grown in a place where it was protected from all assaults, from every change of temperature, in a fluid created for its rest. And in an instant it has changed this dark and silent home for the hostile air... The doctor handles it without any particular regard, and when it starts to cry in desperation no one takes it seriously...
... a newborn child should not simply be shielded from harm, but measures should also be taken to provide for psychic adjustment to the world about it... The needs of a newborn child are not those of one who is sick but of one who is striving to adjust oneself physically and psychologically to new and strange surroundings.

Our attitude towards the newborn child should not be one of compassion but rather of reverence before the mystery of creation, that a spiritual being has been confined within limits perceptible to us. The manner in which we touch and move a child, and the delicacy of feeling which should inspire us at the time, makes us think of the gestures that a priest uses at the altar. His hands are purified, his motions are studied and thoughtful, and his actions take place in silence and in darkness that is penetrated only by a light that has been softened in its passage through stained glass windows. A feeling of hope and elevation pervades the sacred place. It is in surroundings such as these that the newborn child should live.

The first period of human life has not been sufficiently explored, and yet we are constantly becoming more aware of its importance. Hardships and privations in the first months of a child's existence can, as we now know, influence the whole course of his future development. But if in the child are to be found the makings of the man, it is in the child also that the future welfare of the race is to be found.

Too little attention is paid to the newborn child that has just experienced the most difficult of human crises. When he appears in our midst, we hardly know how to receive him, even though he bears within himself a power to create a better world than that in which we live ourselves.

The words which we read in the prologue to St. John's Gospel are in a sense applicable to the newborn child: "He was in the world ... and the world knew him not. He came unto his own and his own received him not."
How a woman chooses to birth is a very personal decision and what feels right for one woman may not for another. What this helped me realize, however, was the importance of birthing peacefully, gently, and consciously.