Montessori Plus School

Archive for the ‘Travel Diaries’ Category

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This morning we had 18 students’ competency exams in practical learning, sensorial, and language areas. They did so well. The new students observed and learned a lot. The students were nervous. I told them I am so glad that I made the decision to come so that I could see their beautiful work.

I also told them about our new bilingual classroom in China. Then I explained the difference between bilingual and immersion:

1. We have had Korean and Chinese language materials in our classrooms, but the children treat them as a variation and are not too interested in them. Both English and the 2nd language materials are available to the children. The US children mainly ignore them.

2. Immersion is far, far better! We have not tried it but I saw it in action with one of our Japanese students in a school in Chicago. (a) The US children, 3 and 4 years-old in the new classroom, only hear Japanese spoken and see if written. The shelves are full of Japanese materials. This is the morning classroom. (b) The 3’s learn to understand and then speak some Japanese the first year. (c) The second year they learn to speak Japanese and write some. (d) The third year they learn to write and read Japanese.

3. In the afternoons these all-day children go into the English classroom and use all of the English language materials. The teachers speak English to them, of course, and as our children always do, they learn to read and write English by the time they end their 3rd year.

4. You could turn the Japanese (Chinese) materials around and place English in front, or you could have 2 international classrooms and switch the children between them (that is, another group of children have English in the morning and Japanese or Chinese in the afternoon).

The language on the shelves is the only spoken in class. The teacher for that classroom should be a native speaker of that language, as well as be able to understand and speak the alternate language.


Later in the day, I arranged with Ms. Normi Son, Director of MTP of the US in the Philippines, to send a crate of nearly a full set of Montessori materials from her factory in June to Hanoi, Vietnam. This will be the first full Montessori school in Vietnam. Our student, Hanh, will be accompanies by her husband, who has studied in the Philippines for 5 years, their children, and Jennifer, a Filipino young woman, who will help them set up their school in Hanoi. Jennifer has a background in early childhood and college education. When we fly to Guangzhou, China, for the summer or fall course, we will take a 1-hour flight to Vietnam to see their school. The only materials missing will be the large bead cabinet and chains! This is MTP’s next school, but it may not be the last, God willing.

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Interesting events of the day:

1. I was amazed and inspired by the beautiful, complete shelves of materials in all areas, especially cultural and language. This was a surprise because the materials were not completed last November when the class began. Every small detail was in place. Wenru surprised even me with her ability. I made the right decision to choose her as our trainer in China, but now I remember that God told me she was His choice as Chinese trainer.

2. I presented in-depth philosophy, especially about parenting, which seemed to touch the students: unconditional love, forgiveness, eating dinner together as a family, words of respect in the family and in the classroom.

3. I outlined the parts of circle planning and gave examples of themes. The students seemed to understand them, including grace and courtesy (pantomiming the tea party), group snack and the words of “thank you,” “you are welcome,” and “yes, please.”

4. The active songs we sang gave the students a chance to move and see another way of relating to children.

5. I saw a joy and confidence in the students’ use of the geopgraphy materials.

6. I was invigorated by presenting the new, lovely history materials to the new students, as if it were a toy given to newborn babes.

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Wenru picked me up at 8am as class was to begin at 8:30am. Fortunately, we are only 5 minutes away from the training classroom. It is on the second floor of a training facility.

Wentru has arranged the areas of learning very beautifully: the large classroom holds everything except practical learning, sensorial, and language. When I came in, students hugged me and were happy to see me. I was thrilled to see them, again. There were 14 women and 1 man. (PS: The man owns 7 schools with 100 children in each. He laughs a lot and some of his ways are rather manly).

I began reading, “Mama, Do You Love Me?,” and asked why I would show them this book. We talked about how they will give parent classes and lectures, and how important bedtime “tucking in” is and the time to tell your children that you will “always love them.” Wenru will take this book home to see what her smart twin daughters say about it.

One young woman asked how to conduct cirle and what it was. So, I spent about an hour discussing:

1. Traditional versus Montessori thinking

2. The change of heart and mind needed to be a Montessori teacher

3. The current problem of intervention of work and using Montessori materials as teaching materials at circle.

The morning “bowl test” for practical life went exceedingly well. I can see Wenru’s hard work in giving good lessons. There were the usual problems of standing up with the work in hand, or using one hand to wipe the table. Wenru had prepared matching large water activities that were beautiful.

After lunch I showed the Good Shepherd. I had shown it last November, so I had told the students that they could have a longer lunch if they didn’t want to see it again. All of them came, including Ruth, Wenru’s friend, who took the London Montessori Course and taught in Shanghai for two years. Since the students had already had a “bowl test” over the Chinese language materials, we had a test over the English materials. I was shocked how well the 15 Chinese students did on the test, especially capable of pronouncing the short phonetic sounds very accurately. A couple of the students needed help in feeling the complete sandpaper letter without lifting their fingers. Most of them did a lovely job of picking up the pencil with two hands.

Even though I was freezing in the classroom, I was warmed and in awe of God’s work through MIA in China, of what His plans for these students might be, and how they will assist children to learn through their full potential. We ended the day by summarizing the bowls a discussion of the lesson as a scientific learning experience for each teacher and child.

 For more pictures, please visit our page on Facebook.

July 2018
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