Montessori Plus School

Compliments of Junko Krause,

Revised by Sharlet McClurkin

CHOOSING WORK:
  1. “Would you like to choose your work?”
  1. “May I help you choose your work?”
  1. “We work in school.”
  1. “I will put this work away, and you may have a turn.”
  1. “You may sit here.”
  1. “I will show you a new lesson!”
  1. “I have some interesting work to show you!”
  1. “Would you like to see some special work?”

DURING THE WORK:

  1. “Would you like for me to help you carry it?”
  1. (Cleaning up a spill): “I will help you start, and you may finish.”
  1. “Can you find the items to match?”
  1. “Let us put this away and use it another day.”
  1. “I will put this away, and you may use it later.”
  1. “Accidents happen.”

ACTIVE LISTENING:

  1. “You are proud of your work!”

2.   “You are upset (left out, hurt, sad, angry, worried, lonely, etc.).”

GUIDANCE THROUGH WORDS:

  1. “We speak quietly in our school.”
  1. “We treat others with respect.”
  1. “We use our work carefully.”
  1. “We walk in our school.”
  1. “We choose work we have been shown.”
  1. “We roll our rug and carry it with two hands.”
  1. “We speak with grace and courtesy to others.”
  1. “You may choose your own work.”
  1. “In our school we do one work at a time.”
  1. “We dance outside; inside we do our work.”
  1. “We do not share in school.”
  1. “Please try it first, then I will help you.”

I -STATEMENTS:
1. “I am worried when you run through the school because I want you to be safe.”

2.  “When you hit Johnny, I am very sad because I want all children to feel safe and happy.”

3.  “I am upset when you kick me.  My leg hurts and I can’t teach the children!”

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 Who: 

Sharlet J. McClurkin:

  • Director of Montessori Plus School and Teacher Preparation of WA for thirty-six years.
  • Former president of the Montessori Institute of America and current MIA Board member;
  • MACTE commissioner for three years.
  • International trainer in China, Taiwan, Korea, the Philippines and Sri Lanka;
  • Current director and trainer for over seventy teachers-in-training in Kent, WA.

What:

Five-hour lecture, with “question and answers”

Sharlet McClurkin will paint a picture of joyful learning and respectful speech in this seminar. She will show in words, songs and actions how to rise above the challenges of the Montessori classroom and keep one’s calm and vision for the children.

The Montessori Language of Respect seminar will show the non-conventional language and methods of the Montessori teacher while working with children in a group activity or in the open classroom.  Mrs. McClurkin will also show adults how to present transition and songs of respect and self-confidence to children.  She will discuss the impact of negative words and phrases, as well as ordering and questioning, in the young child’s life.

The adults will learn how to listen to children with empathy and how to phrase a deep concern or feeling in a positive way.  They will also see special lessons in “grace and courtesy” that encourage an atmosphere of love and respect in the classroom.

Mrs. McClurkin will present problem scenarios, discuss “whose problem it is” and how to respond to the children in an authentic and human, yet respectful manner.

STARS’ hours available upon request.

When:

Upon request.  Suggested timeframe:  9 am to 12 noon; 1-3 pm

Where:

Montessori schools, upon request.

Cost:  To Be Arranged

(Seminars may be arranged by calling 253-859-2262)

  I.  MONTESSORI LANGUAGE OF RESPECT

A.  Joyful Learning and Respectful Speech

 Sharlet McClurkin will paint a picture of joyful learning and respectful speech in this seminar. She will show in words, songs and actions how to rise above the challenges of the Montessori classroom and keep one’s calm and vision for the children.

This seminar will demonstrate non-conventional language and methods of the Montessori teacher while working with children in a group activity or in the open classroom.

B.  Music of Respect; Roadblocks

Mrs. McClurkin will also show adults how to present transition songs and songs of respect and self-confidence to children.  She will discuss the impact of negative words and phrases, as well as ordering and question, in the young child’s life.

C.  Listening

Adults will learn how to listen to children with empathy and how to phrase a deep concern or feeling in a positive way.  They will see ways of speaking courteously and gracefully to children.

D.  Problem-solving

Mrs. McClurkin will present problem scenarios, discuss “whose problem it is” and how to respond to the children in an authentic and human, yet respectful manner.

II.  ACTIONS OF INTERVENTION

A.  When to intervene with a child. 

1.  How much intervention do I give to children?  What is the criterion for intervening?

2.  As a director, how much intervention do I give to children and teachers?  Do I correct them as I walk through the classroom?

3.  How much intervention do I give to interns?

B.  What is the difference between “managing” and “leading” a classroom?

1.  How can I find a balance between complete freedom for the children and my guidance of them?

2.  What is the difference between managing and leading them?

3.  What happens when I “micro-manage” all of the children?

4.  What happens when I “let them go”?

5.  What does Montessori mean that we must have the “eye of faith” toward children?

III.  FREEDOM OF CHOICE

A.  Why is freedom of choice essential for children in a Montessori school?

1.  How much freedom do I give 4.5 through 5 year-olds to choose their work?

2.  What is the place of practical life for 5-year-olds?

3.   What are some Montessori ways to encourage the older children to choose 5-year-old work?  What name may I call it?  (“harder,” “challenging,” etc?)

B.  What about freedom for teachers?

1.  How much freedom do I, as the director, give to teachers and interns to select their circle themes and to set up their classroom?

2.  Should there be a certain number of lessons that children and interns give each day?

3.  What happens when the teacher makes the work so that the child is only able to do part of it?

IV. DISCIPLINE

A.  What is discipline?

1.  What kind of discipline should Montessori children have?

2.  What are the three levels of obedience, according to Montessori?

B.  The “time-out”

1.  How long should time-outs be for children?

2.  What is the purpose of a time out?

3.  What steps are included in a “time-out”?

4.  Should children be required to say, “I’m sorry.”?

V.  COMPARISON

A.  Children: What happens when a teacher tells a child that they are not doing hard work like another child her age?

B.  Teachers/interns: What happens if you tell an intern that she is not doing as well as another intern?

VI. THE PURPOSE OF THE MONTESSORI CLASSROOM

A.  Setting your purpose

1.  Should the main purpose of the Montessori classroom be academic?

2.  How can I educate parents to know the purpose?

B.  The attraction of the “old” thinking

1.  What traditional philosophies and roadblocks can creep in so that the teachers, interns and children feel stress and pressure to perform?

2.  How can I have an atmosphere of joy of learning for all teachers, interns and teachers?

C.  How to have “joyful learning” every day in the classroom

You may use this activity if your doing a Thanksgiving or Indian theme!

Five little Indians,

In a teepee,

Sleeping quietly

As can be.

 

Along came the chief,

And what do you think?  (Clap!)

Up jumped the Indians,

Quick as a wink!

 

Use a long rope to make a teepee.  Five children can lie inside of it at a time.  The chief walks over with his headdress on and hands folded in front of him.

When the chief comes and the song has the “clap,” the Indians inside of the teepee jump up!

You can use this several times to allow 5 children at a time to leave the second circle.

 

 

About Alessandro Montessori by Donald McClurkin

I am Alessandro Montessori, the proud father of Maria Montessori. Born in Fararra, Italy in 18323, I lived a reserved, disciplined, patriotic life as an Italian soldier and, later, as an accountant in a salt and tobacco factory in Italy.  I was recognized and decorated with a medal of valor in 1849 for my part in the successful unification of Italy.  I really wanted to be free of the Austrian occupation of Italy, but, on the other hand, I am a bit insecure in handling the resultant freedom with its changes and obligations.

From 1850-1853 I volunteered to helped the Pope put the church’s financial work in order.  I enjoyed this very much.  After that I left to work again in the salt factories in Bologna and Faenza.  In 1859 I was promoted to be the Inspector of Finances and Accountant of all of the salt and tobacco factory finances.

When I met Renilde Stoppani, I was a middle-class farming executive, managing all of the grain, grapes, arts, and leather-making of the area.  She was a beautiful, creative and imaginative young woman and shared every idea I had, and more, about the unification and liberation of Italy.  We were married after twelve months of courtship in Venice.  I later discovered that she welcomed change more and more rapidly than I.  Five years later we had Maria who became the center of our lives.  She was so cute and smart, enough to see our differences and to take advantage of them.  Right away she saw that I was not comfortable with change and her mother was more flexible than I.  Consequently Maria went to her mother for permission for unconventional activities.

Maria was a good student so we decided to move to Rome when she was five to give her every advantage to rise to her full potential.  We had wonderful times as her math skills developed, but when she later wanted to compete with male students and enter a male-dominated profession, I tried to redirect her.  But she was stubborn, just like me, and I relented.  After a few years she then decided to enter medical school.  I flat out said, “NO!”  She went to the Pope, got his approval and went anyway.  I just let her go and didn’t say a word to her for four years!  Would you believe that she topped the class and wrote a brilliant final paper?  I surprised her and went to hear her read the paper. She looked at me, and I smiled at her from the back row! I also went to her commencement service where she received many honors.

Even though I missed out on a lot because of my stubborn resistance to her ideas, I have the grandest daughter in the world! She knows how to change this world and will leave a legacy for the Montessori name wherever she goes.

Most of our society thinks of children as impulsive and chaotic beings. Dr. Maria Montessori found, however, that even the youngest children display a need for and a sense of order in their environment. The infant needs the constancy of his mother’s and father’s faces; the toddler must have his “blankee” and favorite stuffed animals to go to sleep. The room in which the young child spends most of his time must remain constant in the location of his bed, toys, chair, etc. because his environment is, to him, “like the sea to the fish and the air to the birds”, said Dr. Montessori.

Even young children will see items out-of-place and put them back. This is his divine drive for constancy, as part of his construction, and we must recognize it and allow it to be expressed. A parent once asked one of our teachers, “Why does my son take the front door mat to his room and put his toys on it?” Of course we know the answer: The child loves an orderly environment and has learned how satisfying it is to have a safe place to “work.” Adults do not realize how young children thrive on the same environment, and things always in their place. As Dr. Montessori mentioned, during the period of active construction of his psyche, “the child often feels the deepest impulse to bring order into what, according to his logic, is in a state of confusion” (1995).

One year I allowed about twenty teachers in training to visit one of our large classrooms for a short while, maybe thirty minutes. The adults came in while the children were working, and the new teachers took off their shoes and put them by the double doors. Then they found places around the room to sit and watch. Not too long afterwards, we all looked over and saw two children by the doorway. They observed the twenty pairs of shoes and found the matches for each one, placing them in pairs along the wall.

Although the child appears to be primarily fixed on his external world, he also possesses an internal order in his body. The internal sense of order “makes him aware of the different parts of his own body and their relative positions” (1966). He thrives on a definite schedule of eating and sleeping, playing, and learning. Without it, he becomes distracted and loses concentration.

One of the most profound concepts in Dr. Maria Montessori’s work is her view of the child’s “spiritual embryo.”  Before child psychologists such as Piaget laid out their stages of development, Montessori gave us the counter-cultural view of the child’s nature as “full” rather than blank.  She found, through her keen observations that children are born with a “psychic pattern” that unfolds after birth. Unlike animals, the human is not guided by fixed instincts but through his absorbent mind in his environment. The human being, therefore, is free and likely to develop in more varieties of personality.  It is imperative that the adult be careful to protect the child’s psychic life as he develops it secretly “over a long period of time.”

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