Although the school year is winding down, for many schools Montessori happens year-round. Whether it is through a "Summer Camp" or a year-round program, June, July and August bring with them unique and wonderful opportunities to bring the classroom alive outside.
From gardening, to games, to cooking projects and fun field trips, there are as many exciting ways to continue the learning through the summer as your imagination can dream up! Be sure to bring your students into the planning because they will inevitably have the best ideas of all.
If you have a patio, or outdoor space that can be used, don't be afraid to set up lessons outside. As long as the weather won't ruin it, there is no reason that the things we might normally do inside can't move outside into the fresh air! For younger children, lessons like hand washing and sink and float are wonderful outside, as are painting, flower arranging and baby washing. For older children, large projects, like building something, managing a vegetable garden, or putting on a production for the rest of the school, are great ways to build community and practical skills at the same time.
Take advantage of the opportunity to study the nature that is right in your own "back yard". Even on more traditional-style playgrounds, weather, fascinating insects, nearby plants, or birds that are nesting in the area are available to study. These "teachable moments" which happen naturally often bring about the best learning of all.
Even though the summer provides a more relaxed environment for students and teachers alike, children's basic needs don't change with the seasons. So, be sure to consistently adhere to routines that are familiar for toddlers and primary students, and to provide plenty of collaborative group projects and brainstorming opportunities for older students.
You will undoubtedly also want to include plenty of reading time in your summer planning. Whether you are reading to the children, or they are reading on their own, the research shows that children who continue to read or be read to regularly over the summer months are much more successful in school, as well as in all areas of their learning, later in life. You can check out your local library for fun summer reading incentive programs and get your families hooked into those for an extra boost.
The best part about summer is that it provides natural opportunities to be relaxed and present with our students in a special way that allows us to get to know them and build those vitally strong and trusting relationships. So, make the most of this summer and enjoy every precious moment!
Article submitted by: By Rachel Averch,
Montessori Children's House of Denver
The ECEA will be hosting an Administrator Bootcamp this fall. Dates, times and details will be available soon, so keep your eye on our Upcoming Community Events section in the coming months for more information!
ANNOUNCEMENTS DCS Montessori Awarded John Irwin School of Excellence Award for 2012
The John Irwin awards are given to schools that demonstrate excellent academic achievement. On the school performance framework that is used by the state to evaluate schools, these schools "exceed" expectations on the academic achievement indicator and "meet or exceed" expectations on the indicator related to academic growth gaps. The top 8% of schools in the state are given this award.
IMPORTANT CDHS PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT REQUIREMENTS UPDATE:
There has been some confusion about needing to be a registered presenter in order to lead workshop sessions that will count toward the 15 hours required for professional development annually. This is actually a CDE initiative, and not a CDHS rules and regulations change.
CDHS will NOT require that hours be presented by approved presenters, or that courses will need to be approved.
Seeking Head of School/Executive Director The Montessori School, Kalamazoo/Richland, MI USA Start Date: Summer 2013
Is someone you know a skilled and dynamic leader with passionate commitment to the authentic Montessori philosophy & methods and demonstrated ability to grow and run a small, nonprofit organization?
Cost: $35.00 per month (for CMA member schools only)
TEACHER TIP - June
The Courage to be Vulnerable
I have recently had the joy of discovering Author and speaker Brene Brown. One of her books, Daring Greatly, should be on all teachers' and parents' must read list.
Brene's premise is that we must be vulnerable in order to live wholehearted lives. She is right. We know this, as Montessori Teachers, at cognitive as well as intuitive levels, but my question to you is how well do you actually practice this in your daily life?
How often do we sincerely tell a child, "I don't know."? How often do we talk about our mistakes and what we have learned from them? How often to we actually lean into an uncomfortable situation with our students or with other adults and allow ourselves to share openly and respectfully how we are feeling and what we need? Do we speak our truths out loud in respectful ways or do we hide behind our own perfectionism, worrying more about what other people will think than about being true to ourselves in a way that might leave us a little vulnerable?
Modeling truly authentic and whole-hearted behavior for our students may very well be the best lesson we can give them, as Brene's shame research has indicated unequivocally that when we accept ourselves wholly, and forgive ourselves our imperfections and mistakes, as well as speak our truth even when doing so is difficult or frightening, we allow ourselves to live much fuller and satisfying lives. In doing so, the example we set will most certainly help our students to do the same.
So, if you have some free time this summer, go to the library and check out Brene Brown's book. And, even if you don't have time to read Daring Greatly, you must at the very least watch Brene Brown speak on TED.com by clicking this link: Brene Brown on Vulnerability. It is about 20 minutes long, and absolutely delightful.
Doing so may just transform your own life as well as the lives of your students.
Article Submitted by: Rachel Averch
Montessori Children's House of Denver www.mchdenver.org