TSH Observations - 2020 Jan. 17th
Week Ending Jan. 17th, 2020: From Founder & Principal Mimosa Jones Tunney
An awesome article that was recently re-circulated. In summary, “The Wall Street Journal recently reported on our country’s most successful innovators: Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Larry Page & Sergey Brin (Google) and Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia) among others. The article suggests that a Montessori component to education sets them on a life path of creativity, passion, self-direction and comfort with failure and ambiguity.”
When you combine this with Reggio-Emilia, Socratic Method and Project-Based Learning under the AEC the result is the robust learning we’ve seen in the last four months - learning that is exciting, that scaffolds, that inspires inquiry and that makes tough subjects appealing.
I spent one morning this week at School Care with John, Avery, Raylan, Lauren & Austin. It was the first time I had spent all three hours there and really got to deep dive on how these children collaborate. One of our main tenants here is collaboration… how do we work within a group when others are of different ages and opinions. Avery spilled her water - a full cup - as we started the morning. And everyone stood around for a moment in surprise… Ms. Sandy and I suggested that everyone grab a towel and join in the cleanup - a moment where we could teach them to be instantly helpful. They didn’t need much prompting and once they were on clean up they did a much more thorough job than expected. It’s as if they weren’t sure if or how they could help. Next, we cut up strawberries. All six of us were working together: pull the green hair up, cut the hair off, cut it in half and then half it again - quarters! Ms. Sandy peeked in… hmmm… the strawberries are much better if they're smaller. Okay, eighths! Eighths? Simply cut them again and if you have eight pieces you’ve cut them into eighths. Watching Avery (K) count carefully each one to get eight, I was so impressed by her precision. Raylan (Pe-K) noticed that I had to reach pretty far to get another strawberry, so every time I look up, he had snuck two more onto my cutting mat with a mischievous smile. Such an early gentleman. Austin asked about my favorite fruit growing up in Hawaii (a nice conversation starter for us all to chime in) and Lauren and I talked about how strawberries were the only fruit to have their seeds on the outside. John wasn’t so keen on the gloves we had to wear but that became a discussion on health departments and bacteria with Austin chiming in that there is more bacteria on a wood cutting board (ours are silicon) than a phone. We poured half-cups of water (eye-balled) and aligned napkins; we set flowers and learned how many portions we needed for our Learners.
Something as simple as School Care had aligned math, reading (recipes for our pumpkin muffins), science, civics and kindness. Fine motor skills and conversational skills were sharpened. Following directions in sequential order and cleaning up after oneself were highlighted. Ms. Christine popped in to say that Computer Associates (largely regarded as the best corporate Montessori school in the county) had tried to figure out how to get their kids participating in the kitchen for years and never could - and here we are making full lunches. Ms. Sandy has a lovely way of keeping tasks simple, yet challenging and making sure everyone is contributing. She makes us snack and fills our water. She and our Learners are the epitome of KIND.
Another banner program was in full force this week with Ms. Anna C. highlighting “Don’t Judge a Book by It’s Cover” but giving lovely examples of packaging, people and yes, books in her examples. Ms. Allison took on doing small things that can make a big difference in your friends’ lives - like a small hug or a kind word. She used the example of a splinter being a small thing that causes something big (pain) and a compliment or a hug causing someone to pay it forward to others because they now feel good about themselves. Ms. Sandy brought out cotton balls and sand paper and had the children to rub them on their skin - an example of cotton ball words vs. sand paper words. And Ms. Trish teed us up for our upcoming PBL Book Project by introducing us to Peanuts and Charles Schultz - who in the end had written over 18,000 comic strips. Our Learners are the best and most willing participants each morning and we all learn so much - starting our day with a bit of inspiration.
One additional highlight this week was spending recess outside with our Learners. I wanted to show them the magic of Mandalas - long been used in art, math and design. Every day School Care sets out our materials - many of them families have sent in from their long walks! - on our Mandala platforms. When Tessa and Jordana came over they were a little skeptical… not sure what a mandala was or how to build one. They are challenging in their symmetrical nature and rich in math. They are also extremely meditative. We started with a center piece and built around it… circle by circle. By the time we were done, Tessa could not believe what we had created… it’s so beautiful! They both hoped that no one would wreck them… but that of course is part of mandala work… it is temporary. And although they don’t get wrecked by people they usually get blown away. Here is our large one and two little ones the Primary classes made.
Find Out More: January Parenting Tips & January Family Engagement