Montessori:  An Educational Choice

By Elizabeth S. Wisecup

As our world has become more unpredictable and we are faced with greater challenges, it is essential to make the best educational choices for our children. Dr. Maria Montessori said, “The education of even a small child does not aim at preparing him for school, but for life.”  Academics, competition and achievement define the educational systems of today; the Montessori educational method recognizes that in addition to academic success, the responsibility of teaching our children compassion, tolerance, patience, forgiveness and respect are equally important. The totality of these qualities is essential in building the educational, emotional and social foundations for a child.

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Mindfulness 

By Dijana Bate, Glebe Montessori School Founding Director

“I come to realize that mind is no other than mountains and rivers and the great wide earth, the sun and the moon and stars.”
– Dogen Zenji

Regardless of religious practices or beliefs, both children and adults can benefit from elements of wisdom derived from the Buddhist philosophy and way of life. Buddhism emphasizes Dhyãna, the Sanskrit word for “meditative state,” inviting one “to see, to observe, to look.” In fact, Buddhist principles lie at the very core of the mindfulness courses taught in many of today’s classrooms. For those children who are overwhelmed, suffering from toxic stress (as opposed to healthy stress), and resorting to freeze, flight or fight response modes, mindfulness training provides essential tools for coping. Mindfulness training is about building awareness, identifying and regulating emotions, managing stress and developing connectedness and interpersonal skills.

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An Observation at Glebe Montessori School  

by S. Elizabeth Wisecup, Montessori Educational Consultant

During my observation of classrooms at Glebe Montessori School, it was evident how children naturally love to learn.  Dr. Maria Montessori noted, “The child should love everything that he learns, for his mental and emotional growths are linked. Whatever is presented to him must be made beautiful and clear, striking his imagination.”

This is the philosophy that guides Montessori teachers in creating a “prepared” Montessori environment.  A Montessori classroom is beautifully arranged with child size furniture and the shelves are filled with specific subject materials organized in sequential order.  Great attention is given to the detail and beauty in the classroom, all supporting the requirements necessary to meet the physical, emotional and educational needs of each child.

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Let’s All Engage in Questionable Thinking?!

By Dijana Bate, Glebe Montessori School Founding Director

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It seemed like an ordinary moment, but a conversation between a woman and her 3 year-old grandson captured my attention. They were standing at an intersection and instead of directing the child to wait until the pedestrian signal facing us turned green before crossing the street, she asked him, “What are the cars doing when the hand signal flashes red?”… “And the people, what are they doing?” Acknowledging his response, she confirmed, “Yes, they are waiting while the cars are moving”… “And what colour is the traffic light when the cars are moving?”… “Did you see the yellow traffic light, before it turned red…what do you think the yellow light is for?” As the exchange continued, the child was fully engaged, happily assessing the impact of the changing lights and monitoring the traffic situation.

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Be Organized Inside & Out!

By Dijana Bate, Glebe Montessori School Founding Director

organization-page-001Think of the times you felt your frustration level surge. Often, those moments were linked to some form of disorganization, whether it was misplacing your keys or frantically multi-tasking to meet a deadline after procrastinating. Consider disorganization of any kind a waste of time and energy, triggering stress, confusion and fatigue. Transforming disorder into order is far less taxing than putting up with daily drama and disarray; all the more reason to immediately start organizing your own space, time, thoughts and, basically, your life!

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Dr. Montessori Revolutionizes the Business World

By Dijana Bate, Glebe Montessori School Founding Director

observation_cmykDuring the early 1900’s, Dr. Maria Montessori, Italy’s first female physician, created a revolution in childhood education with the Montessori Method. She referred to her work as “scientific pedagogy”, calling for education to be transformed by science.  Dr. Montessori would probably never have guessed that 100 years later, she would stir up a revolution in the business world, inspiring a new generation of innovators to adopt her educational theories and practices in the workplace.

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Glebe Montessori School senior elementary students have been exploring topics of human rights for children during the past 2 academic years. This year, our students produced a film entitled, Freedom: A Child’s Dream, following the same theme as their 2015 art exhibit.

Dr. Maria Montessori said, “The fundamental principle must be the liberty of the child.” Every child needs freedom in order to achieve their dream for a bright future – the freedom for self-expression and the freedom of belief.

In order to achieve this dream, our students discussed in the film how we must work for freedom and peace in many areas, including environmental sustainability, education, fulfillment of basic needs, physical and emotional protection, and acceptance and celebration of diversity.

The film’s final message relates to how crucial it is that we protect the child’s freedoms. As Dr. Montessori so clearly recognized, it is the child who is the hope and promise of humankind.