maria montessori
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simona@mariamontessori.ro



INTERESTING TO READ... april 2014

"Montessori without drama"

 

I know I've gotten you used to one piece a month, but habit cures habit ;))

I have not vanished, I have not given up, but I did experiment.
I've taken these months during which I decided to no longer write to check the things I've written, claimed, or offered to other as solutions in practice, of course, in relation to the education of children below 7.
I am sorry I haven't asked for your permission and, at the same time, I am glad that you still sent me e-mails during this entire period, asking me what else is "interesting to read...";)))

Since the beginning of this year, I've moved to Moscow, where I started developing a Montessori environment for children aged between 2 1/2 and 6, within Montessori School of Moscow.
Valentina Zaytseva and Joanne King are the founders of this beautiful thing - an institution that offers access to authentic Montessori education to children aged between 3 months and 12 years - but they also made it work.
I would like to thank them, once again, for having given me the opportunity to do what I love, alongside beautiful people.

I admit that what made me come to Moscow was the fact that the Russians have invested and still invest a lot in education, and I'm not talking only about the financial aspect here.
As soon as I got here I started work. Apart from the fact that I was given complete freedom in building a class as I feel it should be, I was also offered full support and the required means. I've started by the book: with 7 children, with observation sessions in the 1-3 year old environment where the children were to come, with the visit at the child's home, the gradual transition and with a lot of support and help from the entire team. It is no easy job, but the class results are amazing.
And I am aware of my colleagues' effort, as it is not easy to have someone in the classroom every day, for 2-3 weeks, asking a zillion questions; it is not easy to make time - sometimes, if not always, after working hours - to present all the process as such, so as to manage to integrate a person in the new team properly.
It is very hard, but I repeat, the results are great and rewarding for all those involved.
What is even more beautiful is that the values promoted to parents and children coincide with the values applied in the team.
Because how are you supposed to help a child integrate basic human values, if you, as an adult, do not abide by them in your interaction with the others?
Even if in some kindergartens these values are not visibly infringed, they are still breached, and the children sense that, as, in most cases, the transfer is not verbal.

But let me come back to the class and the children. At first, I thought language was going to be a barrier (almost all children speak Russian, they most often use Russian to express themselves, but all of them understand English), but working with the children, I've realised that it often is an advantage.
Because most of the times I do not understand what they are saying to me in Russian, I focus mostly on what they do and, eliminating the verbal component, the observation focuses more on deeds, and, in addition, you learn to wait and see what the child actually does.
I've noticed that this attitude gives the child more self-trust and develops initiative.
Often, working in environments where I spoke the same language the children did, I got lost in negotiations with them, and maybe that meant losing important things.

An extremely important aspect is the child observation or the home visit prior to the transition to another class.
The two were very helpful to me in building the environment. Because the children were the ones who indirectly told me what activities they wanted to find in the new environment, so as to continue their natural environment.
And it is a pleasure for me to see how new things start to show up in our class every week, because they don't waste time, they always say what they need.

And, as a conclusion, as one of my dearest friends once said: "you can do Montessori without drama". I quote her this month, but I've decided not to disclose her identity.
However, I can offer a sort of a "time line" for our class ;).

You can find the pictures on the Facebook Pagé.