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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Are my activities MONTESSORI? They are MONTESSORI INSPIRED.....

Are my Activities MONTESSORI?
A follower of mine sent me a comment which asked: Why do I call my activities I make "Montessori?" They don't seem to be "As Montessori as other ones I have seen"  Here is my answer. The comment is at the bottom of this posting in its entirety.

Deb Chitwoods Blog helped me answer this question. I wanted to add an inspiration link to my page for someone that truely inspires me everyday. Her name is Deb Chitwood and shes has a blog called LIVING MONTESSORI NOW. You can visit with the link here:

LIVING MONTESSORI NOW BLOG

Debbie is a Montessori Teacher and writes an article on how to become a more successful Homeschooler by using Montessori Principles.

 BECOMING A MORE SUCCESSFUL HOMESCHOOLER  
A prepared environment which states that Montessori early years education, have child sized tables and chairs. (I do that)
Infant activities should be reachable on low shelving. (I do that)
Deb comments how she has found inexpensive but attractive shelves in stores. (I do that)
Deb comments that we can create trays of activities for toddlers  and preschoolers to use that will improve their concentration, coordination, indepencence and sense of order. (I do that)

Deb offers a tray idea to have "kitchen tongs, two bowls and ping pong balls that children can move from one bowl to the other by using the tongs." Deb offers a tray idea to have "two small pitchers or measuring pitchers of water that your child can pour from one to the other." (I do that)


Then Deb offers another link to help explain breaking down an activity. Its called "How to help your preschooler help himself. Click her to go and visit this wonderful page

How to help your Preschooler help himself

Deb states that its easy to focus on the importance of helping a preschooler by answering your childs questions or reading to your child, but one of the best ways to help our preschoolers is to often overlooked. She offers  "to take a tip from Montessori Education and help your child learn how to do things for him or herself." (I do that)

Deb shares a quote by Maria Montessori "The essence of independence is to be able to do something for one’s self. Adults work to finish a task, but the child works in order to grow, and is working to create the adult, the person that is to be" and "These words reveal the child’s inner needs: ‘Help me to do it alone." (I do that)

Deb states Montessori principles for parents:

1.)Demonstrate how to do a task, breaking the task down into distinct steps.
 2.)Find points of interest (I do that)
3.)Have a control of error(a way of providing instant feedback) (I do that)
4.)Let the children practice the task.(I do that)
Deb shares that this method can be used to teach anything from typing shoes to peeling carrots to loading the dishwasher. (I do that)

Deb has her Montessori certification for teaching children ages 2 1/2 to 5 through the St. Nicholas Training Center in London, now called Montessori Center International. Deb also has a bachelors degree with concentration in Montessori Elementary and Early CHildhood Education. Reading on Deb states her degree work and dissertation largely focused on Montessori education and is also an author.
You can read all about Deb at  

About Deb Chitwood


Deb on her main blog page states "I made a number of materials myself." (I do that)
Deb does comment that "Many traditional preschool materials will have both varying shapes and colors. Montessori materials, on the other hand, will isolate the difficulty. For example, the Montessori geometric shapes are all blue. That way, the child doesn’t confuse the shape with the color when learning the names of the shapes."

"The training of the teacher who is to help life is something far more than the learning of ideas. It includes the training of character; it is a preparation of the spirit" by Maria Montessori Deb Comments,  "The Montessori teacher, whether in a Montessori school or homeschool, is given the task of observing the child. To truly use Montessori principles in your homeschool, you need to come from a quiet place of observation to see what your child’s needs are and then individualize your child’s education according to those needs.  After that, give your child freedom to grow. In Montessori education, we talk a lot about freedom within limits."

"Let us leave the life free to develop within the limits of the good, and let us observe this inner life developing. This is the whole of our mission" by Maria Montessori.

Deb finishes up her introductin page by saying "Are there Montessori principles you’ve used in your homeschool? Are there Montessori principles you want to start using?" So, after visiting Deb Chitwoods Blog today, I have decided to keep my blog name the same and answer this question.

Do I consider my inspired activities "Montessori activities?" To me, yes, they are. Lisa:)

Actually here is the complete comment:

Hi! It seems like my comment here was deleted - I'm surprised. I'm just wondering what, in particular, makes these manipulatives "montessori" in their orientation. They are all cool and fun and brightly coloured, but it was my understanding that Montessori uses a range of fairly rigidly defined materials and that the procedure for introducing the materials was as important as the materials themselves. Please don't get me wrong; these are ALL cool activities, some of which have inspired me! But with the bright colours, stickets, etc., they don't seem as "Montessori" as others I've seen elsewhere. I'm still learning about Montessori and other learning styles and would like to understand this, not just have my comment deleted.


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Here is Deb Chitwoods comment after she inspired me:

Thanks so much for using my blog as inspiration, Lisa! I love to see Montessori principles spread into different settings. In home settings, it’s typically essential for parents to use creativity in finding economical ways to use Montessori principles. I think Jennifer in her comment was referring to Montessori materials that are part of the traditional Montessori curriculum. Traditional Montessori materials do have uniform qualities such as varying in only one property, being realistic, having a control of error, etc. Homeschoolers and others who are creating materials outside of a traditional Montessori school are often calling their materials Montessori-inspired. I often use the terms “Montessori-inspired” or “Montessori-oriented” as well when I’m referring to materials that aren’t part of the traditional Montessori curriculum but are presented on trays and use many Montessori principles in their preparation and presentation. (I use those terms a lot when introducing my Monday activity of the week.) You might find it safest to use the term Montessori-inspired manipulatives or Montessori-inspired materials. I’m continually amazed with how many ways and in how many settings Montessori principles can be used to help children. I’ll enjoy watching your creativity and growth with Montessori-inspired activities! Deb @ LivingMontessoriNow.com
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Lisas comment: On my home page, I do state that my activities are Montessori Inspired before they go to any of my homemade montessori activities. Thank you Deb.
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Jessie from The Education of ours visits and writes:

I'm a Montessori homeschooler, and a Montessori Teacher with Montessori Credential and a Masters Of Education in Early Childhood (for Montessori!) and I believe in my heart that an activity made with love, for the purpose of concentration and development in the child serves the word Montessori. I love your work- keep it up :) Montessori is a mystery to many, I think the comment made was an actual question in curiosity. Either way, your answer is lovely. Jessie


Thank you Jessie. Your added to my inspiration to keep creating educational activities that work for me and my children i teach. Visit Jessies WONDERFUL BLOG AT   

The Education of Ours

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2 comments:

Deb Chitwood said...

Thanks so much for using my blog as inspiration, Lisa! I love to see Montessori principles spread into different settings. In home settings, it’s typically essential for parents to use creativity in finding economical ways to use Montessori principles. I think Jennifer in her comment was referring to Montessori materials that are part of the traditional Montessori curriculum. Traditional Montessori materials do have uniform qualities such as varying in only one property, being realistic, having a control of error, etc.

Homeschoolers and others who are creating materials outside of a traditional Montessori school are often calling their materials Montessori-inspired. I often use the terms “Montessori-inspired” or “Montessori-oriented” as well when I’m referring to materials that aren’t part of the traditional Montessori curriculum but are presented on trays and use many Montessori principles in their preparation and presentation. (I use those terms a lot when introducing my Monday activity of the week.) You might find it safest to use the term Montessori-inspired manipulatives or Montessori-inspired materials.

I’m continually amazed with how many ways and in how many settings Montessori principles can be used to help children. I’ll enjoy watching your creativity and growth with Montessori-inspired activities!
Deb @ LivingMontessoriNow.com

The Education Of Ours said...

I'm a Montessori homeschooler, and a Montessori Teacher with Montessori Credential and a Masters Of Education in Early Childhood (for Montessori!) and I believe in my heart that an activity made with love, for the purpose of concentration and development in the child serves the word Montessori. I love your work- keep it up :)

Montessori is a mystery to many, I think the comment made was an actual question in curiosity. Either way, your answer is lovely.

Jessie

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