5 Fun and Easy Summer Ideas for Kids and Parents

IMG_0565.JPG

Summer is a great time to plan exciting trips or visit with family and friends.  Even with scheduled plans, we are often still left with lots of downtime.  While it can be a great thing for kids to feel boredom and create their own fun, it can be handy to have a few ideas in your back pocket for those days when everyone starts to go a little stir-crazy.  Check out these fun summer activities that can easily be done last-minute:

1. Visit a Museum

Even very young children will enjoy trips to your local museum.  While many will delight in spending a day at a museum specifically designed for children, kids also like going to art museums, science museums, aquariums, and many others.

Many local libraries now have passes to area museums.  If you have a library card, you may be able to pick up a pass the will give you and your family free or reduced admission, which is a nice perk for everyone.  Libraries are a great resource to figure out what museums might be best for your kids, too.

When you do head out, remember to consider your kids’ perspective during the day.  Some exhibits may be fascinating for you but boring to them, and vice versa.  Kids will need breaks and food.  Pack some snacks or check out a fun local lunch spot.

Presetting the kids is another great strategy.  Talk to them about what they will see, how they are expected to behave at a museum, and what the day will be like.  Let their interests help guide your trip, and enjoy the memorable experience.

2. Go for a Hike

Taking your kids hiking has so many benefits!  You get to spend quality time together, everyone gets some exercise, and the family gets to immerse themselves in nature.  There are so many options that are sure to find a trail that will appeal to even the most reluctant of hikers. Browse an online directory to decide what might be a good fit.  Check out these sites for more information:

https://www.hikingproject.com/

https://www.americantrails.org/resources/statetrails/

https://www.trails.com/

Before heading out, make sure everyone is dressed appropriately.  These needs will vary greatly depending on what part of the country you plan on hiking in and how challenging the trail is.  Consider wearing either sturdy sneakers or hiking boots; open-toes shoes can quickly lead to painful encounters with rocks, roots, or other obstacles.  Dressing in comfortable layers is also a good idea, as hiking (especially in the summer) can cause our bodies to heat up, but mountain summits or other open areas can be breezy and deceptively chilly.  

It’s important to think about pests as well.  Bugs will be joining you on your hike, and no matter how much your little ones may find them fascinating, certain insects are best kept at a distance.  Two standouts include mosquitoes and ticks, both of which can carry disease.  There are many options for prevention of bites, including wearing right clothing, to buying or making repellent sprays.  Find out what pests to be aware of in your area and consider your options for protection.

Lastly, be sure to make it fun!  Adults typically hike with a goal and approach the experience as a task to complete.  Children will likely want to stop frequently, both to explore every cool leaf and rock they see, but also because they will get tired.  Be prepared to take lots of breaks, and pack some fun snacks and water.  Remember to take some pictures to remember the day!

3. Make Recycled Art

Feeling creative but low on supplies?  Raid your own recycle bin for some inspiration!  Some possibilities:

  • Unique drawing paper - That old Amazon box or colorful envelope provides the perfect canvas for kids to unleash their drawing and coloring skills.  Use whatever you have around the house, including crayons, markers, or even sidewalk chalk.
  • Collage - Magazines or flyers are great for this.  Cut out shapes, images, letters, or whatever inspires you, then glue them onto another piece of paper to make a whole new image.  Bonus: young kids are getting some good fine motor practice!
  • Sculpture - The possibilities are endless.  Egg cartons can become caterpillars, plastic bottles can transform into vases, and cardboard tubes and boxes can be attached to one another to make animals.  Gather up some tape and markers and see what your imagination can create.

One really fun option is to pull your recycling bin into the middle of your kitchen floor and ask your child to use their imagination.  Children see the world in such an unfiltered way, and everyday objects can easily provoke their creativity.  

4. Pack a Picnic

Having a picnic is one of the simplest and relaxing ways to enjoy the warmer months.  Choose a spot (local parks or beaches are wonderful, but so is your own backyard.)  Have the kids help prepare and pack sandwiches, snacks and drinks.  Some ideas:

  • Finger Foods: Think grapes, olives, cheese, bread,  and carrot sticks.
  • Simple Salads: Whip up your favorite, whether it be macaroni, bean, potato, or veggie-based.
  • Quick Sandwiches: Peanut butter and jelly is an easy go-to, and so are cold cuts.  If you have adventurous kids, look up a recipe and try something that is new for everyone!  
  • Easy drink: Fill up some water bottles or back some juice boxes to keep everyone hydrated.

Remember to pack a blanket, napkins, and any plates, cups, or utensils you may need.  Bug spray and sunscreen might be helpful, too!

5. Check Out Your Library

Not only is your library a great source for museum passes, but libraries are a great place to take children for a variety of other reasons, too.  While each library is different, many offer:

  • Summer reading programs
  • Classes and activities for kids of all ages (for a small fee or free)
  • Special events for families
  • Art displays to view
  • Children’s and teen’s book sections
  • Storytime for little ones

Best of all, the library is a really nice place to spend a quiet few hours, enjoying some books together out of the heat of a summer day.

Enjoy your time together this summer!

Summer Reading List

Summer is here!

This may mean the end of school for the year but that shouldn’t mean a break from reading.  Reading, and being read to, is critically important for children’s language development.  Reading to infants and toddlers gives parents a chance to model our spoken language.  Preschoolers and kindergarteners are learning about sounds and words; your reading aloud to them will help them delight in the magic of the written word, eventually leading them to begin decoding for themselves.  As children get older, it is important for them to spend time reading independently, but reading together can continue on into the preteen years (and perhaps beyond!)  Children appreciate spending time with their parents, and there’s something special about slowing down and enjoying a book together.  

Read on for some fun summer suggestions. (Click on the book images to go to that book's page on Amazon)

 

Should I Share My Ice Cream? By Mo Willems

Really, anything by Willems is sure to be a hit.  While he is best known for his series of books about keeping a mischievous pigeon out of trouble, his Elephant and Piggie series is very popular with early readers.  In this delightful tale, elephant Gerald contemplates the pros and cons of sharing his ice cream with his best friend, Piggie.  The twist ending is a sweet surprise.

 

Cocoa Ice by Diana Karter Appelbaum, illustrated by Holly Meade

Cocoa Ice is the story of two young girls who live in very different climates.  One child helps her family harvest and prepare cocoa beans to eat, sell, and trade.  The other child watches as ice is cut into large blocks and loaded onto a schooner that heads to the tropics.  While the children never meet, they are connected by their curiosity about each other as well as their love of the sweet treat, cocoa ice.

 

The Relatives Came, by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Stephen Gammell

This book will be loved by anyone who has ever had a house full of relatives.  The character’s family comes to visit from out of town, and while life may feel a little cramped, the time spent together in the hot summer sun makes it more than worth it.  The illustrations are wonderful, but even the words themselves create a vivid visual.

 

Fireflies! by Julie Brinckloe

At first glance this book tells a story that so many of us have experienced as a child: the joy of running outside on a warm summer night to catch fireflies in a jar.  While that simple theme is the main plot, the character’s internal experiences offer great opportunities for discussion with children.  Parents may want to note that on one page the child misuses a pair of scissors without his mother’s permission to cut holes in the lid of the jar.  At the end of the book, he is also confronted with the challenging decision about what to do with the fireflies as their blinking light begins to fade within the jar.  (Spoiler: he makes the right choice and releases them!)

 

Bailey Goes Camping by Kevin Henkes

This book will be especially appealing to younger siblings.  Bailey’s older brother and sister are gearing up for a camping trip, but Bailey doesn’t get to go because he’s too young.  Luckily his parents have some ideas to help him have his own camping experience.

 

Watermelon Day by Kathi Appelt, illustrated by Dale Gottlieb

Jesse can hardly wait to take a bite of sweet, cool, refreshing watermelon.  All summer long she watches as the melon grows larger in the garden.  When her father finally decides it’s ripe enough to cut off the vine, she must wait all day while the melon cools in the chilly water.  Her family gathers for a summer celebration, capped off, off course, with a delicious treat.

 

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

Sal and her mother head out to pick wild blueberries one warm summer day.  On the other side of the hill a mother bear and her cub are doing the same.  The two youngsters wander off, meet up with the wrong mothers (much to the mothers’ surprise!), and eventually find their way back.  This book will charm parents and make little ones giggle.

 

One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey

Sal (from Blueberries for Sal) is a little older in this story, but she brings readers on a journey that many children (and their parents) will be able to relate to.  Sal wakes up with her first loose tooth one morning, and while she initially upset she quickly becomes excited at this sign that she is growing up.  Sadly, she very literally loses her tooth, and spends the day learning

 

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

This award-winning title is definitely for older kids (10 and up).  It is lyrically written and follows three sisters through their experiences during the summer of 1968 when they leave Brooklyn to visit their estranged mother in Oakland, California.  Williams-Garcia’s historical fiction delves into difficult subject matter such as reconnecting with an absent parent and the racial struggles during that time period.

 

National Geographic Kids National Parks Guide USA Centennial Edition

Planning a family trip to one (or more!) national parks this summer?  Pick up this guide for your kids and they can help plan, as well as get excited to learn about and visit these amazing resources!

Montessori Basics: The Prepared Environment

Zero Energy Hollis school 5 13_0447.jpg

One of the most important elements of any Montessori classroom is the prepared environment.  Montessori educators put great effort and intention into making sure the classroom environment is organized in such a way that it invites children to learn and aids in their personal independence.  In a Montessori classroom you will not see a teacher’s desk as a focal point.  In fact, you will not see a teacher’s desk at all.  The environment is a tool to be utilized by the children, and it is prepared in a way that serves them best.

Keeping Child Development in Mind

Montessori educators make decisions based on what they have learned in their training and what they know about child development.  Children’s needs are not only different from the needs of adults’, but they are different depending on what developmental phase (or plane of development as Montessori called it) they are in.

One of the most basic elements to consider is the selection of appropriate furniture.  Tables and chairs are sized for the children who will be using them, and they are made of natural materials whenever possible.  Shelves that hold materials are low enough that children are able to easily access their work.  

The materials on the shelves cater to the specific age group that the classroom intends to serve.  While one will certainly notice some commonalities across the levels, materials in a primary classroom are quite different from those in a lower elementary classroom.  This is an intentional approach aimed to meet children where they are developmentally.

Allowing for Movement

Children are not meant to sit in a chair for long periods of time.  Their growing bodies work best when they are able to move around.  Montessori classrooms are designed to empower children and give them opportunities for movement on an individual and independent basis.

If you visit a Montessori classroom, you are likely to find rug space where children can sprawl out, special floor chairs or cushions, group tables, and individual seating.  Children do not have assigned seats, but rather self-select.  They also tend to move around quite a bit between using materials in order to experience variation.  This teaches them to listen to their bodies and recognize when they need to stretch, when they need to rest, when they might work best with a friend, and when they require a bit of time alone.

Montessori classrooms have structures or materials that allow for children to develop gross and fine motor skills within the classroom.  In fact, addressing those developing skills is a main goal of toddler and primary classrooms.  Many have easy access to the outdoors as well.

Areas of the Classroom

The materials one will notice on the shelves of a Montessori classroom are typically arranged into particular areas.  Again, this will look different for different levels, but the basic idea is the same.

A primary classroom is organized into five main areas:

Practical life

This is the area in which your child will practice preparing snacks, cleaning up spills, and caring for plants and pets.

Sensorial

These materials allow children to practice developing and discerning their senses.  There are materials that help children recognize differences in size, shape, smell, sound, and so much more.

Math

This one is self-explanatory, although the materials your preschooler uses to learn basic math skills are a far cry from what many of us experienced as children!

Language

Children at the age area learning basic letter sounds, how to form the letters, basic grammar concepts, and so much more.

Cultural

In a Montessori classroom, the cultural studies refer to history, geography, and science.  Typically history work is saved for when children read lower elementary and beyond, but your preschooler and kindergartner will learn about botany, zoology, landforms, and biomes of the world.  

In an elementary classroom (and beyond), most of the areas remain, with the exception of the sensorial materials.  Older children have work that focuses on math, language, and the cultural areas, with some age-appropriate practical life studies as well.

Bringing in Nature

There is an unrivaled beauty in the natural world, and as Montessori educators, we believe that nature has much to teach children.  While we place value on giving kids opportunities to get outside, we also take great care to bring the natural world inside to surround them as they learn.  Montessori classrooms are home to things like live plants, class pets, fossils, tree branches, or interesting rocks  These items are displayed beautifully and inspire children to wonder, question, and seek out more.  Children are great collectors, and most parents are familiar with pockets full of pinecones or tiny fingers wrapped around a smooth stone.  Our children are often excited to share these treasures at school, and Montessori classroom encourages inspiration drawn from the natural world.

Simplicity and Order

Montessori classrooms are not painted in bright primary colors, nor will you find walls full of busy posters and student work.  Our environments are kept simple for a reason: we believe that the learning materials are enough to spark a child’s interest.  They do not need anything flashy, and a simple backdrop allows them to turn their focus to learning.  

You have likely noticed that the materials are arranged neatly on the shelves, but did you know that even the order and placement on the shelves is intentional?  Generally speaking, the simplest materials, or the earliest lessons, are placed on the shelves first.  The more difficult or complicated the works get, they are placed from right to left, from the top shelf to the bottom.  Children understand that they must return a material to the exact spot from which they retrieved it.  This sense of order and organization again allows the children to focus their efforts on the work.

The Environment as a Teacher

The Montessori environment is considered one of the greatest teachers of the child.  If the adults prepare it sufficiently, children are able to work largely independently.  When learning and independence are combined, children gain a sense of self that is very difficult to convey otherwise. 

Did you know that most Montessori materials are autodidactic?  That is, they are designed in such a way that the child is able to learn from them without the help of an adult.  If a mistake is made, the work either cannot be completed or can be checked by the child without assistance.  Children understand when they have made an error and can immediately work toward figuring out a solution.

The environment not only teaches the children, but the adults as well.  As Montessori educators, we are keen observers.  If our students are struggling in any way, the first question we ask ourselves is, “What could be altered in the environment to meet the current needs of the child?”  These observations, insights, and adjustments are usually all a child needs to get back on track.

Gardening With Kids

gardening.jpg

The warm weather is finally upon us!  As we find ourselves solidly in spring many of us shift our thoughts to the outdoors and our gardens.  Whether you are new to gardening or have cared for plants for years, why not give it a try with your children?  It’s not too late to get started now!

Planning the Space

Whether you live in a tiny city apartment or a sprawling multi-acre piece of land there are many options for planning and executing a garden.  The first step is to decide what will work best for you and your family.  Consider how much time and effort you are willing to put into caring for the plants during the growing season.

Container gardens fit nicely onto porches and decks.  This is a nice way to keep things simple if you’re new to gardening or know you will be short on time.  Finding space for even a few pots can be a fun and rewarding experience for you and your children.  

Thinking you may want to go bigger?  Raised beds keep things contained and easy to manage.  This can be as simple as four 2x4s screwed together with some metal corner brackets, or you can find designs for elaborate and much taller beds online made of a variety of materials.  If this is your first time gardening you might consider starting with 1-3 beds, roughly 4 by 7 feet.  Fill the beds with a mixture of soil and compost and you’re good to go!

A few last considerations: consider what you want to grow and how much sunlight you will need, as well as how close the space is to a water source.  

Selecting Plants

This is the step that younger children can really become more involved with.  Check out options at your local nursery or garden center, but have some ideas beforehand.  Do you want to focus on flowers?  Vegetables?  Does your family enjoy berries or do you like cooking with fresh herbs?  There are so many possibilities it can be easy to get carried away!  A little planning goes a long way.

Selecting garden plants could open new doors for your child.  If you have a picky eater, encouraging them to choose, say, a plants whose vegetables they typically shy away from, you may be surprised by the end of the summer.  When a child takes the time to care for a garden they feel deeply connected to the plants.  They will feel a great swell of pride when they harvest that first zucchini, and they may well enjoy tasting it with new perspective.

Keep in mind the location you have chosen to place your garden and pay attention to the amount of sunlight the spot receives at different times throughout the day.  Some plants require full sun, while others need partial sun or even shady areas.  

Companion planting is fun to consider as well.  Some plants compliment each other when planted nearby.  This often has to do with properties of the plants that contribute to pest control, or what kinds of nutrients they take from (or give to) the soil.  Check out this site for more information on specific companion plants.

Care and Maintenance

Your main two tasks throughout the growing season are watering and weeding.  It can take time and practice to set up a system that works for you, but here are some tips:

  • Water early in the morning or late in the day.  Midday watering can lead to the sun heating up the water and essentially boil the plant and its roots.
  • Make your watering system easy.  Have a hose ready or a sprinkler set up.  
  • Mulch is your friend.  While there are different options, cut straw can be a great way to cover the soil around your plants.  It holds moisture in by preventing excessive evaporation and limits weeds’ ability to grow.
  • Teach your child the difference between weeds and the plants you are intentionally growing, then watch closely while they help!  (If they do inadvertently pull a few plants up by the roots you may be able to salvage them.)
  • Keep an eye out for pests!  Anything from insects to deer can cause problems.  Be aware of the potential where you live and ask around for specific ways to prevent or treat damage.
  • Some plants have more needs.  Climbing plants need guidance, while others may need pruning or thinning.  Seed packets typically include these types of directions, but the the folks at your local garden center are another great resource.  

Enjoying the Benefits

Believe it or not, there are plenty of benefits you will reap long before harvesting.  Gardening allows us to spend time outdoors, breathing in fresh air, taking in the sunshine, and nurturing our own connection with the earth.  Spending this time with your child allows you to enjoy these benefits while spending time together.  The time you spend gardening as a family will leave a positive, lasting impact that your child will remember.  

The harvest does, of course, bring joy all on its own.  Whether you have a gorgeous vase of fresh blooms in your dining room, fresh pesto for your dinner, or hands full of strawberries that never even make it to the table, you will all enjoy the result of your hard work.

Happy gardening!

 
 Click to go to this book on Amazon.

Click to go to this book on Amazon.

If you’re looking for more information, this reference book is full of general gardening advice and plant-specific information. 

Montessori Basics: What is ‘Practical Life’?

careenvironment.jpeg

As Montessorians we believe education is more than just academics.  We aim to nurture not only the intellect, but the development of the whole child in an effort to prepare them for all aspects of life.     

Practical life in Montessori begins early; you will find these activities intentionally woven into both toddler and primary classrooms, and beyond.  The activities themselves are intended to give children practice so that they may work toward being independent in everyday living.  Read on to get an understanding of what this looks like in the classroom, and what parents might do to continue this important work at home.

Care of the Environment

Children are not only capable of caring for their environment; they enjoy the process, especially when they are very young.  In Montessori classrooms children are given lesson on how to clean up spills, care for pets and plants, wash dishes, fold napkins, and clean tables.  Each of these lessons is given slowly and methodically, with the adult modeling the correct way to complete each activity.  Children are given tools that are sized to work for them, and these tools are placed within reach of the child so that they may access them independently.

This work can be easily continued at home.  Take the time to model household activities for your child, keeping in mind you will likely need to model the same activity multiple times.  There are a variety of child-sized tools available for purchase, but those are not necessary to accomplish the goal.  For example, if you would like to teach your child how to clean floors, this great set is available, or one could simply use a rag and a spray bottle.  Small dustpan and brush sets are easy to find, too, and will be used for years to come.  Designate a small corner of your home to store these items.  A small bin or basket is helpful, or perhaps low hooks on the wall.

By teaching children how to care for their environment, they gain confidence and independence in their ability to function as a contributing member of the family (or classroom!).

Control of Movement

In most Montessori primary classrooms observers will find a line taped on the floor.  This is placed there as an opportunity for the students to hone their gross motor skills.  Children are meant to walk slowly and with purpose, keeping their feet on the line and balancing as they go.  Sometimes the addition of a bell can add challenge to the activity, with a child walking carefully so as not to allow the bell to ring as they move.  

Similar activities can be done almost anywhere at home.  Children naturally gravitate toward walking and balancing on logs, curbs, or anything else they come across.  The challenge for many of us as adults can be to notice the importance of this activity in the moment, to slow down, and to allow for the child to immerse themselves in the experience.  While it’s not always possible to stop and do this, your child will feel immense pride and accomplishment if they have the opportunity to slow down and just walk.

Montessori teachers also provide lots of fine motor experiences for children.  In their classrooms, there are opportunities for pouring (rice, beans, water, etc.), transferring things from one container to another, and using a variety of implements to do so.  Wondering how this might look at home?  Try letting your child help out in the kitchen.  There is no shortage of scooping, measuring, and using of tools that require concentration and fine motor development.  

Care of the Person

One excellent marker of indepence is how well we are able to care for ourselves.  In Montessori schools children are taught from an early age how to do simple things, such as put on and remove their shoes and coat by themselves.  They are expected to do this daily and they take great pride in doing so.  At home parents can start by allowing children to choose their own clothing (within weather-appropriate parameters) and to dress themselves.  Clothing can be kept on low shelves and in low drawers so that the child may access it easily.

One fun element of this area of practical life is food preparation.  Children are given lessons on how they might prepare a simple snack.  This might include chopping of fruits and vegetables, spreading things like hummus or cream cheese, stirring ingredients together, or any other number of simple skills.  All materials and food are left on a table for the children to access throughout the morning so that they may try the activity for themselves.  Food preparation is a fun and natural activity to repeat in the home.

Grace and Courtesy

Grace and courtesy refers to how we might teach children to be respectful and polite to others.  Much of this work centers on adults modeling the correct vocabulary and movements associated with being polite and courteous in our society.  We teach children to say “please”, “thank you”, “you’re welcome”, and “excuse me”.  We encourage them to hold doors for each other, to offer food to one another, and to check in with anyone who is feeling hurt or upset.  

Grace and courtesy is also about helping children develop empathy.  We are social beings who need to live together peacefully if we are to accomplish anything.  Montessori believed that children are the key to peace among humanity.  This important work begins with simple practical life lessons, and continues throughout childhood and beyond.

A Book List for Parents

Each month we share a book list.  Typically it aims to give parents a list of books to share with their children based on a particular theme.  This month we take a short break from children’s books to provide parents with a list of their own.

Whether you are looking for original titles written by Montessori herself, modern parent-friendly guides, or other books that may be of interest to Montessori parents, this list is for you. (Click on the book's image for purchasing information.)

The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies

This new and very popular title was recently published via a Kickstarter fund.  Written by an experienced and certified Montessori teacher, it details ways parents can support the unique (and constant!) needs of toddlers.  It shares how Montessori’s ideas can be applied by parents with children ages 1-3 in the home.

 

Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius by Angeline Stoll Lillard

This book is the ultimate guide for anyone who is discovering Montessori or is interested in gaining a modern scientific perspective of the approach.  Lillard, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, was awarded the Cognitive Development Society’s book award for this title.  In an easy-to-read format, she aligns Montessori’s original ideas with current research findings.    

 

How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way by Tim Seldin

This book was written for parents of children from birth to six years of age.  Now on its second edition, How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way has helped many families by describing Montessori’s basic ideas and giving clear, helpful examples of what you can do at home to support your child’s development.  Readers will gain information about a wide range of topics like brain development, gentle discipline strategies, and how to foster independence - with plenty of specific strategies.

 

Montessori Madness! A Parent to Parent Argument for Montessori Education by Trevor Eissler

This much-loved and easy to read book is another great introduction to Montessori.  Written by the parent of Montessori children it weaves the stories of one family’s journey into the teaching of Montessori’s hallmarks, including the sensitive periods, the prepared environment, and freedom of choice.

 

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

This is not a Montessori book, but will appeal to Montessori parents nonetheless.  Louv writes about how time spent in nature directly relates to child development.  He argues that many of the physical and emotional issues faced by children today are a direct result of our decreased contact with the outdoors.  Louv was the 2008 recipient of the Audubon Medal; you can learn more about his work at http://richardlouv.com/

 

Interested in reading some of Montessori’s original works?  Check out these titles:

What You Should Know About Your Child by Maria Montessori

Writing directly to parents, Dr. Maria Montessori published this book in an effort to teach parents what she had learned about both physical and mental development of young children.  Many of Montessori’s works in their original form can be hard to find on sites like Amazon; NAMTA (the North American Montessori Teachers’ Association) has a website that is a great resource for parents and educators.

 

The Absorbent Mind by Maria Montessori

Montessori considered the period of birth to six years of age to be the most significant developmental period in a child’s life.  This book illustrates those developments and how we might prepare an environment conducive to aiding the child on this journey.  

 

The Secret of Childhood by Maria Montessori

This book is another great summary of Montessori’s work and ideas.  It is based on the concept that children desire to learn, that as adults our role is to recognize their potential, and what we can do do facilitate their growth.  While traditional education encourages teachers to be the center of a classroom, Montessori education focuses on the child.  Children are given the freedom to make their own work choices, while the adults are there to serve as support and guides.

 

To Educate the Human Potential by Maria Montessori 

This book was written to explain how the Montessori method applies to children older than six years.  The elementary curriculum is very different from the primary curriculum.  This is intentional and out of respect for the child’s development.  Children at the elementary level are very social, have wonderful imaginations, and experience a deep craving to learn about the world and universe.  In this book Montessori outlines how we might prepare an environment that serves older children and their unique developmental needs.