Monday, August 12, 2013

Should School be FUN?

Did you enjoy school when you were an elementary student?  Did you have wonderful experiences that helped you connect what you are learning to the world around you?  Were your favorite subjects recess, PE and lunch?  Did you look forward to going to school every day because you knew there was something interesting waiting for you?

Well, if you went to a Montessori School this may have been true for you.  For most of us, school was a time to be with our friends, not to experience the world.

Learning should be natural.  It should sweep the learner into a flowing stream where time and space do not exist and where the learner is one with the lesson.  This happens in Montessori schools because students have uninterrupted time to engage with the lessons, they have freedom of choice within the limits of the environment, they have encouraging adults who observe the students and bring them the right lessons at the right time.

If a child comes home and you ask what he learned today, you will often hear the response, "Nothing."  In a Montessori school that means that the learning was just the natural part of the day and life unfolded in a seamless and smooth way bringing the appropriate lesson at the right time.

Laughter should be part of every day at school.  Lessons should delight the student.

If this is missing from your children's education, send them to a Montessori school.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

What I have learned this week

It has been a tough week.  Ziggy, my 3 year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel mix had an accident.  It was my fault.
Ziggy is an energetic personality.  He loves to be outside or go for car rides.  He is happy, protective of his family, and adventurous.
We were at a friend's house.  She has a lot of property so I thought it would be safe to let the dogs off leash.  Ollie stayed near me and Ziggy kept venturing a little further every moment.  I had to stop to pick up Ollie's poop and Ziggy got too far away.  I called but something was more interesting to him and he kept going.  Before I knew it he was under the fence of the corral.  I didn't even think that the horse would be out.  Ziggy saw this big animal and started running.  The horse started running, Ziggy got under his feet and before I could get there he screamed.  
The gate was locked so I climbed the fence and picked up my baby to check for broken bones.  All seemed fine until I saw his right eye.
It just started to swell and I knew it was filling with blood.  Ziggy would whimper if anything got near it.  We headed straight to the vet.  She was in surgery but the tech took Ziggy in and they sent us right to the ophthalmologist.  After a look over we knew he would lose his eye.  It has been a week and he is recovering nicely.
What is most amazing is that Ziggy is still Ziggy.  He leads us down the sidewalk as fast as he can.  He hops up onto the back of the couch so he can see everything that is going on, and he is first into the kitchen for a treat.  

It makes me think about the students in my class.  We put them into this situation called school where they are expected to conform to the rules of education.  They are expected to all be on the same page at the same time.  They are expected to all know the same things.  How crazy is this?

Personality does not change it adapts.  We need to allow for this in schools.  Children will learn the things they need to live a successful life.  This is inside the child from birth.  Ziggy is still Ziggy and has adapted to his new field of vision.  

No matter what, your children will be fine.  They will adapt to the expectations of others.  But think of the possibilities for your child in a school where they can construct their own learning, where they can fulfill their own potential and not be judged in relation to others.  Where they are accepted for who they are.

I know you would all accept Ziggy without his eye, so why not accept children with differences and adjust to meet their needs rather than forcing them to fulfill someone else's expectations.