Team Work…mentoring…and just plain fun!

photo-RuhelpingSophia.jpg“Can I help you?”
photo-teamwork2.jpg“I think it goes here.”
photo-teamwork3.jpg“What is the number?” “Ummm, it is 19, yep 19.”
photo-teamwork4.jpg “6.”
photo-teamwork5.jpg “Here we go.”
photo-teamwork6.jpg “Let’s count together. 9, 10, 11…” “12, yes 12!”

photo-teamwork1.jpg “Lets tidy up.”

Absolutely silent, focused, concentration.

February 5, 2010. Uncategorized. No Comments.

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February 5, 2010. Uncategorized. No Comments.

How could I not want this for my child?


“I have been a montessori parent for the past 5 years, ever since the birth of my first child Chloe. I am grateful for the those wonderfül years that she spent with Liz Girvan who taught her to be the passionate, respectful, caring, problem solver that she is today. It is because of the ways of Montessori that she has strived this far with all her hurdles in public school. Montessori, I find teaches the individual to be their own problem solver whether it is an exercise they are shown or an issue they may have with other peers. The children are not forced to do things they have no interest in and this approach helps build their confidence with almost anything. After hearing Trevor Eissler I have come to realize that this approach to learning makes so much sense in the upbringing of children in our educational system. We have made the right decision.”

Winlai Wong - Montessori Parent


As I write this posting today I find myself thinking deeply about Montessori, as I often do. Last week the Montessori community within our city had the unique opportunity to hear first hand a Montessori parent talk about Montessori education and its benefits. The quote above is from a parent who is part of our school community who, after upon hearing Trevor Eissler talk could not stop talking about the experience. In the words of her husband, “It really solidified for us the entire complete circle and how it all comes together.” That is it, the complete circle! Keep this in mind when reading further.

Just a little background about the speaker, Trevor Eissler.

Trevor has written a book that challenges the direction chosen by traditional schools and supports the choice of a Montessori education with passion and understanding. He is a father of three Montessori students, a pilot, a flight instructor, an author, a storyteller, a juggler, an unicyclist, a Toastmaster, a pianist, a triathlete, and a husband. Trevor wants to be a Montessori student when he grows up.

I had the unique opportunity to hear Trevor talk to a group of school Directors and Administrators. Trevor has a son who is 6, completing his final year in a Casa program. He spoke of the three year cycle and the importance of it, how the benefits of a child being part of one community, with generally the same peers, for 3 or 3.5 years cannot be equated to anything else.

Comparing it to all of these ’self-help’ books that adults are looking to for guidance to learn principles that we teach children in Montessori classroom every day is the part of his talk that really struck me.

Be proactive - A child in a Montessori environment, from the moment they enter is encouraged to take care of themselves. They are guided through life lessons enabling them to become confident individuals. They are encouraged to take a situation and problem solve, use their words and sort it out.

Think win win - Wow, this is a big one. it is not who is going to get there first or who is going to do it faster or who is going to win, it is how are we all going to do this together. How am I going to help my friend, teach my friend, mentor my friend to get to the same place I am at. How are we all going to win together.

Understand others then you can be understood - I cannot count the number of times a day I hear children saying “Please listen to my words” and then expressing themselves to a friend. In dealing with a dispute children in our community are encouraged to vocalize and work it out. You listen to your friends and understand them. It is at that moment when you can listen that you are ready to also understand what is going on inside of yourself.

Find something you love to do and do that - Now this is it. The icing on the cake. If we all were able to do this as adults life would be perfect! In the Montessori classroom children are driven by their passion and curiosity. They are then guided by the teacher to master this concept that has captured their attention. Children are able to do what they love. Upon being given this opportunity they develop a love for learning and strive to be the best they can be. How could you not want that for your child?

Thank you Trevor for your inspiring words.

You can order Trevor’s book, Montessori Madness by going to


February 4, 2010. Parent Events. No Comments.

Montessori in Haiti




“During the first 2 weeks after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, saving lives and emergency help had absolute priority. Now funds for rescue and basic needs like water, food, shelter and medical care have been collected and help is - hopefully - starting to reach the deprived people. Starting from scratch to rebuild Haiti is now the concern not only of Haitians, but also of the woken-up global community.
This provides hope for the country and especially for its children.
For a sustainable development in Haiti, giving children a chance to learn through good quality early care and education is also a basic need, a basic human right. We are engaged in early childhood development in Haiti since the creation of our Peter-Hesse-Foundation in 1983 through the training of over 800 Montessori pre-school teachers and helping to open over 50 Montessori pre-schools for deprived children - together with local initiatives - all over Haiti”. - taken from the Peter Hesse website.

The Peter Hesse Foundation began its Montessori initiative with the objective of improving the quality of early childhood education in Haiti. To be able to do this effectively, the Foundation launched its efforts in two directions: training teachers and establishing preschools. Today, the Montessori initiative has evolved into a network of preschools and teacher training centers, directed and run by graduates of the “Centre Montessori d’Haiti”.

It is stated on the Peter Hesse Foundation website that “the public education system does not include preschool. All existing preschools are private. This means that most of the economically disadvantaged children are excluded from education at the most crucial stage of their development, when the wiring and sculpturing of the brain, that builds the capacity for learning, takes place.

Traditional Haitian schools are in desperate need of modernization. Here children do not learn to solve problems or think creatively. Rote learning is very much the norm and knowledge is measured by how well a given text can be repeated word by word. Individual thinking is discouraged, since educators still believe that “children should be seen and not heard”. Curiosity and questioning are often viewed as confrontational or rebellious by teachers and, therefore, dealt with harshly. This kind of education stifles analytical thinking and limits the next generation from participation in policies that affect their lives. Given Haiti’s background of violence, political turmoil and civil unrest, a different kind of education is necessary.”

Why Montessori?

The Montessori environment is orderly in contrast to the makeshift environments that most Haitian children are used to. In depressed urban areas, a household may consist of extended family members and various relatives sharing a very small living space, and children are given the last consideration in the social pecking order.

In the Montessori environment, children are respected and are free to pursue activities of their choice. This freedom allows children to feel good about themselves while promoting the development of powers of deliberation, initiative, independent choice and self-discipline with the emotional compliments. In the Montessori environment, each child is an active participant in a group and can contribute to the group in a positive way.

The fundamental tenet of Montessori education is to allow children to learn in a social environment that supports the unique development of each child. As opposed to the more traditional “Kindergarten”, which involves group learning, Montessori emphasizes individual learning. Children learn better on an individual level, since not two children are alike and children will be ready for different experiences at different times.

Montessori recognizes that children go through different stages of development during which they can most easily master a particular learning skill. These developmental stages occur at different times for different children. Individual learning gives each child the chance to master a particular learning skill relevant to his/her developmental stage.

Montessori emphasizes children’s developmental age and not their chronological age, since age does not determine a child’s ability. Classes are structured within a three year age range. This gives children a chance to work at their own pace without being judged as quick or slow in comparison to their specific age group. When children work in mixed age groups, they will have a graded series of models for imitation and the opportunity to reinforce their knowledge by helping each other.

The holistic Montessori curriculum helps children develop the physical, cognitive and emotional competence and positive attitude towards learning that is required for school success.
The learning environment ensures the development of self-esteem and provides experiences from which children can create their knowledge.

It gives these children hope.

Westside Montessori School has donated $200 to Doctors without Borders for their relief efforts in Haiti.

February 1, 2010. Uncategorized. No Comments.