It’s the first day of our first full week of school and for us teachers the last four days have been such an adventure, not only are we getting to know our new students but we have the privilege of watching our returning students take on new roles in their changing social landscape. It’s awesome.
Montessori framed her approach to understanding children—and all people—through what she referred to as fundamental human tendencies, which can be best described as universally motivating drives not unlike Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Like Maslow’s hierarchy, Montessori’s human tendencies don’t describe discreet forces that operate on the human mind, but are rather a way for us to wrap our heads around the larger system of motivation. For instance, the idea that there’s a level of physical safety at which we “level up” and are able to pursue emotional needs is a common oversimplification of Maslow’s work that shouldn’t be carried over into our discussion of Montessori’s human tendencies. Instead, it’s best to think of the list I’m about provide as a cheat sheet for observing a holistic system of motivation.
-Orientation – Exploration -Activity -Abstraction/Imagination -Self-Development -Order
-Concentration -Communication -Precision
I bring up the human tendencies because I want to discuss the first three with you, since that’s where we are in the school year. We are orienting, exploring, and doing. All of us, the children, us teachers, and you parents. Orientation as a foundation for exploration is the curriculum goal for the month of September. Our theme is “I am Special,” and the idea behind that is that we are all special, we are all here together, and there are a number of things we do here (school). Lessons like hand washing, carrying a table, or even a super sneaky lesson like a presentation on playing with the train table are how we’re getting into the swing of classroom routines.
For all of you, orientation probably looks different but I’m sure you can relate to the feeling of needing to get your bearings in a new environment, whether that’s key cards or lunch box no-no’s or just memories of what the first year was like. The children have the luxury of being in our environment actively exploring and orienting a few hours a day , many days of the week. For you guys we’d like to invite you to exercise your human tendency for activity the best way we know how—a party!
Join us on Friday, September 21st to talk more about Montessori Philosophy, get an overview of the school year, ask questions about the program and get to know one another a bit better.
Parent Discussion: Independence Tuesday, September 11 from 5:15-7:00 pm
This is the first of (at least three, hopefully many more!) monthly discussions I’d like to host to learn and share a bit about the home vs. school realities of applying parenting and pedagogical theory. I think we’d all agree on the importance of fostering independence and I’m looking forward to sharing some of the less obvious psychological benefits of early independence but the purpose of tomorrow’s discussion is really for you all to share with one another the successes and struggles you’ve found trying to share the responsibilities of every day life with your less than speedy small helpers. I’m looking forward to seeing those of you who can make it and am sure we’ll have a good time talking about our shared favorite people!
If you’d like to read more about the Human Tendencies Montessori for Everyone has a nice summary of them, the names are a bit different (as they often are) but the ideas hold true.
Sharing: This week is the first time we’re doing sharing since last school year! We’re focusing on a letter of the week, and as we’re in the beginning of the year, we’re in the beginning of the alphabet, A. While we’ll never reject a sharing item for failing to follow the letter of the week, it will reinforce the lesson if we get to “discover” that everyone brought something that starts with the sound “a.”
If your child attends school M-W or W-F please send a sharing on Wednesday or Thursday, respectively. Those children we get to enjoy 5 days a week, we’re splitting alphabetically by last name. So if your child’s last name begins with A-M, please consider Wednesday their sharing day and N-Z will share on Thursday.
Nut Free Zone: Please remember that Wedgwood Montessori is a nut free zone, this includes walnuts, pecans, almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, all nuts. Out of concern for the potentially dangerous allergic reations to nuts please consider soynut butter for sandwiches or steer clear of that route altogether.
See you soon!
Metti, Tehut, Martha, Karina, Janet, & John
On the Horizon
Parent Discussion—Tuesday, September 11, 5:15 – 7:00