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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Miss Tate vs the Montessori Classroom

Before babies speak even barely recognizable words, they communicate with sounds of their own, a language that mothers quickly learn. We, all of us, are born teachers. And voracious students. We learn best when we are teaching. We teach best when we are learning.

The teacher in a Montessori classroom is usually called a directress. Teachers are to be found in front of a class. But directresses are much more difficult to find because a directress might be sitting on the floor with a small group of children, sitting at a table next to a single child, or standing to one side watching quietly. Since there are almost always more than one adult in a classroom, determining which is the directress can be difficult. Although this may seem strange, it is part of the magic that gives the child's education back to the child.

A normalized child is one who senses her awakening intellect and acts on it. She may include a social connection as I confessed to in my previous blog. For my teacher to be as angry as she was, she must have thought I had planned what I did. No. This social silliness was totally impromptu. And had she simply taken me aside and explained that she thought my actions inappropriate, or if she had completely ignored it as I would have as a teacher-directress of young children, I would never have remembered that I ever did such a thing. So, should I thank her?

Writing is powerful. When young children come to realize this, some of the first-those most needing to find their personal power-will practice sounding out simple words and writing them. A few go to extremes. Girls do tend toward the more romantic words like hug, luv or love, and kis or kiss. Spelling varies. Boys who have heard curse words, sometimes try to write the simpler ones for the shock effect. I encourage all of them to write stories instead because you can make pictures in people's minds with stories. The movable alphabet makes this possible.
Next: the movable alphabet.

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