Grandfriends’ Day 2019

Grandfriends’ Day 2019

Montessori Matters: Grandfriends’ Day 2019
By SJMS Director of Development, Melanie Steadman

Grandfriends’ Day is one of our most special days at SJMS.  Our students look forward to sharing their school with their special friends and our special friends are able to get a glimpse into our students’ daily lives.  The day is filled with smiling faces and excitement that creates happy memories for everyone involved.

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Montessori Matters - Culture Geography

 Montessori Matters - Culture Geography

By SJMS Teacher Becky Tanner

Through the study of geography, students gain an appreciation of the beauty of the world and the interdependence of the living things that inhabit the earth. Geography thus involves studying not only the topography of our earth but also its diverse people. This dual characteristic of geography makes the study of geography complex. To simplify things, the study of geography is usually broken into two parts: physical and cultural. Let’s take a closer look at the cultural aspects of Geography today!  

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Montessori U: Food Empathy

By SJMS Middle School Teacher, Sarah Weber

soil potted tomato vegetables.jpg

Maria Montessori valued care of the Earth so deeply that she believed children who possessed a sense of connection to the Earth and the environment would learn through the lens of curiosity, gratitude, and wonder. The interdependency of our world is the backbone to many of our Montessori lessons. How we feel about the food we eat directly affects our diet which directly affects our minds and bodies.

I have had the pleasure of working, learning, and farming with both children and adults in a variety of settings from farm schools in Wisconsin to high-yield produce farms in Nebraska and earning my B.S. from the College of Farming, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences through Ohio State University. As a trained AMI Elementary Guide (MTCNE) and Certified Green Teacher (OSU Extension), I am able to combine my background with the resources at our school to offer children a new approach to how they experience food.

Columbus, Ohio has a strong, diverse network of urban farmers and master gardeners, as well as programs, companies, and restaurants that offer (usually free!) supplies, support, and encouragement to people of any age as they choose to grow their own food. As we continue to build our network as a school within this movement of food empathy, I hope that you will join us for our next Montessori U on March 22, 2018 at 6:00pm in the Multi-Purpose Room to explore and problem-solve how, by growing even just one edible plant, you too can change the way children experience food.

Practical Life and Purpose

By Middle School Teachers, Bill Reed & Sarah Weber

Seventy years ago, Maria Montessori said this about the Practical Life Curriculum:

“When we speak about the behaviour of men and animals, we refer to their purposeful movements. This behaviour is the centre of their practical life. It is not just the practical life in a house, cleaning rooms, watering plants, etc., that is important, but the fact that everyone in the world must move with a purpose and must work, not only for himself but also for others. It is strange that man's work must also be work in service of others; if this were not so, his work would have no more meaning than gymnastic exercises. All work is done not only for ourselves but also for others. Even...dancers, who perfect their movements with so much trouble and fatigue, dance for others. Tailors who spend their lives sewing could not wear all the clothes they make themselves. Yet tailoring, like gymnastics, requires lots of movements.

"If you have a vision of the cosmic purpose, that every life in the world is based on this movement with a purpose, you will be able to understand and better direct the children's work. In the beginning, children are urged by nature to be active. They are happy when they are active. They begin to develop the behaviour of humanity with its limits and its possibilities. Movement is closely connected to psychic life; we must move with intelligence, will, character, etc.” (Montessori, Maria. The 1946 London Lectures.)

In the Children’s House classrooms, Practical Life is mainly about four things: care of self, care of the environment, grace and courtesy, and the manipulation of objects. The goal of the Practical Life curriculum is to prepare the child to manage the skills that allow them to be independent. They learn to dress themselves, pour their own drinks, clean up after themselves, and treat their peers respectfully.

As they grow older, they master many of these skills. The older child gets much satisfaction from using practical skills to serve the community. Contributing to the life of the group is just as important to the elementary child, as acting independently is to the Children’s House student. So the types of “purposeful behavior” that needs to be practiced adapts. At this age, students establish committees and take charge of cleaning and maintaining the school environment. They plan projects, outings, and parties for the class. They care for class pets and plants.They serve as safety monitors during after-school pick up. Time management is an important life skill in our fast-paced world. The upper elementary child develops “executive skills" like tracking personal work assignments, monitoring choices using weekly and monthly planners, estimating the time needed to complete projects and assignments, and problem-solving conflicts within their communities. The goal is for them to develop the more abstract Practical Life skills that allow them to work with purpose in their current community, and in their communities to come. The Upper Elementary classroom provides the controlled, prepared environment for them to do that well.