Montessori Musings

Thoughts on Montessori teaching, Cosmic Education, and navigating the world of Inspired Learning

A Teachers' Moment of Inspiration

Who can say where and when inspiration may strike? More significantly, why does it matter? I believe, as a teacher and guide for children, it may be all that matters.

Student Engagement

Inspiring student engagement is easier than you think!

How to link "Appropriate Work Choices" to "Inspired Learning"

“To stimulate life, leaving it free, however, to unfold itself, that is the first duty of the educator.“

Where to start with Cosmic Education? Here’s What a 35-year Montessorian Would Do

Cosmic Education is the heart and soul of Montessori…especially for elementary, but really for all ages. Since I’ve been standing on my Cosmic Education soapbox for so many years, I get asked this question a lot: “How do I start?”

Wonder, Discovery and Academic Skills…Unlikely, Impossible, or the Essence of Cosmic Education?

All teachers want their students to be engaged in learning, inspired to go deep into a subject, and, when everything works well, filled with WONDER! Even for Montessori teachers, in today’s world of high-stakes testing, much of the focus is on drilling academic skills using beads and cards, leaving the wonder behind.

The Greatest Help is Letting Go

One student would choose to read the whole morning long; another to do a research with a friend on some topic out of the blue; another might choose to clean their cubby and get organized. I always learned something - many things - on these special days when I took a backseat to the workings of “my” classroom. I became witness to the children’s inner desires, and ended with the gift of a fresh, new perspective.

A Learning Environment Prepared for Independence

Does your learning environment inspire independence? Has your environment gone stale? Is it cluttered or disorganized? Are your children engaged with it? In this article, I examine 4 fundamental areas to consider in creating a learning environment that works.

The Montessori Teacher Transformed

This article’s not about Maria’s transformation, it’s about yours: the Montessori adult. You may be a parent, a trained guide, a support teacher in a Montessori school…it really doesn’t matter. To Dr. Montessori, your most important task is to be transformed.

Love in Plants: How One Chart Inspired My Cosmic Task

If you’ve been reading my words through this blog or joined Demystifying Cosmic Education, you know I spend a LOT of time reflecting on how our Montessori practice leads children to the discovery of their cosmic task, no matter the age of the children with whom we spend our days.

Just 3 Minutes

In this quiet, you will have refreshed yourself. You may have made some wonderful observations, too, but mostly you will have taken some time for you. A gift in the middle of your morning. You’ve found that you can get that refreshment within your classroom, and, as you extend the time little by little, you’ll come to discover that you are regularly observing…and it feels wonderful!

Sharing the Ways of the Scientist

In Montessori we talk a lot about becoming like a scientist as we strive for personal transformation. We know that this involves observing, analyzing, hypothesizing, testing, recording, observing again…often over and over before we make assessments or plan a response.

How to Teach Your Children to Love the Earth

Since teaching played such a major role in the establishment of Earth Day, it seemed fitting to write a blog to support you, teachers and parents, in teaching your kids about loving and caring for our planet home.

Cosmic Education: What the World Needs Now

Cosmic Education is a vision intended to serve humanity in harmony. In Cosmic Education, Montessori saw the possibility of creating not only a new human being, but also a new world. We need that vision reborn in our lives, and we need it now.

Cheating or Short-cut: Why Teacher-Perspective Matters

I received a question from a teacher who had removed the math cards containing answers on the back from her shelves. Why? She said the students were “cheating” and she couldn’t get the students to change their behavior. They had talked about honesty, etc. but the cheating continued. The following is my response to her…which is followed by a brief reflection…

Observation is the Foundation of Montessori

Maria Montessori told us we need to be meticulous as the scientist. It was through observation that she learned about human development and then how to be an aid to that development. That is the true method…more than the materials (which I adore!) or the peacemaking (which is my guiding principle). It is the observation that allows us to follow the child…and that was her instruction to us!

Clear, Connected, Cosmic, and Calm

Maria Montessori told us we need to be meticulous as the scientist. It was through observation that she learned about human development and then how to be an aid to that development. That is the true method…more than the materials (which I adore!) or the peacemaking (which is my guiding principle). It is the observation that allows us to follow the child…and that was her instruction to us!

With Training Complete, Are You Ready for the Classroom? 

I still remember the warm May afternoon when I completed my elementary training. I sat with my 10 or 11 fellow trainees, knowing I was about to take on the leadership of a well-established classroom. I was filled with thoughts of “Am I ready?” 

No Peace Like January

Happy to return to the order of the space, with just a few new items on the shelves to pique their curiosity, the children settled quickly into new inquiries with a focused attention born out of familiarity, competence, and confidence. Those first few weeks were idyllic: calm, peaceful, and focused. 

Why Observation is Key to Science and Sanctity

Mindfulness and Montessori seem to go hand in hand. Dr. Montessori’s prolific writing on education and peace reminds us to infuse awareness, attention, thoughtfulness and respect into every corner of our daily activity. So it should come as no surprise that mindfulness practices have found their way into the lives of Montessori teachers, classrooms, and children.

Are Micro-fears Managing Your Day?

This reflection is about fear, specifically the tiny fears that shape our daily decision-making and choices, forcing us to maintain habits we’d like to change and keeping us from genuine growth.

It's Montessori Education Week!

How gratifying to see the spread of Montessori love from around the world. There are photos of classrooms, quotes, and simple expressions of how Montessori continues to change the world, one child at a time.  Here’s what one friend shared to Facebook…offering it as a gift that we could use to share the love.

Best Teacher Preparation Course? Dr. M. Says Study Yourself

Long story short, even my emotion-laden dreams had me working through my discomfort subconsciously. And, as is often the case, a bit of clarity came through in my morning meditation.

Be the Learner

How do you model being a learner for your students?

What did you learn yesterday? Personally: I learned the distinction between equity, equality, and a host of other social justice vocabulary, framed in an interview with Dr. Derrick Gay; I learned that flexibility is a valuable asset when it comes to collaboration.

Simple and Serene

Staring out my window at the stillness around me, save for the birds that seem to never stop moving, I yearned to share the highlights of days in the classroom when I just sat and watched. Those days, the result of careful orchestration developed over long periods of time, didn’t happen as often as I wished, but they were like magic. The children were truly working as if I did not exist. But how could I impart this message to the crazy, disoriented pandemic learning spaces and the teachers who were trying to manage them?

Three Things to Do NOW for a Relaxed Montessori School-Year Start-Up!

We’re talking long- game here. Any one of these 3 items will lighten your load in the first weeks of school, so don’t worry about doing them all. Choose just one and I guarantee you’ll have a leg up on those first days of prep week!