Holidays offer a gateway to find connections with cultures different from our own

Essay written by TNSM parent and D+CE member Rachel Lwin Thadingyut is the Myanmar holiday honoring the end of the summer and the transition to the cool, dry season of southeast Asia, heralded by the full autumn moon. This year, it was on October 20, the day that I wrote this blog post! Like Halloween, Thadingyut is one of many celebrations of the end of the harvest in the northern hemisphere, a marking of the annual changing of the seasonal guard. Last year our family skipped trick-or-treating and held a Halloween/Thandingyut celebration instead. We were homeschooling at that point, and …

Continuing our conversations and deepening relationships

“The needs of mankind are universal. Our means of meeting them create the richness and diversity of the planet. The Montessori child should come to relish the texture of that diversity.”  ~ Maria Montessori Moving into my second year with a child at TNSM and serving on the Diversity + Community Engagement Committee, I am continually inspired by and grateful for this community. This community is such a key part of what makes TNSM special – every child and every grown up brings a unique perspective and story to this journey. Last year, much of the work that the D+CE …

From simple counting to beginning algebra – all within the preprimay classroom

Montessori hands-on materials allow students a physical, visceral connection with math – not some memorized equation for how to solve for “x  and y” on a test. When students develop a concrete understanding by using hands-on materials, their understanding is internalized within them as problems grows increasingly more complex and abstract. Students know that mathematics helps us solve real problems encountered in the real world every day. It’s exciting to watch children standing at the nexus of where concrete and abstract math come together and to see their relationship with numbers grow from simple counting, to understanding base 10, addition, …

A Look Back: How forts became huts

The New School Montessori has a long history of listening to children’s ideas. And there are numerous forums where children can voice concerns and work for change. Morning meetings are held in every level and are good places to discuss what is working and not working in a classroom. Our (9-12) students often share their concerns with their elected student senate members who bring those issues to the fore. Back in the early 2000s, a (9-12) student named Char Daston pointed out that the word “fort” is incongruous with The New School and our peace-loving ways. These structures that kids …

Sweeping into fall

New School Montessori (3-6) students are sweeping into fall with a number of practical life activities that help them practice taking care of themselves and the messes we make throughout life. Much of their work also helps with hand-eye coordination and prepares their muscles for the complexities and control required for writing. Students swept up a mess of leaves in a hula hooped circle, counted toy pumpkins, washed actual pumpkins, and refined their muscular control, transferring liquid from one pumpkin receptacle into another, using an eyedropper and a scoop.

Celebrating the Stars – Meet Orion

New School Montessori students in our (6-9) level have been learning about the creation of our universe. They’re studying the planets, the stars and how Earth was created. They visited the Cincinnati Observatory in Hyde Park and were amazed at the building and its telescopes. The following week, representatives from the observatory visited us at The New School and taught students how stars are clustered in ways that look like objects or people. When you connect the dots, it’s not hard to see how 3 tight stars make up Orion’s belt and the three additional stars pointing downward are part …

Traveling through the Universe

New School Montessori students in our (6-9) program stretched across “TNSM’s blacktop universe,” holding up labeled planets. They worked to keep the same relative distance that exists in space as the distance between their neighbor. Notice the long visual pause as one travels from Saturn to Uranus. Montessori methods are all about physically experiencing the world. Whether children use math manipulatives, conduct a science experiment, or learn to write by tracing sandpaper letters, these moments are remembered and internalized. TNSM’s blacktop has been there as the backdrop for many important jaw-dropping moments of awareness. In addition to our solar system, …

New School Montessori students develop important skills through making maps

In this age where GPS systems guide us through our turns in life, it is still valuable for us to see where we are in the world and to look ahead to see where we are going. Maps are cool. They help us understand our place in this world. They help give us perspective on the relative size of our neighborhood, our country, our planet, our galaxy in relation to what is around us. Maps help us develop our spatial reasoning skills. National Geographic concluded in a 2013 report on maps and education, “Spatial thinking is arguably one the most …

2015 alumni share future plans

Amelia Dustman Amelia graduated from Seabury Hall in Maui, Hawaii. She continued her study and practice of ballet and contemporary dance with the varsity dance company throughout her four years there. Amelia was involved in student government and spent her summers volunteering at a camp for children with special needs. In the fall, Amelia will be attending The American University of Paris with plans to study history, law and society. She attributes her love of global learning to the lessons taught at The New School Montessori.       Ella Gilbreath Ella graduated from Cincinnati Country Day School and is …

Team-building exercises for (9-12) homerooms

TNSM (9-12) teacher Phil Swenson led team-building exercises for all three (9-12) homerooms.  The task for each group was to get to know each other better by working together to solve a problem. In the process, students listened to each others’ ideas, began with a few false starts and ultimately came together, learning from their mistakes and moving forward with a more evolved plan. The goal: To construct a system of paper tunnels to carry a marble from one side of the room to the other where it would ultimately land in victory in a paper cup. Students soon realized …