Mighty, mighty powers of observation

As superpowers go, you might think that employing the powers of observation are not as cool as say, swinging from spiderwebs cast from your wrists, but for thousands of years, regular people have been making amazing discoveries by simply observing a change. Alexander Fleming made a mistake when the bacteria he was growing on a Petri dish got contaminated by what he called “mold juice.” He observed that the bacteria didn’t grow up close to the “juice.” This “contaminant,” named penicillin, prevented bacterial growth and has saved millions of people from succumbing to bacterial infections. New School Montessori children are …

From concrete to abstract, students learn math with hands-on materials

New School Preprimary students develop a concrete understanding of math by using hands-on Montessori materials to explore the base-ten number system, relationships between numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and even beginning algebra. Students also learn to recognize and write numerals by tracing sandpaper numbers with their fingers, writing them with a pencil and placing numbers in the proper order.

Students teaching students

New School Montessori 6th graders set up their white board outside on the Ginkgo House deck one warm day to teach factorization to the 4th grade students.  One of the tenets of a Montessori education is the multi-age classroom which provides opportunities for children to practice leadership skills, enjoy advanced and challenging work and to mentor other students.   Listed below is what Wikipedia had to say about factorization. As for me, I d prefer to have a New School 6th grader there to present it and answer all my questions. 3 × 5 is a factorization of the integer 15, and (x – 2)(x + 2) is a …

Kids are amazing at being adaptive, collaborative, inclusive and forgiving

Hello Friends, When I was 25, I walked into my first Montessori school. I was touring the country for 9 months performing poetry for students and training teachers on how to get their classrooms engaged and excited about reading and writing poems. I had never witnessed students like the ones I saw that day.  4th-6th Graders working together in groups on a graphic novel, and next to them another group with a large map of the world spread out on the floor, identifying natural and political boundaries.  Some students worked independently and were not interrupted by a teacher or peer. They …

Students paint journal covers for their written work

New School Montessori students in 1st-3rd grade are painting what will become the covers of their new journals. Each week they receive journal prompts and need a place to gather their creative works in one place. Students were encouraged to paint pictures or designs that represented them, their interests, or provided inspiration for their writing.

We created an environment that allowed joy to blossom.

Hello TNSM friends, A new year approaches. We know that time is constant and new beginnings are always available to us each moment, however, a new year always seems an invitation to pause, take stock, and ask ourselves big questions. Where are we headed? What did we learn? Who are we grateful for and who will we miss? Amidst a year of great turbulence, grief and soul searching, TNSM was a safe space for our children, families and staff. Not only did we do everything possible to keep our community safe from COVID, but we also created an environment that …

Preprimary students are taking mathematics to the “bank”

Just as you might hand a bank teller a check written out for $4,726 and expect cash money equal to that amount in return, New School Montessori preprimary teachers hand students 4 “checks” on nameplates with red painted numbers on them:   One is written for 4,000 beads, one for 700, another for 20 and the last one for 6. The student serves as the teller and brings back 4 bead blocks of 1,000 each saying, “Here are 4 thousands.” Then she moves on to the next request for 7 hundreds, 2 tens, and finally 6 individual beads to create …

Making our way through grief takes time and a listening and patient ear.

Hello Friends, I remember a parent from the TNSM community sharing with me that our community will be going through the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) again and again at different times throughout the pandemic. Denial: It’s terrible the pandemic is affecting so many people, but WE won’t be touched by it. Anger:  Why can’t people figure out how to fix this or tell us what to do?!!! Bargaining: Can I wear a mask when I go into public places, but have  my friends and family over with no precautions? Depression:  I am just so tired of this. Acceptance: Well, I don’t think we are …

Cartography and sewing collide in one glorious project!

Kindergartners in the North Room have made and sewn double-sided globe pillows and can decide every night where in the world they want to lay their heads. Preprimary students have been practicing sewing and map-making skills for years. In this project, they have combined both interests into one amazing project. They were very pleased with their work!

Warm days of recess replaced with colder days

One of the phrases many Montessori teachers say again and again  is that there are no bad weather days, as long as you have the proper clothing.  And for the most part, New School Montessori students get to enjoy the outdoors every day. It’s hard to believe that just a few short weeks ago, students were pictured playing outside without coats, and now they are bundled up for winter fun as they create snowmen, snowballs, slip, slide and play on the playground equipment.