- How (and Why) to Have Difficult Conversations With Your Kids
Wednesday, February 27, 2019, 5:30 – 7:00pm
Pizza for all; childcare available for MSN families
Open to the public
It can be hard to have a conversation about race, gun violence, hate, LGBTQ+ issues, and many other topics in the news and all around us with our children. Often we shy away from those conversations because we think our children are too young, or it’s too complicated, or it’s too scary. But we know that in fact it’s better to start those conversations at a young age so children grow up with an appropriate vocabulary and understanding of issues they are going to notice and hear about anyway.
Please join us for a conversation with Dr. Ousmane Power-Greene, Associate Professor of History at Clark University and co-founder of the annual Children’s Martin Luther King, Jr., celebration in Northampton. We’ll discuss strategies and tips for talking and listening to your children about difficult topics, and we’ll reflect on how important this is to our core value of peace education. “Establishing lasting peace is the work of education.”-Maria MontessoriContinue reading →
- Gazette Article on MSN Anti-Bias / Anti-Racism Work Hello Everybody, I want to pass along a link to an article about our school that is on the front page of the Education section of today’s Daily Hampshire Gazette. I hope you can take a few moments to read about some of our work and commitment to deepen our awareness and strengthen our commitment to Anti-Bias and Anti-Racist practices. This is big work with uncertain outcomes, but this work is very much in alignment with our aspirations for the children and families we serve here at MSN.
If you are so moved, please spread the word about the work we do and share this article.
- MSN Video Page!
Visit our MSN Video page for an exciting look at our programs. More new videos exploring MSN coming soon!
Continue reading →
- You Don’t Have to Scream: Mindfulness for Teens
Let’s face it; being a teen can be stressful. Whether you’ve just turned thirteen or are about to graduate from high school, are a homeschooler or a student at one of our local schools, there’s a lot of pressure on you. Your parents don’t understand you, you’ve got a lot going on with school, and everyone (including you, ahem) seems to have an opinion or expectation of you that they want to share with you right this minute. There never seems to be enough time for everything. If you’re like most teens, you probably feel overwhelmed and want to scream at least half the time (and probably do) right?
If you’re cool with that (and who doesn’t like a good scream once in a while) and the way things are, feel free to stop reading here. If you’d like to regain some sense of control in your life, reduce your anxiety and overall level of stress, check this out: all you have to do is learn how to breathe.
I know what you’re thinking. You think you already know how to breathe. And, you’re right, you do. Except you’ve forgotten how to do it when you most need it: when you’re anxious, worried, or angry. And all of the moments when you feel like screaming.
Often we don’t notice our feelings until they are in our face and about to combust. It’s just those times when taking a moment to breathe can help. You see, during the evolution of our species our brain relied on these intense feelings to guide us towards safety. (And certainly, in some
situations, this is still important.) However, for most of us, our brain often reacts to stimuli that aren’t life threatening as if they were: an upcoming test, nerves before a performance or game, relationship trouble. There’s nothing wrong with these feelings, of course, unless we allow them to control us and prevent us from taking care of ourselves and others and doing what needs to be done. In these moments, we don’t need our brain to send us signals to worry or be angry. We need our brain to remind us that we are strong, worthy, and
capable. And breathing will help us do this.
Taking slow deep breaths exchanges carbon dioxide for life-sustaining oxygen, slows the heartbeat, and reduces the production of stress hormones, which can result in a more peaceful state of being. And wouldn’t you rather feel relaxed than stressed out all the time?
The next time you feel even just a little bit stressed, or worried, or whatever it happens to be, try this:
• Close your eyes and quietly take three slow and deep breaths.
• Focus on each breath going in and focus on each breath going out.
Try it once more, but this time as you inhale say quietly in your mind breathing in. And as you exhale say breathing out. Do this for three breaths.
There you go! Now you know how to breathe—breathing in and breathing out. The next time you find yourself with a feeling that is all consuming, take a moment to focus on your breathing intentionally. It even works preventatively, so if something often leaves you with a feeling that you do not want to have, you can prepare by focusing on your breathing before these feelings arise.
Breathing in. And breathing out.
Corey Hadden is a Montessori Middle School teacher with the Montessori School of Northampton and an Outward Bound instructor. He has taught kids of all ages (and a few adults here and there) how to breathe. Corey received his training in mindfulness through MindfulSchools.org. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.
- Montessori Kids are Unique “Montessori kids are unique. They’re taught differently and they learn differently. Just ask 15 time Grammy Award-winning musician Yo-Yo Ma,…..” Read more of the Forbes Magazine article HERE
- MSN Middle School on WRSI
Director of Admissions Laura Frogameni and new MSN Middle School teacher Corey Hadden join Monte on WRSI to discuss our new Middle School Program and Open house!
- Co-teaching brings strength in numbers
Teaching is one of those jobs where you just can’t fall asleep at the wheel.
As a teacher, what you do matters — every day, with every student, in every interaction. That’s part of what makes teaching such an enjoyable profession.
However, because every moment matters, it’s also stressful, intense, and completely exhausting. Teaching is always at its best when the teacher is well-prepared, clear-minded, and enthusiastic.
So how do teachers do it? How do they bring their best selves to every moment in a job that takes so much out of them?
Well, we’ve got a secret to our success: two selves! We share two minds, two education degrees, two perspectives, two personalities, and one classroom through a co-teaching model. This fall, we will reunite for the seventh year to welcome 16 students into our Upper Elementary classroom of fourth through sixth graders at the Montessori School of Northampton.
As more classrooms move to a co-teaching model, it may be useful for us to share the benefits we’ve experienced and the practices we’ve developed to create an optimal learning environment.
Many teachers report feeling isolated in their classroom; there is often no other adult around for the sharing of success stories or brainstorming about difficult moments. As co-teachers, we don’t encounter this problem. In fact, one of the benefits is that we feel supported by each other — which of course results in better teaching. This support can take many forms: observing the other teacher’s lesson to give feedback, deciphering the specific assistance a student may need, or playing a role in each other’s lessons. Co-teaching offers the gift of a built-in support system that all teachers need.
We build on our camaraderie to do the harder parts of our job, such as finding ways to appropriately challenge each learner. Last year, during a series of lessons on mathematical problem solving, we noticed a group of our students struggling with creating scale models. After conferring with each other about what they needed, one of us met with that group for a few days to practice the skill. Soon the students who had been floundering with their graph paper and models were confidently creating scales that worked, and using them to solve problems.
Without a co-teacher, we would not have had the flexibility or resources to teach two classroom groups simultaneously. What teacher hasn’t wished to be able to clone herself to better differentiate learning?
Not only are we partners in our shared goals and experiences, though; we each use our individuality to its fullest as well. Because we have two different backgrounds and personalities, we have vastly different strengths. In many ways, we complement each other beautifully. Marian thinks big-picture; Johanna focuses on details. Johanna loves mathematical problem solving and literature; Marian is passionate about the science of sustainability, alternative energy sources, and pollinator gardening. Marian is an artist; Johanna is a knitter.
We’ve both brought our strengths into our classroom’s curriculum. This way, students get to experience a greater number of lessons imbued with passion and enthusiasm.
Perhaps the greatest benefit to our students is that our co-teaching relationship is a model for them in their own interactions with each other. Our students don’t see us simply yield to each other. Instead, they witness us discussing, problem-solving, engaging in playful banter, getting excited by each other’s interests and sometimes disagreeing. When we plan our lessons together we incorporate a range of strategies, from role playing to writing to games and movement.
Our students see us working together to create an enjoyable learning environment while they engage in new material. This translates to those times when they are asked to work with a partner. As witnesses of our positive working relationship and our daily collaborations, they have a model for working together well.
Throughout the years we’ve established some practices that allow our co-teaching to thrive.
We nurture our relationship and prioritize clear, friendly and respectful communication. We prioritize our scheduled meeting times for discussing students and lessons, and plan together for the future. In these moments, we work to be honest and not too agreeable. We try not to be vague in our thinking, and we are pointed in our questions so that we can be clear with each other and create consistency in the classroom.
Mostly, we compromise. Whenever two people come together to work or pursue a common goal — and believe us, co-teaching is not so different from a marriage — compromise is inevitable. Webster’s dictionary tells us that “compromise” means that both parties make concessions, or settle for something less than desirable. But we would argue that’s not the case with our collaboration. When we compromise, we become stronger and less isolated. Our two visions become one, and that special blend of our separate selves brings a robustness and beauty to our classroom that is irreplaceable.
Johanna Greenough and Marian Parker co-teach grades four to six at the Montessori School of Northampton. They are Teaching Consultants with the Western Massachusetts Writing Project.
- MSN Launches Pioneer Valley’s First Montessori Middle School
The Montessori School of Northampton, which currently serves students from toddler through 6th grade, will open the area’s first Montessori middle school program in the fall of 2016.
This spring, the school received a grant to fund a planning year for this project, including hiring a teacher to work with the school, its students and their families to lay the groundwork, providing opportunities for individuals and groups to learn more about a Montessori middle school program and sharing with the community the uniqueness of a Montessori middle school.
Corey Hadden of Asheville, North Carolina, has been hired as the school’s first Montessori middle school teacher. Corey is a Montessori-trained and experienced middle school teacher and an apprentice trainer on the staff of the Cincinnati Montessori Secondary Teacher Education Program. He has many years of experience with Outward Bound as well as work with Mindfulness training. Susan Swift, Head of School, says: “We are very excited to have found a teacher with his combination of enthusiasm, training and experience to help us launch our middle school program.”
The middle school program will have a strong base in Montessori education integrated with the unique experience of “going out” into the community. This combination prepares students for the next level of their education by addressing the development of the whole student through a strong academic base, opportunities for self-examination and practical experience in the community. The teacher’s job is not only to guide the students academically, but also to work with them to help them to find their place within the school community and the greater Northampton community.
The Montessori School of Northampton’s middle school will be the first independent middle school in Northampton, and the only Montessori middle school within a 40-mile radius.
The Montessori School of Northampton is located at 51 Bates Street in Northampton. It holds accreditation by both AISNE (Association of Independent Schools in New England) and AMS (American Montessori Society), and its preschool is licensed by DEEC (Department of Early Education and Care). The school will celebrate its 40th year in the fall of 2016.
For more information, call the school at (413) 586-4538 or visit its website at northamptonmontessori.org.Continue reading →
- Montessori: The Elementary Years Continue reading →
- The future of Education was invented in 1906
Well-written article from Forbes Magazine. Click here for the full article
‘In fact, the future of education was invented in 1906. That’s the year Maria Montessori, who was the first female medical doctor in Italy, opened her revolutionary school. People who talk about Montessori education often talk about some of the specifics–no grades, child-size objects, students choose their own activities, the same set of materials in every classroom, etc. but that’s missing the point. Montessori education was so groundbreaking because it was the first (and only, to my knowledge), scientific education method. By which I mean the following: every other education method is based on an abstract model of the child and then derives education methods from that. Maria Montessori, a doctor and a researcher, went the other way around: she experimented with methods and, based on the results, built up a theory of the child, which she then tested and refined through experiment.’Continue reading →