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View from QCA: Montessori — Peaceful classroom, peaceful world


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Posted Online: Feb. 21, 2013, 3:49 pm
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By Renee M. Detloff
We often hear people bemoan the lack of kindness, peace, and civility in the world today. What do children learn when they see and hear sarcasm, rudeness, lack of respect, and a "me first" attitude on television, in their relationships with others, and in society as a whole?

To change tomorrow's world, we must begin with today's children.
Montessori Education Week is celebrated worldwide Feb. 26-March 4. The century-old Montessori approach to education is based on the concept of respect for each child and the potential of the adult he will become. Children learn what they see and experience.

There is great power in the small acts of respect and kindness that the child should experience as part of his childhood, instead of acts of cruelty or even worse, disinterest. The Montessori philosophy believes a child should learn to live with a grateful attitude and compassion and develop a balanced life.
When bringing body, mind and emotions into harmony, the child learns to adapt to change with flexibility and strength and develops a stable mind, a steady vision, and an open heart that respects the value of relationships with friends, family, and his environment.

To become responsible adults, children need to cultivate mindfulness, which is the process of paying attention to life around them, without judgment, but with gratitude and joy. They need to develop gratitude for the sky, the water, the seeds of Johnny Appleseed, and an inner peace that grows compassion, joy, and beauty throughout their lives. Children should care for their homes and their classrooms, their community, and their world because they have learned to be grateful in every aspect of their lives.

In a Montessori multi-age classroom, serving others is a demonstration of love in action; the older or stronger child has empathy for the younger, smaller child through natural interaction, and does not need to "be taught" empathy. Students have a desire to help- not because of any external reward -- but simply because it is what a good person does. Bullying is seldom an issue for children taught within the Montessori philosophy.

Children should be shown the connections between themselves and their world and foster responsibility through their choices and actions. Children who develop self-reliance are also independent, but understand the consequences of their actions.

In a Montessori classroom the child has freedom of choice, but within reasonable parameters. Understanding the value of history as a living process develops an empathy for the whole human experience, and the Montessori classroom creates a microcosm of society for the child.

Children learn to appreciate the wisdom and value we each have, as well as those before us -- the life cycle is an integrated part of the human experience. All life passes through nature, and helps the child learn who he is and from where he came.

Millions of children who have attended Montessori schools worldwide, including those who have attended Villa Montessori School locally, demonstrate the message of kindness and respect as they have become self-reliant, kind, and compassionate adults.Montessori schools have three very simple rules for a peaceful classroom: respect yourself, respect your friends, and respect your environment.

Children learn what they see. A Montessori teacher and the Montessori family make a commitment to the personal development of the child to help him learn to live with gratitude and compassion, develop strength of character, and honor the child as the future of mankind.

If we honor the child and follow the three simple guidelines of respect we give the child, we also honor the world.
Renee M. Detloff is head of school for Villa Montessori School, Moline.


















 



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  Today is Monday, Sept. 22, the 265th day of 2014. There are 100 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The board of education has granted Thursday as a holiday for the children, with the expectation that parents who desire to have their children attend the Scott County Fair will do so on that day and save irregularity the rest of the week.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The guard fence around the new cement walk at the Harper House has been removed. The blocks are diamond shape, alternating in black and white.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Rev. R.B. Williams, former pastor of the First Methodist Church, Rock Island, was named superintendent of the Rock Island District.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Abnormally high temperatures and lack of rainfall in Illinois during the past week have speeded maturing of corn and soybean crops.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Installation of a new television system in St. Anthony's Hospital, which includes a closed circuit channel as well as the three regular Quad-Cities channels, has been completed and now is in operation.
1989 -- 25 years ago: When the new Moline High School was built in 1958, along with it were plans to construct a football field in the bowl near 34th Street on the campus. Wednesday afternoon, more than 30 years later, the Moline Board of Education Athletic Board sent the ball rolling toward the possible construction of that field by asking superintendent Richard Hennigan to take to the board of education a proposal to hire a consultant.






(More History)