Gender Equity in the Classroom: What it Looks Like and What You Can Do

Teachers, parents, school administrators: listen up. Gender biases and stereotypes start EARLY, and you are the key people who can help us raise a new generation with fewer prejudices, more freedoms, and happier lives. Read how - and why - combatting gender bias helps us all. Montessori Leadership Q3 2020.

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Alpha Montessori Update

It was a total delight to visit Alpha Montessori this past April. The first class of nine students just graduated in an emotional and inspiring ceremony. (See photos below or watch the ceremony here.) Many of these children started in the very early days of the school when Alpha Montessori was not much more than a concept, a vision of what education could bring. Yet all have now been accepted into English medium upper schools, a fantastic accomplishment. They are stunning examples of how confident, competent, self-directed, and articulate Montessori children can become, regardless of background. The students presented individually chosen and…

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High School Graduation Circa 2015

For the record, I am a big fan of alternative education programs. I’m opposed to the thrust and consequences of both No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, especially their emphases on extensive standardized testing and connecting teacher assessments to student test scores. The Montessorian in me fully recognizes that all students learn differently, that there are many paths to success, and that there are multiple measures of knowledge. I want to see students encouraged to develop individual strengths and not penalized by failure on narrow, inappropriate skill assessments. But are there limits here, folks? Are there NO…

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A Mighty Girl

      Does A Mighty Girl (www.amightygirl.com) really have the world's largest collection of books, toys, music, and movies for "smart, confident, and courageous girls"? Well, I can't prove that 'world' claim, but it's the best compilation I've seen in a long, long time. For those of you who go nuts at the still prevalent stereotypical female roles in movies and wonder why entirely pink aisles in toy stores persist or wish there were more books about girls doing interesting things - and not just forced pedantic bios of Marie Curie - this website is a godsend. In addition to all those books, toys,…

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Alpha Montessori

Alpha Montessori As a committed Montessorian, I was curious about what Montessori schools were in New Delhi.   The first ones I visited were very disappointing. The Montessori name has been an advertising slogan for many years, often disguising schools with little to no Montessori practices or philosophies at work, and that is what I found here. So I was delighted  when I found Rajesh Batra, school director, and he led me to Alpha. "The Alpha Montessori School, located in Mandawali, an impoverished community in East Delhi, India, was founded to provide high quality education to low-income children and provide them…

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Banish the Colourful Classroom?

Thank you Jan Hoffman and Carnegie Mellon University.  Well, thank you and shame on you at the same time.  In the New York Times yesterday, Jan Hoffman wrote on a Carnegie Mellon study looking at effects on children's learning and concentration of the heavily adorned classroom walls that are the staple of traditional elementary schools throughout the USA. Not surprising to any Montessorian, the study found that children performed better in rooms with relatively unadorned walls.  They noted that the proliferation of posters and borders and commercial materials, presumably designed to be cheery and inspirational, actually may be a distraction,…

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Alpha Montessori Roof Garden Blooms!

The roof garden is blossoming!  Actually, more than blossoming - it's producing real food, smack in the middle of a smashed-in urban labyrinth, a wasteland for nature. Alpha Montessori - one of my favorite places - was last year's recipient of the AWA Glimpses of Asia photo exhibit and fundraiser.  The proceeds went to take their abandoned, unsafe, and pretty well dysfunctional rooftop and turn it into a garden. The goal was to have some space where children - and adults - could enjoy outdoor time, experience nature, and learn about botany. I'm happy to say all the work has paid…

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Nature Deficit Disorder

Richard Louv is a man after my own heart.  I first heard him speak on NPR years ago and was prompted to buy an early edition of his book, Last Child in the Woods.   I owe him a huge debt.  In this book he ties together trends I had been observing but never quite connected  - at last not nearly as well as he does. Impeccably researched and fantastically readable, this book shows us the connections between modern children's disconnection with nature and such trends as: the rise in obesity and attention deficit disorder;  our emotional well being; notions…

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Montessori: Thank You

As a long-time fan of Maria Montessori, a certified Montessori teacher, and a Montessori parent, I am still surprised how few people know about the approach.  It must be education's best-kept secret. If the SXSW EDU conference is starting to cover it, though, perhaps a new wave of Montessori learners is in the works.  Listen and read about efforts to expand Montessori in public schools, especially in Texas, here. To learn more about Building the Pink Tower and their approach to creating a documentary about Montessori schools and helping spread Montessori, check here. Stay tuned for more about the Montessori…

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