Archivo de mayo 2012

The inner necesity to work

From the moment the infant is born she is working to eat, move and grow.  She is driven along her path of development.  Montessori observed the child’s needs to work in the earliest of her experiments.  Placing practical life exercises and toys alongside each other is the first casa dei  bambini, the children ignored the toys and gravitated towards all of the purposeful work.

At first the child’s efforts are self-centered and only for mastering self-care.  As they grow, the work expands to the environment around them.  The real work that the home and the classroom provide draws the children into activity.  Washing and scrubbing, sweeping and gardening all call to the child’s inner urge to use their hands and bodies to accomplish a task.  The child does not do this work for external rewards, but for the satisfaction of the work itself.  The more skilled they become, the more helpful they can be.  Before long they see that they can also be helpful to their peers.

Dr. Montessori noted:  “if he washes the dishes he cleans those which others have soiled, and if when he lays the table he works for the benefit of a many others who have not partaken the work with him.  And in spite of this he does not consider this work done in service as a supplementary effort deserving of praise.  No, it is the effort itself, which is for him the most sought after prize.  In this way the part of the exterior activity of the child, which is aimed towards social purposes, is developed”.

Organically, this work becomes a contribution to the community and fulfills a social function.  The work of the elementary child continues to drive them beyond the classroom leading them further into the community.  Eventually, we see the beginnings of the conscious, intentional service.  The child formulates how to match actions with needs.


Would you like to become a Montessori Guide and live the joy of Riviera Maya? Cursos AMI en Cancún

Babies, toddlers, infants… the work of growing

At birth the child begins a journey towards an awareness of needs Montessori recognized that all the child’s experiences from the personality.  She charged her teachers to bring clarity to the child’s experiences.  Infants know what they need, alert the adults around them with their cries, and trust that they will be met.  Montessori encouraged parents to talk to the child through each diaper charge and feeding and to give language to their needs, to bring them into focus.

Montessori infant/toddler communities create a space for the child to learn how to care for their own needs independently.  All of the care of the self-activities wiping noses, combing hair, self-feeding, reinforces that they have needs and gives them the skill to meet them.  With repetition and practice they slowly gain more and more confidence in their skills of self-reliance.  In addition, practical life exercises more he child’s reach beyond himself to the care of the environment: plants, arterial, etc. through grace and courtesy adults guide the children to notice the needs of others in their community.  Before long, this develops into empathy, and the small child learns to offer their friends tissue of hold the door open for her.

As they get older, Otoch Paal students expand their skills and their awareness to the more expansive environment and those in it.  The beginning primary child continues to work on the skills they began in the infant/toddler community.  As they grow, the children show a more mature interest in the outcome and result of these exercises.  Practical life activities are done for practical reasons: watering plants because they need water, washing tables because they are dirty.  Students help younger children because they need and request help.

When the child arrives in the elementary class she knows her needs, her peer’s needs and how to meet them.  She has the skill to care for the self, the environment and, if need be, her friends.  The child is confident to communicate her own needs for help.  The elementary trained adult introduces the fundamental needs of humans and the Story of Human Beings.  The chart of fundamental needs outlines the basic things that everyone must have to live, regardless of geography or culture.  These two impressionistic presentations place an awareness of needs on the global stage.


Would you like to become a Montessori Guide and live the joy of Riviera Maya? CURSOS AMI EN CANCÚN 

The Forgotten Citizen

Parts from a Letter Written in 1947 by María Montessori and Sent to all Governments

My life has been spent in the research of truth. Through study of children I have scrutinised human nature at its origin both in the East and the West and although it is forty years now since I began my work, childhood still seems to me an inexhaustible source of revelations and – let me say – of hope.

Childhood has shown me that all humanity is one. All children talk, no matter what their race or their circumstances or their family, more or less at the same age; they walk, change their teeth, etc. at certain fixed periods of their life. In other aspects also, especially in the psychical field, they are just as similar, just as susceptible.

Children are the constructors of men whom they build, taking from the environment language, religion, customs and the peculiarities not only of the race, not only of the nation, but even of a special district in which they develop.

Childhood constructs with what it finds. If the material is poor, the construction is also poor. As far as civilisation is concerned the child is at the level of the food-gatherers.

In order to build himself, he has to take by chance, whatever he finds in the environment.

The child is the forgotten citizen, and yet, if statesmen and educationists once came to realize the terrific force that is in childhood for good or for evil, I feel they would give it priority above everything else.

All problems of humanity depend on man himself; if man is disregarded in his construction, the problems will never be solved.

No child is a Bolshevist or a Fascist or a Democrat; they all become what circumstances or the environment make them.

In our days when in spite of the terrible lessons of two world wars, the times ahead loom as dark as ever before, I feel strongly that another field has to be explored, besides those of economics and ideology. It is the study of MAN – not of adult man on whom every appeal is wasted. He, economically insecure, remains bewildered in the maelstrom of conflicting ideas and throws himself now on this side, now on that. Man must be cultivated from the beginning of life when the great powers of nature are at work. It is then that one can hope to plan for a better international understanding.

A decalogue by Maria Montessori

1.  Never touch the child unless invited by him (in some form or the other).

2. Never speak ill of the child in his presence or absence.

3. Concentrate on strengthening and helping the development of what is good in the child so that its presence may leave less and less space for evil.

4. Be active in preparing the environment. Take meticulous and constant care of it. Help the child establish constructive relations with it. Show the proper place where the means of development are kept and demonstrate their proper use.

5. Be ever ready to answer the call of the child who stands in need of you and always listen and respond to the child who appeals to you.

6. Respect the child who makes a mistake and can then or later correct himself, but stop firmly and immediately any misuse of the environment and any action which endangers the child, his development or others.

7. Respect the child who takes rest or watches others working or ponders over what he himself has done or will do. Neither call him, nor force him to other forms of activity.

8. Help those who are in search of activity and cannot find it.

9. Be untiring in repeating presentations to the child who refused them earlier, in helping the child acquire what is not yet his own and overcome imperfections. Do this by animating the environment with care, with restraint and silence, with mild words and loving presence. Make your ready presence felt to the child who searches and hide from the child who has found.

10. Always treat the child with the best of good manners and offer him the best you have in yourself and at your disposal.

When grace and courtesy prevail




Montessori  philosophy focuses on the education and development of the whole child.

One of the  difference ways of teaching in a Montessori classrooms are the  daily lessons and practice in Grace and Courtesy toward each other.

Children learn to love each other and to respect their environment by doing it  in a natural way.  Adults may think these are “rules” for the child is just a style of  life.  Some lessons in Grace and Courtesy are:



Giving eye contact
One person speaks at a time
Making requests, instead of demands (Would you be willing to…?)
Practice giving and receiving compliments
Saying please and thank you
Holding the door and gate for one another
Waiting turns in line patiently
Asking someone permission before helping, rather than assuming they cannot do it
Coughing into the arm
Introducing self and practicing greetings
Answering the telephone
Frequent hand washing
Working quietly
Maintenance of our classroom and outdoor environment
Picking up litter around school grounds
Stopping the game at recess when someone falls down and offering help up
Loading the school bus back to front and unloading from front to back
How to carry a chair safely and in silence
How to sit properly in the clasroom or anywhere else
The importance of being quiet at the theater during a live performance
Being respectful of nature
Being respectful of ourselves and others
Table manners
How to join in a game
How to include someone in a game
How to follow the rules in a game
How to take turns
Helping someone when they are hurt
Understanding and respecting that different cultures have different traditions and customs

When children understan that  being polite, kind, helpful, respectful, and courteous is always in everyone’s best interest and  brings  happines  for everyone.

Hello from sunny Mexico!

 Written by Anne Gayley Gabbert

I am Ana (or Anne), the English teacher at Otoch Paal Community Montessori School in Akumal, Mexico. Akumal is in the state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatan peninsula. We are 62 miles from the city of Cancun, one mile from the Caribbean Sea, and almost 1,500 miles due south of Naperville and Chicago! Check on the map — you’ll see!

There are 85 children at our school and we all enjoy the wonderful warm weather here the whole year round. Many of the families in this area of Mexico are also of Mayan descent, and so are some of our children at school. The Mayan language is different from Spanish so when I am teaching the children English, for some of them it is actually the third language they are learning! It is believed that the Mayan language has been spoken for almost 5,000 years.

We live in a beautiful place and many people from all over the world come to visit. A lot of the parents of students in our school work in hotels or resorts, and sometimes we go on field trips to practice our table manners and learn how to eat in restaurants in our fancy clothes. Here is a picture of all of us in our traditional Yucatecan dresses and outfits for a “Desayuno Elegante” (elegant breakfast).

In the Mayan language, Akumal means “Place of the Turtle.” This section of the Caribbean Sea is a turtle sanctuary, which means they are protected and safe here. The sea turtle nesting season starts in May, and it will go on until October.  We will all be very Leer el resto de esta entrada »

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