Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Montessori and the Origins of the Atrium

Taken from

Montessori and the Origins of the Atrium
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd was inspired by Maria Montessori's pioneering work in the field of education and her observations concerning the developmental and spiritual needs and capacities of the child. Montessori was already famous worldwide for developing her startling educational methods, through her work with developmentally delayed and underprivileged children, when she attended the Eucharistic Congress of 1905. There she was inspired by the vision of Pope Pius X who expressed the wish that children should participate in the Eucharist at an earlier age; eventually he issued the decree Quam Singular on August 8, 1910, which specified the age at which children are to be admitted to first communion. Montessori, a devout Roman Catholic, took that vision to heart and began creating materials to help children become more familiar with the mass. At the invitation of a community of Vincentian priests, she opened the first atrium in 1915 in Barcelona, Spain. She continued to develop materials on the Mass for children until she died in 1952.
Maria Montessori, M.D.

Message to Catholic Teachers On the eve of her death,
Dr. Maria Montessori sent this message to Catholic teachers gathered at a meeting in London, England.

"Never, as in this moment, has the Christian faith needed the sincere effort of those who profess it. I would like to ask all of you, who are gathered in this meeting, to consider the great help that children can bring to the defense of our faith.

Children come to us as a rain of souls, as a richness and a promise which can always be fulfilled but which needs the help of our efforts for its fulfillment.

Do not consider the child a weakling: the child is the builder of the human personality. That this personality be Christian or not depends on the environment around him and on those who guide his religious formation.

Do not think that because the child cannot understand in the same way that we adults understand that it is useless to allow him to participate in our religious practices.

The staunchest and deepest faith is generally found among the unsophisticated people whose women take their children to church while they are still breastfed: the child's unconscious absorbs divine powers while the conscious reasoning of adults is only human.

You who enjoy the great gift of belonging to the Catholic faith must intensely feel the great responsibility you have for future generations because, among you, there are those who have renounced the world to bring the world to God.

Take then, as help in your task, with faith and humility, "the all-powerful children" (Benedict XV). Take as your special task to watch that their limpid light be not dimmed. Protect in their development those natural energies implanted in the souls of children by the guiding hand of God. May God be with you at this meeting, and may He guide you in your conclusions and decisions."

Maria Montessori

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Color Tablets: Box 2

Here's a snapshot of my almost 3 year old son. For purposes of this blog, we'll just call him son #4. He loves working with the color tablets and can't wait to move on to box 3. Even I have trouble distinguishing some of the shades in box 3! The color tablets above were purchased at Montessori Outlet.

I'd love to share more pictures of our children in action and of our Montessori home setup, but it seems I am always having camera issues. Hopefully I can get this resolved soon!

Montessori Art Shelves

Photo used with permission from Montessori for Everyone

With summer approaching, I've been thinking of ideas for setting up some fun Montessori inspired shelves to keep the kids learning while having fun. Lori at Montessori for Everyone has a great blog post about bringing art into the Elementary classroom, as a well as a whole bunch of other great blog posts. These include topics such as, Montessori basics, home schooling, organization, child development and more! Go check it out. It is one of my favorite and most informative blogs!
For some inspirational pictures of children at art check out Brooklyn's very own, Painted Cloud children's art studio blog: The Cloud Kids
Have fun!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fun with Color Mixing:

"Here We are Together" has a fun idea for the kids to experiment with mixing colors while making fun shapes into works of art. Check it out!

A fun variation to this for the summer can be to put the color mixture into spray bottles and have the kids give it a go outside!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wikisori: Montessori Resource

Hat Tip to Our Montessori Story for blogging about this resource.
From Wikisori's website:
"At Wikisori, our goal is to facilitate collaboration among Montessorians to allow the creation of the collective sum of all Montessori knowledge in one convenient location, available to the global Montessori community for free."
Check it out here: Wikisori

Monday, May 11, 2009

For my Birthday:

When my husband asked me to choose a birthday gift last week, this is what I asked for:

The above wooden toys are from the German company, Grimms Spiel und Holz and can be bought at Three Sisters Toys here in the U.S.A. and elsewhere. Aren't they pretty? As far as toys go, I'm pretty picky about them. The less toys the better and the simpler they are the better too. I am a firm believer that if children do have any toys they should be carefully chosen to be open ended. Blocks, art supplies and play silks are my favorite items for them aside from having them play outside and enjoy God's creation in nature. Besides educational books, "just for fun books" can be wonderful fun too. Again I am very careful and prefer books with illustrations and content that inspires them with rich and wholesome storytelling, beautiful artwork, and that are not in poor taste with crude humor or gross drawings, etc..

I am looking forward for the package to arrive in the mail tomorrow! My husband wanted to get me something I would enjoy, so he was hesitant when I asked for the stacking rainbow and stepped rainbow blocks because they were for the children. For me, there's nothing like the joy of seeing children engrossed in creating something beautiful, be it with blocks, sticks and twigs, in art and more. I think I am going to enjoy these wooden blocks and arches just as much as the kids. I am looking forward to playing with them alongside them too. Just to test them out of course! ;)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Just for Fun: I love cupcakes!

My German chocolate cupcakes with homemade whipped ganache frosting & crushed Ghirdelli's peppermint white chocolate bark. Made for Christmas gifts.
My comadre Amy's (comadre is the spanish term describing the connection between my chlid's Godmother and I)strawberry cupcakes which I topped half with homemade whipped chocolate ganache, round sprinkles, vanilla pirouettes & a strawberry malt ball. The other half was topped with a fresh strawberry and later poured over a white chocolate ganache, cream cheese & strawberry sauce. If you were to ask me to recreate the sauce I probably couldn't because it was made on a whim, but it turned out absolutely delicious! Made for my daughters 1st B-day.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Little Travelers Blog

Wow! I love the Little Travelers Blog! A family traveling abroad documents their international experiences through DVD's, blogging and pictures. The kids even have their own Blog! Enjoy! Here is the link:
The Little Travelers: Travel Notes & Musings on Raising Global Children