Teaching the Soft Skills: The Lessons of Grace and Courtesy

2016-11-01T15:28:29+00:00September 20th, 2016|Categories: Raintree|Tags: , , |

From Forbes magazine and the Wall Street Journal to the Huffington Post and the New York Times, we find articles on the importance of the “soft skills”. You can blame my generation for throwing out some of them with the bathwater of conventions in the 60s, and now in the Digital Age where we spend most of our time in front of a screen, we have moved farther and farther away from simple courtesies such as listening when another person speaks and saying thank you. [...]

The Community

2016-11-29T10:29:03+00:00July 8th, 2016|Categories: Raintree|Tags: , |

An excerpt from Montessori Madness by Trevor Eissler Montessori education is infused with the idea of community. One experience has given me a singular perspective on the importance of community. It was a plane crash. My own. Shortly after college, I drove to Alaska looking for a job flying airplanes and some adventure. There was plenty of both there, and I found myself flying a small single-engine Cessna up and down the Bering Sea coast of western Alaska. My job was to fly a load [...]

Nine Qualities of an Authentic Montessori School

2016-11-01T15:28:37+00:00November 17th, 2015|Categories: Raintree|Tags: |

1.  Teacher Training Authentic high quality Montessori schools have teachers who were trained by the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) or the American Montessori Society (AMS). Do not be confused by other acronyms when looking at a teacher’s diploma.  2.  Teacher Tenure Montessori teachers who have found an authentic Montessori school to work in do not leave. Ask how long the teachers have taught in the school. A long tenure speaks to the school’s authenticity 3.  Length of class time Authentic Montessori schools have a long uninterrupted work [...]

Montessori: A Leap of Faith

2016-11-01T15:28:37+00:00June 30th, 2015|Categories: Elementary, Raintree|Tags: |

Being the parent of a Montessori child takes a leap of faith. Most of us, and this includes Montessori teachers, were educated in traditional classrooms. When we started our elementary program, we thought, “We have to test these kids. We can’t be having this much fun, and the kids are learning, too,” so we invested in a norm-referenced assessment, the Kaufman, testing the students at the end of third grade, and then again at sixth. But the tests didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already [...]

No Helicopters Please

2015-05-02T03:44:37+00:00May 2nd, 2015|Categories: Raintree|Tags: |

When we first started Raintree, Montessori was relatively new to the Lawrence community. The Raintree campus of today bears little resemblance to the ramshackle building and grounds of yesteryear, but we have fond memories of that time, just as we will have fond memories of this time in our lives in years to come. As our physical environments improved (a real parking lot replaced the mud and gravel and windows brought natural light into what had been dimly lit classrooms) and our students achieved success [...]

Given The Right Conditions

2016-11-01T15:28:37+00:00May 1st, 2015|Categories: Raintree|Tags: |

“I never teacher my pupils; I only give them the optimum conditions in which to learn.” —Einstein This simple statement by Einstein also applies to parenting; children are learning all the time, not just at school. Children literally construct themselves from the moment they enter this world. Throughout Montessori’s writings she uses the term “self-construction,” driving home the point that it is the raw material they are exposed to which shapes the adult they will become. Some people, mostly men, don’t finish this process until [...]

Coming to the Office

2015-06-24T11:13:46+00:00April 24th, 2015|Categories: Raintree|Tags: , |

I don’t get many children “sent to the office” for misbehavior. Maybe a dozen in a school year. Pretty remarkable considering the size of our student body. To find out why, the article Given The Right Conditions in the April newsletter. Does that mean children behave perfectly all the time at Raintree? No, of course not. But what happens if they are sent to the office? It depends on the age of the child, of course, andthe issue. For some it is simply a place to cool down. My method is benign neglect [...]