Category Archives: Concepts

Montessori and the Active Child

Recently I was having a conversation with a Montessori parent who was feeling concerned about whether Montessori was a good fit for her son – or, indeed, for any boy.

Since I don’t go in for wholesale generalizations and stereotypes about girls and boys I dug deeper and determined that when she said “boy” she meant an physically active child with perhaps a lower concentration threshold. Continue reading


InPraise of Morning Recess

This summer I met a wonderful mum who opted not to send her child to Maple Grove in Kindergarten because of morning recess.  I respect this mum and trust that she knows what’s best for her child; it all worked out when her daughter was accepted into Tyee in Grade 2.

But it’s a concern that is expressed a lot by families with a more orthodox Montessori background. With the dual stream schools, the traditional 2-3 hour uninterrupted work period cannot happen because of recess.<!–more–>

I respect the pure view that recess, well, interrupts the uninterrupted work cycle. But this is one more occasion where I truly appreciate the dual stream approach as a benefit.

Because kids need more recess. We are continually learning about the importance of free play for children.

The Canadian Paediatric Association urges its members to advocate for “…the protection of childrens’ recess time and extracurricular PA programs and non-structured PA before, during and after school hours”. The American Pediatric association has a specific position paper specifically about the critical role of recess for children.

There are, I’m sure, negatives to interrupting the uninterrupted work cycle but let’s not forget that there may be positives too.

Recess is Not a Privilege (Montessori Rocks)
Amazing video of a 4 year old during his uninterrupted work cycle
Work/Play Balance – a Montessori Perspective
Healthy Kids Blog – Recess in Schools 


This week, Kottke introduced me to the concept of Flow  (and provided some of the content of this post).  The author of Flow,  Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, introduces the concept as “a state of intrinsic motivation in which a person is fully immersed in what she or he is doing for the sake of the activity itself.” Continue reading

Concept: Growth Mindset


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We have had two PAC meetings where the amazing Lori Prodan has presented the growth mindset to us.  Last year, I posted about the growth mindset and it’s application in a Montessori system.  The concept is gaining traction in our homes and schools.

But my sense from the comments at the meetings, from discussions with parents, and my own attempts to model and encourage a growth mindset at home — I just don’t think we always know what we’re doing.

Continue reading


I’m sure most of us are upset about the events in Paris and Beirut. With Remembrance Day last week and with the refugee crises around the world, I have lately been thinking, more than usual, about Peace in our time.

Friday in the library we welcomed a group of parents who are considering Montessori at Maple Grove for their children. Mrs Greyhurst spoke powerfully and eloquently about Dr. Montessori’s methods. But the thing that struck me then and has stayed with me over the weekend is her statement that “Montessori is about Peace”.

It’s something that I don’t often think about because I am absorbed in the minutia of life (both school and beyond).

Montessori is about Peace.

Dr Montessori established her first school in 1907 and then lived through the Spanish civil war and two world wars. She believed that establishing and emphasizing our interconnectedness to children would lead to adults to whom war was abhorrent. She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize six times.

“The Science of Peace, were it to become a special discipline, would be the most noble of all, for the very life of humanity depends on it. So, also perhaps, does the question of whether our entire civilization evolves or disappears.”

Perhaps I am naive or hopelessly optimistic but in these times I have to believe that our children being educated in this way can make a difference. That peace one day will be contagious.

More and even more and a 1000 times more.

**Gandhi and Dr. Montessori met in 1931 and corresponded thereafter.  He was invited by her to speak at her training college in London in October 1931.

Concept: Homework


One of the first things I heard about Montessori was that there was no homework. It’s what many people know about Montessori when they know nothing else; sometimes it’s presented with a bit of scorn, worry, and contempt.  I’ve also heard that parents new to Montessori also worry that their child will not develop good work habits or learn enough without homework and will request homework for their child.   Continue reading