Saturday, July 28, 2012
Dr. Swimme’s (pronounced Swim) books are fascinating. I can’t put them down. I want to know more about my beginnings as a fireball … the formation of stars, galaxies, and planets … the creation of the Earth … my initial place of birth. Yes. Dr. Swimme has convinced me that my mother was a Star, the beginning of my habitat on Earth. I feel so special with this cosmological understanding of my life. The chapter on Evolution in my book: Montessori—Living the Good Life tells the story following the ages when humanity began to be evident; but Dr. Swimme’s accounting of the Universal beginnings is more exciting. Imagine my being an invisible particle of life exploding like fireworks in the darkness of space, causing the emergence of light, a fire initiating our planet Earth, enjoying a self-activity of creation. WOW … pretty far out, eh?
Dr. Swimme’s point of view is a bit different from the humans’ who stand on earth keeping busy controlling their existence with technology and production to increase the gross national product for more things. How often do we look up into the starry sky and know that is where our life began, or spend time hugging a tree knowing and appreciating its beginning and time it has spent of itself to grow, winter after winter. A young child’s mind can absorb these truths without knowing the science of what Dr. Swimme reveals in his books.
Enjoy a silent walk through the forest with a two, three, or four-year-old, or give them some seeds to plant and a shovel to dig in the dirt. Watch the joy and peace on their face. They are absorbing the truths of the Universe, the origins of their souls. These same experiences of contentment are felt as they learn to stack the pink cubes to make a tower or fill a diversity of holes with wooden cylinders. Their minds are creating a new world. This is the miracle of an absorbent mind as explained in my book: Montessori--Living the Good Life.
Saturday, July 21, 2012
As you can tell from all my Twitter, Link In, and Face Book comments, I’m excited about the 27th International Montessori Congress being celebrated in Portland, Oregon, next year in July. The theme will be “Montessori Guided by Nature.” Maria Montessori told us: “The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth.”
When I read that Brian Swimme will be a major speaker at the Congress, I checked out all his books I could find from the library. Dr. Swimme tells us that the Universe is the home of the Earth where our life began—where we are all connected to each other, to the Earth, to the stars and galaxies. I wonder now what he will have to say about the new discovery of the Higgs Boson???
In the meantime, getting back to Earth . . . Marnie@carrotsareorange.com has a great link with activities about “learning about the earth through tactile exploration.” http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/carrotsareorange/feed/~3/bVPLqAdCSQU/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email
Also, I want to tell you about another BLOG I am beginning. My publisher set up a different domain (www.connieripleylujan.com) than the domain my son created for me: (www.montessoritheory.com) Both of these websites have BLOG pages that I will attempt to keep up each weekend with different messages. Comments are welcomed.
Free give away—If you are interested in going to the Congress, click on the EVENTS page on my website: www.montessoritheory.com and find out all about it. Send me your address and I’ll mail you a free 2013 magnet for your refrigerator.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
I finished reading Siegel and Bryson’s book on the whole-brain child. After returning it to the library, I ordered two more copies from Amazon. I’m so impressed with the simple and practical way the authors evaluate the operations of the brain.
Maria Montessori uses the term mind in her original work rather than brain. I’ve read of other scientist’s views explaining the work of the brain creating the actions of the mind. Maria Montessori explains this work being done by an absorbent mind--a physical, spiritual, and intelligent organ of a human being that is present, creating the being’s life until death.
Maria Montessori was initially a physician concerned with the health of her students. She observed what nurtured the children’s potential for happiness. This is the basis of her method and materials. Later she became a scientist and proved her theories in further observations of the children. She wasn’t inclined to work with mice and rats to understand what was obvious as she enjoyed watching a child’s contentment in its work. Nevertheless, experiments of mice and rats have proven what Maria Montessori learned over one-hundred years ago when she discovered the secret of childhood.
Maria Montessori worked for peace. She believed peace is a birth-right and she trained teachers and parents to provide a peaceful environment for their children, our future citizens of the universe. I think parents and teachers would appreciate a unit, Peace Education for the Home & Classroom, offered by a creative website: www.carrotsareorange.com:http://carrotsareorange.com/category/education/montessori/peace-curriculum/
Saturday, July 7, 2012
The Pink Tower is only one of many Montessori materials Maria Montessori devised to help the child find and free himself. Seen but not heard, the silent presentation of movement of the graduated sizes of cubes by a trained teacher makes the experience mysterious. The child’s psyche is stirred to watch and choose to do independently what he sees. After he builds the tower, a challenging self-correcting effort when pieces are left over, he begins again, doing the work over and over many times with great concentration until his ego claims a relationship, a union, with the cubes—a psychological foundation of the lesson.
Recalling this work of the child creating his intelligence, further developing his brain, and feeling the joy of accomplishment with a fulfilling sense of independence and freedom, I think of times when I have done the same. I loved to play with blocks, tinker toys, erector sets—all the toys my children enjoyed as well. I’m reminded of the happiness and joy just recently of my becoming a published author. Writing, whether it is fiction or non-fiction, published or not—it all sets me free, creating a new self.
The child in the womb is born and can feel joy in his creation of a new self every day when he experiences an environment encouraging him to work independently. In my book: Montessori--Living the Good Life, I try to explain how freedom of spirit, for the child, is possible in our homes and schools.
Shelly@awakeparent.com has some suggestions in an article about independent activities for children. http://www.awakeparent.com/
Comments can be made below or sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, July 1, 2012
When I first read in Siegel and Bryson’s book, The Whole-Brain Child, that our brains were plastic, you can guess my first image: like a plastic bowl? Of course you know better. The authors were speaking of the flexibility of our brain to develop and change in size. The word neuroplasticity was new to me. I hadn’t read of the term in any of Maria Montessori’s writings or lectures; yet I believe she understood the experience of this science when she spoke of the normalization of the child. She knew that given the right environment the child’s brain can connect and heal itself from deviation, and can mature and work toward its true potential. Bryson and Siegel’s book explains scientifically how this can happen . . . how the brain has opportunities to mature with frustrations, conflicts, and abuse.
If we can understand the mechanism of the brain, then, hopefully, we can maneuver its behavior by creating a thoughtful environment for a child dealing with conflicts. I’m not going to go into the details right now—you need to read the book, (after you read mine: Montessori—Living the Good Life). Understanding the brain’s parts is enlightening. The left and right brain names are familiar of course . . . but there’s more—like an upstairs and downstairs, and the work of the amygdala and the hippocampus.
However, there is a major difference between the adult experience of helping to develop the child’s brain as Siegel and Bryson describe, and Maria Montessori’s method of normalization. While Siegel and Bryson’s ways can be taught by the adult to an older child, Maria Montessori’s materials and method allow the child from birth on to continue to develop his own brain and thereby gain a sense of independence which is a major element of one’s true potential. Next week: the Pink Tower.
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