Saturday, December 29, 2012


“Humanity today” . . . “resembles an abandoned child who finds himself lost in a wood at night, and is frightened by the shadows and mysterious noises of the night. Men do not clearly realize what are the forces that draw them into war, (or the need for guns), and for that reason they are defenceless against them.” Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work, E. M. Standing, p. 81.

She goes on to say that, “there must be something radically wrong with our civilization that it should be threatened in this way from within. The vast majority of human beings on this planet do not want war; yet wars come. The causes of war, she would have us believe, are not those which appear on the surface and immediately precipitate its outbreak. They lie deep down in the collective subconscious of humanity.

“The real reason” . . . “is that something was wanting in the building up of our civilization. A vital factor has been left out: and that is, the child as a creative social factor,”. . . “we have only taken into account, “adult values of life.”. . . “regarding childhood merely as a stage through which the individual has to pass in order to become an adult”. . .“from the individual’s point of view.”

Childhood is more than this Maria tells us. Childhood is an important entity of its own . . . “the other pole of humanity.”

When we hold a babe in our arms, look into the eyes of a toddler, enjoy watching their play, do we imagine or see them with guns or at war? Don’t we see and feel a sense of hope that they will live in peace without guns? Isn’t Christmas a time to foresee a world of peace?

Maria tells us, “The child and the adult are two distinct parts of humanity which must work together and interpenetrate with reciprocal aid,”. . . “not only the adult who must help the child, but also the child who must help the adult.” More next week.

Please read my book, Montessori—Living the Good Life.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


When tragedy befalls us like the terrible event in Connecticut, Friday, December 14, sorrow and broken hearts immediately follow. Humans are very good at holding on to broken hearts. What else can we do about our natural feelings of sorrow and pain? Can we sit and patiently wait for the healing? No. Grief comes quickly and is depressing. It feels better to be angry. Even fear feels better than grief or depression. Would you believe that? That anger and fear feel better than to carry the weight of sorrow and a broken heart?

Feelings of anger and fear can be good and can move us to intelligent action and the pride of knowing we can and have to do something about our sorrow and pain.  Action allows us to find company and join with others who, like us, feel a need to do something. We are angry. Why, how, did such a terrible thing happen? What can we do?

When humans join in communion for action against such tragedies, there is usually two groupings: those needing to express their fear and anger immediately, and those who want to be patient and understanding with their own and others sorrow and pain and to find a thoughtful way of preventing future tragedies.

Will consideration of guns or no guns give us a reasonable solution? To have or not to have guns is an ancient paradox. Do we need guns?  Do we have a right to bear arms? Will guns in our schools and homes reduce the violence in our nation?

These are questions on the minds of many this holy week of Christmas . . . makes me wonder what Maria Montessori would have to say about guns. They certainly would not have been found in her schools or shelved in her classrooms. I’m going to think about this until next week and see if I can make sense to the questions.

Please read my book, Montessori—Living the Good Life.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Time to decorate for Christmas . . . "are we going to put up a tree this year, or the manger scene I ask my husband? It’s such a hassle, bringing it up from the crawl space. Why don’t we get a little table top one," I say. He nods okay with a glum look which means he wants the big tree. “It’s tradition,” he says. “Well, maybe not the manger scene?” I ask. Let’s go modern, I’m thinking. Another glum look.

Fifty-two years ago when my first child was born I ordered a beautiful manger scene from Italy. Almost every year since then I’ve set it up. After placing the small figures in a snow backdrop of white cloth with lights shining around and through the cloth, the angel hanging on the wall, I feel a special contentment as I stand and meditate on the symbolic meaning of the story of Christ being born. As a mother, Montessori enthusiast, and guide, the story has great truth and important teaching elements for me.

Santa Claus is another Christmas story originating when an old guy with a white beard put gifts in children’s shoes. Unlike the infant Jesus, a promised savior who brought hope to the people of a nation, this old man brought hope to the children of poor families. Both stories are tales of giving which give us opportunity to express our traditions, or models to create new ones.

Parents ask, “How do we tell our children about Santa Claus and be honest?” Maria Montessori would remind you to not tell or try to teach—but to show. Create the environment which has meaning to your family or community and your child will absorb the truths you want to share.

“Innocents Lost” the headline reads today, December 14, 2012—a very sad day for all and for our nation. We will need our stories to renew hope for our broken hearts, and to create a new and safer environment for our young.

Please read my book, Montessori—Living the Good Life.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


“We have to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative . . . . “ Remember that song?

Maren Schmidt had a good quote in her recent newsletter, Understanding Montessori. “If you find yourself in a "crabby habit of mind", shift your focus to the blessing instead of the criticism. Look for the positive, knowing full well the negative is there. Find qualities to appreciate and praise. What you feed grows, so feed positive qualities with appreciation and ignore negative qualities as long as no one is hurt. As you find qualities to be thankful for in your children and others, you will cultivate an attitude of gratitude.”

She quotes Dr. John Gottman who lists in his book, The Relationship Cure, about 75 qualities we can find to appreciate and praise. Some of these follow: loving, intelligent, strong, energetic, persistent, funny, gentle, kind, relaxed, beautiful, calm, tender, careful, strong, interesting and helpful.

As a scientist, Dr. Montessori observed these qualities in the children and focused on the reasons to value them, knowing they are attributes of the normal child.  The work of the parent, teacher, or guide is to focus on, appreciate, and praise the expected positive qualities.

Please read my book, Montessori—Living the Good Life.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Tis the season children get excited as they set their hearts on gifts seen on television and in stores. Moms and Dads may feel the stress of their child’s excitement for different reasons—like shortage of money which is a problem this year with so many out of work. Christmas, like every day, is a time for happiness but sometimes it doesn’t have a chance when parents and children are forgetting how to relax and enjoy moments and treasures of everyday pleasures of life.
I was intent on finishing my Christmas letters and shopping this week, before the first of December. My mind, busy with mental lists, kept waking me in the night, leaving me tired during the day and too exhausted and short of energy I needed to accomplish my intent. Doesn’t make sense, does it?

 What if I were a parent, or a teacher having to be with children the next day and my child or one of the children in the classroom was frustrated with the family stress of the holidays?
It’s not easy for a parent or teacher to let go of their own emotional situation and consider the child’s point of view and emotional feelings of the moment.

Dr. Montessori always paid attention to the troubled child, first. She knew the upset child had the greatest need for appreciation and praise.

Please read my book, Montessori—Living the Good Life.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Recently a question was presented in a group discussion of Montessori teachers that totally stumped me and made me realize how completely out-of-date I am to a new culture our children are absorbing and growing in to: Smart boards, iPads, iPhones, and new technological gadgets and games to come. The teacher wanted to know when and how all this technology is incorporated into the child’s life.

I’ve been thinking about this all week, wondering what Maria Montessori would tell or show the teachers. As a scientist, she would understand the mechanics of it all—certainly more so than I ever will. I’ve been told there is software (aps) for Montessori teachers to learn how to present the technical applications and collaborate with the children’s materials. She recommended waiting until the child was five.

Another person commenting suggested to wait until the child had the reasoning to make comparisons and did so through sensorial material. My suggestion is to work with comparisons with nature and a child’s senses.

It upsets me to see very young children spending their time pushing buttons on these little game pads that offer limited learning experiences. What is their life missing in the meantime? Better they spend the time asking live people questions about their world. Let them use their imagination and wonder about the magic of the technology of our age. Let them enjoy and learn to appreciate the social joy of verbal and handwriting communication. It’s the journey that matters.

Please read my book, Montessori—Living the Good Life.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Once again, I want to share Marnie’s excellent website,, to remind parents and educators how important an awareness of sensorial activities is for the developing brain. Maria Montessori’s observations and experiences in the 1900’s showed that a child’s intellect is developed through his senses—a philosophy based in science and since confirmed in modern day studies.

Montessori schools offer a variety of sensorial materials and methods to encourage the child’s development.  Websites like, ,, and many more, are created to help parents with at-home children. Homeschooling is becoming popular with parents studying Montessori methods and making their own materials. Maria Montessori would be happy with whatever works for the families and the child.

Marnie quotes from Pat Wolfe’s book, How the Brain Learns, “The only way to get information into the brain is through our senses,” and from Bronowski: “You could not get a human being to build anything unless the child had put together a set of blocks.

I’m reminded of the thousands of Legos, Tinker toys, Lincoln logs, and electro pieces that my five sons enjoyed creating imaginative structures. Today they are entrepreneurs and doctors.

Another recent, very creative post of Marnie’s is,,

Please read my book, Montessori—Living the Good Life.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


…, a favorite Montessori word and not always an easy accomplishment. I certainly haven’t perfected it. I watch parents shopping with their children to observe how others do it. Little ones sit in the basket or walk along the side wanting to push the basket, maybe grabbing merchandise off the counters. “Mommy, can I have this?” One mother may just say no while another, understanding that the child wants to do what she is doing, will give the child an option to choose something meaningful.

The key to collaborating is to understand another’s point of view. An older child, of reasoning intelligence, can be told no and with some understanding of their parent’s point of view, will collaborate and accept the no or begin a discussion. The young child, not capable of collaborating, will normally cry. They need the adult to do the collaborating. Collaborating can satisfy even infants and babies when the adult soothes the child with rocking, singing, petting, music, feeding, or change of scene, and of clothing.

The key to understanding, Maria Montessori tells us, is observation, the first essential principle of collaborating with the child’s development of his human intelligence. It takes a lot of heart, patience, and love to sacrifice one’s time for the love of another; but this is the calling of parents. Consistency in awareness of the young child’s point of view will lead parents to the habit of collaboration. This habit will carry over to the frustrating teen years when the young adults struggle to have their own mind. Ideally they will come to their parents for discernment.

Please read my book, Montessori—Living the Good Life.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


 . . . days to remind us of our ancestors—Days of the Dead, some call them. I like to think of these days as reminders of our passing loved ones whose spirit lives on in our choices of behaviors and attitudes, which we, in turn, will pass on to our next generation to create eternal life on earth.

Is this not what eternity is all about? I think, if Maria Montessori were alive today and involved in our latest studies of our DNA, she would confirm the passing on of eternal life to a new generation of humanity, as our ancestors, living in us and with us share our life. Our ancestors’ life in us and with us, from the beginning of our conception, a psychic energy in fetus and embryo, is the beginning of our absorbent mind which in turn brought to life a new world for our parents to enjoy.

Growing up with my children gave me unmatched joy. Today I pray for parents and educators all over the world to appreciate the lives, past and present, God gives us.

Please read my book, Montessori—Living the Good Life.

Friday, October 26, 2012


I had a table at a craft bazaar this past weekend, promoting my book: Montessori—Living the Good Life. A person stopping by and, looking at the book, asked, “. . . what does ‘living a good life’ have to do with Maria Montessori?” The remark reminded me that my publisher questioned me on the title, as well. It seemed obvious to me, when I chose the title, that families understanding Maria Montessori’s way would know how to ‘live the good life.’ This is the passion I try to express in my book—that peace could reign if civilization came to appreciate the secret of childhood.

As adults, we spend much of our time focusing on our fears and discomforts, on our wrongs and evils in the world. As parents, we work hard to instill our values in our children. As teachers, we impart our knowledge to our students along with our standards. Surely goodness will happen if all the ‘ours’ come true, and we will live a good life ‘our’ way.

Maria Montessori brought a new understanding to this equation when she discovered, through observation and scientific experience, the secret of childhood.  By collaborating with the child’s developing intelligence, a new ‘OUR’ is created.  When all these ‘ours’ work together, ‘Living the Good Life’ is possible.

Please read The Secret of Childhood, The Discovery of the Child  by Maria Montessori, and  my book, Montessori—Living the Good Life.

Friday, October 19, 2012


Time for ghosts and goblins . . . makes me wonder how these terms were initiated. As children, my brother and sister and I toured our neighborhood in Miami trying to scare and waiting to be scared. We’d knock on neighbor’s doors for trick or treating, screaming, “BOO”. Sometimes a neighbor would be dressed as a ghost or skeleton and they would scream at us. It was a fun and safe time.

Today, scary news was revealed on Anchorage Daily News front page—stories of goblins and ghosts being created by Boy Scout leaders. Victims of their not-normal behavior will find monsters under beds and in closets for years if not a life-time. These monsters, now called ghosts, buried in the subconscious minds of young boys and girls may never have an opportunity to come out as a “boo”. These young, innocent lives may never have a chance to be normal. Some may grow-up as a victim who has learned to wear a predator’s costume.

 I’ve been involved in two generations of Scouts. My sister, brother, and I were all Scouts. Our five sons kept their father and me busy as Scout leaders. Being in the Scout community was a normal, healthy activity for our sons growing up. It’s pretty scary now. God bless our teachers for their patience, time, and talent to help our scared kids be normal.

If you have a copy of my book, Montessori—Living the Good Life, turn to the chapter, Rocks of Darkness, on page 121. See what can be done to get rid of our ghosts. We all have them.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


In Alaska, when the colors change, the snows come, the green landscape turns white, the human body shivers. We look for the first signs on the nearby mountains—termination dust, we call it. Many leave for warmer climate—snowbirds--not returning until the cold and darkness finish their spell. Those who stay may experience a depression with their spirits turning grey and cold.

It is a difficult time for the young child unless parents and teachers plan ahead for an environment of joyful activities appreciating the changing of seasons, learning to enjoy the life of nature, coming and going.

Marnie and Deb always have relevant and fun activities going on at their websites: and  Maren Schmidt’s newsletter,, is also an important website for teachers and parents to understand the theory behind many of her activities.  AND . . . for you wonderful homeschooler parents, there is a new E-book: Magellan-Montessori-Homeschooling-Early-Elementary, an Amazon Kindle edition.

Below freezing weather and our long winters in Alaska make it especially difficult to experience the joys of nature outside. I end with a quote of Maria Montessori’s: “Of all things, love is the most potent.”

Note: I'm having to close my other blog site due to too much spam. This is a spam free site. Some of the blogs on the other site will be re-blogged safely here. There is a contact address on my website: if you want to comment.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


 . . ., a technical term Maria Montessori uses frequently in her book, “The Absorbent Mind,” and in other writings—behavior the teacher observes.

Parents are usually concerned that their newborn is normal, that their preschooler, their first grader, their teenager is normal. For many different reasons, parents will love and accept their child as normal and might feel threatened for a Montessori teacher to speak of the process of normalization for their child. I remember, as a parent, I did.

Once I began to observe children in a Montessori classroom, I understood and looked forward to the natural or “normal” changes in the behavior of the new students in September and of their returning in January. Maria Montessori speaks of the characteristics of normalization including: love of work, concentration, self-discipline, and sociability. This process of each child, in a prepared Montessori classroom environment, takes time.

As a parent of five, in an environment of some Montessori homeschooling, but primarily public school, as well as two parents who did not model all the characteristics of normalization, it didn’t happen.  Our family was not totally normal. Bits and pieces of normality bounced around here and there.

Parents who can model normalization is the best environment, the best teacher.

“I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” Einstein
Please read my book, Montessori-Living the Good Life.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Today I bought and read a children’s picture book written and illustrated by Beverly Carter, a member of Curves Club where I exercise three times a week. She is an art teacher, author and illustrator, and, among other talents, she is a dog musher, a big deal here in Alaska. The book is titled, “This Dog Team Lives in the House.” The story is about a very sad dog named ‘No-wan-um’ that Beverly found and took home to live with   her other dogs and family in her house. She named the new dog ‘Spirit’.

There is more to the story which you can read when you buy the book; but what struck me as I imagined reading the story to my great-grandchild, Scarlett, is how much it reminded me of the New Testament parable of “The Good Shepherd,” about the lost sheep that was taken into the fold and treated with love.

Mary Maunz’s book, “Nurturing Your Child’s Inner Life”, has a chapter illustrating the parable of the lost sheep with interactive creative materials. She gives other lessons with materials and parable stories to bring out the ‘godliness’ in the child’s spirit. Reading stories like Bev’s and playing with symbolic materials as Mary suggests, is a beautiful way to help children, and all of us, nurture and feel our goodness.

“Free the child’s potential, and you will transform him into the world.” Maria Montessori.
Please read my book, Montessori-Living the Good Life.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


I’m still reading Mary Ellen Maunz’s book, “Nurturing Your Child’s Inner Life.” She knows Maria Montessori’s way with the children and has had many opportunities for observing and understanding the spirituality of the child’s inner life. Chapter six on the child’s approach to God has some very practical activities and lessons you can share with your child. She is noted on the website.

As a mother, I did many of the experiences she talks about but I wasn’t conscious of why. Many of the experiences just happened because I wanted to share my God-life with my children.  I believe our love of God calls all of us to want to share God with everyone in the universe but we don’t always do so because we are mentally and/or emotionally shy. Our self-consciousness often calls us to share a noise we don’t mean to share.

E.M. Standing, a devoted Montessorian, writes: “Silence predisposes the soul for certain inner experiences. You are not the same as you were before it … It is one of the tragedies of our mechanical age that so many people grow up without discovering the beauty of silence.”

Please read my book, Montessori-Living the Good Life.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Are you aware of how you approach God? We all have a way even if we do so unconsciously. Sometimes we follow what we are told to do. At times we do what pleases others. Words, ways, rules, and promises give us hope that God will be with us.

For me, the best experience of God is when I’m surprised, like with a sunset, beautiful flowers or works of art, a rainbow or smile of a loved one or a few words in an email or card . . . times when God sneaks into my conscious life and says, “Here I am.”

Maria Montessori tells us that a young child’s subconscious is constantly absorbing God’s message, “Here I am,” from infancy in the womb to birth to three and more years of age. As the child’s intellect develops his consciousness, he will know God and express his knowingness of God’s presence in his own way. Parents and teachers can allow this environment and collaborate with the child by living examples of their own experiences and approaches to God.

Keep in mind, though, that the child’s motto is: “Help me do it myself,” which means spiritually, “Help me to learn about God all by myself.” . . . more about this next week.

Please read my book, Montessori-Living the Good Life.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


I began reading Mary Ellen Maunz’s book, “Nurturing Your Child’s Inner Life,” this week. She explains the difference of sharing one’s religion or belief system and living one’s spirituality. She gives excellent suggestions and examples of recognizing the child’s spiritual life and encouraging his development. She has a chapter on how Montessori schools present thoughts of Christ’s teachings.

Maria Montessori was a Catholic and taught religion in her time, believing the church’s symbolism helped the children to understand the divine. However, she did not, and insisted that her teachers not, interfere or impose their adult beliefs on the child’s consciousness. She encouraged teachers and parents to nurture children’s spirit with stories of Christ’s teachings through simple parables.

“To aid life, leaving it free, however, to unfold itself, that is the basic task of the educator.” Maria Montessori.

Please read my book, Montessori-Living the Good Life.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


Knowing is more than knowledge; much more than the regurgitation of facts and instilled opinions; more than memorized time-tables or lists of spelling words. Knowing happens when one is free to work on a task independently until he feels content that it is done, and free to do it over and over until the work and materials become incorporated in his being. Knowing happens at a time of unknowing.

I remember the excitement and joy I felt the first time I watched one of the children contentedly work with the blocks of cylinders, concentrating as she lifted each cylinder, experimenting as she attempted to place the cylinder in the right hole, in the right block. I sat silently. Not once did she look up for approval—not even when she had all the cylinders in the right holes. Instead, she carefully took each cylinder out of its block and lined them up randomly and began again. She knew and felt the joy of learning. An hour passed before she felt satisfied and returned the material to the shelf. Smiling with a big sigh, she came over and hugged my legs. We both experienced joy.

Maria Montessori tells us that, “The child becomes a person through work.” Please read my book: “Montessori—Living the Good Life,” and check out some of the websites recommended on my website and blogs:, We are living in the Age of Montessori. The children are calling you to get on the bandwagon.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Seth D. Webb has a radical blog that will keep you all excited and on your toes. He starts out with a great quotation of Maria Montessori’s from “The Absorbent Mind.” “If education is always to be a mere transmission of knowledge, there is little to be hoped from it in the bettering of (our) future. For what is the use of transmitting knowledge if the individual’s total development lags behind . . . ? The child is endowed with unknown powers which can guide us to a radiant future. If what we really want is a new world, then education must take as its aim the development of these hidden possibilities.” . . . take time to tune into his blog:

As a mother and a Montessori teacher, I witnessed the hidden possibilities of the young child, the secret of childhood that Maria Montessori expressed in her many books. I can’t tell anyone what the secret is because it is unknowing, an expression of the child’s faith and hope. It’s our unknowing that calls us, the adult, to collaborate with the child’s unknowingness. When we give the child an environment of faith and hope, an experience of love, the child can then develop an intellect and potential for greatness and goodness.

In my book, “Montessori—Living the Good Life,” I attempt to express metaphorically the experience of collaboration enjoyed in the creation and formation of clay becoming a pot. The clay has the potential to be many things. The artist has the desire and potential to create a beautiful pot. With faith and hope in her work, the artist allows the clay to be centered and to spin on the wheel while her fingers are gently working with the yielding clay into an unknowing, unique vessel.

“To aid life, leaving it free, however, to unfold itself, that is the basic task of the educator.” M.M.

Please read my book: “Montessori—Living the Good Life,” 

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Carl Jung tells us that “The greatest and most important problems of life are fundamentally unsolvable. They can never be solved, only outgrown.”

I think politics originated when we first went to Moses or the Great Chief of our tribe or the leader of our neighborhood gang or the CEO of the company or the Guru or Avatar. Always there were leaders to elect to tell us what to do, what we had to do, and what we had to pay to have it done. Here lie the roots of commerce and the roots of war.

Maria Montessori tells us that, "Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war." If we want peace, we have to let go of what doesn’t work, what we have outgrown, and be present to the new world arriving. The child has the potential to do this naturally when given freedom and independence to work in collaboration with an environment of unknowingness where his intellect can develop and create a new world.

We must clearly understand, Maria Montessori reminds us in her book, “The Absorbent Mind,” that “when we give the child freedom and independence, we are giving freedom to a worker already braced for action, a worker who cannot live without working and being active. This he has in common with all other forms of life, and to curb it makes him degenerate.”

Please read my book: “Montessori—Living the Good Life.”

Saturday, August 11, 2012


“The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth,” a famous quote of Maria Montessori and the theme of next year’s 27th International Montessori Congress being held in Portland, Oregon, “Montessori: Guided by Nature.”

This is going to be a fabulous gathering of thousands from all over the world, people who care about the child and our environment. World-renowned speakers, such as Dr. Vandana Shiva, a physicist ecologist and civil rights activist, a defender of the environment, and, as I mentioned in an earlier blog, Dr. Bryan Swimme, a mathematical cosmologist and author of several books on the Universe. Research presentations will reveal the potential plans for the universal child into the decades to come. The central concern of the Congress will be the role of humanity within the Earth community and the continuing creation of the Universe.

I want to spread the news about this Congress to as many folk as possible because I believe it’s an event that is going to make a global difference in the future of our children. More information can be found on my website, under the Events page as well as:  Another important quote from Maria Montessori reminds us that, “Plainly, the environment must be a living one, directed by a higher intelligence, arranged by an adult who is prepared for his mission.”

Saturday, August 4, 2012


I couldn’t resist . . . I had to Google. The news of this new particle is exciting scientists all over the world.  I’m excited reading about it but don’t ask me to explain what it’s all about. Some physicists are calling it the God Particle, suggesting it is the beginning of life, the beginning of mass; but most scientists are more cautious, saying it is potentially the beginning of many more experiments and new theories to explore.

Reading and meditating on this news causes me to wonder about a newly conceived child and its potential as a human being. Who knows what his/her future may bring to our world, to our universe. Is their creation any less magnificent than a star in the sky or a new found particle in the Hadron Collider? What is truly magnificent is that humans can reflect of these new theories and find ways to serve humanity and move mankind to a higher level of civilization.

Just as scientists observe the experiments of the new found boson particle, Maria Montessori observed the young child and experimented with different materials and methods to find out how children learn. In doing so she discovered the secret of the child’s absorbent mind—a mind that could take in their environment, their universe, and with their intelligence, create a new world.  She wrote a book about this, the Absorbent Mind. My book, Montessori—Living the Good Life, speaks of it as well. (see

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 . . . has a great link with activities about “learning about the earth through tactile exploration.”

Also, I want to tell you about another BLOG I am beginning. My publisher set up a different domain (  than the domain my son created for me: ( 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: 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:

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. has some suggestions in an article about independent activities for children.

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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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Sunday, June 24, 2012


Both Maria Montessori’s method and Siegal and Bryson’s book, The Whole-Brain Child, speak of a child’s true potential, presenting ways to understand and work toward this goal. They are not talking about potential goals to be rich or popular, etc., which are often the goals of some parents. Our true potential, for young and old, is to be our happy self, independent, and successful in whatever we do, enjoying fulfilling relationships.

My book, Montessori-Living the Good Life, explains Maria Montessori’s way toward this goal, letting us know how these qualities begin in the infant even before birth if the parent(s) manifest happiness and qualities of well-being. Parents are the nurturers, the experts of their children.

How many parents are ready to take on this responsibility? I know I wasn’t but I kept trying until my husband said five children were plenty. They had a happy childhood but it could have been better. It takes a lot of work to reach one’s true potential. I’m reading now in Siegal and Bryson’s book, that a part of the brain isn’t fully mature until a person is twenty-four or so. The brain of the young child, birth to three years, is under massive construction, and the teen’s brain is being remodeled until they reach adulthood.

Maria Montessori created a method and materials to deal with this reality. By observing the behaviors of the children when they had different experiences, Maria Montessori’s scientific mind knew what to do when the child’s mind was frustrated and not working at his potential. Siegal and Bryson share their scientific knowledge of the brain’s operations to help parents understand a child’s frustrations and suggest ways to work with the child and young person to help them. Next week: The Brain.