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.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Parents and Educators . . . and Grandparents . . . have you seen this book yet? It came out last year. The authors’ focus is on helping children to be themselves.  Maria Montessori called this normalization. She started this same work over one-hundred years ago with a class full of troublesome children—children perhaps like some you know. Through her observations and experiences, she discovered an exciting, joyful being who behaved independently and responsibly. The children showed her their secret: “The child becomes a person through their work . . . by making their way toward independence.” Maria Montessori’s method respects the new being’s independent self and strives to understand a child’s times of frustration.

Siegel and Bryson’s book, Whole-Brain Child, shares lessons in helping parents understand how to take advantage of frustrating times with their child by teaching them, consciously, how the brain works. Maria Montessori’s method and materials aim at the same goal but begins at a younger age when the child’s subconscious mind is developing the conscious mind. Parents can do this work as well by observing and following the moods of the younger child not old enough to speak their minds.

The Whole-Brain Child is an important book for everyone to have on their shelves; that is, after they buy my book: Montessori: Living the Good Life!

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Saturday, June 9, 2012


A few days ago I read a blog story which renewed my hope for bullied children. The mother told of showing her almost two-year-old daughter how to step forward, raise her hand, and say “back off” when a bigger child pushed her around. This is a simple lesson, I know, but it got me to wondering how effective this act is, to show a child at this age how to defend herself? At first I thought it would make her aware of her space, hers and others, and she would grow up more conscious of herself and a life she could defend.

Maria Montessori’s theory explains that a child in the first stage of childhood, (0-3), is still operating out of their sub-conscious mind, a mind which is working to be conscious by absorbing its environment. This is a period of creation when their intelligence and will is being formed; so we have to consider what the child’s sub-conscious mind is absorbing as his senses take in the parent’s lesson of defense. Will the words and offensive movements be appropriate for a child of innocence? Would it be better for the parent to be with or nearby a child of two for protection?

By the time a child is three, his experiences and creative intelligence will guide him in defense of his space and self and encourage his freedom to be himself. An understanding of Maria Montessori’s method and materials is helpful toward this development. My book, Montessori:Living the Good Life, is a good introduction for parents new to Montessori philosophy. A recent website blog shows activities that reveal Dr. Montessori’s method for learning about space:

Have you read The Whole Brain Child co-authored by Dr. Tina Payne Bryson? Her research confirms Dr. Montessori’s theory about the child’s brain . . . more about this next time.

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Saturday, June 2, 2012


. . . such an ugly topic to write about. William Streur, in his article in the Anchorage Daily News, May 5th, brought it to mind. He reports that in just one year almost 3,000 children in Alaska were maltreated—and that’s not counting the abuse not reported. “These are not just numbers,” he reports. “They are children . . . children you and I know personally; children who will run this state some day; children who we, as adults, are morally and legally obligated to protect.”

Maria Montessori reminds us that: “Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.” Her next quote is really a heart-breaker for me. As a mother and a retired Montessori teacher, I know how true her words are: “The things the child sees and experiences are not just remembered; they form a part of his soul.”

If you haven’t already, I wish you would read my book: Montessori—Living the Good Life.  Next week—Hope.