Bristow Montessori School
"The Buzz" - October 2016
Dear BMS Community,
It is such a treat to walk around the school and see all the great work being done by each and every class. It feels like the students just got right back into the swing of things with hardly any transition time. The Primary students had a great time at Cox Farm for their first field trip of the year, and this month we are gearing up for more exciting events with the Fall Festival and Trunk or Treat. We hope to welcome you all to both of these popular events. This month's topic in the Montessori Lens is how to develop discipline in the Montessori environment. I hope you find it a useful and interesting subject. I am always available to talk to parents about the Montessori philosophy and program curriculum at any time if there are questions that arise from the topics being highlighted.
Parent Advisory Committee
We are so grateful to the members of our Parent Advisory Committee for all their help in planning events and providing vital feedback to the school about topics parents are interested in. These parents contribute in many ways with their time, resources and expertise. They are your parent representatives and look forward to hearing from you if you have matters of concern or great ideas to share that can improve the experience for families and students at our school. Please reach out to them or just say hi. If you are interested in participating with this community in the future, please let us know. Community in action.
Current Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) members: Jennifer McCarthy (Joey and Juliet), Camille Baker (Leili), Susan Givens (Silas), Amy Dorn (Mace), Amy Hinds (Gabrielle), Jessica Balmos (Knox), Jessica Struve (Owen & Waverly), Katie Lane (Camden & Charlotte), Lauren Hawkins (Ryann), Liz Noel (Emma), Niki Weinberg (Parker), and Shoshani Dike (Solomon)
* Dates to Remember *
Fall Picture Day - October 18 & 19
BMS Fall Festival
Saturday, Oct. 22nd, 3-6pm
12560 Aden Road
Foster's Grill will be serving a catered lunch including: a charburger or a grilled chicken wrap, green salad, potato salad or chips, and a drink. The cost is $7.00 per person in advance and $7.50 at the event. Please consider buying your meal tickets ahead of time at the front office. Cash or check is accepted; checks may be made payable to "BMS Foundation."
Please consider signing up to bring baked goods for our Bake Sale. Please see the front desk to sign up.
RSVPs are enabled for this event.
Raffle Prizes Galore!
Barrel Oak Winery deluxe tasting for 8 ($175), Old Bust Head Brewery gift certificate ($96), Waldorf Astoria Deluxe bedding ensemble ($1,250), Embassy Suites bedding ensemble ($750), Wegmans gift certificate ($50), Pediatric dentistry basket, and many many more great baskets and prizes. Please stop by to pick up tickets for you and your friends and family. Tickets are on sale now: 1 for $5, 3 for $10, and 8 for $20.
Trunk or Treat
Thursday, Oct. 27th, 5:30-7pm
9050 Devlin Road
RSVPs are enabled for this event.
Dad's BBQ and Brew - Thursday, November 3
Parent Lesson Night - Thursday, November 17
Holiday Date Night - Friday, December 9
The Montessori Lens- "Discipline"
The Art of Discipline
By Anita Ercole
Undoubtedly, one of the hardest obstacles to overcome for all classroom guides is handling challenging behavior in the classrooms. As each decade passes, I hear more and more adults share their experiences of students that are at odds with their environment, adults and their peers. Before effective work can be accomplished, we need to determine the source of the child’s unrest and handle it appropriately. If undesirable behavior is persistent, we need to respond by utilizing our experience and that of others who have had proven success in helping students normalize. From the very onset, adults need to be constantly modeling desirable behavior, praising all the good the student accomplishes and consistently enforcing the ground rules that establish the boundaries for students to understand the expectations of the classroom in order to thrive as an active member of the classroom community.
“The foundation to the Montessori method is the liberty of the child; liberty is activity. Discipline must come through liberty"- Dr. Montessori, The Montessori Method. Dr. Montessori understood that this principle would be difficult for followers of traditional school methods and that the commonly perceived concept of discipline is to render an individual to be artificially silent and immobile. Dr. Montessori describes such an individual as “annihilated, not disciplined”.
According to the Montessori philosophy, “ an individual can be called disciplined when he is master of himself, and can, therefore, regulate his conduct when it is necessary to follow some rule of life.”
Very special techniques are necessary by the skilled and patient guide in order to lead her students towards this self-mastery. After all, the child must ultimately prepare himself for life and not just for school. Purposeful movement and activity are the paths to self-discovery. Spontaneous and natural manifestations in the child must be respected and observed with sensitivity by the guide. At the risk of feeling lack of control over the class, the guide must not confound “good” with immobility and “bad” with activity. The aim is to discipline for “activity, work, for good, not for passivity, nor for obedience.” A class of students that move around usefully, without committing any infraction upon the other learners is indeed a disciplined class.
If discipline is to be effective and lasting it needs to be established in the early days and weeks of class. The expectations must be discussed with the students early on and agreed upon by them. Very few “rules” are necessary, but simple agreements of respectful behavior must be established and consistently observed.
The guide must lead by example. She must show the students by her actions, voice, tone, dress, movements and language exactly what behavior is expected of the student.
Grace and courtesy are essential foundation lessons in all Montessori classrooms and a great deal of attention must be paid to establishing a cooperative culture to the classroom from day one.
When redirecting a child it is good to be mindful not to intervene too quickly.
The wise directress knows to stop, observe, and ask herself what is it that is driving this child to behave in a certain way? What can it be in the environment that is not satisfying his needs? How can I change things to reach his interest? What can I show him so that he can function effectively with others?
It is important to avoid "knee jerk" reactions“ when a child exhibits undesirable behavior. Moreover, consider the behavior of the child as a need that has not been met yet and that the child still needs support to reach normalization. If the adult responds with empathy, understanding and refrains from judgment the child will grow to understand that the adult models cooperative and supportive behavior, which in turn nurtures trust and acceptance in the environment.
If a child is mishandling the material, he will be told to put it away as you can see he has forgotten how to use it. He should be told in an even tone that he will be given another lesson on it tomorrow. Misuse of materials should not be tolerated from day one or the children will never revere or respect the environment. The right tone must be established immediately.
Dramatic and exact use of all materials and objects in class need to be demonstrated so that students handle things carefully and quietly. Nothing can be left to interpretation with young children. This simple rule underpins all expectations for the classroom: If you do not model it, it will not be replicated!
If students physically hurt others or damage material, that child must be kept by the side of the guide. He must shadow the guide for as long as necessary to ensure the safety of all the children. A phrase like “hold my pocket” also works well if a child does not like to be held by the hand.
There are many ways to reach a child, some will work quicker than others but it is important to believe that children will normalize through their interest and absorption in work. It is important that plenty of lessons be given, especially early on with a new class so that all children can be busy and the guide can observe and record use of materials and individual behavior. Dr Montessori described the guide's role as the "benevolent dictator" this term represents the consistent, firm but loving approach the adult should model in the environment.
The guide's crucial role is to scaffold the important work of the child striving towards independence and acceptance, and she should work tirelessly to model appropriate behavior in a social setting. It is the hope of the school to partner with parents to provide support between classroom experience and home life.