Category Archives: The PATH: Montessori news, research, people, and voices

Literary Neuroscience: Research Supports Benefits of Critical Literacy Ed.

By Jason Phillips

Those involved with Montessori are used to contemporary scientific findings confirming Montessori methods and practices. I recently had one of these experiences when I ran across some research looking into the relations between neuroscience and literary theory. Two fascinating studies looked at brain development in people engaged with literature. Continue reading

DVMS Staff Go CAMTing

By Jason Phillips

A number of DVMS staff attended the Canadian Association of Montessori Teachers annual conference on November 1. I sat down with them to get some feedback on what stood out, what they learned, and what they are bringing back to DVMS and their own practice. The CAMT conference featured keynote speaker Paula Polk Lillard,  of Forest Bluff School, in Lake Bluff, Illinois, and a number of workshops offered by a wide variety of experts in a number of areas. Continue reading

Rob and Molly Observe Montessori

By Jason Phillips

DVMS’s Lower Elementary guide Rob Baker attended the CCMA‘s Annual Conference and Retreat day with Molly O’Shaugnessy on October 19. Molly is an Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) teacher trainer, international lecturer, Montessori consultant, and, since 1996, she has served as the Director of Training at the Montessori Center of Minnesota. Molly discussed the latest ways to, as a Montessori guide, track, plot, and interpret observations of students. Reminding us that “observation is the cornerstone of the Montessori method,” Molly points out that “Dr. Montessori’s most profound discoveries were based on her scientific observations of children as they freely interacted with their environment in a meaningful way.”

Let’s see how it all went down from Rob’s perspective: Continue reading

Diamond in the Rough: A Brief Summary of Adele Diamond’s CCMA Presentation

By Jason Phillips

Dr. Adele Diamond is one of the best and strongest Montessori advocates in Canada, a position she has attained based on her research that “integrates developmental, cognitive science, neuroscience, and molecular genetic methods to study prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the most complex cognitive abilities (executive functions).” Her research has led her to espouse Montessori as one of “Two curricula that share important similarities [and] have been shown to improve EFs” (p.961). (Tools of the Mind is the other one). Continue reading

Shocking Revelation! Reading Is Good For You

By Jason Phillips

DVMS Dad Geoffrey Laxton recently shared an article with us that summarizes Neil Gaiman‘s recent talk to the Reading Agency at the Barbican in London. Gaiman discussed the benefits of reading, including such treasures as revealing how the private prison industry in the U.S. uses “a simple algorithm” to predict numbers of future prisoners 10-15 years down the road : “What percentage of 10 and 11-year-olds currently cannot read?”

Oct2013PATH CN reading Continue reading

What Do I think Literacy Is, and Why Is It Important to Teach It?

By Jason Phillips
Readin', Writin', and Relations.

3Rs: Readin’, Writin’, and Relations.

For the past two Wednesdays, DVMS has hosted Parent Education events covering the progression of language education from Casa all the way through to the end of Upper Elementary.

When I was first hired at DVMS, I was brought in as a literacy specialist to work with the Upper Elementary kids  —  with both those who were struggling a bit, and to enrich and extend all the students’ understanding of the history and purpose of language and communication.

The following is a short essay that makes up part of the introduction of the literacy education guide I created in that role. It consists of discussion of four quotations that underpin my understanding of and approach to literacy. I discovered each of them during graduate studies work in literature and cultural studies, two fields that are increasingly seen as working hand-in-hand. Literacy and culture have a definite, active relationship; culture emerges from narrative and is, in fact, narrative itself. Continue reading

DVMS Mom File: Caitland Tuinstra

By Jason Phillips

The other day, we came in to a wonderful email from one of our newer parents
describing the positive impacts Montessori has had on her children — one in
Casa and one still a toddler at home:

I just wanted to send you a note to say how much we appreciate your amazing
school and how pleased we are to have our son be a part of it.

It’s surprising how much our parenting style and techniques have been
changed and improved upon over the past year since our son’s enrollment in
your school. Our younger son, who is now 17 months old, initiates helping in
the kitchen with baking and even goes as far as pointing and grunting at
what he would like for breakfast and then pushes the stool over to the
counter where I have placed the items he has asked for so he can climb up to
help prepare his meal. He can’t speak yet but he can make his own breakfast.
This is attributed to watching his older brother over the span of his short
life become so independent as a direct result of your dedication to sticking
with what Maria Montessori had in mind when she created her school.

The other major change we have made is praising our kids’ efforts instead of
them directly; and let me just say that it is so amazing as a mother to
watch my toddler achieve a goal he’s been working toward and see the smile
come across his face, feeling proud of himself not because he got praise for
it from me, but because he is truly pleased with himself and his own
efforts. We look forward to watching our boys grow up to be intrinsically
motivated and, most of all, happy with themselves.

Thank you to you and your staff,

Caitland Tuinstra.

Awww shucks…thanks Caitland.

Continue reading

DVMS Staff Profile: Terrence Millie

By Jason Phillips

Terrence Millie joined DVMS this year as the guide for our new Upper Elementary class. He brings a strong passion for authentic Montessori, some incredible experience, and even stood up to us and wouldn’t let us give him a funny nickname — test#1 passed.

We’d love for you all to get to know Terrence better. Feel free to say hello on the playground after school and get to know him better. In the meantime, here’s an introduction:

Continue reading

DVMS Mom File: Valerie Bennett

By Jason Phillips

We have an ongoing interest at DVMS in the relationship between Montessori education and technology. We have published a couple of articles in the past summarizing some of the viewpoints in the discourse of ed-tech, both Montessori-specific and more general in nature (click for our most recent). This month, we’d like to introduce you to Valerie Bennett, one of our Montessori Moms and an educator deeply engaged in the ed-tech world. Valerie is a Primary Learning Resource Teacher at Dundas Central Public School with the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board, has been a Montessori Mom since September 2012, and has been using ed-tech tools to extend the programming she delivers as a Learning Resource Teacher – leveraging technology to both assist students with learning disabilities and to provision digital resources to enhance what she can deliver with tangible materials.

I love Valerie’s informed and balanced perspective on the place and role of technology in education. Both she and her husband (click here to read about Jared) are two of the people that make DVMS’s community such a great and fortunate thing to be a part of, and it truly is an honour that they have chosen DVMS for their son. Read on to learn what makes Valerie so special.

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Marissa and Serena Go to Congress

August 2013PATH Congress 2013

DVMS Learning Resource Specialist Marissa Achong and Casa Assistant Serena Camacho attended the 2013 International Montessori Congress in Portland, Oregon, from July 31 – August 3. We can’t wait to pick their brains for all the details, but in the meantime they graciously answered a few questions about the experience.

Continue reading