Peace education—supporting children to live in harmony with all living things and to become agents of peace-making in the world—is the foundation of our work as Montessorians. The peace rose is a common fixture in Montessori environments, passed back and forth during conflict resolution to practice deep listening. Too often though, we focus only on the bloom, without looking deeper to examine the roots.
Kari Frentzel has been a Montessori elementary educator for the past ten years following her first career as an engineer and manager in industry and healthcare. She is co-head of school at Wild Rose Montessori, a Wildflower school in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The school year is winding down. Teachers feel it as we squeeze in our final lessons and encourage students to finish projects. Students feel it as they prepare for year-end special events and make plans for getting together with friends once school is out. And certainly parents feel it as they rush to finalize plans for summer camps, vacations, lessons and babysitters.
“So, what exactly makes a Wildflower school unique?” a parent familiar with Montessori education asked recently. This is a difficult question to answer concisely, and it’s one we get a lot at Wildflower. Every day, we get inquiries from people across the United States and around the world who want to learn more about our unique approach. Continue Reading
This blog has also been cross-posted on the Today Show’s Parenting Community Page.
My dog and I took two kinds of walks. One was about taking care of business: The dog needed to walk and eliminate. I was in charge, and the goal was either to move fast and get exercise or to complete the walk as quickly as possible, because the weather was bad or I had a lot to do. The other walk was about making the dog happy. She set the pace, chose how long to sniff each tree and did her eliminating.
The other walk was about making the dog happy. She set the pace, chose how long to sniff each tree and did her eliminating when she was ready, with no pleading or commanding from me.
As a parent, many experiences with our children fall into one of these two categories. There are times when expediency and getting things done is essential to the success of the family. Getting out of the house and arriving on time at school and work is one of those experiences. Washing the car on an open Saturday afternoon can fall into the second category. For parents trying to build their child’s independence, we try to create environments and systems that allow many parts of the day to feel like the second type of walk while still getting things done.
Among our most important roles at the Wildflower Foundation is to till any rocky soil that keeps schools from opening and thriving, heads of school from leading and teaching and students from exploring and learning. As anyone who works in education knows, you can easily get sidetracked or dispirited by the many operational tasks required to operate a school.
One of our goals at Wildflower is to ease the administrative tasks taken on by our dedicated Teacher Leaders by building tools and services that allow them to open and operate thriving school environments. Since teachers run Wildflower schools entirely, the tasks that administrators do in traditional school settings need to be handled especially efficiently.
Have you ever wished you could clone yourself, so that one “you” could carry out your work while the other “you” could just focus on carefully observing and learning? Having heard a version of this from enough Montessori teachers, we started to wonder if we could use technology to give teachers this superpower. This is one of the questions we are exploring today as part of our commitment to making Wildflower schools a platform for innovation and learning what we can share with the world. Continue Reading
Human relationships, especially deep ones, always contain mystery. My five-year-old son is known, but unknown. He is tethered to my heart, but utterly separate and different in temperament. He is generous, intense, energetic, sensitive and deeply perceptive, but his patience for a classroom other than nature seems limited. I marvel at him and sometimes worry; I question and research what is best; in the end, I always return to love, the essence of the relationship between mother and child.
Happy New Year from Wildflower Schools! This season of renewal and recommitment is bringing some changes and improvements to our network’s website, too, including this blog, which we are calling “Field Notes.” The name is a nod to both how one might study wildflowers and to the importance in Montessori education–and at Wildflower Schools–of observation and reflection.