Educating Students to Understand and Impact Their Time

Educating Students to Understand and Impact Their Time

On the eve of Election Day, I experienced one of those moments that stop you in your tracks, and force you to linger on your thoughts to puzzle them out!  

The Director of a leading Montessori teacher training program nationwide put out a call to vote in this “most important of elections.”  Her email contained the sign pictured here.  Initially I pondered whether it was inappropriate for the Head of an organization responsible for teacher training to be so evidently partisan.   Mulling this for a few moments, I realized that the problem lay in my own understanding of partisanship in the message!  While the sign itself had sent an obvious left-leaning message to me, the primary tenet, that all people are created equal, might be the most recognizable of all American ideas.   

Montessori or Conventional Schooling? Unpacking the question.

These days, as we all try to make the right choices for our children in an increasingly competitive world, I hear parents voicing a perceived dilemma of choosing between Montessori vs. so-called “Conventional” education.    Parents who stay through Montessori Kindergarten rave about the academics their children master and the life skills they demonstrate.  But then those same parents wonder about whether they are taking a “risk” in continuing throughout the Elementary years and beyond.    

So, why the perceived risk?   I believe it is because….

Shred The Class Schedule: An Interdisciplinary Education Mandate

Subjects in Primary school make no sense.    There is no reason to teach history separate from English, separate from library, separate from drama or choir.   Nor is there a benefit to separating science from math from art from geography. Subject matter blocks of time in schools stem from a general preference for “expertise” that is becoming outdated and fails to integrate the learning experience.

Why not teach math through..

Do We Have This Right? Kindergarten Admissions Week

March of Any Year

What a tough week this has been for so many wonderful parents and children in New England – Kindergarten Decisions Week!   Wait, what?!!

We are not talking about college acceptances here, for which my own parents waited with baited breath during my senior year of high school. (With my acceptance to Yale, it was as if the weight of all the years of stretching financially for my education and of being the “best parents” they could be was lifted from their shoulders.) But that moment in time — that I think they viewed, perhaps correctly, as a review both of them and of me — came about on the verge of my adulthood.

A Slogan that Won a Country

November 8, 2016 solidified my dislike of Twitter and the dissolution of our societal discourse to 140 characters or less.    Donald Trump settled on a slogan with just about 25 characters, which slogan ended up carrying the day with almost half of all Americans — enough to win him the American Presidency.    “Make America Great Again” is a slogan that resonated with my five year old who had become a fluent reader by this election cycle.    He read yard signs and bumper stickers and asked me many times, “Mommy, why don’t you want to make America great again?”    So I have spent the past many months, attempting to dive into a conversation with my five year old son that helps him understand that “great” is a subjective word.   Now, for a five year old this is almost like trying to say “it depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is”.   (Yes, I too think that period was close to a nadir in our presidential history.) 


Affinity Groups - A Dangerous Form of "Benign" Discrimination

On this day celebrating the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, it is incumbent upon us to examine whether we are making adequate progress in fulfilling his dream.   A concept gaining traction nationally in independent schools has me doubting our progress.

Prominent New England private school have established “children of color affinity groups”, beginning as early as age 4.   The very definition of affinity groups...

Never Too Young to Code? Wrong…. Traditional Foundations Matter Even for “New” Skills and STEM

As we all try to get a “handle” on the rapid pace of technological change, schools feel the pressure to be “teaching technology.” (As an aside, we must all stop throwing around the word technology, especially in talking about whether or not it is “good for kids” without taking some much more serious time to define precisely what it is that we are talking about as “technology.”   Otherwise these are vapid discussions.)   Games, academic apps....

Frequent Assessments Edge Out Practice and Problem Solving

This weekend’s Boston Globe article by James Vaznis did a great service in bringing public attention to the issue of potential ‘over-testing.’   Assessment does have its place. After all, the quality of education delivered to every student, regardless of background or family economic status, is where the foundational American commitment to “equal opportunity,” gets truly tested!

Therefore, those looking at the issue of the appropriate frequency for standardized assessments must ask the right questions so as not to squander this moment...

Re-Inventing the Wheel… Poorly!

Welcome to what will be a running commentary on topics in education, admittedly from the perspective of a strongly dedicated Montessorian (but also an attorney, finance professional, mother of two… and a host of other passions in a “previous life.”) I will be thrilled if you find yourself borrowing ideas from this for any of the following: cocktail/dinner party conversation, guidance in making educational decisions for your children, inspiration to teach, or the...