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Dear Friend,
 
The Musings Team has had some interesting conversations this week, inspired by some posts floating around on social media, our book club reading for this coming Tuesday and life in general.

A post shared this week by our dear friends from Montistory, invited us to consider a quote from The Montessori Method, in which Montessori reminds us that "not only do [we] not force a child, but we do not even invite them, or in any way attempt to coax them to do that which they do not wish to do" (1912: 304) in relation to reading and writing. She continues to state that "If the old-time method, which tyrannised over the will of the child and destroyed their spontaneity, does not believe in making a knowledge of written language obligatory before the age of six, much less do we!" (idem). 

This approach sits comfortably alongside Montessori's view expressed in The 1913 Rome Lectures that "we should not try to attract or draw to the child’s attention to some object, for we do not have such powers” (p:185) and Barbara explains in this week's blog post, in advance of our Book Club on Tuesday, that she believes that in the lecture, Attention, from which this quote has been lifted, "Montessori demonstrates the importance of the environment which offers opportunities to spontaneously attract the child’s attention leading to not only deep concentration but also to perseverance and patience.  She refers extensively to the notion of presenting the child with objects, and I take this to mean making them available on the shelves in the environment, offering choice rather than demonstrating the use of the object to the child."

Another interesting piece floating around on the internet is the New Yorker's piece The Miseducation of Maria Montessori. There have been different responses to this unsettling piece including this letter to the Editor from a group of significant Montessorians in the USA. What are your thoughts on the article? We'd love to know!

Those of you who have followed us for some time will know that the Musings Team likes to reflect on our Montessori work, to ensure our work stays relevant and that we continue to offer our children the support and guidance they need in these times. Sometimes this involves disrupting our patterns of thinking and whilst this week's Book Club reading uncovered some real pearls, it also challenged us to reflect on some of the views and whether they were still helpful to us today.

If you are able to join us this Tuesday, 15 March, for our Book Club, do read Barbara's blog post ahead of the session, and consider the questions we have posed at the end of the blog in advance of the session. Register here.

 
With our warmest wishes,
 

Ukraine: How Can We Help

We deplore the invasion of Ukraine and are deeply distressed by the impact of war on all affected. We were moved by Teacher Tom's blog Post "Our Children Are Our Strength" when he writes that:

"War is what happens when we no longer have children at the center of our lives. 

That is why I'm already against the next war. Hold your children close, listen to them, make every decision with them at the center. And know that the world needs us: legions lifted by the love and compassion our children inspire in us. That is the only thing that will break this horrible chain of depravity."

We all want to help and many of you have asked us how. Montessori Europe offers suggestions on how we might help, and also information on how to talk to children about war.

Ukraine: What can we Do?
Talking to Children about War

Additional Resources

Embodied Cognition
Why You Are Not Your Brain
How Do We Learn Things?
Teacher Tom: Education Has Nothing to Do with Intelligence
Our Webinars

We are taking a break for the next few weeks, returning for our summer term after the Easter holiday. There are a few events taking place before we return through Montessori Europe which you might find interesting.

We will return on 3 May with the last Book Club of this Academic Year, followed by some interesting and challenging webinars reflecting on our Montessori and early years practice. 

Details about our events can be found on our website but do pop some of the following dates in your diary and click on the images to register.
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