Montessori World

An educational blog for children and adults

Rock painting.

Painting rocks is another fun activity, other than colouring books or canvas painting. Rocks are free but not easily available from where I come from. Rocks are also recyclable like a canvas. If you don’t like what you paint, you can still repaint it white or black, and start all over again.

On a calm weekend, I like to conduct activities for/with my mother and friends. Not so long ago, mum, Wendy (my friend) and I spend one morning doing rock painting at an educational institution. It was a very relaxing and meaningful way for us to spend our time together, besides devouring the nasi beriani and mango lassi that comes after that.

*Thank you to Vengene, a kindergarten principal and an ex-university mate, for coincidentally passed by and helped to take the photos above.

Wendy, mum and I cherish this moment forever, and if you would like to capture a rock-painting session together with the senior citizens or young children, we can arrange for a meetup to gain this therapeutic and relaxing moments together.

 

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September 17, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Video – Raising A Wild Child

Yes, that’s me! Trying to make a decent living out of plucking and eating apples in the orchard. No! Just kidding.

When I first saw apples on the tree, red and green ones, it was one of my AHA moments. For me, able to pluck a fruit from a tree and consume it immediately, is a gift given by Nature to all living beings. A little bit like the birds and the bees flying abundantly in the fruit garden.

Connecting with Nature is an extremely important education in order for us to love, protect and conserve this planet. I guess it’s the only important way to raise a child who will one day grow to be a world citizen, that is by giving them the opportunity to move and play in the outdoors, especially natural ones like climbing a rock or tree, and playing with water at the brook or stream.

Watch this video if you want to join other parents in giving your children the best education of all!

September 4, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Monthly Montessori Reflection on TED Educational Talks

Topic 1 Sir Ken Robinson

I am sure many of us here are big fans of TED talk. Just to whet the curiosity of a few or many, TED = Technology, Entertainment, Design, providing short but powerful talks by people, novices and experts, from different disciplines and backgrounds.

I am personally attracted to TED talks a few years ago and have saved a collection of talks on my laptop. Listening to the talks, I gain invaluable insights and perspectives that change my day to day opinion and activities. Now, I would like to share the talks from people who has made changes in many people’s lives with fellow Montessori educators, especially to relate to more effective teaching and learning activities in the environment.

As a start, I will share this talk with the teachers in my school. This is conducted by answering self-reflective questions before watching the video, and a discussion of an action plan or implementation on the teaching methods or personal development upon watching the talk.

Here, I would also like to invite other educators to attend this talk at an agreed venue and discuss about how we can benefit from the recordings of TED talk. Should you have anything to comment regarding this TED talk session, please feel free to do so here. Let’s hope for a brighter future for the younger generation!

September 1, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

CONVERSATION WITH MONTESSORIANS: Aisha Z. Abdullah

Welcome to the new space on this blog: CONVERSATION WITH MONTESSORIANS!

CONVERSATION WITH MONTESSORIANS is a place to connect and share thoughts, ideas and experiences, as a result of conversations with Montessori guides, directresses, principals, head teachers, students and children. This is my contribution to the Montessori citizens out there, an appreciative record and recollection of the accounts of Montessorians in Malaysia and throughout the world!

To start off this space, my first interviewee is Aisha Zanariah Abdullah, the current President of Montessori Association of Malaysia.

ME: There are no cliffs to jump here. So, shall we jump straight to the questions?

AISHA: Yes sure.

ME: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Aisha calls herself an educator at first, who likes to do good, for and with children, through the daily activities and projects. A self-acclaimed alcoholic, she can’t seem to not to do anything at all, calling herself ‘kaypohchi” or Malaysian way of calling another person ‘busybody” or nosey, which also literally means ‘a body who is always busy’. Her motto in life is to do good for the children and make it a priority for them, by focusing on human development, that is by believing that every individual is given a fair choice to perform and to achieve excellent through an impactful and influential environment.

A lawyer as her first qualified professional vocation upon graduating from England, Aisha runs a Montessori centre now. Her experience in practising law helps her in manoeuvring her ways in the things that she wants to do, spurring the direction towards being an advocator for children, always looking out for children, identifying their rights, needs and interests. She could have been a child lawyer in another life too.

Starting with her first born son and not having a clue about parenting skill, she did the inevitable of studying and obtaining Diploma in Montessori ‘just for the knowledge’. Opportunity knocked on her door when she had her second child. The temptation to open a school was too great to resist as Aisha could be with her children and practiced the Montessori methodology simultaneously, Thus, began Aisha’s journey into the business and world affairs of early childhood or early years with the birth of her first school 18 years ago. Now, Sri Kayangan Montessori provides Montessori education to children aged 2 ½  to 15 (preschool, elementary and middle school) and continuous education to international schools and IGCSE examinations.

Another hat that Aisha wears is a Montessori trainer for primary and elementary level offered by Montessori Education World Institute (MWEI).

ME: How do you find time to perform under all those hats that you are donning?

AISHA: Have a good SOP.

[Guess what is that.]

SOP or Standard Operating Procedure, yes, a term usually found in a working environment, is a method that is applied in the daily routines of Aisha. The first thing she asks herself every morning is what is the most important thing that you have done this morning? What good things have you asked your children at home and at school, and your staff to do today? Prioritize is the strategy. And children are the top list priority of that strategy. This simply means that she would not hesitate to release a staff, if he or she appears to be detrimental, hazardous or harmful to a child’s emotional, spiritual, physical and cognitive development.

ME: When do you find time for yourself?

AISHA: When I sleep! When I’m doing things that I like, I find that I’m giving time to myself.

. Behind every successful person is a high calibre mentor. In Aisha’s case, she thanks her former lady employer who gave her a top notch, hard core and strenuous legal training and experiences in the law firm. The ex-employer’s super-super-super perfect attribute rub off on Aisha’s shoulders and made her the person she is today. The vigorous training as a lawyer is to be fully prepared for any cases by remembering all the details until they are at the tips of your fingers and tongue.

ME: Would you call yourself a workaholic? You seem to be working around the clock all the time.

AISHA: No. I still listen to my body. And I stop when my body asks me to do so. Even from technology and gadgets. We need to stop from them sometimes. Like smartphones.

 

Like any entrepreneur, Aisha has her fair share of experiences of opening and closing several schools before deciding to be contemplated with only one. Calling herself a fussy person, she encountered principals and teachers who were not up to her expectations in fulfilling the roles of an educator. The principals couldn’t follow the SOP, that is making the child first, follow the child. Her faith in the educators declined and she herself couldn’t be omnipresent as she wished to be. In the end, the decision to reduce and merge the schools to one was made.

Never to give up easily, Aisha hopes that more housing developers could look into providing a piece of land to be utilised for building an educational center that utilises or practices a certain, holistic, humanistic and child-centered methodology, such as the Montessori education, which is beneficial to the community and interconnected with aged-care facilities. This is also her long term plan and dream.

 

ME:  How do you think we can help parents to understand this revolutionary education called Montessori education?

AISHA: Parents should attend a child development course once they get married and decide to have children. Or even start from secondary school, with subjects on how to look after or take care of younger children. In fact, it boils down to the attitude of caring, which should be cultivated from a very young age. Human’s tendency is to care but it’s rarely seen or heard of in today’s society. Research shows that young teenagers have no clue that they are sexually productive, that they are able to produce a child by biological sexual intercourse. Sex education is equally important as parenting education or parenting skills, to understand the process of having an offspring and the process of educating the child and to prepare him or her for the adult life.

ME: What can be done to attract parents to Montessori education?

AISHA: Have regular sessions to touch base in the quest of developing a human being. Refer parents to experts and do proper research. Through Montessori Association of Malaysia, we advise on protecting children in the best learning and living environment, for parents and community.as well as providing the same type of environment for teachers.

ME: What do you do to help to create a new species or generation of teachers, unlike the conventional teachers?

AISHA: Do a lot of continuous development training or courses. Continue to be a good example for the child. If you want a child to do good and be good, you yourself must do good and be good first. Reflect on yourself.

 

ME: What is your favourite Montessori quote?

AISHA: All you have to do is to touch the inner core of the child.

ME: Do you have a Montessori moment that you can remember right now?

AISHA: There is a new boy in school, who doesn’t know what to do. He has been aggressive and obstinate. He is 9 years old. He is always against everything and everybody. When he transforms, he seems to have this realisation that he is important and responsible of his actions. He is egocentric, announcing his every action in classroom. I helped him to find his inner peace through the environment and materials. And I was trying very hard to make him understand that I am there for him. His speech has changed, and he’s using ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ nowadays, and I strongly believe that the transformation takes place because I make him my priority.

 

Aisha has also written a book in 2001, titled “Why Montessori: Choosing The Right Preschool”, an account of her teaching practice when she first obtained her first Montessori diploma. Visitors came to her house to look at her newly second born child and they asked about her learning experiences on Montessori education. Just completed her practical and theoretical examinations, she found herself to be answering all the questions from the visitors. So, she started to write things down to make sure that when each visitor comes to her house, her answers are consistent for anything regarding Montessori. She showed it to a friend, and the friend advised her to publish it. A second edition of the book is under the pipeline.

 

ME: If you were chosen to be a colour, what would you like to be?

AISHA: Lavender. The colour of lavender because it has the features of a pastel colour, soft and flexible, which can also turn into a strong magenta. It reminds me of a student in a school. He is easily attracted to pictures of fish and will take any books of fish, and fold it to make the fish swims. Remembering him and the fish, I see the colour lavender as an embodiment of plain humility, life and strength, and in its nature to care.

 

Having just completed Master of Education in Montessori Integrative learning (USA Endicott College), resting on her laurels is definitely not a phrase to be found in Aisha’s dictionary. There leaves only one work to be done – the work of and for the child. Wishing you a bucket of blessings, Aisha!

                                                                                                     Aisha (left, in grey) and I                                                   

August 27, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Baby Circle, Baby Circle!

I spent some time today making this Baby Circle for my yoga session with children. I would recommend two ways of using this  prop: a) Sing the song ‘Baby Finger Baby Finger, Where are you?’, and b) Tell the story Baby Circle and act it out with the children.

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(Guess who’s behind Baby Circle?)

February 4, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dear teacher,… Sincerely, from your student.

February 4, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Poll: The adventures of letters

Image result for cursive letters

October 20, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Conference – Fuji Kindergarten

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This conference dialogue with Fuji Kindergarten’s principals and architect will be held in Singapore on 1st and 2nd October 2016.

Fuji Kindergarten is a Montessori kindergarten in Tokyo, Japan. The new era building was built in 2007 and caters for children aged 2 to 6.

This modern architectural building (together with Bali’s Green School) meets the true sense of philosophy and methodology of Dr Montessori’s education method – freedom, independence and a friendly and adventurous attitude towards error and danger.

I have visited Bali’s Green School and my wish is to now visit Tokyo’s Fuji Kindergarten.

Listen to the TED talk presentation by the architect of the kindergarten, Mr. Takaharu Tezuka in 2014.

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For more information about the conference in Singapore, go to www.childhoodconference.com.

For a group discount, of more than 3 persons and more, contact Montessori Association of Malaysia (MAM, Aisha 016-283 1002), leave a comment at my blog or FB message me.

September 11, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Montessori Farewell Ceremony

All Montessorians are familiar with the Montessori Birthday Walk. Some schools celebrate intra-transition when a child transfers or graduates from one plane of development to another. Other schools celebrate a child’s leaving the current school to go to another school or country.

Recently, in July, I had the privilege to conduct a farewell ceremony for a child who was leaving to another country. I intended to conduct the ceremony in a calm and meaningful manner that will leave a remarkable experience for all the children.

To prepare for the farewell  ceremony, a candle is put in the middle of the circle. [When the children arrived they thought it was somebody’s birthday!] When everybody is gathered in the circle, with the leaving child sitting next to her teacher, I took the candle in a jar, opened the lid and explained the reason of the Circle Time.

“Today, we sit here to say goodbye to a friend who is going to another country far away from here.”

“Let’s wish her well by closing our eyes and say a wish for her into the jar softly.”

I demonstrated by speaking softly into the candle jar. “I wish M will be happy always.”

As the candle jar was passed on to another child in the circle, we sang a song which was inspired by R.Tamingga’s (a kids yoga instructor, whose course I attended in June) song, ‘May The Light In Me Shines On You”.

When the candle jar was returned to me, I put the jar back into the middle of the circle and lit the candle. “Now, all the children’s and teachers’ wishes are in the candle. Blow the candle and take their wishes with you, M.”

After the child blew the candle, I closed the jar and invited her teacher to present the candle jar to her. The leaving child brought back the candle with her when she left the school that evening.

I am happy to have successfully combined two methods of education  – Montessori Method and Teacher Tamingga’s Love and Peace song- in this educational farewell ceremony. Thank you to both gurus:  Maria Montessori and Teacher Tamingga!

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August 13, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Vacancies for Montessori Teachers.

These vacancies are gathered from a group:

  1. A kindergarten (international division) in Shanghai is looking for Early Years Montessori trained teachers to start in August 2016. Candidates must have knowledge of the Montessori curriculum for ages 3-6 years and have at least 2 years experience teaching in a kindergarten with a passion for working with children.
    Salary will be in line with teachers’ experience and qualifications and will be paid in local currency RMB and package including housing allowance, annual flights, medical insurance with international policy, lunch is provided at school, end of contract bonus.
    For more details about this position and opportunity, please register atwww.edvectus.com
    And for more information about China please see here:http://www.edvectus.com/…/TheEdvectusEducator.An.Introducti…
  2. Would you like to work & live in Norway?Stavanger Montessori School is a newly established government-funded school in Stavanger (NORWAY), that starts education in August 18th, 2016. The school is located in Hundvåg until January while the new school building in Nådlandskroken is being renovated.

    In order to serve our students, parents and the city with the highest quality and quantity of education, we are working towards renovating a school building, designed in accordance to the needs of the students as the main focus.

    The school opens its doors to 1st to 5th grades in the first year. Each year new grades will be added so that after five years it will be covering 10th grades’ students.

    We are looking for two AMI-diploma (Elementary school 6-12) teachers. Interested?
    Mail to: soknadMy Site@stams.no

     

    bird solitude

June 26, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment