Message from the CMS President...
"WOW!" Was what I heard from so many people after Alfie Kohn's presentations. And I read so many more inspiring comments on the evaluations sheets; I just have to share a few:
- "Mr. Kohn presented many thought-provoking ideas that will challenge some of my beliefs and practices in the classroom."
- "I am inspired and thinking of ways to incorporate into my teaching practices. I loved the way he challenged me/us/schools."
- "Life-changing/teaching changing presentation."
- "Amazing passion about the rights of children to receive our love unconditionally."
- "I think there will be a lot more happier children and adults in Cincinnati if all these teachers and parents take his information into their classrooms and homes!"
- "Alfie Kohn rocks."
I agree wholeheartedly with all of these comments! Four years ago, I contacted Alfie Kohn inviting him speak at our Spring Conference. The size of the audience he demanded and the size of his fee seemed to put him out of reach for our small organization at the time. This Spring, with intention, communication and cooperation - we got him here to speak to an audience of over 500 people. A little grassroots effort goes along way: reaching out to parents and other organizations in the area, posting flyers all over town, emailing flyers to friends and colleagues - it worked, and I am so grateful!
We appreciate your patience while we worked through some glitches with our new online registration system, the less than optimal room assignments, the very warm banquet room and the non-flushing toilets! But most of all, thank you for being there. Thank you for opening your minds, opening your hearts and hearing Kohn's message of working with children instead of doing things to them. Thank you for understanding why it can be damaging to put a child in time out or to say "good job!" to a child. Thank you for appreciating the importance of involving children in decisions and giving them choices from the design of the classroom to the curriculum. Thank you for letting go of all those popular classroom management systems we thought were so great but now realize are harmful to our relationships with children.
What I also heard you tell us on the evaluation forms is you want "More Alfie!" - and we agree! CMS would like to provide opportunities for further discussion of the interpretation and implementation (in the home or the classroom) of the insights and information presented.
Please come join us on Tuesday, May 10th at 7 - 8:30pm at Community Montessori, 9035 Cincinnati-Dayton Road, West Chester, OH 45069 as we support each other as teachers, parents and caregivers!
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
. If you are interested, but are not able to physically attend, please also contact us and we may be able to arrange a teleconference phone call. We are also willing to start an online chat group at a later date if that venue will work better. We would love to make this an on-going practice, so if you have any interest at all, please let us know.
A Recipe For Caring:
Alfie Kohn's Keynote Speech at the Annual CMS Conference
As Montessori teachers, we would all like to create an environment in which we are able to foster children who are positive members of society. This means children who are compassionate, respectful of themselves and others, energized, confident, and self-reliant. Of course, included in this, would be a child who cares. Alfie Kohn spoke at this year's Cincinnati Montessori Society conference, encouraging us, as teachers (and parents) to figure out "How does what we are doing with our kids match up with what we want for our kids?"
photo by Jillian Kuhlmann
Alfie Kohn outlined goals of caring for children and the 'ingredients' in the recipe for helping to foster caring children. It is not enough, he explained, for us to tell children it is important to care, but rather to serve as a model in caring. There are seven 'ingredients' in Kohn's recipe for caring. As Montessori teachers, it is then our job, as the 'chef,' to stir together these ingredients for caring students.
Caring Children: A Recipe by Alfie Kohn
Ingredient One: In order for children to care, kids must be cared about. In order to meet the needs of others, they must have their own needs met. It is necessary to accept children unconditionally for them to be caring.
Ingredient Two: Model: Set the example for your students. It is important to admit your mistakes. Apologize to your students when you make a mistake. Show them how it is done. Be emotional; don't be a machine. Show helping as an example, but give the students the opportunity to do the helping. You are always modeling.
Ingredient Three: Remember to "Attribute to children the best possible motive." It is key to assume that a child does something for a positive reason rather than negative. Be clear that no matter what choice a child makes, you still care about them.
Ingredient Four: Explain the rationale, the reason you are asking them to do things. The force can't be the message. It's not that we don't want them to do something, it's why we don't want them to do it. Remember that "telling is better than yelling, explaining is better than telling, and discussion is better than explaining."
Ingredient Five: Give children the opportunity to be caring. Set up an environment where children have the opportunity to care, help, share, etc.
Ingredient Six: Promote perspective taking; imagining how the world looks from someone else's point of view. This helps a child to let go of the self-centered view. Encourage children to understand that it's not enough to just think about if they wouldn't like what they were doing/saying to be done/said to them.
Ingredient Seven: Give students many opportunities to choose. Actively construct these opportunities for children to make positive choices. Kids have to construct meaning around virtues or values.
With the right amount of all of Alfie Kohn's ingredients we can be on the right track to cooking up the caring children this world deserves.
-Sarah Fullen, 6-9 teacher at Sands Montessori
Park Montessori, A Little School With Big Culture
Park Montessori has been operating for 25 years. Located in the heart of Sharonville on Creek Road for the past 19 years, Park has one building containing one open classroom in the front and a large multipurpose hall in the back. Connie Still, the Directress, runs this non-profit Montessori program so that she can offer an affordable Montessori option for families that otherwise wouldn't be able to have a Montessori Pre-primary start for their children.
The classroom is an open and airy room with lots of natural light. The group of forty two 3-6 year olds attend Park part time, either in the morning or afternoon.
After Park Montessori, the children go on to public or private non-Montessori schools. Park has Montessori certified teachers and is affiliated with AMS.
All Park teachers are Montessori certified and have lived and traveled outside of the United States. The school prides itself in giving special attention to the nations of the world. One teacher has a French spouse and another is married to an Asian Indian. This collection of multi-national cultures is an excellent way of teaching about the world and is a wonderful gift that Park Montessori gives to their children. The children also enjoy music enrichment from a certified Suzuki/Kindermusic teacher and Park's enrichment language is French.
Park introduces the parents to the Montessori philosophy of education with an Introduction to Montessori workshop. The school is also affiliated with AMS.
Greater Cincinnati Center for Montessori Education and Xavier University Montessori Teacher Education Program present:
Montessori and Special Education - Returning to Our Roots
Featured Guest Presenter: Joyce Pickering
Join us for this 20 hour workshop, designed for experienced Montessori early childhood and early elementary teachers. We will explore the strategies and techniques for successfully including children with special learning and developmental needs into Montessori environments. Those insights, supported by observation and environmental adaptations, can also assist us as we support typically developing children.
Monday August 1, 2011 8:30-12:30
Observation as Ethnographic Research
Tuesday, August 2, 2011 8:30-12:30
Using observations to inform practice, meet state school requirements, and formulate deeper questions for research
Wednesday, August 3, 2011 8:30-3:30
Joyce Pickering, read Miss Pickering's bio here
Thursday, August 4, 4011 8:30-12:30
Putting it all in practice: Environmental and procedural adaptations; working with families
Cost for the week: $175.00
ODE, Step Up To Quality and Kentucky STARS credit will be available.Graduate credit will also be available for additional fees.
Questions or for more information: email@example.com
Cincinnati Family Enrichment Center: Families Forming a Community in Northside
There is a place in Northside where parents and children of the Cincinnati area can go for education, fellowship, and most of all, fun! Let me tell you about it.
I'd been a stay-at-home father for several months before I heard of the Cincinnati Family Enrichment Center. I was pretty much a shut-in at the time. After my wife had graduated from school I left work so I could be home to raise our three month old daughter while she got her career started. I never regretted that decision, but more than once I felt overwhelmed and desperately alone with my baby girl.
As a first-timer, there was so much I didn't know. Why did she cry all the time? Where could I go to get her out of the house and see other children? How could I balance the work I still did from home, and the housekeeping, and ensure I gave my daughter all the attention she needed? Why couldn't I get her to eat or take her naps? Who could I ask for support and would understand what it was to be a stay-at-home dad? What had happened to my social life?
My wife was a great help, of course, but she didn't - couldn't - understand the challenges of being a guy at home all day with no one for company but an infant he constantly worried he wasn't caring for properly. I felt isolated. I couldn't find many resources to turn to, so I buried my nose in the one semi-helpful book for dads I found, gleaned what seemed helpful from the Internet, and stuck my daughter in her stroller so we could wander around the mall, or Target, or the bookstore. But mostly I felt inadequate, did the best I could, and hoped that with enough love we could muddle through.
Then a friend of mine told me she was planning to take her daughter to some toddler exploration classes at a place in Northside. I thought the classes sounded great, and was excited to take my little girl, a couple months younger than my friend's, there as well. What I found surpassed my expectations. I was picturing a place I would take my daughter once a week for an hour or so and then pack her back up and go home. Instead, the CFEC proved to be a welcoming community in a comfortable setting. And I found I wasn't alone.
In fact, CFEC founders Sharon Said and Renate Wuebker had parents like me in mind when they opened their doors in 2008.
"Parents constantly worry that they're parenting well," Sharon says. "They seem to experience a lot of guilt. I spend much of my time encouraging, supporting, and affirming. It's quite an honor.
"Renate and I felt a place was needed where new parents could come with their babies for support, encouragement, and nurturing. Our goal was to create an environment where moms can breastfeed without negative reactions, where little ones can play without being frowned upon (like in a coffee shop with business people!), and where new parents could vent and find answers to their parenting challenges."
To that end, Said and Wuebker acquired a large Victorian home in Northside and began outfitting it to create a safe and welcoming setting for children and parents alike. The house now features a boutique specializing in products that promote attachment parenting and chemical-free living, a child-friendly café where parents can relax and chat with others while the kids play, an educational garden, and several classrooms. They host a variety of classes for all ages from newborn to preteen, as well as weekly workshops for families and parents.
When asked about the CFEC's classes and workshops, Sharon replies, "All our programming is meant to educate and promote family togetherness and compassionate parenting." All of the classes are parent/child interactive. Whether it's an art class, a music class, a signing class, or one of the 20 other enrichment
classes offered, there is an instructor who leads and teaches not just the youngsters but also the adults. While the outward goal is to teach the children, instructors also model teaching behaviors for parents, to give them the skills to continue the education at home. Classes such as TummyTime and Little Sprouts Yogis, for instance, are overseen by experienced and certified instructors and have tangible benefits such as stimulating baby's cognitive and physical development. But they also encourage parents and infants to simply be with each other, to move gently with each other, and to learn about each other. In other classes, parents cook with their children, garden with their children, or learn Spanish with their children. You get the idea!
This ethos of togetherness ties together everything the CFEC has to offer. Before or after classes, young children can be found learning to play together while their parents can be found nearby relaxing, chatting together, and sharing parenting tips or the latest child research. The classes and workshops offered cover all stages of families, from "prenatal to preteen." Also, as I and other dads can attest, the CFEC is just as welcoming for men with children as it is for moms. And for many parents, the togetherness has moved beyond the learning and playing as they've started book clubs, exercise groups, and knitting nights.
Or, if you prefer, you can simply come for class and take off afterwards, and still get a tremendous amount out of what the CFEC offers.
Sharon and Renate have taken great pains to make certain the design and delivery of the educational content meet their high standards. Sharon has over twenty-five years of experience in both parent and child education and is also the founder of Signing Safari and ProActive Parenting. Renate, before coming to Cincinnati to raise her family, worked as photo editor and archivist for Germany's largest private international press agency. They are both dedicated professionals and ensure their instructors have the same level of commitment to the CFEC's standards.
The CFEC is always welcoming new families; parents are encouraged to visit anytime. In addition to classes, parents can bring their children to free story times, attend one of their weekend workshops, or just come and relax for a moment while their children make new friends. For more information parents can visit www.theplaceforfamilies.com
or call (513) 591-2332.
- Jeff Sucharew
As you know, the Cincinnati Montessori Society is a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring together parents, teachers and schools in order to promote and support the Montessori philosophy. It is governed by a volunteer board of trustees of Montessori parents, teachers, students, administrators and others interested in supporting Montessori education. If you are interested in serving on the board or have talents to share, please email your name and contact info to our nominations committee at firstname.lastname@example.org
Each year, as we vote in new board members, we examine how we are serving our customers and what else we can do to support and promote Montessori Education in Cincinnati. Your feedback is very important to us - comments, compliments and critiques!
- What do you like and/or dislike about our service?
- What ideas do you have to make our organization better?
- What areas do you think are important for CMS get involved in?
Executive Board Members
The Cincinnati Montessori Society is a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring together parents, teachers, and schools in order to promote and support the Montessori philosophy. It is governed by a volunteer board of trustees, comprised of Montessori parents, teachers, students, administrators and others interested in supporting this method of education.
"From remote antiquity down to our own days education has been synonymous with punishment. The end of education was to subject the child to an adult, who substituted himself for nature and replaced the laws of life with his own desires and intents. People of different nations had used different means for punishing children. The first and most difficult step toward social reform is to arouse this slumbering humanity and force it to listen to the voice that is calling. The social rights of children must be recognized so that a word suited to their needs may be constructed for them."
-The Secret of Childhood, Maria Montessori
Save the Date
May 10th, 2011
What's It All About, Alfie?: A Follow Up Discussion to Alfie Kohn's Keynote at the CMS conference
The sound track from the movie Alfie stated "What's It All About, Alfie?" You may be asking that now that Alfie Kohn has swept into and out of town with his passionate message advocating the respect and support of the emotional and social development of children. You may have read his books. You may have heard his one, two or three presentations at the CMS Spring Conference, now what?
CMS would like to help coordinate a follow-up discussion and on-line forum to aid in the practical implementation of the insights presented by Kohn. We would like your suggestions and/or questions regarding how best to support each other as teachers, parents, caregivers in the interpretation and implementation of the insights and information presented. Please come join us on Tuesday, May 10th
7 - 8:30pm
9035 Cincinnati-Dayton Road West Chester, OH 45069
Please RSVP to events@
If you are interested, but are not able to physically attend, please also contact us and we may be able to arrange a teleconference phone call. We are also willing to start an online chat group at a later date if that venue will work better. We would love to make this an on-going practice, so if you have any interest at all, please let us know.
articles for the
Summer Newsletter!Send us your favorite
lesson plan, your thoughts
Email submissions by
June 10th to CMS.
A review in pictures
Photos by Jillian Kuhlmann|
Calendar of Events
What's it all about Alfie? A follow discussion to Alfie Kohn's keynote speech
Tuesday, May 10th
7 - 8:30pm
9035 Cincinnati-Dayton Road West Chester, OH 45069
RSVP to events@
Cultivating Spirituality through Educational Practices
Directors: Gina Lofquist, M.Ed and Lesley Kern, M. Ed
Click here for more info.
Montessori for the Modern Classroom
June 27-July 1
Director, Carrie Biales, M. Ed
Click here for more info.
Developing the Student Leader
Director: Laura Saylor, M.Ed
Click here for more info.
Montessori Music Heritage
July 25th-July 29th
For more info, go to http://www.gscmontessori.org/
Montessori and Special Education -
Returning to Our Roots
Featured Guest Presenter: Joyce Pickering
presented by Greater Cincinnati Center for Montessori Education and Xavier University Montessori Teacher Education Program
August 1 - 4
Click here for more info.
Children's Meeting House
Located 25 minutes northeast of downtown Cincinnati, is a well recognized, non-profit, Montessori school with exceptional standards. We currently serve 165 children between the ages of three to twelve. The school is affiliated with AMS and accredited by the State of Ohio. Located on 350 peaceful, sprawling acres with gardens, a pond and trails, children have daily interaction with nature and a unique opportunity for ecological learning.
Positions available at CMH are:
Trained Montessorian to join staff in the role of Director.
3-6 Montessori teacher Montessori certification is required and experience is a plus. We offer a competitive benefits package.
Part -time aide to work in a 3-6 Montessori classroom. Responsibilities include morning carpool, set up and cleanup of classroom materials, making materials and playground supervision. The hours are Monday - Friday 8:00am-12:00pm. Familiarity with the Montessori philosophy and experience working with children is a plus.
To apply for one of these positions- email a resume to email@example.com or fax to Casey at 513-697-4191.
Submit your listing to CMS.|
Editor - Heather Gerker
Teacher's Section - Sarah Fullen
School Happenings - Dee Butler
Current Events - Julie Kugler-Ackley