All posts by MontessoriElementary

Historical Art

The Montessori Elementary Schoolhouse received its first gift – Historical Art – dedicated to Maria Montessori. Today, I think its display could be categorized as art, but back in the day when I was an elementary student, it was official currency in Italy. This piece of historical art, a 1000 Lira note, has traveled from Italy to the Netherlands and now to Aruba, not to mention what a life it led while it was in Italy.

lire

Most recently, this 1000 Lira note was gifted by dear friends of the Montessori Elementary Schoolhouse in Aruba, not to spend wisely on materials (1000 Lira = $0.71 US or Afl. 1.27), but to display in the classroom as a dedication to Maria Montessori and as an inspirational piece of historical art from which uncountable avenues of exploration will be embarked upon: currency exchange calculations, international currencies, art on currency, history of education, where/how money is made, the origin and function of money… to name but a few!

In 1990, the Italian Government honoured Dr. Montessori by putting her image on the 1000 Lira note, with an image of two children on the back side of the note.

 

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Research Materials

researchA great part of elementary education is the pursuit of answers to the burning questions the children have about our universe, our cultures, the nature that surrounds us and the workings of the world, to mention but a few things in broad strokes. The greatest talent of the Montessori Elementary teacher is to give the children just enough to capture their attention and spark their interest in an area of study, intriguing them enough so that they will pursue further study of the subject, either through practice with the tactile Montessori materials in the classroom or through collaborative research projects, called ‘great works’ with the research materials.

worldbook
A foundation research material that is essential in the Elementary classroom is a quality Encyclopedia series. The Montessori Elementary Schoolhouse already has its World Book Encyclopedia, as well as a beautifully illustrated Dutch ‘Wereld Geschiedenis’ series waiting in the wings to adorn the bookshelves when they are ready. The book collection is being lovingly compiled and it awaits to provide a wealth of answers to the children.wereldgeschiedenis

“The bottom line is, if you’re not the one who’s controlling your learning, you’re not going to learn as well,” Joel Voss, a neuroscientist at Northwestern University.

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The Checkerboard

This material is used in the Montessori lower elementary classroom with children between 6-9 years of age).

checkerboard-2With the Checkerboard and bead bars (representing numbers 1-9) the children learn long multiplication (2, 3, 4, or more digit numbers). In the problem in Photograph 1, a five digit number was multiplied by a two digit number. The multiplicand is on the bottom horizontal line (in Photograph 2, it is 3,212) and the multiplier is on the vertical line. The children multiply each digit of the multiplicand by each digit of the multiplier and place corresponding bead bars in the corresponding coloured square. Each coloured square represents one level of the hierarchy of numbers: units (green), tens (blue), hundreds (red), units of thousands (green), tens of thousands (blue), and hundreds (red) etc. and this goes up in this way to hundreds of millions. After multiplying each digit of the multiplicand by each digit of the multiplier, and placing the corresponding bead bars in their coloured squares, the children exchange the bead bars to have only one bead bar in each square on the bottom line of squares, representing the answer.

checkerboard-1With repeated work using this material, the children come to understand (deeply) the concept of long multiplication and, with time, alongside the tactile work with the material, the children also learn to extract this long multiplication process onto paper, and eventually they work on long multiplication in the abstract, only on paper and without the checkerboard.
The number (the answer) that is on the board in Photograph 1 represents 1,979,191. In Photograph 2, it will end up being 40,756.

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Dutch Citotest

Montessori pupils perform best in primary school tests

RTL News, Saturday 14 September 2013

Children at Montessori primary schools perform better than those at traditional schools, RTL news reports after studying the results of nationwide tests. Most of the country’s 11 and 12 year-olds take the Cito test in their final year of primary school. The results help determine what sort of secondary education they will go on to. Judges ruled last week the results could be made public, allowing parents and teachers to compare school performance.

Average
RTL says the 155 Montessori schools in the Netherlands scored an average of 8.1 in the tests. The 6,100 schools offering traditional education scored an average 7.5, while Free Schools, based on the principles of Rudolf Steiner, scored an average 6.5.Montessori schools offer children more choice in deciding what and when to study. They are also taught in mixed age groups. School governors are opposed to the publication of the Cito scores because they think parents will only look at the results. Many are considering dropping the tests, news agency Novum says.

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