Tuesday, June 23, 2009

From NAMTA to Lena Woods to The Moveable Alphabet

The passing on of knowledge, of experiences and of insights is as significant as the passing of the Olympic torch, it just happens much more often. I have been reading Lena Wood's blog lately and love all that she offers - from Montessori insights (she is taking her AMI Elementary training), to poetry, to music and so much more. She is so good at hunting and gathering tidbits of knowledge and then sharing them with the greater community at large.

What I want to pass on today is a partial quote she noted when she was recently in Seattle at the NAMTA (North America Montessori Teacher's Association) conference. The lecture from which she quotes was given by Jim Webster, a former upper-elementary, Montessori teacher, and now adolescent teacher at the Hershey Montessori Farm School. His presentation was on the relationship between the teacher and the child in the elementary classroom:

"We love the universe and everything in it with a fierceness and tenderness and passion and it becomes so alive in us that we cannot help but share it with the children with whom we work.

She [Montessori] writes: “It does not suffice for the teacher to limit herself to loving and understanding the child. She must first love and understand the universe. She must therefore prepare herself and work at it.”

It was not until I learned to feel the earth turning beneath me that I could teach the seasons. It is not only our stories that guide their imaginations outward. There is more to teaching than the placing of words and pictures before them. They search the field of your being. It is when you are full in heart and mind with wonder and gratitude, when you yourself have traveled far to find your own place in the Great Becoming, that they are best able to see along the boundaries of shadowed time, or into the center of the atom, or to follow the footprints which mark the sand and soil from the edge of the primordial sea to the classroom door, and to know the deeper truth and worth of the stories you tell.

We are asked to make conscious and dear all that is small and infinite, linear and turning, music and the dance, and the silence…the grand and the mysterious, the unfolding destiny whose very surface is the minds of the children who sit at our feet."

I felt my heart beating through the thin knit of my summer sweater when I read it. I knew I had to share it with others. Thank you Lena for being so good at taking notes.

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