Friday, August 24, 2012

It Has Been A Good While Since...



It has been a good while since I last posted on my blog. Much has happened in my life since December. Before I write about some of these changes embrace this thought - there is a season for all things.

I have left the Montessori classroom. I walked out the back door of Juneau Montessori School on the last day of May and headed down the road towards the bus stop. I stood there, all alone, with tears running down my face asking myself what my life would be like without children.

Yet, I had not left the classroom without having first mapped a new path for my Montessori life. Yes, I was leaving the Primary classroom. No, I was not leaving Montessori. I had accepted a position that would provide me the opportunity to apply Montessori methods outside the classroom setting.

I am now the activities co-coordinator at a day program for seniors with dementia and/or Alzheimer's disease. A big part of my job is to design and implement activities. Before I accepted the position I spent hours reading articles on-line about Montessori and dementia. Across the globe, more and more senior facilities are including Montessori activities and utilizing the method with their residents. I am now a part of this frontier Montessori movement.

My blog, "The Moveable Alphabet," will now record the work I will be doing with seniors who attend The Bridge, which is operated by Catholic Community Services here in Juneau, Alaska. They have consented to my use of photographs taken of the clients doing activities, to my writing about those activities and posting both on my blog. However, my blog is independent of CCS and my ideas stated here may not represent theirs. Whew...enough legal jargon. I am very grateful that they have given me their permission and am now anxious to start writing posts.

So get ready to read. I will be posting more this weekend, and yes, I have photos to share. Montessori and Seniors is my new path.

There is a much loved saying in the Montessori world that I often quoted - "Never underestimate the creative intelligence of a child." I have modified that saying and hear myself reciting it silently to myself almost daily at The Bridge - "Never underestimate the creative intelligence of an individual with dementia." It is my personal pledge.

Join me on this new path. Write me comments. Let me know if you have used Montessori materials with seniors. If you have more to say then just a comment write me at sy.dyer@gmail.com.  The Montessori method is a global method and it's application is vast. I have wiped away the tears and embraced my new path. Already I feel passionate about it!

Below are a few links for interested readers to learn more about Montessori and Dementia:

This New York Times article gives a wonderful overview: Full Circle

I have not read Dr Cameron's book yet. It is on my long reading list:
Montessori Based Activities for Persons with Dementia

Unlocking What Remains, Activities for Dementia Care -
Observing Montessori Based Activities at an Alzheimer's Unit

5 comments:

sandpaperletters said...

Wow, the Montessori highway sure has many side-roads! This is something I haven't heard about but am interested in learning about as I have two relatives with Alzheimer's/Dementia. I'm glad to see you writing again though, you have a wonderful way sharing your experiences!

thefullmontessori said...

Oh Susan, what an exciting new path!! I can't wait to read more about your new endeavors... Best of luck!

My grandmother had dementia, and I always thought that she would've benefited from the meditative and repetitive nature of Montessori activities (sadly, I lived in another country and could not help).

María said...

Dear Susan!
What an exciting new experience!
I have read your blog for years, all your ideas, presentations and explanations on the method have always been so inspiring.
I wish you all the best in this journey and wait eagerly to read all about it.
Regards
María from Sweden

melissa said...

I'm fascinated by the thought of applying Montessori in this way and so looking forward to following this stage of your journey. Thank you so much for blogging about it, really and truly.

Toddler Classroom News said...

I think you know how enthusiastic I am about this work and I'm thrilled that you're on this journey. Looking forward to reading all about it!