Sunday, March 9, 2014

I Have Returned to the Primary Classroom

It has been a long time since I have written a post. I have so much to share. I am now a primary teacher at Toad Hill Montessori School in Madison, Wisconsin. So yes, I have moved. I accepted the position at Toad Hill in December of 2013 (initially a maternity leave coverage which has now expanded into a full time position for this school year and the next) and started working here January 6, 2014. It remains an enormous transition moving from Juneau, Alaska to the Midwest. However, the materials and the theory are my constant. They are the big and little dipper of my Montessori galaxy. The Pink Tower is, of course, the North Star. I am so happy to be back in the classroom guiding children aged 2-6.5.

I remain enormously grateful for the work I participated in using the Montessori materials with individuals with dementia and Alzheimer's. Too, I spent my last six month in Juneau working with children with disabilities including fetal alcohol syndrome, high spectrum autism and traumatic brain injury. I introduced many Montessori materials to these children and each time they responded in positive ways. Watching a child with high spectrum autism calmly roll socks or grate nutmeg was truly amazing, especially since she had rejected so many other previously offered materials.

It was such a validating experience to see the method work outside the classroom and with such a diverse population. I return to the classroom carrying these experiences within my teaching portfolio. Recently, I was giving a leaf washing lesson to a three year old and had such a vivid and beautiful memory of one of the eighties ladies (women over 80 years old) doing this work at the Bridge after I had given her a lesson with almost identical materials. I do miss those women, but I believe I will have other opportunities to work with seniors again down the road.

Toad Hill Montessori is an amazing place occupied by a sweet staff of four, occasionally five. It is in East Madison. I confess, it was a startlingly cold winter. However, when its cold outside, the indoor classroom hums with activity. We have done much since January. Here are just a couple photos. More will be posted soon and, yes, I will be posting about the work being done in the classroom often, hopefully weekly.

We have done so much more work together, but it's late and I just so wanted to get this post out. More soon. I promise.