Thursday, May 30, 2019

Does Montessori Teach Social Skills?

An older child helping a younger one learn letters
I've heard some parents criticize Montessori environments as not teaching social skills because of the emphasis on individual work. Sometimes parents will visit and when they see children quietly working independently, they mistakenly assume that social skills are not taught in the classroom. What they don’t necessarily see during their visit is all the work that made what they are seeing possible.

Montessori teaches children to be individuals, but responsible within a social framework. So yes, children are expected to learn how to pursue independent work, but it is within an entire social structure that helps them get along with others. 

Here are common principles and practices within Montessori classrooms that promote social development:

1. Children are expected to learn how to conduct themselves, to be responsible for themselves, including knowing basic self-care skills and how to clean up.  In general, even though they can work in small groups, they should be able to pursue independent work for quite a while each day.

2. Children are expected to respect the work of others by not disturbing or touching their work. They learn how to watch quietly if interested. They must respect that some children may not want to be watched.

3. In the classroom there is generally only one copy of a given material. This teaches patience to wait for a turn with the desired work by choosing other work to do (if someone else using it). It also forces children to choose a variety of work and not monopolize one material.

4. Skills are taught in an ongoing fashion about conflict resolution. Lessons on recognizing emotions, expressing feelings appropriately, and coming up with solutions are all taught to the group and reaffirmed on a regular basis. It is expected that after lots of guidance, that children will begin to attempt to resolve conflict on their own before rushing to the adult. 

5. Language enrichment is an important part of the Montessori classroom. Children are coached on how to speak politely with others and to express themselves. There is no “baby talk” in the Montessori classroom and children are encouraged to extend their vocabulary in many areas including using the Vocabulary Cards to learn the breeds of dogs, local bird, names of flowers, names of instruments of the orchestra, etc. There also daily singing, movement and group lessons at circle time. 

6. Politeness is emphasized in Montessori classrooms. Children learn such basics as how to get the teacher's attention and how to wait if given a signal to wait.   In group lessons, children learn how to wait while another has a turn speaking.  Children learn many social graces such as basic table manners, how to stand or walk in a line. They also learn through various responsibilities in the classroom how to be a leader as well as a follower, taking turns leading and letting others lead when it is their turn.

7. Children learn many social skills by being in a classroom of mixed ages. There is no uniform expectation that all children of a certain age will all have the same level of skills. With mixed ages, the older children often mentor the younger children and learn to accept differences. This reduces competition and conflict.

8. In Montessori classrooms there is an acceptance of diversity because no one is made to conform for the sake of conforming. All rules are in the context of respecting other people and enabling a smoothly functioning classroom. Gender norms are expanded to include flexibility in skills such as not reinforcing ideas that sewing or cleaning is for girls, and that working with tools is for boys. Cultural study throughout the year emphasizes acceptance and inclusion. Various abilities are accepted because there is no standard expectation of skill or ability.

9. Montessori classrooms promote self-evaluation and self-esteem because children learn how to judge their own progress. Many works have a goal where children are able to self-check and thus don't need to rely on another person's assessment of them. There are no daily stars or stickers or grades to motivate them.

In my own experience Montessori children are very good at communicating with both children and adults. They usually make appropriate eye contact, know how and when to ask for help. They tend to exhibit good listening skills and can engage well in conversations. They tend to have good self-confidence because of their mastery of basic tasks at school.  All in all, Montessori children learn many great social skills that serve them well in life beyond school with their friends and family as well as their community.

Marla Nargundkar,  AMI Montessori Guide at Tree of Life Montessori School in Atlanta, Georgia USA 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

To Follow or Lead?

One of the most misunderstood principles of Montessori is the caveat by Maria Montessori to “follow the child.” This is not a directive to make the child the leader with the parents following behind. This kind of permissiveness would abandon children to their own whims and desires. Children do not know what is in their best interest and are not ready to take on the responsibilities of the adult world.  Parents must lovingly guide and set firm boundaries - and an attitude of confidence is needed to get the full message across. When a child senses too often that the parent is timid, questioning or unsure, then that can create anxiety and even fear.

Parents make the main decisions in life and confidently express their choices for the child. It is the parent who decides what’s for dinner on a daily basis. It’s the parent’s decision what time to go to bed, what time to get up in the morning etc. The child cannot possibly know what is in his best interest in these types of matters. The child gets to make choices within limits set by the parents. So, it could be appropriate for a child to choose which book to read before bed, to choose between cooking carrots or green beans with dinner, to eat breakfast before getting dressed or after. But all of these options are presented by the parent to the child. The parent has made the decision of which options are acceptable.

So, what does it mean to “follow the child”? In the Montessori realm, it means to pay attention to the child’s interests and signs of readiness because these guide the adult in what and how to teach the child. It does not mean that we allow the child to totally steer their learning – but that we observe for ideas on how to potentially approach teaching them. For example, if a child is really interested in animals, when we teach the sounds with the Sandpaper Letters, we can utilize this interest and give lots of examples of animal names for each letter sound we introduce. The interests of the child can flavor our approach to the subject. Then, we observe the child for readiness before teaching any other new letters. We teach the child something when we observe that the child is ready.

Sometimes, it’s ok to let our observations guide us to step back and let the child pursue his current interests. In Montessori we pay attention to the Sensitive Periods for learning because children’s interests often closely follow the Sensitive Period they are in. For example, the Sensitive Period for Order often becomes very strong around age 2. It may be typical to see a child insist that everything must be lined up and put a certain way or they will not be satisfied. So, in “following the child” we understand that this a developmental phase, one that doesn’t last forever and we are not worried or upset by it. This is a case where we “indulge” the child’s desire because it is in alignment with proper and healthy developmental stages. We know it is best to step back and allow the child to line up all the toys or hang up the coat “just so.”

Another example includes when the child begins to insist on doing things by him/herself. This is also a developmental stage and we follow the signs of readiness by helping him/her learn how to do things by him/herself and then stepping back to allow that to happen. We stop doing for the child what he or she can successfully do for him/herself. If we interfere too much and put our own will/desire before the child’s in this area, then development does not proceed as smoothly as it can. Tantrums and power struggles can erupt.
So to “follow the child” means to learn how to be a good leader - to set limits and to let “signs of readiness” guide our approach.  This allows kids to relax and just be kids, confident that Mom or Dad will handle the big stuff.

Marla Nargundkar,  AMI Montessori Guide at Tree of Life Montessori School in Atlanta, Georgia USA 

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Montessori and Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice is a form of reconciliation that relies on restoration rather than punishment. It has been practiced in many forms throughout history all around the world. At its core, it involves a facilitator to help both parties to present their experience and arrive at an acceptable solution. The person who has committed the harm, is held accountable and the person who has been harmed is given a voice about how the event affected them as well, influencing possible restitution or future actions. Restorative Justice not only helps the person who has been harmed feel heard and valued, but helps the person who committed the harm to see the full impact of their actions. This in turn, often helps motivate them to change their behavior because people who are simply punished for their actions often feel like they are the victims of a punitive system.
Montessori schools follow a system of conflict resolution that is very similar to Restorative Justice. We regularly teach skills to help children deal with conflict. For example, we teach children how to give an “I-message”, where the child who has been bothered or hurt in some way by another, communicates their feelings following the template of “I feel ____ when you do ____” All parties are expected to treat the other person with respect and value their feelings. The response to the “I-message” can include an apology but usually focuses on what will set the situation right.  For example, if one child tells another that he is bothered by another child bumping into his table every time he walks by, the other child can respond “I hear you and will make sure to walk carefully around your table next time.” Facilitators will often ask both parties if they are satisfied by this outcome and if they are, then the discussion is complete. If an issue becomes repeated, then a longer conference may involve exploring why the child continues to do the behavior and what can be done to help prevent it or any alternatives that can be found.
Most Montessori classrooms also have a Peace area where children can have a space to begin the process themselves. The Peace area is usually a table or tray where there are a few objects to help facilitate the process. It usually contains a “talking stick” or a fabric rose, and a small book that has been read in class about restoring peace. This area might also contain items to help children calm down such as a gel timer with colorful drops slowly falling down, or a finger labyrinth that a child can slowly trace a path with the finger. The child who feels wronged in some way can invite the other child to talk with them in the Peace area. They use the talking stick/rose to take turns telling their side of the event and what they can do to restore peace between them. If they are not able to find an acceptable solution, then they can invite the teacher or even another child to help facilitate.
This kind of conflict resolution cannot be simply a “band-aid” but must be a part of the fabric of everyday activities. Children must first learn how to identify their feelings and develop a language to express that. Everyone must be held accountable to listen to others. It’s not OK to dismiss someone’s concern and walk away without making some kind of amends or future action plan. The goal is to give children the tools to begin to resolve their own disputes, but it requires a facilitator for quite a while in order to become a developed skill. The teacher or adult must facilitate this process until it becomes natural for the children to do on their own.
Maria Montessori viewed education as a means for creating future generations. Her vision was that when Montessori children become adults, they will carry this model of interaction with them into the world, changing the societies they live in, making our future a better place!

Marla Nargundkar,  AMI Montessori Guide at Tree of Life Montessori School in Atlanta, Georgia USA 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

How to Be a Friend - Taking Care of Feelings

Many children struggle with the skills needed to learn how to be a good friend. Learning how to balance one’s own desires with that of others can be tricky. One way that helps is to explore two skills that promote friendship. The first skill involves learning how to take care of your own feelings, and the second skill involves learning how to show others that you value their thoughts and feelings. Parents and other adults can support these skills in their children through modeling, discussions, and encouragement. 

Take Care of Your Own Feelings

Before we can really be a friend to others, we need to learn how to take care of ourselves and that includes learning how to take care of one’s own feelings. This includes several areas, namely:

1. How to express one’s feelings appropriately
2. How to find appropriate outlets for “big” emotions
3. How to self-soothe

Each of these takes a bit of practice and experimentation with various methods to find what gives the best success.    

1. How to express one’s feelings appropriately: Learning how to express one’s feelings appropriately starts with first learning how to identify and name some basic emotions. Parents can help children identify emotions by introducing some of the vocabulary of emotions. For example, a parent could say “You look very frustrated when you can’t find your missing shoe.” Parents can also read books about emotions such as “The Way I Feel.” These types of books link situations to a particular emotion and expand vocabulary. 

Once children have a basic vocabulary about emotions then they need help learning how to express those emotions appropriately. In the Montessori classroom, we use a format called an “I-message” that is expressed as “I feel ___ when you do ___.” For example, “I feel angry when you grab the pencil from me. Please give it back.”  The I-message expresses a feeling and can also include a request in it as well. This is a polite way to let others know the impact of their actions on you.  One idea behind the I-message is that no matter what one wants to say to another, there is a kind/polite way to say it. Learning to inhibit the desire to yell or hit in anger at another is part of learning how to express feelings appropriately for children, and is a part of basic self-mastery.  It’s also important with the I-message format to set some realistic expectations. The I-message format isn’t meant to be a way to gripe about every possible perceived transgression. So children should also be encouraged to use it wisely. 

2. How to find appropriate outlets: Along with the ability to express emotions to others, it is important for children to learn appropriate outlets when they can’t deal with a strong emotion. This includes rehearsing strategies about what to do if one is angry, for example, can be very helpful. Some options could include hitting a pillow, doing vigorous exercises such as jumping jacks or pushups, taking slow, deep breaths, pushing on a wall/tree, or even walking away to take a break are all possibilities.  It can be helpful for parents to rehearse with a child what to do in various situations, so that once a child is in that situation; they have some possible tools to draw upon to help them. 

3. How to self-soothe: While it’s always good for children to turn to adults for help in dealing with strong emotions, it’s also good for them to begin to learn some small steps in how to manage their own emotions by themselves, including self-soothing. Children can learn to turn to art, music, dance or play to soothe themselves. They could pet or play with a dog (or friends) to uplift their mood.  There are many possibilities and parents can help children find what helps them shift their mood. 

Show Others You Value Their Feelings 

The second very important part of learning how to be a good friend involves showing others you value their feelings (and thoughts).  For example, children can learn to show others that they care if they get hurt, both physically or emotionally. If they see a friend fall down and begin to cry, they can show their friend that they care by asking them if they are ok or how they feel. The second part of the I-message is for the child receiving the message. It’s important for that child to acknowledge that they value the other child’s feelings.  It’s not appropriate to walk away or scoff when receiving an I-message. Children aren’t required to apologize, but it is suggested as an option as a way to show they care.  Children are encouraged to see if they can help their friend feel better. Minimally, they are expected to at least acknowledge they heard their friend’s message. Children can learn to be a friend by offering to listen and support, asking them what they need. These skills do not always come naturally and so parents and adults should support their development by coaching and encouraging behaviors that show care towards another person’s feelings. 

Another part of showing others that you value their feelings involves a 2-way flow of power of give and take.  Learning to take turns or share in who leads or decides a game is a way to allow a natural balance between friends. 

This isn’t about making anyone responsible for other’s feelings. Often, another person may feel angry or upset over something we cannot change or wouldn’t want to change. We can respect differences and show that we value the other person by demonstrating we value their feelings. We don’t even have to “fix” the problem. Being a friend is a mindset where we take responsibility for our own emotions and show other’s that we care about theirs. 

Childhood is the starting point in life of hopefully many friendships. When we help our children navigate through some of these basic skills, it enriches their lives, now and for many years to come. It’s not an easy task, but one with many rewards. 

Marla Nargundkar,  AMI Montessori Guide at Tree of Life Montessori School in Atlanta 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The High Energy Child in the Montessori Environment

Scrubbing a Table
In the Montessori environment, movement is an essential and integral part of learning. The child learns through first-hand experience primarily by doing and secondarily by observing. Every activity in the classroom involves movement and engages as many senses as possible. All the work in the Practical Life area and the Sensorial area involve many trips to retrieve all the parts of a given work and then the steps to clean up at the end. Even in areas that may seem abstract, there is always something to engage the body. Children also work in a variety of places and positions – at a table or on the floor which gives the body opportunities to move from one area to another. There are no assigned desks or places in the classroom. 

In the Montessori classroom, the child is groomed to engage in purposeful and controlled movement. There are many breakable objects and this is intentional to give the child feedback about his/her movements.  Children learn to work toward goal oriented activities.  Many high energy children find adequate outlets for their energy in a Montessori classroom and have no issues. However, issues arise when movement is uncontrolled, destructive or disturbing to others. Uncontrolled movements include flopping around, falling down and running indoors. Destructive movements include rough handling of materials, bashing and repeated dropping of materials. It can also include direct harmful movements of hitting, pushing or grabbing others. Disturbing movement can include loud/repetitive noises or touching other’s work. The overarching goal of Montessori education to that each child learns how to conduct him/herself, to pursue his/her own individual work within the structure and responsibility of the group. Each child is expected to respect other’s space, body and work. 

Within the classroom itself, there are some specific activities that children can choose to burn off extra energy. They can do “push hands” which involves pushing on the wall. They can jump in a designated area followed by a few deep breathing exercises. There is also an exercise to blow through a straw to move pompoms as well as crawling with a rolling pin along a line. Children can even run laps for a few minutes outside if the above activities are not enough to help them be calm during the morning work time, until it is time to play outside. These activities give the child an opportunity to regain a controlled level of energy whenever the need arises and hopefully by his/her own conscious self-awareness and choice. 

Support from home is essential for high energy children. They often need a very high and consistent level of exercise outside of school. Parents of high energy children need to commit to a regular exercise regimen for their child. This could include regular lessons in dance, gymnastics, martial arts and swimming. But there must be a daily routine in place for  enough exercise that involves full body movement and weight bearing activities such as calisthenics. The diet should avoid refined and processed foods including sugar, white flour, artificial colors and junk food. Proper sleep and rest are also essential for high energy children to regulate their energy and mood. Children under the age of 5 need at least 10 – 13 hours of sleep every 24 hours. Electronic media and television should be very limited and none should occur the last 2 hours before bed. Many high energy children are sensitive to violence in media and should be shielded from it on television and video games. 

High energy children need help to develop a vocabulary of emotions and find acceptable ways to express them. For example, parents can read books to children about emotions and how to name them. They can help each child to find an activity that works for them to express that feeling such as dance, art, music, running, hitting or even screaming into a pillow. Each outlet should have an acceptable time and place. High energy children need to know what is acceptable and where and when. 

High energy children need firm and consistent boundaries and limits that are clearly set in advance with appropriate and logical consequences. High energy children can be very persistent and so parents may be tempted to give in and not consistently follow through with consequences. It’s important for parents to choose rules and logical consequences very carefully. Rude, destructive or harmful behavior should never be tolerated in the name of “high energy.” Setting healthy boundaries and expectations for a high energy child helps avoid some very anti-social behavior among peers as well as with teachers and other adults.  

So with the right support from home and school, high energy children thrive in Montessori environments! Energy is neither good nor bad in itself – it is a force, that when harnessed properly becomes and ally rather than a hindrance. Movement is essential to the development of the child’s brain and to strengthen the neural pathways of learning. If your child is a high energy child then be sure to elicit information and guidance from your child’s Montessori teacher and follow the suggestions given above. Together, you can help your child succeed at home and school. 

 “The task of the educator lies in seeing that the child does not confound good with immobility and evil with activity” Maria Montessori

“Respect all reasonable forms of activity in which the child engages and try to understand them.” Maria Montessori

Marla Nargundkar,  AMI Montessori Guide at Tree of Life Montessori School in Atlanta.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Conflict Resolution: A Path to Peace

The purpose of Conflict Resolution in the Montessori classroom is to promote acceptance of a variety of people and to learn how to get along with others in a respectful and peaceful way. It is an integral and everyday part of the work in the classroom.

To promote conflict resolution skills, we introduce the following general steps often referred to as an "I-message":

  1. Communicate. The first step is to communicate with the other party if something is bothering or irritating you. A suggested pattern to follow is to say “I feel ____ when you (choose to) do __________. Please stop.” For example, “I feel angry when you choose to bump into my table. Please stop.” The word “choose” can be included or left out depending on if the action appears intentional or accidental.
  2. Response. The other person needs to respond "I hear that you feel _____ when I chose to do ___,  so  I will stop.”  For example, "I hear that you feel angry when I bump into your table. I will stop."
  3. Seek Help. If not resolved, seek the help of the teacher or other responsible adult.

The underpinnings of this method involve that first everyone's feelings must be accepted and honored. It’s not acceptable to dismiss the feelings/opinion of another as invalid. Secondly, if someone asks you to stop doing something, you must stop doing it. It is not acceptable to continue doing something that is irritating or distracting just because you enjoy it. The Montessori classroom is an environment promoting respect and value for each other. Personal space and boundaries should be observed. Basic classroom rules must be observed.

The Montessori classroom is not a vigilante, “Wild West”, “Eye For An Eye”, “Every Man For Himself” kind of environment. It is a community striving to work in harmony while respecting the rights of the individual. If negotiations fail, children are expected to ask for help from the teacher. There is a structure for justice that must be followed and it's not acceptable to take justice into one’s own hands if negotiations fail. Retribution isn't appropriate in this setting because we follow the principle that “two wrongs don't make a right.”  Just because someone else broke the rules first doesn't make it acceptable for the child to break the rules, too.

This advice might be quite different from what some parents are used to telling their children. Some parents tell their children that it's acceptable to hit back if someone hit you first. This attitude assumes that there is no framework for justice that the child must work within. It gives permission to sidestep the whole structure of fairness in place at school.

This process requires a lot of adult support in the beginning to introduce and facilitate for quite some time. The adult coaches the children through the steps for many days/months. Eventually the children begin to internalize the process themselves and the adult begins to step back and observe, invited in when asked by the children. There is an expectation that eventually the children will begin to attempt to resolve issues themselves before involving the teacher/adult.

It helps to also rehearse what to do in some common situations that children encounter and the recommended response by the child. The teacher/adult can act out a scenario and how to respond. The children can be led through a reenactment. Of course, the teacher only mimics/pretends these actions.

  1.  If another child grabs something from them they should hold out their hand and firmly say “Please give that back.” They should not grab it back. 
  2.   If another child grabs them, they should firmly tell them “Let me go.” They should not attempt to wrench free or push the other person off.
  3.   If another child is actively attempting to hit them, they can certainly raise their arm in self-defense to block the attack but they should not strike back and need to immediately involve the teacher.

After each of these initial responses, the child should attempt to negotiate and get the teacher involved if needed. These responses are not comprehensive and are meant for young children ages 3 and up. They are meant for the most common types of conflict that children will encounter in everyday situations. They assume an adult is nearby and can intervene. They do not cover extreme situations where a child is being actively attacked in a brutal manner by another child that could cause injury. Those situations require immediate adult intervention. Most of the time, basic conflict resolution skills are all that are needed to work through everyday frictions and disagreements.

It takes time for children to develop conflict resolution skills and so it takes patience and time on the part of adults to support the process. Once children gain these important social skills, their confidence and ability to work peacefully with others increases dramatically. Hopefully the ideas presented here will give parents some ideas and guidelines about how conflict resolution is facilitated in the Montessori classroom and work to support this at home.

Marla Nargundkar,  AMI Montessori Guide at Tree of Life Montessori School in Atlanta.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Center of the Universe

We live in a very different time of parenting than a generation or two ago. Parents tend to have fewer children and tend to have less extended family around them. This tends to create more anxiety in new parents and sometimes they overcompensate by making their child the center of their world.

Of course parents should spend lots of quality time with their children but the job of a parent is to prepare a child to grow up to be an independent adult within society - an adult who can support him/herself and contribute back to society as well in a positive manner.

Children who are treated too much as the “center” often experience difficulties and are often not prepared for future social life. They commonly experience the following issues at school and other places:

  1. They are often not team players – they haven’t learned how to take turns and play their role in the group. They always want to be the center of attention or always the leader in a group – taking over and making decisions for others. They are often unwilling to share leadership with others and give others a chance to perform that role.
  2. Instead of leading, they can also take on a helpless role.  They are not independent within a group – they seem to always need the others to support them most of the time. They will stand on the sidelines and expect others to do their work for them. Ultimately, this kind of child is not pulling his/her own weight in a group.
  3. They are often individuals who always seem to need accommodations. They seem to need accommodations for perceived differences and not any real disability. They just don't expect to play by the rules and seem to always expect exceptional treatment.

When parents are too involved in every aspect of their child’s life, they tend to micromanage too much. This action undermines self-confidence because the child feels that the adult isn’t willing to trust his ability to figure some things out on his own. The child loses opportunities to develop many skills for self-reliance. These vital skills are so important because they promote a “can-do” attitude and build self-confidence.

So what can parents do at home? Parents can work to support their child’s independence within an environment of responsibility. Start by no longer doing things for the child that he/she can already do for himself. If your child can put on his/her clothes by himself, then stop dressing your child. Of course we must  teach the foundational skills for any new activity, but once the child has mastered that skill then step back more frequently and expect a child it to do it  on his or her own. Be friendly with “error.” Don’t make a big deal about mistakes - simply see them as an opportunity to do it again. See it as a learning experience to refine and strengthen skill.

Don't be too quick to rescue.  Allow children to struggle a little bit. If children don't have the chance to manage the small ups and downs of childhood, how will they manage the larger ups and downs of adulthood? Have faith in your child's ability to grow and to be independent. Give your child the chance to learn how to work through frustration, to persevere in spite of frustration. Of course you should step in and help out if the frustration becomes overwhelming. Your child needs to know that he/she can depend on you if a situation becomes too much to handle.

Whatever rules you have at home, be firm in expecting your child to follow them. Allow natural consequences to take care of some issues. Make sure all other consequences are logical and relevant to the issue at hand.  Promote social skills of politeness such as waiting ones turn, speaking politely to others, learning basic table manners, etc. These skills set a strong foundation of social skills that will smooth your child’s interactions with other people.

While of course you play and have fun with your child, be cautious about being your child’s “friend.” You are the parent and thus must do things and make decisions that your child won’t like. Avoid placating your child or giving in to demands. Make it clear that adults get to do things and make certain decisions that children don’t. Many children confuse the role of the adult and child and thus when they get to school they don’t perceive the teacher as an authority figure. Giving your child control over too many choices can lead to this confusion. It’s not up to your child what you will cook for dinner or what time to go to bed. Be cautious in how often you let your child choose what the entire family will do. Teach your child it’s OK to be the center sometimes but that other people also need the chance to be the center of attention as well.

It’s an ongoing challenge to parents to work with all of these issues. It’s helpful to once a month, take some time to review the issues of the past month and set a few short term goals for the next month. It’s also OK to change your mind and change some rules and practices that aren’t serving everyone as family. Keep it simple and don’t try to make too many changes at once.

If you devote your energy into helping your child learn how to be independent and responsible, your child will have the skills and attitudes so vital to learning and growth in a social environment. Your child will be a joy to be around for both children and adults. And he/she will have many skills that will serve him/her throughout life.

Marla Nargundkar,  AMI Montessori Guide at Tree of Life Montessori School in Atlanta.