Laura Mammarelli's Notes From the AMS Conference in Washington DC (March 2008):

Resilient Children
Patti Yonka and Teri Canaday
AMS conf 3/8/08

They have reviewed research that confirms that we are doing what we think we are doing in Montessori classrooms. Research confirms that the social and emotional skills we nurture are important and essential, as we believe.

Resilient children
  1. Are able to manage life-rise above adversity and stress.
  2. Work well, plan well, love well and expect well.
  3. Can cope because adults have nurtured the right skills.
Resilient children's beliefs:
  1. I have
    • people who love me unconditionally
    • people who set limits
    • people who model doing the right thing
    • people who help me when needed
  2. I am
    • lovable
    • respectful
    • willing to accept responsibility for my own behavior
    • sure things will work out
  3. I can
    • talk when I am frightened or disturbed
    • solve my problems
    • control my actions
    • find someone and ask for help

Factors of protective resilience are attributes or assets that protect the child from developing harmful, destructive or ineffective behaviors.

  1. External factors-social and school.
    • get care and support from friends, role models, attachment
    • set high standards for everyone, after confirming that basic needs are met
    • encourage meaningful role, work and contributions from all
  2. Internal factors-social & emotional skills.
    • social-capacities grow through interaction and collaboration
    • problem solving
    • self-control
    • self efficacy-belief in one's self
    • optimism-positive thinking!

Children need to be connected to a charismatic adult. It is important to promote resiliency in adults, the staff and administration, too. We are looking for a mindset of learned optimism.

Relationship-Driven Classroom Management by John M Vitto Evolving Capacities of the Child by UNICEF Innocenti Research Center Black Elk Speaks by John Neihardt Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman Raising Resilient Children by Sam Goldstein and Robert Brooks
Teaching Kids People Skills
Eileen Kennedy Moore
AMS conf 3/7/08

Use books and stories to illustrate skills.

Skills to focus on:

  1. Reaching out.
    • how to greet people
    • create a book together on how to appropriately get positive attention
    • how to ask interesting questions in conversations (how & what)
    • "tootle", don't tattle-tell on good things
    • give compliments-I like how you
  2. Pull back.
    • manage a friendship when one friend is overwhelming another
    • what is a friend?
    • recognize and change annoying behavior
  3. Blending in.
    • observe, then unobtrusively join in (merge)
    • play the same thing near the group
    • is there anything you can contribute?
    • play by their rules
    • match the emotional tone
    • learn how to be part of a group-cooperate, collaborate, enhance morale
  4. Speaking up.
    • be assertive, when appropriate
    • how to handle teasing (look bored, etc)
    • how to deal with an angry adult
    • Respond "You're right," "I shouldn't have____," "I'll ______ next time."
  5. Letting go.
    • release or give up unrealistic expectations
    • don't tattle, know when to tell
    • apologize, forgive, overlook petty grievances

Empathy underlies all of these strategies. Be sure to recognize and acknowledge progress. Focus on future, "you are becoming_____"

Art Costa
AMS Conference 3/8/08

He described the Mindshifts children will need as they grow up.

  1. Effort based learning.
  2. Knowledge based construction.
  3. Transdisciplinary learning.
  4. Knowing how to behave when the answers are not apparent.
  5. Valuing diversity.
  6. Self-assessment.
  7. Liberating the innate passion to learn.

Many of his ideas describe practices already present in Montessori classrooms, but there is more we can do.

Peak performers always say, I have so much more to learn.

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." Alan Kay of Apple computer.

Where is the Universal Child Hiding?
Margaret Loefler
AMS Conference 3/8/08

Margaret asked if children are the same as they were 100 years ago, and if the method still applies, in response to the comment we often hear that kids are different now, especially with computers, video games, ipods, and so on.

She concluded that they are, by looking at consistency in children's play over time and across cultures. Children's bodies and needs are the same as our ancestors'. Children still mimic adult behavior and work to meet basic needs in every culture, although the specific cultural patterns may vary. Margaret likes to focus on the continuity between contemporary children and historical children.

Maria Montessori saw the prepared environment as an aid to children's natural development, not the creator of it. That is the work of the child. Montessori is not a curriculum or a fixed curriculum.

Montessori, in The Absorbent Mind, said the four characteristics of all children are:

When these characteristics are integrated, the child is "normalized." Integration occurs when the child deeply concentrates on an activity using both the mind and the hand. Normalization is ongoing. It is a journey. These qualities of characteristics and normalization are still present in contemporary children.

The value of recognizing the universality of children is:

The universal child will grow up to be the universal peacemaker.

AMS conference March 2008
Resources to consider:
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