Earlier this year, my colleague, Sienna, and I made our way to Waterford, Michigan – in the middle of one of the biggest snowstorms we had all winter – to attend the Early Childhood training seminar at the Michigan Montessori Teacher Education Center. As relatively new classroom assistants at The Montessori School, we were excited to take part in their weekend-long Montessori assistant training.
On day one we learned a lot about the creator of Montessori, Dr. Maria Montessori. As you may know, she was an Italian physician and educator. Being a woman in the early 1900s, people thought that she shouldn’t be a doctor. In the face of that prejudice, she started working with children in Rome and found that her unique method of teaching worked just as well as the mainstream approach to education, if not better. We learned that she spoke often of the value her assistants brought to the classroom. By her assistants helping her do small, yet invaluable, tasks in the classroom, she was free to focus her attention on giving lessons.
During the second day, each person shared what their day was like in their own classrooms. It was great to share experiences and tips with other Montessori assistants. The instructor then led us through some lessons we could do with our students using the materials in our rooms. We focused on how to turn basic lessons, such as hanging up a coat, into something fun, educational, and interactive. The instructor also reviewed some of the traditional Montessori materials with us, and again showed us how to use them for new activities in the classroom. One lesson that stuck out to me was with the pink tower and involved having the children bring over the pieces of the tower out of order and seeing how tall it could get before it falls down.
The training as a whole was a nice way to get to know more people doing the same work as me. Through both conversations and demonstrations, I feel I came away with some awesome new tools. I am excited to implement what I learned in the classroom and watch our children continue to grow and learn.
Lauren Mogdis is an assistant in our All-Year Montessori program. This is her first year at TMS; she began in August 2019. Prior to joining TMS, Lauren was a lead preschool teacher at another center in the Kalamazoo area for six years. She is a WMU grad with a bachelor’s in Social Work and minors in Holistic Health and Interdisciplinary Health Services.