Friday, March 11, 2016

When did Montessori become a Religion?

Maria Montessori was a radical thinker.  She was a woman and a scientist in a time (and these barriers still exist today) where educated men founded concepts and ideals that grew from an "enlightened" society.  An "enlightened society" I wonder.  The British Empire spanned almost as big as the Mongolian Empire under Genghis Khan. What political systems developed from these empires?

Genghis Khan, although his methods may be considered as barbaric, allowed freedoms that existed outside of the bounds of family and tradition  -he chose his generals out of loyalty and had absolute faith in them.   The British Empire suppressed and enslaved native populations with the concepts and ideas, cutting off intelligences and subsequent actions that may be lost forever, generating politics, egos, forms of conversations, facts, figures in which everyone had to meet in order to be heard or experience any kind of psychical .  I think of Gandhi's fight for India -and even his ideals are conflicted.  He was a just a man, who at the end of his life was so disgusted with politics, he focused on the internal nature of his being -hence our own intimate conversation, knowing this basic understanding of self is fundamental in all people.  "I live simply so others may simply live."

Isn't this who we are?

Elitism in the West- the courts of Europe -I think of Versailles beautiful but gathered round the idea that God lives in the perfection of human form. Look at all art today- It is the perfection of form that exists outside or internal life or experience to meet a larger unified idea within that specific culture and/or society. It has baggage. And only those who happen to be born into it, work hard enough to prove their worth of it, are able to act and create within that society.

All the creative thinkers- artists -Michelangelo, musicians -Mozart, (only a two of who knows how many?) are bound to this belief of enlightened ideals - a pinnacle of sorts.  I wonder what work they would have created if they were completely free?

Montessori saw the disenfranchised youth in Italy (children who were poor, or considered to be un able to educate)  and created a scientific system in which to allow these persons to connect to their whole internal self.  She developed a system of concrete materials that freed the individual from being bound to another in order to learn and develop their own character.  BUT she created this system within a framework of already existing ideals and concepts that dictate where the soul can and how it can evolve.

It amazes me that we are unable to understand her own limitations.  She was bound to a corrupt system, and she knew it.  She spoke in reference to the concept of God within her work, because the only way she could do her work was to be within the larger framework of those "enlightened" western beliefs.

So why is it then that most everyone sees the Montessori Method as a rigid system of academic growth, in which the teacher and student are bound to the form?

The lesson needs to be done this way.  The child has mastered the work when we see this.

We are silly to think that children feel or experience this framework as truth to defining who they are, how they learn, and what they wish to do.

Why are we bending the genius of a method as religious fanatics would do?   In truth Creativity which is who we really are -each and everyone of us - is bound to no one but our internal experience.  Creativity has no limits, no structure is completely free of all concept and thought. And only the individual can know that from experience.

We need as educators, parents and adults to support this new line of thinking and being.  We need to understand and allow ourselves to evolve within our own understanding and creativity if we are to survive at all.

We need to see Montessori as a method only.  That this method is flexible and can be used creatively to connect the child to her/himself; not to create a carbon copy of what already exists.

Montessori as a rigid right and wrong way thwarts the will under the concept of a religious system which is exactly what she was fighting against in the first place.

Monday, March 7, 2016

known difficulties with Asperger's and Austism

I was in an interview today, and I was asked what was most challenging about my work with children.  It got me to thinking about all those times I was asked to physically sub-press certain behavior from children.  Or when I watched children be violent toward their own bodies, all the while adults standing paralyzed, horrified at the behavior then judging the child as needing or missing something fundamental.  Taking classes and having educated specialists say to hold a child down while he or she is tantruming or that these children are needing physical hand over hand, etc.

At the same time this is happening a dear friend has been nursing her boyfriend of three years -he just died yesterday of complications due to liver failure.  His death has been a dramatic down-hill spiral since this past December 2015.

My most recent conversation with her revolved around her new understanding.  He asked her to delete his email account yesterday one day before his death; in which she discovered that he was sleeping with everyone -men, women, putting out ads on Craigslist -which she found in his emails. He never told her, his friends never said a word.  She is in her mid-50's, he was in his early 60's.

It was her duty to call everyone and let them know he just past over.  She of course is devastated. 

This whole situation got me to thinking after long discussions with my friend, how our behavior as seen from the outside is only a slight indication of what we are truly experiencing.

Children with Autism and children with Asperger's are unable to shut off this internal conflict.  They do not have the order to clarify for themselves this ongoing dialogue.  So they decide to not engage. And who would?   IT is torture.

 It is so hard to hear yourself as a person when you are so very sensitive to energy, the feeling of others to the point of the other overriding or conflicting, confusing your entire being.  All you feel is another's energy, thoughts, feelings, and it is suppressive to the body and mind.

It is hell to experience.  You just want that conflict to stop!

That internal dissonance of self with other generates such disorder, chaos and conflict within the person that his/her behavior appears unnatural, unreal and scary to an outsider.

But it is so much scary to be that person.

After my friend attended his funeral, she began to realize that his behavior was never directed at her. His decisions were a result of internal turmoil -a struggle that seemed never- ending to him.

I wish that adults who educate, parent, or know anyone with Asperger's and Autism remember,  it is a greater hell to be experiencing this conflict internally, then to be an observer.

It is even more horrific that we believe by imposing our will upon these persons we will "cure" them of what we think is unnatural, when in fact it is usually the order of the other that is causing the child's internal conflict.

But that thought is for another day.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

"B" Tutoring Story

It has been a while since my last post -much has changed.  I have recently lost my favorite client, and I am just realizing now how very sad the whole situation leaves me.


I had been tutoring a young girl, (5 yrs. going on 6 this month) for almost 2 years.  When I first met "B"  she was in a Montessori classroom. Her parents had been frequently meeting with the Director of the school regarding her behavior.  [B has had a crazy medical history of all sorts of diagnosis] which create an internal dissonance of social emotional issues as well as learning issues that leave B acting inconsistently with everyone.  Her challenging behavior in the classroom and at home was so frustrating with her parents, that they moved her to another school, and then they hired me to tutor B with Math and Language -reading and writing. ( I have a crazy degree in Education -ECE with Special Ed. and G/T,  Elementary Ed., and Ed. Psychology -as well as a BA in Art.) 


MY BACKGROUND to clarify

I recently moved to the Loveland/Ft. Collins area from Denver this past Fall.  I have set up a tutoring business up in Ft. Collins area  for Preschool children with Autism, Asberger's and/or G/T to learn to Read, and work with Math.  

  [I developed and designed a record-keeping system for Montessori and other Alternative Preschools/ Kindergarten's which links Colorado State Standards to the Learning Activities and Cognitive Development of the Montessori materials to the State Standards] 

 I have learned from practical experience, that labels means nothing.  I have found each and every time I have worked with any child, if I compose myself, breathe, stay calm and focused the  child and myself work fine, every time.

Some children are very sensitive to their physical environment, to the feelings of others- even to their own bodies. I worked with a child years ago "S" with Dandy Walker Syndrome which left S so physically developed he was bigger than any other child.  He also had the cognitive development of a toddler, although he was 5 years, he slurred his speech, and drooled most of the time.

S LOVED his classmates; he desired be social with his peers, but every single child in his class feared his presence and would walk away and leave him.  When this happened, he would then throw himself on they ground crying.  He got so upset with himself and what was happening to him that he once threw his head into the bathroom sink, breaking his skin. He did this a few times, before the Para left, and I took over.

I could see and feel S's frustration.  I became very gentle and soft with my words to him.  I used compassion, with his situation:  he is a boy who desires to connect with others, but his physical body and mental body are unwilling to cooperate.   The year went on and S left.  His parents thanked me quite generously for working with him.

And I will be honest -I miss seeing his eye's light up with joy at seeing his friends.


My story,  I confess is my disappointment and heartbreak with B's  parents   - that they only desire to see in B what they remember of themselves   - reading big books when they were little.

So when I came to them with my schedule and price set for my tutoring business here in Loveland/Ft. Collins areas with my other tutoring clients -they "poo-pooed"  the idea of everything I was doing. They quipped and stated that their daughter, had no challenges.   Then they without any consideration of the work being done for B, or even my situation, they dropped my services.

I feel completely devastated that these parents forgot B entirely when they chose to let me go.  It is a very sad situation.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

this is me

Working with children, or "little people" as I prefer to say has it's advantages & LET NO SAY OTHERWISE,  even in the most compromising of positions, I have always found myself free in their presence.









I have moved my career in this lifetime 6 different directions:  ART,  WRITING,  YOGA, TEACHING, MENTORING,  & CONSULTING.  And in each of these experiences, it is the child I have found that creates and individualizes my physical work experiences into a free form of constructive block building, me being the block.