Where the child's interest inspires great work
Maitri Learning creates educational materials that are research-based, accurate, beautiful, durable, and usable. Maitri Learning was founded somewhat accidentally by a Montessori teacher who was trying to buy the perfect materials for her classroom and couldn't find them anywhere. Now, the materials she created (based specifically on the precise directions received in her AMI training) are used by Montessori teachers, parents, and teacher trainers around the world. We are named after the Buddhist word maitri which means 'having a compassionate, kind heart.' We keep the principle of maitri at the front of all of our business decisions.
Maitri is a green, eco-friendly, fair-wage, right-livelihood, woman-owned business. We pay all of our employees at least $15/hour, which should be our country's national minimum wage. Our prices reflect these fair labor costs along with the higher costs of environmentally-sound paper, toxin-free laminate, and inks made without ozone-depleting substances.
$18.95 USD $9.50 USD
The first few days of school are full of excitement and chaos. This is when all kinds of trouble can happen just because the families, children, or staff aren't quiet on board with the whole school procedure thing. This is why it's a really good idea to bring the returning families back before we invite the new children to start. Now usually we're just thinking about the children and from their perspective, this "have the older kids come back first" approach works really well. Everyone gets time to boisterously reconnect and review the core grace and courtesy they learned the previous year. But what I'm really thinking about is the parking lot. You want people in the car line who know what they're doing! The new families will have a better chance of getting with the program if they have some role models to follow. I mean if 90% of the people are only using the right driveway lane, that says something!
I had a called the other day from a darling teacher who was very uncertain about the online training she received from the North American Montessori Center (NAMC). She felt unprepared and confused about several points and was seeking clarity. I thought I would publish this note because she is not the first teacher to call me with similar questions and from a similar training situation. Let's hope many people can gain something from her courage in directing her questions to a Montessorian with a blogging problem!
One question she had was "What themes should I put out for each season?" She was wondering if she should do shells in the summer and leaves in the fall. Well, sure, if that is what is relevant to the children's lives but the main point is to follow the interests of the child and to keep the classroom alive with magic. Of course, she already knew that the children were more interested in certain things at certain times of the year because they connect with what goes on in their lives outside of school. So the first thing she needed to do was trust her natural instincts.
The next thing to do was get her rotating mojo on! Rather than doing a major classroom overhaul every season, here is an easier approach to rotating materials.
One of my favorite teachers and I spent almost two days figuring out the snack procedure and set-up for her room. The result was utterly fantastic. She spent the first week or two of school focusing on presenting how to have snack and snack went along without a hitch for the rest of year. So read on if you want the best snack ever in your classroom! Step 1 is to get your name card and place it in the ladybug holder. This holds your space at the table and prevents the possibility of another child rushing in to sit at the table while the other child is getting snack at the snack shelf. My friend decided on a two-person snack table but this same procedure can work with three children if you have a large enough table. In the picture above, the placemats are reused all morning. Those and those cute little lady bug card holders stay on the snack table at all times. The children set up and clean up the rest.