The Pacific Palisades Methodist Preschool (Los Angeles) is a cutting-edge learning center based on respect for the natural development of the child. Currently over 80 children are enrolled and the waiting list is long.
After in-depth consultation with the wonderful director Luisa Donati and two teachers on ways to manage daily flow, monthly inspirations, circle time, etc., we started the first workshop with the whole teacher team. Our goal was to revisit and reflect on teacher roles in the classroom and with parents.
The school is based on several different early childhood education philosophies, including the Reggio Emilia approach. The teachers had already incorporated elements of Maria Montessori’s approach to early childhood education, but wanted to make that part of their program richer and more intentional. In the next workshop we explored how to include elements and teaching skills developed by Maria Montessori:
– How to create joyful opportunities to learn practical life skills, such as cleaning up and making order.
– How to facilitate sensorial development.
– How to encourage self-directed learning
In the next workshop I introduced the hands-on learning materials (from Montessori and Froebel) that we had previously chosen with the director, curriculum coordinator and a teacher.
In the photo below you see some classical Montessori materials, and some modern manipulatives. Children learn practical and academic skills naturally when playing with these super-intelligent toys.
In the photo below you see ‘Froebel Gifts’, multidimensional toys that encourage spatial and mathematical thinking, fine motor development, and the conceptual development of harmony and beauty.
I immensely enjoyed working with the teachers of PPMP. We inspired each other!
Here are just a few testimonials:
“Carmen’s workshop was so much fun and very educational for me. I loved it! The way Carmen presented Maria Montessori’s philosophy gave me that ‘Aha-moment’. The structure I learned gives me freedom for my work with the children.” – Rita Coye, teacher
“The work with Carmen is helping me to collaborate with my co-teachers more joyfully and efficiently.” – Joanna Siegel, teacher
“Our work with Carmen was really meaningful and important. It provided us the opportunity to reflect on and dissect our teaching practices, routines and environments. Carmen gently, expertly and in a spirit of positivity, guided us as we thought about the what, why and how of what we do and as we developed ideas about what we could change and improve on. It was a wonderful and important way to get the new school year under way!” – Luisa Donati, director