Today we had an art workshop. Elizabeth Park leds us and described art as being a universal language. We discussed different methods of creative expression through various means of art for example, collage, painting, clay and drawing. We also discussed about chromology, which is the study and how certain colors produce a certain feeling.
Afterwards we were able to get into the creative process and created an art peace. I got to create a mosaic out of magazine images I cut out. This mosaic peace was meaningful for me because it built on yesterdays talk with Kaipoi. It’s a representation of what I had learn along with what I love.
How can children create meaning through art? By allowing them to go through their own process rather than a set expectation. It is also important to integrate the arts into all areas of curriculum, this allow the child to extend their knowledge. For example, this reminds me of a project I put together. Each week I had a featured “Artist of the week” in which the children learned about world known or local artists, their art methods and on of their paintings. Also it make me think of adapting the curriculum to work with children with variation of color blindness and also as for children that would liked to be challenged.
Affirmation of the day: I am open and utilize my creativity an express myself
Today in class we discussed order which is one the four direct aims of practical life the other three include: concentration, coordination, order and independence. Some prior knowledge that helps me connect to order is how Montessori discussed that a child first has an absorbent mind and how they just absorb information like a sponge. Comparably, in 2010, Dr. Itzhak Fried, from The UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences along with Roy Mukamel, a Postdoctoral researcher studied mirror neurons/mirror cells replicate. Mirror cells/ Mirror neurons replicate another person’s action.
If a child has the ability to follow, absorb and learn something, what causes a child to have inner-motivation and react to his or her environment in a meaningful way? We found that through following the child and careful observation one can find a child’s interest. Then through the child interest, they will motivated internally and will naturally focus. This will bring about concentration which then leads to order and normalization.
In sanskrit the word “Shraddha” mean faith but in english its more closely translated to having loving awareness. Order for me means also the internal environment and what we put into our minds. For example, Peter Walsh a professional organizer discusses how one must get rid of clutter but not only does he talk about physical clutter but of emotional clutter. What emotional clutter no longer serves you? Pondering and quickly releasing these thoughts can help one stay present in enjoy life and concentrate and working towards having shraddha in all thoughts and actions. This requires self-discipline and through constant repetition it will become second nature.
Another thing we discussed today was culture. Culture is part of ones country's beliefs and values. The NAEYC standards encourage educators to have the understanding of cultural backgrounds. From this cultural viewpoint we teach our lessons.
For example, here in Hawai’i the awareness that everything is connected is a very present reality. Ones ancestors, the environment, the relationship with others, with nature and oneself are the every day moments that are the embodiment of spirit. Thus cultivating owns culture and language is an integral part of creating curriculum in Hawai’i.
Today, Kumu Kaipoi discussed how nature provided answers. He discussed how stars are the reference points to both, ancestors and all other generations. We discussed about celestial navigation along with the coconut fiber and how through those fibers, rope was created. I found the rope fibers to represent unity and along with its physical purpose for serving all those at sea. Another thing I felt connected to was a deeper meaning of how also the rope represents the umbilical cord of a child to its mother. In the womb everything is provided. Now at present day this still hold true for us but we need to work towards restoring and come back to harmony with nature.
Affirmation of the day- I live my life in awareness and all my thoughts, words and actions are surrendered for my highest good and the highest good of the world.
"E malama pono i ka‘aina; nana mai ke ola." - Take good care of the land; it grants you life.
Taking care of our bodies and taking care of the land. We are part of and are an extension of the earth. Today we were out in nature as we continued learning about Practical life lessons.
"Nature is a guide that teaches children how to move about"- Maria Montessori
Dr. Maria Montessori researched and studied the importance between movement and learning. Montessori's sensory materials are based on the ability to move freely in the classroom and the connect between the body and the mind.
“One of the greatest mistakes of our day is to think of movement by itself, as something apart from the higher functions…Mental development must be connected with movement and be dependent on it. It is vital that educational theory and practice should become informed by this idea.”
- Maria Montessori
Now, current brain research has found that the part of the brain that processes movement is the same part of the brain that processes learning. This is very important information to know as educators and parents. Montessori materials are designed in way to promote movement. Today we practiced working with the materials and we were busy bodies moving around the classroom. In addition, I was able to shared my book "Mamma's Planet Earth" with the classmates.
Further more we learned about care for the environment and the different aspects and lessons. I had a memory when I was little one of my jobs was to talk to and water the plants in the house. My mother said that the plants were thirsty and that it was important to talk to them every day and let them know you love them. I will continue this wisdom with the keiki I come in contact with. This will further instill in them to malama ka 'aina (to take care and live in harmony with the land)
Affirmation of the day: I am in touch with my own nature. I go with the flow and move effortlessly.
It's day 2 but it feels as if time in condensing. There is so much information that I am learning and I feel it is integrated into my system. Today we continued to learn about Dr. Montessori's practical life focusing in on observation. As we quietly observe a child's nature we will see what his or her natural interest are and who the child is. By observing it allows the adults around the child to facilitate a child's learning.
"Know your children, know your families, know your school district" - Susan Costello
In class we discussed planning for curriculum, this involves making sure it is intentional and that the activities provided are developmentally appropriate. Some strategies include acknowledging what children do or say, giving positive feed back, and as a Montessori teacher we must ensure that we are modeling and demonstrating the work along with coming into our own grace and courtesy. I really love this about Montessori Education as this is teaching life skills of being responsible citizen of the world. It also make me think about countries such as Finland, Singapore, Korea and China and their D.A.P and how I could incorporate international standards into my teaching practice as well.
Affirmation of the day: I take one step at a time, I breathe and allow all knowledge to resonate within me.
"To be an excellent teacher means being intentional"- Carol Copple
Today was the first day of my summer intensive program at Chaminade University. We started the program off with a Kava Ceremony. At the ceremony I voiced my intention, which at this present moment is to be guided by spirit in guiding the children back to taking care of the land and opening up their hearts towards compassion for themselves and one another. I wish to learn from these great keiki teachers. As we all work together, I wish to be part of creating world peace. As we sat in the circle the rest of the group voiced out their intentions and we discussed how the circle represented support and how everyone has something to contribute, the circle has no begin nor no end it represents Lokahi (Unity).
During class we discussed assisting all types of learners. Each child is unique and has many talents and different learning abilities. Differentiating activities in a classroom has really fascinated me since I previous worked in a Collaborative Teaching Team in NYC. I found myself thinking "how can I serve?"
Affirmation of the day:
"I am ready to receive, I am open to new beginnings and give gratitude for everything the universe provides"