Tag Archives: video

Montessori Goes to Harvard

With Yale researching Montessori, I guess Harvard had to get in the game:

This is a new video from The Harvard Center on the Developing Child‘s InBrief series, featuring lots of great footage from a Montessori school.  It’s a big deal for two reasons.

First, the topic of the video is Executive Function: Skills For Life and Learning.  Executive function (wiki), which comprises planning, working memory, inhibitory control, and problem-solving, among other abilities, is having its moment in the news these days as educators and researchers focus on its importance in early childhood education—the Marshmallow Test being the pop-culture icon for the concept. Montessori Children’s Houses, with their emphasis on order, sequence, limitation of materials, and student-directed activity, are little laboratories of executive function, of course, and researchers have begun to take notice: Adele Diamond, on YouTube and at the Montessori Congress ($10), AMI Trainer Larry Quade, Dr. Stephen Hughes, and even at Harvard.

And that’s the second reason this is a big deal. The Harvard Center on the Developing Child, directed by national child development researcher and thought leader Jack Shonkoff, is so huge, influential, and pervasive in the child development world that it’s hard to know where to start (about, history, FAQ).  It emerged from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, now itself a program of the Center, along with the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs and the Global Children’s Initiative among others.  Partnered with the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, the Center is enormously influential in the development of state and national policies and practices in education and child development.

A lot of important people are going to see this video, and although it doesn’t mention Montessori by name, they are probably going to be able to figure it out. And they are going to see that there’s something really special happening in those classrooms, and they are going to want to know more.

That’s the way to be in the conversation.

Bonus:  I learned that the video was shot at Three Tree Montessori in Burien, Washington, for the Washington State Department of Early Learning online training to provide information on executive function.  The training course, with additional video, is here.  Somehow—I’m still digging into exactly how—it made its way into the Harvard piece.

You’ll notice that Tools of the Mind is mentioned by name in the video, while Montessori is not.  A source connected to the video tells me that teachers were directed away from using “Montessori” in their interviews.  Interesting.

Building the Pink Tower

Lots to report still from the Congress but I wanted to get the word out about this right now:

At the Congress I met Vina Kay, an education and public policy professional and writer, as well as Jan Selby, a film and video producer, and founder of Quiet Island Films. Vina and Jay are Montessori parents as well, and Quiet Island Films was responsible for the beautiful and  stirring videos used throughout the Congress.

Vina and Jan are working on a film called Building the Pink Tower: a high-quality, thoroughly researched, emotionally moving, feature-length documentary about Montessori education from preschool to high school, public and private.  I’ve posted their teaser on the videos page of this site so you can see what kind of work they do.  There’s a longer fundraising trailer embedded below.

This is not a cheap project. Vina and Jay need to raise $300,000 in all, and they’re up to $28,000 so far. They’re making a push for $100,000 by this fall, and they’re asking Montessori teachers, parents, alumni, and friends to kick in to their $10 Challenge.  There are 4500 Montessori schools in the U.S. alone, so if just a few people from each school gave $10, they would reach their goal.  If a few people put in a bit more, they would get there that much faster.

Here’s the fundraising trailer.  And here’s the $10 Challenge link again.  If you believe in more Montessori for more children and spreading the word, now you can put your money where your mouth is.

The Best of Montessori Video

If you’ve ever gone looking for Montessori videos on the internet, you know there’s a lot out there.  Go to Google or YouTube and you’ll get literally millions of hits.  Who has time to wade through all of that to find out what’s worth watching and sharing?

The Montessori Observer, that’s who!  A new page on the site, Montessori Videos, breaks it down  for you and serves up the best of the best in five categories: “Peek Inside” the Classroom, School Videos, “About Montessori”, Children’s House Activities, and Montessori Concepts.  Videos from Baan Dek Montessori and the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector.

Browse, view, marvel, and share! 


Montessori Video at Baan Dek

Baan Dek Montessori in Sioux Falls, South Dakota is an AMI school offering a toddler program and Primary, founded in 2007 by June and Bobby George. June is from Thailand, and Baan Dek is Thai for “Children’s House.”

Besides an original and visually stunning school website, Baan Dek has some short clips on their Vimeo channel that really capture first plane concentration and attention, as well as charm.  There’s an amazing amount of material there.  I’ve picked out a few favorites:

Really, though.  Page after page of children using materials with concentration and focus.  This is a trove of data for anyone wanting to document Montessori practice.