Successful Holidays with Children

Dear Parents,

Holidays with children can be exciting, fulfilling, and heartwarming. However, if you're not careful, you and your child can end up feeling overwhelmed by all the routine changes. This article offers helpful tips on how to take the stress out of the holiday season. Enjoy! 
Patti Davis
Head of School 
Montessori School of Franklin

Proactive Planning: One Parent's Approach


The Neurology of Montessori

A wonderful article, worth the read recommended by Patti Davis, Head of School:

Because Montessori emphasizes hands-on learning, children are able to master information more quickly and easily than when conventional educational methods are used. The repetition of activities, multisensory materials, and self-guided learning common to the Montessori classroom create the perfect “recipe” for human brain development.

Why Is a Montessori Classroom Called a “Children’s House?”

Dr. Montessori’s focus on the “whole child” led her to develop a very different sort of school from the traditional teacher-centered classroom. To emphasize this difference, she named her first school the “Casa dei Bambini”or the “Children’s House.”

The Montessori classroom is not the domain of the adults in charge; it is, instead, a carefully prepared environment designed to facilitate the development of the children’s independence and sense of personal empowerment. This is a children’s community. They move freely within it, selecting work that captures their interest. In a very real sense, even very small children are responsible for the care of their own child-sized environment. When they are hungry, they prepare their own snacks and drinks. They go to the bathroom without assistance. When something spills, they help each other carefully clean up.

Four generations of parents have been amazed to see small children in Montessori classrooms cut raw fruits and vegetables, sweep and dust, carry pitchers of water, and pour liquids with barely a drop spilled. The children normally go about their work so calmly and purposely that it is clear to even the casual observer that they are the masters in this place: The “Children’s House.” 

Written by Tim Seldin and Paul Epstein

MSF Teachers Prepare for the New School Year

MSF teachers use inservice as a time to prepare the classroom environment for the children.  

Montessori’s idea of the prepared environment was that everything the child came in contact with would facilitate and maximize independent learning and exploration. This calm, well-ordered environment has a lot of movement and activity. Children are free to choose and work on activities at their own pace. Here, they experience a combination of freedom and self-discipline, as guided by the environment.

In Maria Montessori's own words: 
"The first aim of the prepared environment is, as far as it is possible, to render the growing child independent of the adult". Maria Montessori. The Secret of Childhood, 1966.

Practical Life- by: Patti Davis

Practical Life is the daily living area of a Montessori classroom that involves the physical care of the person and the environment. Practical Life includes all the simple, ordinary, everyday adult activities that man must perform in order to establish and maintain relationships in his family or society. The activities the child will encounter fulfill an inner need in development, as well as provide the first stage of his engagement in classroom activity. These exercises are appealing to the child because they are activities he has observed in his home since his birth. He is drawn to do them in the Montessori environment because he is told to do them from within. They are simple enough for him to do successfully, and they make sense to him so that he can participate easily.                      

When a child enters a Montessori program, the Practical Life area is usually introduced first. These are simple and precise exercises that children have already seen their family doing. This is the entry area for new students and an area of comfort, often renewing self-confidence in the older students. The materials are skill oriented and are arranged on the shelves in logical groupings. The skills learned here increase the length of the child's concentration and prepare him for more advanced areas of the Montessori classroom curriculum.

The main purpose of Practical Life is to help the child developmentally in his work of self-construction; the basic skills he will acquire are secondary. His work will require coordination and concentration, which will lead him to independence and self-confidence in his daily life. These exercises will also fulfill his need to become a part of his society. Practical Life provides meaningful work for the child and allows for repetition (which is soothing). It helps the child develop a sense of order and responsibility. Practical Life also prepares the child for the next category of Montessori materials called the Sensorial curriculum, or education and refinement of the senses.

The activities of Practical Life are sequenced. Each lesson is built from another to form a firm foundation of skill, and the children subconsciously take in that order. They can anticipate what to do next. This sequencing also fills a developmental need in the child for order. The first activities are simple, having one step. The child cannot go wrong. Everything needed to complete an activity is contained. The activities move toward the more difficult; those requiring many steps. The child can see if he is not ready for the more complicated tasks, and the teacher can show him how he can get from one activity to another through the ordered sequence in the classroom. This order is also present in the materials used in each exercise on the tray, and in the presentation given to the child.

The Practical Life area provides many benefits for child development, with the activities needed to establish a good solid foundation for his life. The child becomes responsible and attentive to his environment, graceful and in control of his movement, and caring and careful of other human beings. He learns that being a part of this world involves responsibility and thoughtfulness.

What I like most about the Montessori Method - by: Patti Davis

One of my favorite things about Montessori is the fact that it works for every child no matter who they are or where they come from.  All children want to learn, but the areas of interest and the rate of learning vary.  A Montessori education addresses this by tailoring an individual program to the strengths and challenges of each student.  One child may spend three days learning division while another may require three weeks or even several months on the same endeavor. Maria Montessori spent a lot of time observing how and why children learn.  She understood that all children need their own time for mastery.  One of the wonderful things about a Montessori education is that children do not have to be worried about being ahead or behind of anyone else.

Using Encouragement

Great blog post, and wonderful parenting advice. What Ms. Schmidt says is so true!

Using Encouragement

A discouraged child is an unhappy child who is prone to acts of undue attention in the form of tantrums, whining, and more; acts of rebellion; acts of revenge, and acts of giving up and assumed disability. Oh woe is me!

It’s easy to be around a child full of encouragement. He cooperates and contributes to the common good, knowing that he is valued. He is responsible, self-motivated and eager to learn new things. He interacts with others in a friendly positive manner, forgives quickly, and stands up for himself when necessary. When facing an obstacle, the encouraged child retreats for a while to regroup and then resumes contact when ready.

Encouraging our children is a powerful parenting tool. The word “courage” comes from the Latin “cor” or heart. When we offer encouragement we offer our hearts, our courage, to our children, not praise or rewards. When we have to face something that frightens us, we want heart, not a cookie or some kind words.

What are the differences among encouragement, praise and rewards? 

With encouragement we offer the idea that mistakes are simply learning opportunities, and that to learn and grow, we all have to make mistakes. With encouragement we respect the child’s abilities, efforts and integrity to try to do the right thing. An encouraging phrase or two: I know you can figure this out. You’re good at solving problems; I’m sure you’ll figure it out. I love you no matter what.

Praise and rewards teach our children to depend on external input from others instead of learning to trust their own inner wisdom and standards. When we offer praise and rewards, we can catch ourselves because many times the first thing that comes out of our mouths is the word “I”: I’m so proud of you. I want to buy you this because you did that.

If we can swallow our “I’s” and look into our hearts to encourage, we should find a statement that begins with “you”: You must feel proud of the job you did. You really worked hard to do that. You deserve your success. You tried really hard. You’ll learn how to do that better. You are learning so much. You work like a trooper. You’re catching on. You’ve just about got it! You must have been practicing. You’re getting better at that everyday. 

Do you see the difference between praising and encouraging?

Praise and rewards get us believing that we are only okay if others tell us we are okay. Praise and rewards can keep us from trying something new for fear of making a mistake. With encouragement we learn from our mistakes and keep moving forward trying to do the right thing based on our internal compass. When we encourage we acknowledge how the other person must feel, and help them move forward in the direction of their choice, not our choice.

When you are feeling irritated, angry, hurt or helpless when dealing with your child, remember you are dealing with a discouraged child. Look into your heart and find some words of encouragement. You’ll be planting seeds for your child to feel a sense of belonging, independence, forgiveness, and self-assurance, all attributes of an encouraged child. 

Maren Schmidt


Posted By: Patti Burkhart Davis 

Better Than Ezra Benefit Concert

Benefit Concert for Franklin Montessori - March 14, 2013

Benefit Concert for Franklin Montessori - March 14, 2013


Ezralites ~

We have a special benefit concert to raise funds for the Montessori School of Franklin’s arts and music programs on Thursday, March 14, 2013 at The Cannery Ballroom in Nashville!

As music is part of our every day lives, we feel it is important to give kids a creative outlet to express themselves through arts and music. This benefit will help support and continue to grow those programs at the Montessori School of Franklin.

This intimate acoustic concert will feature your favorite BTE songs along with special guests. In true BTE fashion, you never know who might show up!

VIP tickets are available for purchase for $125 per ticket and include open bar, hors d’oeuvres and reserved area close to the stage. General Admission tickets for the concert are available in advance for $40 and $50 at the door. 

Proceeds from the event will go directly to the Montessori School of Franklin to enhance their arts and music programs as well as to buy musical equipment for the children.

See you in a couple weeks!

~ Kevin and Tom

Purchase Tickets......



MSF Teacher Named to Best of List


The Montessori School of Franklin is proud to announce the naming of our very own, Bunmi Anifowoshe as one of Middle Tennessee's Best Private School Teachers. This honor was given to Ms. Bunmi and only two others from the Nashville Scene's Kid's Readers Poll, Best of 2012.

Ms. Bunmi teaches the two and a half to five year olds at MSF, and has been with our school since 2008. She received her BSC in Microbiology from Obafemi Awolowo University, lle-lfe and International Diploma, Montessori Education from Heritage House Montessori Center (Affiliate of College of Modern Montessori, South Africa). 

"Ms. Bunmi models the philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori through her work as an educator and colleague, said Patti Davis, Montessori Education Director . She is dedicated to preparing a nurturing environment everyday that encourages each child to develop their full potential. Her passion for learning shines through the children."