Mindful Impact Partnership Brings Mindfulness Training to Urban Montessori Charter School

Mindful Impact, an Oakland-based organization that offers mindfulness training to predominantly underserved communities in an effort to promote social justice and educational equity, is coming to Urban Montessori Charter School.

Funded by an anonymous grant, the Mindful Impact program will provide mindfulness training to UMCS' faculty, staff and 230 students, beginning on February 18, 2014. Parents will have an opportunity to be exposed to the curriculum at our Spring Parent Night on February 26, 2014.

There is a sizeable body of research that shows that teaching children self-regulation skills improves academic outcomes. This partnership will enable us to equip children with a greater range of self-regulation skills. The Mindful Impact lessons will be a welcome addition to our social-emotional curriculum.

Montessori schools teach basic sitting and walking meditation lessons called "The Silence Game" and "Walking the Line." The opportunity to provide students with more mindfulness habits, skills and practices through working with Mindful Impact is a logical partnership.

Photos of UMCS kindergarten students practicing one of Maria Montessori's "Silence" lessons, in October 2013:

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"Living Montessori: The Parent Perspective" ~ American Montessori Society (Video)

In this video, parents describe why they love Montessori education.

Thank you to the American Montessori Society for compiling and sharing this material!

Living Montessori: The Parent Perspective from American Montessori Society on Vimeo.

Classroom footage captured at Princeton Montessori School in Princeton, NJ. Thank you to Princeton Montessori School as well as to these schools, whose current parents are represented: Brooklyn Heights Montessori School, The Caedmon School, Christopher Academy, Metropolitan Montessori School, Twin Parks Montessori Schools.

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Building Equity at Urban Montessori

Dr. Maria Montessori, the creator of Montessori education, was dedicated to helping all children achieve their highest potential.

She developed her teaching method from working with young people with special needs in a mental institution, and with those living in low-income communities, in Lorenzo, Italy. Over the years, Dr. Montessori had the opportunity to teach — and to train teachers — in Asia, Europe and the United States. She saw those educators achieve great results applying her methods with many different types of students in many different countries.

Here at Urban, we strive to implement the Montessori method with a much more diverse group of students in a single school setting than Dr. Montessori ever saw in her day.

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School Songs

Every morning at Urban Montessori, at the start of our school day, we gather in a circle.

Our morning circle is an opportunity for our students to settle in to the rhythm of the day, as well as a time for Ms. Jill to address the whole student body, noting what we've accomplished as a community and what we might need to work on, as well as a time for teachers and parents to make announcements of upcoming events.

And every morning, we sing.

 

Here are the lyrics to our songs:

 

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Montessori Apps for Kids?

Montessori is necessarily a hands-on, physical manipulatives, real-life-experience-based educational practice.

The thought of "an app for that" does seem contradictory.

However, if adults and kids want an opportunity to explore Montessori principals on a touch screen, these links are a good starting point for activities that would support the learning that takes place at school.

While some may have better physical interaction and responsiveness than others, there are many high-quality learning apps for all devices that encourage multi-sensory experiences, and self-directed and independent play. 

The majority of these apps complement what happens in the classroom — except for the My Playhome series. My Playhome encourages fantasy play which is not usually incorporated into a Montessori elementary curriculum. That said, the series is great for encouraging co-play and narrative skills for kindergarteners and parents together. 

The Reading Rainbow subscription, also linked below, is a great way to supplement instruction for struggling and emerging readers. Kids LOVE this app. Invest in the subscription: it's cheaper than buying three books at the store and you receive books all-year-round.

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Great Gifts for Montessori Kids

What games, toys and books do Montessori kids like?

A few ideas are listed here, recommended by some of our current K-through-3rd grade students and their families. Please add your favorites in the comments field below. 

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UMCS 2013-2014 State of the School Address Slide Show

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