The first step of our son’s pre-school registration and linguistic issues of children in Belgium

1 Comment


Meld je aan - school pre-registration website

Meld je aan – school pre-registration website

1 March 2013 was an exciting day for us because we completed the first step of our 1.5 year old son Arman’s pre-school registration. We were very much satisfied by the pre-registration website that the Flemish Ministry for Education prepared for parents: https://meldjeaan.antwerpen.be. They have even prepared a short video demonstrating the process, but I think having subtitles in a few different languages would be a very useful addition to this nice video.

The website requested that we select 5 different schools and now it is time to wait for about 1.5 months to see whether our first choice has enough places so that we can go and register Arman there. Among some schools that are at a convenient distance to us, we have also selected a Montessori school, and I’m curious about the experience, should Arman start attending there.

The surprising factor about the pre-registration web site was the questions they asked about the linguistic skills of our son, e.g. what language he used when speaking to his mother, what language with the father, what language with brothers and sisters, and what language when communicating with friends (apparently they forgot the valuable option of babbling ;-)) It would be very nice if the Flemish Ministry for Education publish this data anonymously and keep the spirit of free, open, and high quality data that is one of the pillars of the information age in which we are living.

Advertisements

Montessori in a TED talk

Leave a comment


Will Right on games and Montessori education

Will Right on games and Montessori education

I’ve just discovered game designer Will Wright‘s TED talk in which he also mentions Montessori. He’s the creator of SimCity, The Sims and other games:

When I was a kid, I actually attended Montessori school up to sixth grade in Atlanta, Georgia. And at the time, I didn’t think much about it, but then later, I kind of realized that that was kind of the high point of my education. From that point on, everything else was pretty much downhill.

People call me a game designer, but I really think of these things more as toys. But I started getting very interested in Maria Montessori and her methods, and the kind of way she went about things, and the way she thought it very valuable for kids to kind of discover things on their own, rather than being taught these things, just kind of overtly. And she would design these toys, where kids in playing with the toys would actually come to understand these deep principles of life and nature through play. And since they discovered those things, it really stuck with them so much more, and also they would experience their own failures; there was a failure-based aspect to learning there. It was very important.

You can watch the full video at http://www.ted.com/talks/will_wright_makes_toys_that_make_worlds.html.

There is humanity and beauty in this madness: Montessori Madness! A Parent to Parent Argument for Montessori Education

3 Comments


Montessori Madness

Montessori Madness

This is the second book in my path of learning Montessori method for educating children, but I would suggest it as the first Montessori book to almost everyone. Unlike my first book (which is another gem I highly appreciate and value in its own category), this one is much shorter and includes just a few references to other works; this is basically a book written by a parent for other parents.  A very personal book which tells the story of a father who really deeply cared about the education of his children and his amazing discoveries. Trevor Eissler does not shy away from giving accounts of his own childhood in which there were some difficult moments; his sharp analysis of what kind of education leads to those difficulties is at least as valuable as a scientific psychological research for me. Maybe that’s because I’m also about to become a father and I’m also obsessed about the process a child lives throughout his first years.
More

Why most of the schools are boring and what you can do about it

4 Comments


Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius

Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius

Most of the schools for most of the kids are boring or to put it in another way, they are the killers of innovation. Even the most curious kid with an insatiable desire and a healthy dose of intellectual energy knows what it feels like after 5-10 years of schooling, some even remember vivid accounts of how their energy was sucked out of their souls. It is a cliché to say that education is very important but then what kind of radical reforms we witnessed during the last 100 years?

I don’t have any particular expertise in the field of education, pedagogy or child development, but I spent a lot of time studying cognitive science, was involved in psychology research,  and practically taught kids how to program (heck, I even read “Mindstorms: Children, Computers, And Powerful Ideas” from Papert long time ago!). I’m not a foreigner to Piaget and read from books from and on Vygotsky. But I heard about Montessori only about a few months ago (well, to be fair I must admit that Papert’s book mentions Montessori, only in one page, in a single sentence and negatively). If Montessori method of education was something very new, or just a few years old, or even one or two decades old, I would not consider my situation very odd. Or if the method of Montessori was put to use only in a few schools in a few distant countries I would forgive myself for my ignorance. But to my surprise I learned that Montessori method is about 100 years old and put to test daily in many countries including many European ones as well as USA (some of the most famous names in my field turned out to be educated in Montessori schools: Larry Page and Sergei Brin (founders of Google), Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon.com), Will Wright (the inventor of “The Sims”); read “The Montessori Mafia” from The Wall Street Journal for more information).

More

Montessori method: how to educate your children the Google way

Leave a comment


I have recently learned an interesting topic related to raising children: Montessori method:

Children working on the phonogram moveable alphabet

Children working on the phonogram moveable alphabet

The Montessori method is an educating approach for children based on the research and experiences of Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori (1870 – 1952). It arose in the process of her experimental observation of young children given freedom in an environment, leading her to believe by 1907 that she had discovered “the child’s true normal nature.” Based on her observations, she created an environment prepared with materials designed for their self-directed learning activity. The method itself aims to duplicate this experimental observation of children to bring about, sustain and support their true natural way of being.

Applying this method involves the teacher in viewing the child as having an inner natural guidance for his or her own perfect self-directed development. The teacher’s role of observation sometimes includes experimental interactions with children, commonly referred to as “lessons,” to resolve misbehavior or to show how to use the various self-teaching materials that are provided in the environment for the children’s free use.

The method is primarily applied with young children (2.5 – 6), as this was the initial age with which Dr. Montessori worked. Her philosophy was based on certain characteristic seen in this age group. The method is also utilized successfully for ages 0-3 and 6-9, 9-12, 12-15 and 15-18, though the majority of children learning through this method are in the 3-6 range.

One of the interesting facts is that Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin attended to schools that used the Montessori method:
More

%d bloggers like this: