Wednesday, February 23, 2011

There are holes in my bubble....

peace rose

"These are my own beliefs and view, and in no way reflect how I feel about how others chose to raise their children, this is a non-judgemental point of view....."

When my first was born I visualized a bubble around him, soft and beautiful .  In my head this was my gift to him, a promise to keep him safe and loved. He is now 6 1/2!

I have made it my promise to protect my children from the violence of the world around them (in their bubbles) during their CHILDHOOD.  Some might call this being "over protective", it is just not the way I can you "overprotect" small children that depend on you for safety of their bodies as well as their minds and spirits?

I BELIEVE....children need their childhood to play, grow, laugh, learn, smile, explore, imagine. (I could go on and on here) without such scary things they are developmentally NOT ready to grasp and are are scary.

I problems are ADULT problems, and not a child's business, they have their own problems to learn to resolve, such as sharing, getting along with other children,  figuring out how to get dressed, go to the bathroom, and how to be heard with out interrupting (particularly hard for my son to learn right now, but he is working on it!)  These may seen insignificant compared to our worries about war,bills and politics.  But these are the "problems" that are going to teach them how to resolve adult problems, later in life.

I NON-VIOLENT play, I just feel at such a young impressionable age, it is just not necessary to hard wire their brains with images of fighting, destruction, anger and violence.  My husband has a theory on not giving the boys play tools,

 he BELIEVES... to give them real tools and teach them how to use and respect them with teach them a safe and responsible way to use real tools, and not hurt them selves or others, when given toy tools they pretend to saw off Papa's legs, because its plastic and cant really hurt him (lets hope our little one does not get his hands on a real saw!) The toy tools have been removed from the house, except for a wooden tool box with nuts and bolts and a screwdriver.

WE BELIEVE...the same is true for toy weapons! I to often witness children (mostly boys) smacking each other with bats, sticks, swords, light savers, or pretending to kill each other...really? We were at an event recently and this is what I heard....

Here is where the holes are being put in my bubbles....
"I am going to blow up the church!"
"She is dead, we cut off her head"
"I am going to kill you"

I went to check on Mason during this violent and forceful play situation, and he was happily playing with a toy by himself, completely ignoring the war like situation that was playing out around him! This made my heart both warm and sad at the same time.

Society does not BELIEVE....what I believe.  I am happy he is able to not engage in this kind of play when all the other kids are, He is also able to say "I don't like to play those games" to other children. but it makes me sad that there is not more  peaceful kind of play.  Sometimes he will encourage an imaginative game that is non-violent, but most of the time it is not.

I also notice that the non-violent play is mostly with come we encourage the boys to fight and play with weapons but not the girls...we are not living in mid evil times here anymore, where boys had to be trained to fight and defend...its 2011..we have an Army to train soldiers how to use weapons responsibly if they chose to defend and fight as adults..why at such a young age?

I am not naive, I know that there is violence and desperation in the world, but not in my child's world (for now), I know someday they will have to be exposed to it and learn about how the world is unfair.  They will learn that there are mean people too, but not for as long as I can keep that bubble around them

The bubble so far (for 6 1/2 yrs) has taught my son to be kind, compassionate, thoughtful, peaceful, and given him a chance to explore nature during his play.  It has kelp his imagination open to creative, non-violent play situations.  I truly don't think he knows how to be mean (to hurt), every child disagrees and argues. The key is to model and teach them NON-VIOLENT conflict resolution to their problems.

I BELIEVE in PEACE education!......
     Yesterday with 2 other families the Codianis and the Havens we had a day of Peace education. we started by asking the children ages 9month-6years, what they thought Peace is?

Athena (5yrs) - "Peace is laying on the beach" we then pretended to lay on the beach, we got out the ocean drum for sound effect, and each child took a turn making the peaceful sounds of the ocean.
Hunter (3yrs)- "taking a warm bath"
Janelle (mom)- I imagine a light coming from my body and wrapping around the world with all the people I love"
Katelyn (mom)- When I think of being peaceful, I imaging I am a flower, can you imagine what it would be like to be a flower?"
Baby Henry (9months) thinks its peaceful to nurse
Naiome (3yrs) enjoyed listening to every ones thoughts
Mason (6 1/2 yrs) "being quiet" so we played the silence game, we were quiet for 1 minuet, then talked about what we heard.
James- enjoyed listening to every ones thoughts

We talked about how to use a Peace Rose to solve conflict resolutions. Each person was given a silk peace rose to take home and use. see this article for more on this. We role played a situation, where one child grabs from another. We also looked at peace cards, which have the word "Peace" written in all different languages.  We also made copies of the "Peace Pledged" from the United Nations Pledge. You can sign it online and send it in too. We also printed a color copies for each family and framed them. Mason and Athena made  Friendship Flowers. from NAMC. They also shared a snack and lunch together.

Over all it was a very peaceful day, We plan to continue with peace education, through out our lives.

I know eventually my boys bubbles with slowly get holes and the reality of the worlds problems with be let in, but for now...during their childhood....

I will not have the adult news on the T.V. while my children are around, nor discuss scary worldly events in front of them, that they do not understand.
I will not provide violent T.V, movie, or computer exposure
I will not allow toy weapons in the home (if they pick up a stick and use it as a weapon, we will talk about how that could hurt someone (for real)
I will not tolerate  hitting, pushing, mean words (to hurt), or violence in our house
I will model appropriate behaviors inside and outside of the house for my children to witness, this means no gossip, road rage, snide remarks or prejudice remarks about others.  Good manners and kind gestures towards others.
I will talk to them about why people behavior the way they do as situations arise and talk about how it could have been handled differently and peacefully.
I will GIVE them the words to use, to solve conflicts with peers.

I PROMISE to give my children a strong sense of peace in their childhood!

Kerryanne Cummins

Monday, February 21, 2011

Peaceful Classroom, Peaceful Home, Peaceful World: Conflict Resolution

I found this wonderful article while searching for "I Statements" at ...mountaintopmontessori

Conflict Resolution - Newsletter Archive

Peaceful Classroom, Peaceful Home, Peaceful World: Conflict Resolution

by Micaela Raine

Imagine a child who has been involved in an emotional conflict with a classmate during mid-day recess. When the children return to the classrooms, their guide has an exhilarating new lesson for them. How is the child who is distracted by the unresolved conflict going to focus on the lesson being given? Probably not very well. Better yet, consider an example a bit closer to home: One fine morning, your 4 and 6 year old are having an argument that is escalating in volume and intensity. The 4 year old proceeds to knock down the 6 year old’s block structure because he was not permitted to join in the construction. You, on the other hand, are trying to get everyone out the door with lunch boxes, bags, shoes and coats as well as leaving your home somewhat orderly. You need cooperation and teamwork, but instead are getting resistance and bickering. Rather than focusing on getting their shoes on and their things together, your children are completely preoccupied with how they were excluded or how their work was sabotaged. What do you do?

Conflict Resolution: Why?

“If we wish to create a lasting peace, we must begin with the children.”


How children learn to treat one another and cope with their differences is just as important as what they learn in reading, writing, and arithmetic. Social skills such as cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self- control are essential to children’s academic and social success. As parents, we have all been known to yell, scream, make threats and even say a few ‘grown-up’ words under our breath, but we feel there must be an effective way to find resolution. Using a conflict resolution process like the one your child is learning at school can help. Our children need to learn to generate socially acceptable ways to deal with problems. Research has shown that a child’s ability to solve problems in an acceptable manner is directly related to the number of solutions or alternatives the child can think of in a situation. A child who can think of five ways to get what he or she wants will generally display more socially acceptable behavior than the child who can think of only one or two ways. Having a ritualized procedure can help even the youngest children resolve conflict peacefully with a minimum of adult intervention. The communication and social skills developed in the process empower students to assert their feelings and experiences while maintaining respect for the feelings and experiences of others.


“Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict - alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence.”

Dorothy Thompson

American Journalist


If we want children to find peaceful solutions to their problems, we must allow them opportunities to resolve conflicts when they arise. Like parents, classroom guides dread the moments when conflicts arise that interrupt our plans. The conflict may seem trivial and irritating at the time, but it is very important to the people involved and deserves our full attention and empathy. Giving that is hard, but worth it. Challenge yourself to resist the urge to mandate the quick solution. Stop what you are doing and listen. Try to remember that having a clear process for handling situations like the one described above may not get you out the door in the next three minutes, but it will help your children develop into peaceful, productive and effective problem solvers as well as guarantee you a more pleasant car ride.


HELPS for Conflict Resolution

In the heat of a tense moment, it can be challenging to think clearly and guide children through their own peace process. When in doubt, use H.E.L.P.S. (from The Responsive Classroom) to remind you of the basic steps:
Have a place to go.

Explain how you are feeling.

Listen to one another.

Plan what will fix it.

Shake hands, give a hug, or acknowledge conclusion in some way.

Idea: Generate a list of words with older children to help expand vocabulary when describing feelings; words such as scared, sorry, sad, angry, frustrated, nervous, irritated. Have this list on hand so children can refer to it when composing I-statements.

Conflict resolution is not a matter of quick fixes, magical solutions or techniques. It is an ongoing process that does not happen in isolation. Conflict resolution is based on three initial themes: cooperation, communication and affirmation, which establish a firm foundation for the fourth theme: empowering children to act responsibly (to deal with conflict so that no one is hurt physically or emotionally). Cooperation: Successful conflict resolution is based on the contributions of everyone involved and on mutually acceptable decisions and solutions. This creates a sense of community and co-responsibility. Communication: Conflict often results from, or escalates because of, misinterpretations, misunderstandings and assumptions. Our goal is to develop a sense of trust and sharing in respectful ways (attentive or active listening). Affirmation: Mutual respect, appreciation and acceptance of others and their points of view.

Whether using a peace table, or an object that is passed between the participants to help them take turns to speak (a peace rose, a piece of mulch, stuffed animal, talking stick or a blade of grass), the conflict resolution meeting at school might go something like this:

1. Gather together in a safe and mutual space.

2. The first child begins by making an I-statement, and the second child listens. Delivering emotion-laden information as I-statements is essential: “When you _________, I feel __________, because ________.”

Children see things primarily from their own perspectives. They may be completely unaware of how their behavior affects other people, except when another person interferes with their needs. To negotiate fair solutions, children need to know how others feel.

3. The listener then repeats back his or her understanding of what was said, while making eye contact and listening gestures.

4. Once the first child agrees that the second child has heard correctly, the second child may make an I-statement. The routine continues in which one child makes an I-statement, than the other repeats back what he or she heard (a simple form of active listening).

5. Once everyone has said everything that needed to be communicated, generating alternatives or solutions is the next step. Help them define the problem in terms of what both children want to happen. For example, “What can you do so you have room to play with blocks and Janine has room to drive her truck?” When the problem is phrased this way, children get the idea that the needs of both are important. All ideas are welcome. Solutions that seem ridiculous may even bring a little comic relief later in the process.

6. After the children have generated ideas, they can evaluate them. Ask them, “What might happen if you . . .?” or, “How might Matt feel if you. . . ?”

Resist the temptation to judge the ideas. In the long run, adults are more helpful by encouraging children to evaluate ideas themselves and see why they may be unacceptable.

7. Ask for a decision or make a plan. Restate the problem, summarize the ideas, and let the children decide which idea they will try. Agreeing to disagree is a possible solution, as long as both parties were respected and agree to this unlikely solution.

8. Conclusion- a hand shake, a hug- something to signify that both parties feel satisfied that an understanding has been reached and peace has been made.

In the early weeks and months, of introducing this process, the adult always attends conflict resolution meetings as a “fair witness” to ensure safety and protocol. As children become more adept with the process, the teacher (or mom or dad) can ask if either one would like an adult’s presence. If not, we leave them alone.

Though it may seem a simple and formulaic process, it takes great courage for students (and wives, husbands, co-workers, siblings, bosses, mothers, fathers…) to initiate it and carry it through. Every time we help a child learn to communicate intentionally, rather than reacting out of emotion, we make the world a more peaceful place. Maria Montessori lived in a time of intense worldwide conflict. She saw in children the potential for change. Montessori schools around the world are giving children in conflict-ridden places the chance to grow up with a sense of peace and of purpose. One such program is the House of Flowers, an orphanage in Afghanistan which was created by Allison Lide, a Montessori Elementary guide, and Dr. Mostafa Vaziri. In a recent message to colleagues in the West, Dr. Vaziri said, “ I am amazed how war and peace, violence and genuine hospitality, innocence and corruption and other sharp contrasts can coexist in Afghanistan. We only hope that these and similar children can grow to become peaceful leaders of their community in that troubled area of the world.”

Last Updated ( Thursday, 29 January 2009 )

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Quote from Playschool6 Yahoo Group

The Discovery of the Child - Nature in Education

"It would be premature to say:'Set the children free, let them have

fair play, let them run out when it is raining, take off their shoes

when they find pools of water, and when the grass of the meadows is

damp with dew let them run about with bare feet and trample on it;

let them shout and laugh when the sun wakes them up in the morning,

as it wakes up every other living creature which divides its day

between waking and sleeping.'

Instead of that, we ask ourselves anxiously how we can make the children sleep

after daybreak, and how we can train them not to take off their shoes and not to

wander over the fields. When, having been kept in restraint by us, having been

degraded and irritated by the prison, the child kills insects or little harmless

animals, it seems to us natural; we do not realise that this mind has become

estranged from Nature. What we are really asking from our babies is that they

adapt themselves to prison without bothering us.

The muscular energy of the children, of even the smallest, is

greater than we imagine, but in order that this is revealed to us

must have free play."

Kind regards,


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award!

Good Morning Blog world! I woke up this morning, got my tea as usual, sat at the computer and what a lovely surprise...I have received a blog award award from Jessie at! Thank you Jessie. Click on over to her blog and see what they are doing.

The rules of acceptance of this Stylish award are . . .
1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award

2. Share 7 things about yourself

3. Award recently discovered great bloggers

4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award!

7 things about me...

  1. Like Jessie I love chocolate! But dark chocolate is my favorite.
  2. I am addicted to tea...especially Green Tea with honey
  3. I have my own Soy Candle business @
  4. my favorite color is green
  5. I love to sing along with my kids songs in the car!
  6. I am really bad at building anything with wood..wish I had carpenter skills.
  7. I secretly enjoy letting my kids be sucked into PBS for an hour each morning so I can read every ones blogs and write mine!
New recently discovered blogs I would like to send this award to are:

This was so HARD!  There are so many wonderful blogs I love to follow, but I am going to pick the most recent one for this award....

I know she has already received this award, but she deserves another, she shares such beautiful Montessori and Waldorf ideas!

So much wonderful information here for the homeschooler!

This is a collaborative of women dedicated to "Green Living". There is an incredible amount of info here and links to more great info too!
Lots of wonderful information here about Montessori

Thursday, February 10, 2011

This is some of what we did this week...the captions titled "Following the child" are things that were not planned or a prepared lesson ,that the kids wanted to do and we just went with it..and it turned in to a fun learning experience...
..I am learning to do this more and more...

Cutting cucumbers for dinner

Following the child...rug ice skating with tissue boxes and cardboard!

Compairing weights with our new balance scale!

Toddler magnets

Open and close basket...zipper,screw,pop,pull,push.
I LOVE this pic of them both working!

Following the child...Mason discovered inhersha with a heavy ball and bowl.  an object in motion stays in motion, until stopped.

Following the child...while playing with yarn, james decided he wanted to glue I made a heart and then he made one.

Still following that child....then he says "I want to make a lion!" so we made a lion.
notice the tounge!! such concentration!

Science fair project: Magnets!

Winter stamps

Following the child...Mason wanted to make a heart and decorate the classroom.

large wooden blue beads on pipe cleaner, they were on the "blue tray" and James brought them over to the bead tray to put them on pipe cleaners

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Story of the World-Projects

This year with our Co-Op group we are doing Story of the World.  The kids do the reading/listening, coloring pages and map work at home.  On Fridays we meet to do the projects together. I want to post what we have done so far, I am sure I do not have pictures of each week, but I will try to remember what we did.

Mason made a History of my family book.  We copied the pages that came with the curriculum and asked grandparents and great grandparent to fill them out.
Mason also made a timeline of his 5 years of life.

Chapter 1: The Earliest People
 Cave Painting

 Making a game bag

Chapter 2: Egyptians lived on the Nile River

 Making Shepard's crook of the Pharaohs-wrapping paper tubes, paper, paint, glitter
 sorry the pic is sideways! all the shepherds crooks drying

Model of the Nile- river in the middle with foil & rocks, dirt & seeds on the "bank".  Flood the river to over flow into the "bank".  We used winter rye seeds

Chapter 3; The First Writing:
They stamped their names using Cuneiform stamps onto silver paper and made paper!

 Making homemade paper with Veronica

Chapter 4: The Old Kingdom of Egypt:
(no picture) They made pyramids out of sugar cubes with Brenda

Chapter 5: The First Sumerian Dictator:

Making a Sumerian Seal, the kids each had a piece of dough, they drew a picture in the dough that represented "them", then the seals were baked on a low temp in the oven to make them hard. A string was put thru for them to wear them.

Chapter 6: The Jewish People:
They made the comic book that came with the curriculum and these hunting weapons (that I forget the name of and will have to ask Carla-sorry)

Chapter 7: Hammurabi and the Babylonians:

 Making a Law Code Stele out of plaster of paris
 "No Parking"

"No opening the front door unless an adult says so"
Making a Ziggurat Temple, Glued boxes, then they painted them "mud color" and then COVERED them with sand!  They came out great, I wish I had a picture of one all done!

Chapter 8: The Assyrians:
(no pics) Veronica had the kids rest on the floor with their eyes closed as she told them the story of Gilgamesh.  She then had them go tot he table and draw what they were picturing in their heads.

Chapter 9: The First Cities of India
(need to gather info)

Chapter 10: The Far East Ancient China
Played a cycle of the silk worm game and listened to the story of how silk was snuck out of China.
Chapter 11: Ancient Africa:
They made paper necklaces, we looked at pictures of Africa, burned incents and fried plantain...which was so yummy!  We also had a Christmas party at Veronica's house! They made chocolate reindeer, and listed to a great story with Veronica!

Chapter 12: The Middle Kingdom of Egypt:
(need to gather info)

Chapter 13: The New Kingdom of Egypt
(No Pics) They made Hatsheput's false beard

Chapter 14: The Israelites Leave Egypt
(No Pics) They made the Ten Plagues sticker book and cooked flat bread with Carla

Chapter 15: The Phoenicians
I made purple dye with purple cabbage. I went to Micheals and bought canvas hand puppets for something to dye.  We taked about how the Phoneicians used 60,000 glands from a shell fish to make 1 gallon of dye! (showed them a gallon) They decorated thier puppets and then dyed them! They came out great!

Using the recipe that came with the curriculum, we make pita bread.

I set out things that the Phonicians traded on thier ships like, silver, blown glass, wood, olive oil, salt, and copper.  We looked at a book that showed pictures of the ships, trade routes and how life was then.

Friday, February 4, 2011

School work in February

 While setting up the new school room Mason found the multiplication board...I knew he had figured out some of the lower multiplication on his own (like 2x3). He asked if you could look at it, and before I knew it he was really into it! He spent most of one day and a bit of another figuring it out.  He mostly found patterns in the numbers to fill in the squares, but he also used the abacus to work some out.....
 He filled in the whole thing!!

I asked him to pick an animal he would like to learn about, he picked Polar Bears.  We borrowed books from the library, and used animal research cards from Montessori for Everyone (free download section).  As he reads the books and finds information he puts the card with the correct answer under the question.  For example: Q. What does the animal eat?  Plants? Animals? or Both plants and animals? He would put the card that says "animals" under that card.  This is working great, cause he does not have to write anything!  He is having an anti writing period, so this is a great way for him to still learn and find answers with out having to write it all down (for now).
 James is working on his open and close basket
In the basket: eye glass case that zippers, eye glass case that opens, jar with twist top, jar with pop top, jewelry box that opens with a hinge, a bird flashlight that opens when you push a button, glass jar with small screw top.
 Making patterns
 using plastic ice to count and sort
 Blue tray
 Boys in blue (didn't even plan it! and yes they are doing school in their PJ's-it was a blizzard outside and since they don't get snow days...they get PJ days instead!)
 transferring cotton balls
Helping me sort paper!