Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Early Childhood Montessori Program

Mrs. Kathryn Miller's EC Montessori Classroom
 The Innovative School

The Early Childhood program includes children 3 through 6 years of age. This is the age of development of one’s own independence, mastery of one’s own environment, as well as emerging awareness of social grace and courtesy.

Upon entering a Montessori three to six classroom environment, you immediately notice the small size of the furniture, the low elevation of the shelves, and the sense of accessibility of the child to their environment. This was the plan of Dr. Montessori–to prepare the environment to meet the physical needs of the child. To the unenlightened, the environment may appear home-like with glass pitchers, bowls, brooms, aprons, and the like. Upon closer inspection, one begins to observe a beauty in the environment with plants, art, animals and music. Then emerges a subtle awareness of geometric shapes, numerals, letters, beautiful maps, colorful beads, and books. What evolves in the observer is an awareness of a carefully prepared environment that engages the young child. It is inviting and appealing, creating a desire to explore and learn.

The outcome of such an environment, paired with the well-trained, educated and credentialed Montessori teacher, is a learning experience developed to meet the needs of the child. Current brain research shows us that real learning occurs when the hand is in use, when the learner is happy and feels safe, and when movement is involved. Children observed in a Montessori classroom are engaged in activities that best suit their own individual developmental needs.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain

Munir Shivji and Dr. JoAnn Deak
Dr. JoAnn Deak, author of Your Fantastic Elastic Brain, spoke at the 2011 Montessori Back to School Conference, hosted by The Institute of Montessori Education on August 20, 2011. Her innovative and timely book teaches children that they have the ability to stretch and grow their own brains. The book introduces children to the anatomy and various functions of the brain in a fun and engaging way. Children will learn that "making mistakes is one of the best ways your brain learns and grows". A tidy summary at the end reinforces the book's message: "The harder you try without giving up, the more you will learn." JoAnn Deak's book Your Fantastic Elastic Brain is a powerful book to share with young and old alike.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Montessori Builds Innovators??

Andrew McAfee of Harvard Business Review extols the virtues of Montessori education and talks about his own experience as a Montessori student.

Andrew McAfee is principal research scientist at the Center for Digital Business in the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is the author of Enterprise 2.0.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What to look for when hiring a Montessori teacher!

Qualities of an authentic Montessori teacher... What to look for!!

Kathryn Miller and Shelli Caldwell
Two Authentic Montessori
Teachers at The Innovative School.

The role of a Montessori teacher is that of an observer, facilitator, nurturer, communicator, environmental engineer, role-model, team player, advisor, guide, and be a patient, approachable, organized, tolerant, knowledgeable, and professional human being who is strong in character and prepared in spirit at the same time.

As a head of school, how do you perceive what to look for when seeking an authentic Montessori teacher for your classrooms?

Dr. Montessori had strong opinions about the preparation of the teacher. It is the starting point in your search.
Dr. Montessori said:
” It is my belief that the thing which we should cultivate in our teachers is more the spirit than the mechanical skill of the scientist; that is, the direction of the preparation should be toward the spirit rather than toward the mechanism.”

When interviewing a prospective teacher, the logical first inquiry is the level of their training, experience, and years in the field. After the initial points are covered, presenting a set of questions that can be answered in person will provide you with a sense of this person being a match for your philosophy and your school.

Here are some sample questions to determine the above qualities.

  1. How do you handle your frustrations when you get to the ‘end of your rope’ with a child?
  2. What kind of continuing education do you participate in each year?
  3. If you have a small classroom with very little storage, what is your strategy?
  4. What is the most difficult experience you have had with a parent? How did you handle it?
  5. When or how often do you think is necessary for a team meeting?
  6. How important are faculty meetings to you?
  7. What kind of support do you expect from a head of school?
  8. What do you use as a support for your spiritual development?
  9. Authentic Montessori teacher – how would you describe one?
  10. Describe the most challenging experience you have had with an assistant or co-worker.
  11. What is your vision for your ideal classroom?
  12. What would you be doing on Veteran’s Day, if it were a school holiday?
Kathryn Miller
Got Montessori?
After having a conversation over these topics or others that you create yourself, you will likely have a clearer picture of the person interviewing. You will be able to make a more comfortable choice for your school.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Enjoy your Child!

Munir Shivji and Dr. Jane Nelsen at
The Institute of Montessori Education - Houston.
June 12, 2011
The Institute of Montessori Education was pleased to sponsor a two-day workshop with Dr. Jane Nelsen, author of the many Positive Discipline Book series this weekend June 11th and 12th. Workshop participants spent hours brainstorming, role playing, discussing, documenting, writing and learning how to facilitate and teach parenting the positive discipline way workshops. Everyone laughed, networked, played, learned and experienced a well planned and organized session by Dr. Jane Nelsen. What a wonderful weekend.

Positive Discipline is based on the concept that children want to belong and contribute. When you think about it, no one behaves well by being shamed and made to feel guilty. We were taught better ways to help our children learn respect and responsibility. With the positive discipline approach, children participate in making decisions that affect them based on limited choices that show respect for all involved. Rules and good behavior are encouraged and enforced with both firmness and kindness.

Here are some questions Dr. Jane Nelsen asked us to think about when we were brainstorming ideas on creating long term, effective discipline plans:

Are you being respectful and encouraging?
Do your children feel as though they belong?
Is what you're doing effective long-term?
Does it teach children to be concerned about others, teach cooperation and accountability?

This course will help you realize:

- Positive Discipline gives you more time for fun,
- Parents enjoy their children more,
- You can parent without stress, anxiety and guilt,
- Positive Discipline avoids spanking and other forms of corporal punishment,
- You don’t have to bribe, nag and cajole children,
- Children learn from their mistakes,
- You find real, practical solutions for tough problems,
- You have the respect of your children.

Adults who use Positive Discipline respect, nurture, and support their children. Children feel free to share ideas, feelings, ask questions and make choices. When adults are willing to observe and respond in ways that encourage positive behavior, you help the child become responsible for their own behavior. Participants who took this weekend's training received a certificate as a Certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator. Please contact TIME if you would like one of our newly certified participants to facilitate on-going parenting classes for you!


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I am BORED! What to do this summer?

Summer is a time for relaxation and rest for a student, but for a parent, summer can be overwhelming. Before your family has a chance to say, "I'm bored!" plan a meaningful summer using some of these great ideas.  Here are a few suggestions that may assist you in having a peaceful, happy and safe summer.

Explore a Museum and Create a Family Newsletter,
Play in the Dirt, Dig for Worms, Look for Lizards, and Hunt for Frogs and Tadpoles,
Bring Books Alive and Start a Family Book Club,
Take a Stress-Free Road Trip and Start a Family Tradition,
Volunteer as a Family,
Practice the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle),
Pick Berries, Hike, Catch Bugs and Bird Watch,
Create a Nature Table,
Finger Paint, Sculpt with Clay, Dry Flowers, Make Jewelry or Playdough,
Create a Treasure Hunt,
Produce a Family Musical and Perform it,
Conduct a Family Talent Show and Host a Dance Party,
Make Mazes and Puzzles, Paint Rocks and Create a Rock Garden,
Explore the Neighborhood, Fly Kites and Feed the Ducks or Geese.

As with most things your kids will have more fun if you participate and join in the fun. Summer’s short so get out, get wet, grubby, laugh and enjoy it.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Creating a Montessori Home Environment

Dr. Maria Montessori was a scientist and a medical doctor. Through her study, she created her first “prepared environment” by observing the needs of her children.  As parents, we must observe our children to create a proper home environment that is responsive to their needs of development.

One of the fundamental roles of a Montessori teacher is for him/her to create a prepared environment that allows children to be independent and successful. The environment is simple, beautiful and ordered. Children need this order. The child looks to us to help him/her understand the real world, therefore we emphasize reality. Because Montessori emphasizes on reality-based hands-on learning, Montessori classrooms are arranged with child-size furniture, open spaces to invite movement and exploration and Montessori materials available on shelves. “Prepared” environments allow the teacher to spend each day giving meaningful presentations or demonstrations of various academic and or life skills activities. This allows children to develop self-control, the love of learning and an internal set of guidelines that become part of their life-long personalities.

It is crucial for parents to also “prepare” their home environment. A prepared environment not only includes the physical materials, it also encompasses the atmosphere and the rules that govern the environment.  Just like school, the “prepared” home environment will allow your child to become more independent, responsible and contribute as a member of the home community.  The child's surroundings are important because from birth through age six, children undergo a special period of interest and receptivity, Dr. Montessori termed this the Absorbent Mind. This was the way Dr. Montessori described the minds of young children. Much of our daily learning is unconscious because the brains of young children have been wired to absorb information automatically and effortlessly, just like sponges. Dr. Montessori saw the absorbent mind in two phases. During the first initial phase, from birth to three years old, the young child unknowingly or unconsciously acquires his/her basic abilities. She called it the period of unconscious creation. The child's work during this period is to become independent from the adult for his basic human functions. He learns to speak, to walk, to gain control of his hands and to master his bodily functions. Once these basic skills are incorporated into his schema, by about age three, he moves into the next phase of the absorbent mind, which Montessori called the period of conscious work. During this period, the child's mind compels him to perfect in himself that which is now there. His fundamental task during this phase is freedom; freedom to move purposefully, freedom to choose and freedom to concentrate. His mantra is "Let Me Do It Myself!"

Preparing the Home Environment

The child from birth to six is being introduced to the world.  Montessorians do not believe in pushing the child, but strongly believe in providing an environment that is rich and that will develop the “whole” child. Young children show an amazing interest in a wide range of various subjects. A rich environment creates that interest and extends the child’s experience, widening his/her grasp of such things in many subject areas. Observations over the years prove the child’s built-in curiosity and interest. That has taught us to focus on the preparation of the early environment and allow the child to choose, use his/her senses and to teach him/herself.  The adult’s challenge is to be sure that the environment offers all of the key experiences necessary for the child’s success.  Rather than relying on traditional verbal lessons, computers, television, and videos rely on the same abilities developed in the areas of practical life and meaningful “work” and activities i.e. educational and intellectual toys.  At school, Montessorians create an environment rich in experiments, games, materials, and books which the child can select as the interest arises, providing experiences of hand and mind working together for an intelligent purpose. Parent’s can do the same at home.

Organizing the Home Environment
The environment is extremely important at any level of the development of the child.  To show respect for the developing sense of beauty, to aid the growing independence, and to inspire the child to activity, choose the best of everything for the environment. Children at this age often prefer to work on the floor on rugs instead of a table. Rugs mark the workspace just as would a table.  In the classroom, we use simple light colors and shades, plain in design so that the child can focus on his work.   
In the classroom, materials are attractively arranged on shelves according to subject – language, math, sensorial, practical life, cultural, music and art.  Each piece of material has a special permanent place so that children know where to find it and where to put it away for the next person when finished.  Materials are arranged from the most simple to the more complex. At home rather than keeping things in large toy chests or boxes, use trays and baskets for most things.  The child’s work can be sorted on shelves, into various categories; blocks, various mixed toys, puzzles, art materials, kitchen tools, etc.  This makes finding and putting materials away easier and enjoyable.   

The Kitchen

From the time a child learns to sit up, provide a small table and chair, sized so the child's feet touch the floor.  This is a place for eating, doing projects, and preparing
food.  A two-step stool will allow the child to reach the sink and counter.  At approximately 18 months of age, begin showing children simple food preparation skills:  slicing bananas and cheese, spreading peanut butter.  Choose tools that are safe and child-sized for both cooking and cleaning, and then carefully demonstrate their use. In the refrigerator, use the bottom shelf to store fruits and snacks. Also provide a small pitcher with juice or water so the child can pour their own drink.  In the pantry set aside the lower shelves for the children. At the very bottom, juice boxes, applesauce in cups, and raisin boxes can be neatly arranged in small baskets. A shelf higher can be used for crackers, dried fruit, cereal‚ neatly arranged in clear canisters with easy open lids. Your child should be free to wander in at any time, and choose a snack or juice from the shelves. When the child states they are hungry you can simply reply: "Please fix yourself a snack from the pantry." Also arrange in the pantry: napkins folded in a box, paper towels separated and stacked for easy clean up, child-size aprons on low hooks, and a small dust pan and hand broom for clean up. Children should be responsible to set their own table, clear the table, pushing in their chair and finally rinsing the dishes. Children enjoy sweeping, mopping, scrubbing, and polishing.  These activities give a child the opportunity to be responsible and contribute to family life.

The Bathroom
After 18 months, children can use the toilet with a stool.  During this sensitive period, if the child is in underpants most, if not all of the time, he will quickly learn to sense when his bladder is full and he needs to go to the bathroom. Underpants should be stored on a low shelf in a cubby, or in an easily accessible drawer so the child can get them for herself as needed. A hamper should be provided for wet underpants and towels used for clean up. Most children, who are put into underpants at this age, can use the toilet consistently within a few weeks or months. They learn this through their desire to be independent. It is a self-motivated process. The parent can be encouraging and can prepare the environment to support the child when he is ready: using the cotton training pants, allowing access to the bathroom, providing an appropriate way for the child to explore both the use of the toilet and to play with water, their patient explanation of body functions, the provision of old towels for cleaning up accidents, and their gentle understanding when accidents do occur. A two-step stool will allow hand-washing at the sink.

The Play Area

Put most of the toys, learning activities and materials into storage, leaving only current favorites.  Rotate toys every month, leaving those they use regularly and bringing some forgotten toys out of storage.  Each toy should have an attractive basket, box, or special place. The baskets can be labeled with words and or pictures for easy restoring. A small basket with rugs is ideal for the child to define their own work space. Low shelves, like those used in our Montessori classrooms, allow the child to see and organize their materials.

The Bedroom
From age two months to two years, we provide a low bed or mattress on the floor.  This allows movement and independence, and the room must be safe.  Low drawers and a low closet rod allow the child to choose and put away clothing.  Provide a low shelf for a small number of quiet toys and books. The bedroom should be decorated in a restful, rather than stimulating tone.

Take your child outdoors every day.  Go for walks at his/her pace, explore, notice the natural world.  Play in sand and water; find hills and equipment to climb.  As indoors, allow your child to help with work - raking, digging, shoveling snow.  Introduce the miracle of gardening.

Developmental Chart for Home Tasks and Chores  

Empower your child to becoming as independent as they can in their natural environment. Please see the compiled list of age appropriate tasks that you can expect your child to participate in as they grow into self-reliant and independent young people.

13 Months: Imitates housework
18 Months: Picks up toys and puts them away with parental reminders and initial assistance
2 Years: Copies parents domestic activities
3 Years: Carries things without dropping them, dusts, dries dishes, gardens, setting table, puts toys away and wipes spills.
4 Years: Prepares dry cereal and snacks, sorts laundry, feeding birds and pets, loading and unloading dishwasher, watering plants
5 Years: Puts things away neatly, makes a sandwich, takes out trash, picks up mail, makes the bed, puts clothes away and answers the phone correctly
6 Years: Does simple errands, does house chores without redoing them, cleans sink, washes dishes, cooks simple meals, hangs up clothes, car washing - have bucket, soap, etc. in certain place, weeding, taking out trash

Your child needs to be a contributor in the family and feel his contribution is important! 


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Time. Do you own it?

I often think about community service and its importance to any community. Giving back is a vital part of a full and rewarding life.  I have discovered my greatest strengths while serving others. I truly believe in investing my time, knowledge and resources to Montessori education wholeheartedly.. You will be surprised with the number of personal, meaningful, life changing stories I could share from my own experiences with community service.

People choose to give in different ways. Some give time and or knowledge and others donate money. Let's take a moment and think about time. Do we own it? Do we know how much we have left of it? Majority would say no, we don't own time, like we do our knowledge and money. Why is it then time sometimes is the hardest thing to give back? I feel that our time should be used to benefit others. There's definitely something very satisfying about giving your time for the betterment of others.

The Montessori community has several exemplary members who do their best to reach out in the form of philanthropic activities. What could be more fulfilling than doing what you love to do while contributing to the quality of life of others in need within your own community?

The American Montessori Society each year names an exemplary Montessorian a Living Legacy, for their dedication and leadership to the AMS community. The AMS Living Legacy Scholarship Fund was created to give back to the community. Donations in honor of the Living Legacy support the awarding of scholarships to aspiring Montessori educators at AMS -affiliated teacher education programs. These individuals all have dedicated their time, knowledge and money to Montessori in one way or another.

Let me share a few stories about service and time the past few AMS Living Legacy's have rendered to Montessori education.

Munir Shivji and Judi Bauerlein

2010 Living Legacy, Judi Bauerlein.
Judi is a Montessorian top to bottom, left to right, through and through. Judi has five grandchildren in Montessori, the mother of Montessori children, and a Montessori teacher of children and adult learners. To seal the deal, Judi’s husband is also a teacher! She has been gallivanting around the world educating and inspiring teachers in private and public schools for 35 years. Like a super Montessori hero, Judi is known for going where ever she is needed, with joy in her heart and a mission of peace in her mind. 

Without hesitation, Judi came to Houston to share her wisdom and knowledge at TIME's second Montessori Leadership Forum. Seven seasoned Montessori teachers from across Texas including Beverly Carson, Carolyn Edgar, Connie Laufersky, Darla Miller, Kathryn Miller, Nahla Nasser and Nekelai Jones (these teachers also contributed their time and knowledge) joined Judi on a panel to address various topics on teaching in Montessori. This Leadership Forum honored the Montessori teacher and their vital role. After the forum Judi and I headed to Austin, Texas where she gave a special talk, "Nurturing the Spirit of the Teacher" to Montessori teachers.

What was her contribution? How did this help the Texas Montessori community?  

Munir Shivji and
Marie Dugan

2009 Living Legacy, Marie M. Dugan.
Marie M. Dugan has helped nurture the growth of the American Montessori Society and, indeed, the American Montessori movement since the earliest days, when AMS founder Dr. Nancy McCormick Rambusch became her mentor and friend. Marie Dugan and I both are members of the AMS Development Committee and AMS Gala Committee.  She also chairs both the Archives Committee and the Centennial Campaign Committee which has raised a half million dollars for AMS.

Throughout her career, Marie has been devoted to the American Montessori Society. She served as AMS president for 5 years and as the first chair of the Heads Section. She continued her service to AMS through the Schools Accreditation Commission and as chair of the Founders Fund. Marie also agreed in 2004 to take the position of AMS interim executive director, leaving her home and moving to New York City to help guide the organization through a complicated transition.

Marie is known to support any Montessori initiative or program that needs her expertise or advice. When I requested Marie to come to Houston in 2010 to help launch a new Montessori initiative hosted by The Institute of Montessori Education, she willingly agreed without reluctance. She graciously also agreed to serve as a panel member for TIME's first leadership forum. Without hesitation, Marie shared her time and knowledge to the Houston Montessori community and expected nothing in return. Marie Dugan is a kind, compassionate, insightful person, who inspired me to get involved with AMS.

How can you get involved?

Kathryn Miller,
Betsy Coe and
Munir Shivji

2008 Living Legacy, Dr. Betsy Coe. I have had the pleasure to work on many volunteer based Montessori projects with Dr. Betsy Coe.  Betsy, is an internationally known and respected Montessorian responsible for significant contributions to education, Montessori teacher education, research, and peace education.

Betsy has served on the AMS Board of Directors for 20 years. Her volunteer positions have included AMS president and chair of the Teacher Education Committee. Betsy continues to serve on various committees and task forces for AMS.

With the help from Betsy, we were able to create a city-wide festival to celebrate the centennial anniversary of Montessori education.  This two part event held at the University of Houston, Main Campus on October 6, 2007 was attended by over 5000 people. The local Houston Montessori community came together and created a Global Village that consisted of ten huts representing cultures from around the world, a mock Montessori classroom and a 100 foot Montessori timeline exhibit. We also produced a finale celebration variety show and tribute  in honor of Maria Montessori, titled, "Celebrating Peace and Culture" at the Cullen Performance Hall.

Along with Judi and Marie Dugan, Betsy has also served on the panel for The Institute of Montessori Education's annual Leadership Forum. Betsy kindly accepts invitations to presents workshops at TIME's conferences as well as supports many of the community initiatives spearheaded by The Institute of Montessori Education.

The above listed stories about the past few Living Legacy's are just a few examples of the community service they have rendered to Montessori. I am sure I could write a book about each one of them. How can you share your time and knowledge? Imagine what you will gain by giving some of your time back, even if it is as small as sharing to others in your own school. What is the worse that will happen by being open and willing to generously share your talent, information and time? Live and practice your life with mindset of abundance rather than scarcity. True time sharing is compassion. I work hard every day to fulfill my purpose and I hope to leave a legacy of sincere service that will inspire others.

FYI: To help aspiring Montessori teachers fund their studies and ensure that Montessori classrooms are staffed by well-prepared teachers who meet rigorous professional standards, you can make a tax-deductible contribution to the American Montessori Society in honor of this year's Living Legacy. This AMS Living Legacy Fund awards competitive scholarships to individuals accepted into AMS-affiliated teacher education programs.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Be Green! What's that?

The Innovative School advocates education for sustainability. The Innovative School has partnered with parents to develop an awareness that reflects Montessori philosophy.  Our goal is to provide enough information to our families to prepare our students for the shift toward a sustainable future.

The term "sustainability" can mean different things to different people. If you are like me, you think of environmental education, the green movement, recycling, and riding your bike to school. Education for sustainability does encompass those things, but there is much more. Sustainability means providing a rich quality of life for all, and accomplishing this within the means of nature. And sustainability means meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

As the depletion of natural resources becomes impossible to ignore and the results of individual practices continue to nudge the global thermometer upwards, people, civilians, academics, businesses and designers are using something  that is profoundly abundant to solve this problem - human intellect and creativity.
Munir Shivji and Houston Mayor, Annise Parker
According to Mayor Parker, The City of Houston is working harder than ever to make Houston green. We have made a lot of progress, but more is needed. We need the help of every citizen of Houston to do their part. I would encourage everyone to take a little time and explore this web site to learn what they can do to make Houston green. 

-- Mayor Annise D. Parker

The site offers insight into what the city is doing and will be doing as a part of becoming a center of sustainability and renewable energy. Houston has a goal of attaining the new ozone standard by 2018. It is believed that we will achieve it earlier due to the combined efforts that companies and organizations are giving. By each one of us doing our small part, our combined effort saves energy, reduces energy consumption, makes a significant reduction in green house gases, reduces emissions and leads to lower costs, lower waste, lowered tax rates, a win for the city, a win for the economy and a win for the citizens of Houston. With Houston being the energy capital of the world, all eyes are on us to lead the way in being efficient, effective and clear on our pathway to making a difference in the environment.

Here are some ideas Montessorians can use to be proactive:

Litter and Waste
Examine the impact of litter and waste on the environment and explore practical means for reducing and minimizing the amount of litter and waste produced by the school.
Suggest ways in which all members of the school can work together to increase awareness of energy issues and to improve energy efficiency within the school.
Provide an introduction to the importance of water both locally and globally and raise awareness of how simple actions can substantially cut down water use.
Suggest ways for students, staff, and local government to work together to raise awareness of transportation issues and come up with practical solutions that will make a real difference to students’ everyday lives.
Healthy Living
Examine some of the many health factors, mental as well as physical, that influences the ability of students to fulfill their potential and encourage schools to put in place a sustainable plan for becoming a healthy school.

Dr. Montessori said, “There is no description no image in any book that is capable of replacing the sight of real trees and all of the life to be found around them in a real forest.”
Authentic Montessori programs go hand in hand with the ‘going green’ initiative. Her whole philosophy on Cosmic Education facilitates the knowledge a child gains of the universe around them, how they are connected to everything, where they fit in as a part of it, and what impact they have on everything. It is about the interconnectedness of all living things and the environment.

Cosmic education also includes peace education which embraces Dr. Montessori’s quote from Education and Peace, “The prospect of true peace makes us turn our thoughts to the triumph of justice and love among men, to the building of a better world where harmony reigns.” 

Cosmic Education at the early childhood level is more of an indirect preparation for the elementary, developmentally appropriate experiential learning opportunities during the elementary student’s sensitive period for moral development. One must keep in mind the early childhood student is still in the ‘what is it’ period; they are developing their independence, while emerging into the notion of interdependence. At the elementary level, as the student is entering their moral development period, where the awareness of interdependence and interconnectedness surfaces – both of which are essential to Cosmic Education.

In the Montessori curriculum, countless Montessorians have contributed ideas, lessons, and books to help teachers integrate the great possibilities students have in making a difference on the environment. Possibly the most vital component of the student’s experience is NOT the lessons, but rather the impressions formed by the child during their life in the classroom. The strongest control of error in the early childhood classroom is the teacher. The experience a student, in the first plane of development, has in the classroom is THE opportunity where the they can develop what will later become their awareness of relating to the environment and whether or not they will care for it or be apathetic.

Ways to Create a Green Classroom

Stop and smell the flowers, and the pine trees, and the moss, and the bark and everything else. Take time to get outside and appreciate nature.

Reduce, Reduce and then reduce some more. Since it would take about six planets to support humans if everyone lived like Americans, people must reduce the use of energy, water, paper, and everything else to protect planet Earth.

Empower students to make change. Students are capable to much more than they are generally given credit for if they understand why it is so important to change. Give them a chance to find solutions and create a better world.

Your classrooms should reflect the concepts of green living and planetary protection. It's nearly impossible to transition to a totally sustainable building in the blink of an eye, but there are many small ways you can make the classroom embody the green movement.

 Schools that are sustainable:
- avoid waste
- use locally created products and services
- take responsibility for their effects on the natural environment.