Sunday, September 20, 2009

Silent Poetry

One of the most important considerations for us was to find really beautiful, inspiring artwork to surround the children. Maria Montessori wrote:
"The house of the child should be lovely and pleasant in all its particulars. It is possible to say that there is a mathematical relationship between the beauty of his surroundings and the activity of the child; he will make discoveries more voluntarily in a gracious setting than in an ugly one."

Maria Montessori specifically recommended that the Casa dei Bambini, or Children's Houses, be adorned with Raphael's Madonna's, as an homage to maternity. Following this line of thought, many American Montessori schools are adorned with Mary Cassatt paintings. Both artists have undeniably beautiful work and I appreciate the reasoning; however, I have always been quite smitten with Harold Feinstein's beautiful photographs. His ability to capture intricate and ecstatic beauty in the most familiar of subjects seems almost child-like in the pleasure and facsination it affords to subject matter which has become mundane for most adults. I imagine that viewing his photography is much like looking at the world through the eyes of a child. I absolutely love them and I believe that the children will as well!

So, you can imagine my pleasure when the UPS driver greeted me with this beautiful package-

My mother-in-law, BJ Mackinnon, is a very talented photographer. Enclosed were five different colored mattings and twenty different photographs taken in their vineyard and gardens. Each matting corresponded to four complementary photographs so that the artwork can be switched out during the school year. Aren't they lovely?


I had a serendipitous moment the other day. One of my old colleagues, from the school where I worked in Boulder, recently moved into Southmoor Park in Longmont and happened to get off of the bus at the wrong stop and walked right past the school. When she got home, she Googled the website and "just about fell off her chair." She called me and came out to see the school. I was SO nervous. It is one thing to have licensing people come out, but it is quite another to have someone whose opinion you respect a lot and also happens to be a trained Montessori teacher (and knows exactly how things should look and operate). I was so pleased to hear her say that she liked it and that "it took her breath away." She gave me a lot of useful advice. We were a little like giddy children in a toy store, I'm afraid to admit. I'm lucky to live in such a great neighborhood with so many talented neighbors!

New Dishwashing Station

Anyone who knows me well, knows how much I adore cooking, visiting the farmer's market, and eating well-prepared, fresh foods. One of the things that I enjoy most about Montessori are the food preparation exercises. It is amazing to watch very young children set the table, slice eggs, core apples, cut bannanas, peel carrots, wash their own dishes, and even make tea or cookies! Children find these activities so satisfying because they fulfill their deepest needs for independence, their desire to imitate the actions of adults, their desire to be a part of a community, and because they provide them with the opportunity to nurture others. They are particularly great activities for the beginning of the school year because they are intrinsically interesting to children, help them to really connect with their surroundings and with each other, and they involve a long sequence of directions (which helps to build concentration). It is very sad to me to see so many classrooms where these activities have been eliminated, or where thesse activities only occur in a group setting to celebrate a special occasion.

So, you can imagine how pleased I was when my darling husband surprised me with this new dishwashing station for the school. He made it out of leftover Corian solid suface. Isn't it darling? I had been eyeing the Montessori Services one, but this is even cuter! I just know that the children are going to love washing their own little cups and plates... and investigating the soap suds! I can't wait!

We're Licensed

Here it is... the official state license! Now, we are ready to operate. We had our final licensing visit last week. No violations! The inspector particularly liked how organized we were and all of the extra safety precautions we had taken (the tamper resistant outlets, the extra fire extinguishers, the carbon monoxide detectors, filtered water, etc). She also commented on how beautiful the environment is (it's hard not to like the beautiful Montessori materials, the cute reading corner, or the darling nap cots and linens).
Now, we just need to get the word out that Longmont has an all-day, authentic Montessori school!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bloom! Montessori School of Longmont

Welcome to Bloom! I am Abigail Miller. I live in Longmont, Colorado with my darling husband, Joshua. Over the past few years, he has supported me in pursuing my passion for working with young children in a Montessori setting. I went back to school and received my American Montessori Society diploma and had the opportunity to work with very talented women at Boulder's most beautiful Montessori school.

This year, I am fulfilling my dream of working for myself and opening my own Montessori school in Longmont. My husband spent the last few months building small chairs and open shelves to transform our home it into the most beautiful Montessori children's house (casa dei bambini). This blog will take you along on our school's journey - please come along, you're invited!