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21INNOVATION21Betweenthemtheyhavemorethan30yearsofMontessoriteachingexperiencewhichisahugebenetforourstudents.Ourleadteachersprogramtookthreeyears.HertrainingwasoutofOhiobutthereareacoupleofMontessoritrainingcentersinourarea.WereluckytobenearChicago.WehaveSetonMontessoriInstituteinClarendonHills.ThatswhereIvedonemytraining.Itsintense.Itsalotofwork.AlthoughanatmosphereofexplorationadventureanddiscoveryisanintrinsicpartoftheMontessoricurriculumRobinmakesitclearthatMontessoriChildrensHouseisaschoolnotaday-carecenter.Yeswehavethree-year-oldsbutitsnotaclassroomfullofthree-year-oldsemphasizesRobin.Theveandsix-year-oldsmodelbehaviorfortheyoungerkids.Theyoungerchildrenwanttobewiththeolderkidsandtheolderkidswanttobewiththeyoungerones.Alotoflearningistakingplaceinaverynaturalwaybecausetheyrelearningfromeachother.Andyouknowifyoureteachingsomethingyoulearnitbettertoo.Itsjustareallybeautifulwayoflearning.Ofcoursechildrenarehumanandconictsdooccasionallyarise.AsyoumightexpecthowevertheMontessorimethodoffersawayforthestudentstoworkouttheirdifferencesontheirown.Robinpointstoanarticialrosesittinginasmallvaseonthewindowsill.ThatsourPeaceRosesaysRobin.WhenastudentishavingaproblemwithoneoftheirclassmatessaytheyvehadtheirfeelingshurtortheydontlikethewaysomeoneisbehavingtowardthemweencouragethemtopresentthePeaceRosetotheirclassmateandstartaconversationaboutresolvingtheproblem.Werelookingatsocialemotionalphysicalandacademicskillseventhingslikemannersgraceandcourtesy.Itreallyisawholechildphilosophy.ItisntjustComeandplayitsComeandbe.Andbeallthatyouare.RobinisencouragedbythefactthatsomepublicschoolsystemsaroundthecountryarestartingtoimplementtheMontessorimethodandsaysshehopesthatsomedaythiswayoflearningwillbeavailabletoallstudents.AndshepointsoutthatthemethodhasapplicationsbeyondtheearlychildhoodyearsAsachildIhadafrustratingmathexperienceandthatfrustrationwasunderscoredbymymothersfeelingtowardmathwhichwasMathissohardhowcananybodydoitWhenItookmyMontessorimathtrainingIsaidOkaythisiseasy.WhydidntanybodyteachmethiswayIwishIhadbeengiventhiswhenIwasasmallchildbutImgladIhaveitnowbecauseitdoeschangethewayyouapproachproblemsandeventhewayyoulookatotherpeople.Youacceptpeopleforwhotheyare.Youplaytotheirstrengthsandsupportthemwheretheyareweaker.Itsmorethanateachingmethod.Itsreallyalifestyle.IfyouareinterestedintheMontessoriChildrensHouseofSycamoreandDeKalbforyourchildvisittheirwebsiteatwww.sycamoredekalbmontessori.com.AssistantteacherMaryHakademonstratesforagroupofparentsoneofthetechniquesusedforteachingchildrenhowtorecognizemultiplesoften.ThePeaceRoseisagreatwaytoresolvetheoccasionalmisunderstanding.