My journey teaching ESL in Public Montessori

 
My journey teaching ESL in Public Montessori
Jones: The Child Study protocol                               Dubovoy: Inclusive education                               Hawthorne: Culturally responsive

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                BRINGING MONTESSORI INTO THE PUBLIC CONVERSATION IN PRINT AND ONLINE              •   MONTESSORIPUBLIC.ORG      • WINTER 2018   • VOL 2 NUMBER 2

My journey teaching ESL in Public Montessori
                                               to become proficient in standard En-
Moving from                                    glish—it includes a linguistic celebra-
multicultural                                  tion validating cultural experiences and
to culturally                                  expressions. It is affirming their identity
responsive                                     and home language.
                                                  ESL as conventionally practiced isn’t
                                               really radical. In fact, I have found
                                               Montessori instruction to outshine ESL
                                               practices. Dr. Montessori understood
                                               the importance of vocabulary building
BY BRITT HAWTHORNE                             in relation to the child’s environment,
                                               giving context to the vocabulary words,
I am a former public Montessori ele-           the study of grammar to aid in read-
mentary teacher from Rockford, Illinois        ing and writing comprehension and
now working in Houston, Texas. Even            the organization of ideas for clarity. All
as a “general education” teacher, I have       Montessori learners are expected to
always had English Language Learner            read, write, and discuss across subjects
(ELL) students in my classes, but our          and across grade-levels, supporting lan-      Building fluency at Houston ISD
move to Houston, one of the most cul-          guage acquisition.
turally diverse cities in the United States,      In the beginning of my Montessori          address inclusivity, according to Zaretta    the larger Montessori community and
has expanded my ELL definition. The            journey, I worked to prepare an envi-         Hammond’s book Culturally Respon-            especially the inequities in public Mon-
population I have worked with here has         ronment that promotes multicultur-            sive Teaching and The Brain.                 tessori programs. My jelly is culturally
included immigrant children from un-           alism, as discussed in my Montessori             But I began to realize that, while        responsive pedagogy.
documented and documented families,            training. Multicultural education cele-       multiculturalism creates a welcoming            Culturally responsive pedagogy
refugee children, children whose par-          brates diversity through diverse books        environment, it does little to impact        (CRP) goes beyond the visual culture
ents are migrant workers here for the          written by people of the global major-        the individual English language learn-       of multiculturalism to consider each
harvest season, ELLs with a disability,        ity, cultural nomenclature cards such         er’s cognitive growth. Multiculturalism      student not as a representative of their
ELLs with dyslexia, U.S. citizens, chil-       as Diamond Montessori’s peacemaker/           is only adding the peanut butter to the      culture, but as an individual influenced
dren learning English as their third or        world changers cards, Read Around the         bread; I was still missing the jelly. What   by social and cultural forces within and
fourth language, and more. Teaching            World night and Holidays Around the           I needed to address was the false sense
ESL is not limited to teaching learners        World celebrations. It is a visual way to     of reality sometimes represented within                       continues on page 13 >

                                               Is Montessori for every child in 2018?
                                                                                             threat”. Doctors in the U.S. have written    valiant efforts to understand this grow-
                                               With so many new                              millions of prescriptions for Ritalin and    ing population of children and to meet
                                               challenges, is                                other medicines to treat ADHD alone.         their diverse and various needs. In the
                                               Montessori                                    In 2015, in the U.K., nearly a million       Montessori world, we sometimes won-
                                               still relevant?                               such prescriptions were written, up from     der if our beloved approach to education
                                                                                             661,000 in 2010 and 359,000 in 2004.         truly works “for every child”.
                                                                                             (“Prescriptions for Ritalin and Other
                                                                                             ADHD Drugs Double in a Decade”, The          Montessori and inclusive
                                                                                             Guardian, 8/14/2015) In the last decade,     education
                                               BY SILVIA C. DUBOVOY                          we have seen a proliferation of theories,       As a teacher, a psychologist, and an
                                                                                             therapies, books and research on all         AMI Montessori teacher trainer, my
                                               The rise of learning disorders                kinds of disorders. The 2013 revision of     hunger for knowledge to serve children
                                               In recent years, Montessori educators         the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual        has led me to constantly study the hu-
                                               have seen many more children with ex-         of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) added a          man condition. Immigrating from Mex-
                                               ceptionalities in their classrooms. The       chapter on disruptive, impulse control,      ico to the United States as an adult also
                                               Centers for Disease Control and Pre-          and conduct disorders marked by be-          made me feel handicapped in many as-
                                               vention (CDC) calls the rise in child-        havioral and emotional disturbances          pects. My quest and my limitations gave
                                               hood neurological disorders, mostly           specifically related to self-control.        me the motivation to constantly prepare
                                               described as behavioral, social, or ac-          In the midst of this global epidemic,
                                               ademic dysfunctions, a “major health          educators are on the front lines, making                      continues on page 14 >
My journey teaching ESL in Public Montessori
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My journey teaching ESL in Public Montessori
Montessori for all at Cornerstone
Welcoming                                    every child, and work tirelessly to make     key components of Montessori. Quite
specialists into                             it so. At Cornerstone Montessori School,     the contrary: these very components
                                                                                                                                               BRINGING MONTESSORI INTO THE
                                             this work has two pillars: staying abso-     bring about the most meaningful
high-fidelity                                                                                                                                      PUBLIC CONVERSATION
                                             lutely grounded in the implementation        change in the lives of children with spe-
Montessori                                   and protection of high fidelity Montes-      cial needs, as for all children. Sadly, so
                                                                                                                                                           WINTER 2018
                                                                                                                                                      VOLUME 2, NUMBER 2
                                             sori, and tapping and integrating the        many well-trained Montessorians let
                                             expertise of specialists and outside re-     the implementation of these principles
                                             sources so important to supporting the       slip, especially if they are struggling to       1    My journey teaching ESL in
BY LIESL TAYLOR
                                                                                                                                                Public Montessori
                                             guides and the success of all children.      meet the needs of children with signifi-
                                                                                                                                                BRITT HAWTHORNE
Children are human beings to whom re-            The benefits for children with special   cant challenges. When we work in public
spect is due, superior to us by reason of    needs as well as the children living with    settings with diverse groups of children,        1    Is Montessori for every child
their innocence and of the greater possi-    them in community are indisputable.          we must stay unwaveringly grounded in                 in 2018?
bilities of their future.                    Consistently, we see our special popu-       our commitment to provide high qual-                  SILVIA C. DUBOVOY
                       —Maria Montessori     lations thrive developmentally and ac-       ity Montessori, especially for children
                                                                                                                                           3    Montessori for all at
                                             ademically. We see the profound effects      with significant deficits. Our country
                                                                                                                                                Cornerstone
Just as every child is human, every child,
                                                                                                                                                LIESL TAYLOR
in all of her loveliness and complication,
deserves an education that promotes          We must insist that Montessori is for                                                         4    The Child Study Protocol at
her development to the fullest human                                                                                                            Breakthrough
potential.                                   every child, and we must work tirelessly                                                           ALLISON JONES
   The Montessori community is fast
moving away from the notions that
                                             to make it so                                                                                 6    Transitioning to inclusion
                                                                                                                                                KACEE WEAVER
children with special needs can’t be well
served in a Montessori environment           living and working together in a com-         has followed fad after educational fad,         8    ELL in Montessori:
and, even worse, that serving those          munity diverse in need on our children’s      making desperate grabs at what might                 A case study
children compromises the Montessori          increased capacities for understanding,      “close the gap”, agreeing only that so far            GRETCHEN SHAHEEN
experience for others.                       compassion, cooperation, and problem          nothing is working, when all the while          9    Special needs parents have
   To implement a system of education        solving for the good of the whole.            we have a scientifically proven method               needs of their own
in environments that appropriately de-                                                     of education that supports the develop-              GENA ENGELFRIED
mand the use and development of all our      Do ‘more Montessori’, better                  ment of each human being to his or her
human tendencies, fostering optimal            In serving children with special            fullest potential.                              10 Cultivating an attitude
development, we must insist that it is for   needs, we must never compromise the                                                              of inclusion
                                                                                                            continues on page 16 >              CHRISTINE LOWRY

                                                                                                                                           11 The case for push-in services

            In this issue: ELL and Special Education
                                                                                                                                                NCMPS STAFF

                                                                                                                                           19 Write for MontessoriPublic!
                                                                                                                                                NCMPS STAFF
       This issue of MontessoriPublic presents a range of views     Montessori and ELL in the New York City Charter Mon-
    on meeting the needs of children with learning challenges       tessori School.                                                        20 Public Montessori in
    and English language learners in a Montessori context.             Liesl Taylor, head of school at Cornerstone Montessori                 Puerto Rico
       Silvia Dubovoy, an AMI 0-3 and 3-6 teacher trainer           Elementary School in St. Paul, Minnesota, describes how                     DAVID AYER
    and founder of AMI’s Inclusive Education course, gives          high-fidelity Montessori can work hand in hand with spe-               22 Public Montessori raises
    us a deeply theoretical overview of special needs and in-       cialists and outside support.                                             achievement, closes gaps
    clusion.                                                           Kacee Weaver, Assistant Director at Maria Montes-                        DAVID AYER
       Gena Engelfried, Head of School at Golden Oak Mon-           sori Academy in Utah, shares her school’s story of transi-
    tessori Charter School in California, asks us to consider       tioning to an inclusion model.                                         23 THE PUBLIC CALENDAR
    the parents of special needs children.                             The case for push-in services, an NCMPS White Pa-
       Britt Hawthorne, a public Montessori elementary              per, is published here as well.                                             COMING MARCH 2018:
    teacher in Houston, Texas, shares her journey from multi-
    cultural to culturally responsive education.                    ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:                                                         Teacher Training
       Allison Jones, a primary and elementary trained pub-            Public Montessori raises achievement, closes                             and Preparation
    lic Montessori teacher and Child Study Lead at Break-           gaps: Dr. Angeline Lillard’s recent groundbreaking
    through Montessori Charter School in Washington D.C.,           study in Hartford public Montessori schools found that                      What prepared you? What was
    describes the NCMPS Child                                                                  Montessori can close gaps                        missing? How can teachers get
    Study protocol.                                                                            in achievement across eco–                       access?
       Christine Lowry, founder                                                                nomic subgroups.
                                                                                                                                                We want to hear from you!
    and consultant at Montessori                                                                  Public Montessori in                          Contributions, observations, and
    Now, give an overview of the                                                               Puerto Rico tells the amaz-                      letters, on these or any public
    inclusion model.                                                                           ing story of Ana Maria Gar-                      Montessori topics, are invited at
       Gretchen Shaheen, a                                                                     cia Blanco, the Instituto
                                                                                               Nueva Escuela, and the 50                        editor@montessoripublic.org
    public school teacher and stu-
    dent of Montessori education,                                                              public Montessori schools                        Article submission deadline
    shares her observations of                                                                 on the island.                                   March 30. More guidelines on
                                                                                                                                                page 19.

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My journey teaching ESL in Public Montessori
T H E P U B L I C C O N V E R S AT I O N

The Child Study Protocol at Breakthrough
Finding the right                                    fall into one (or more!) of the categories    the Public Sector. Guides and assistants      Rules for interventions
Montessori                                           described above. That means I have            gather weekly to plan interventions for          Montessori guides are taught to “fol-
intervention                                         come to terms with the fact that by June,     one child who is having difficulty in his     low the child” and to “never help a child
                                                     some of my students will definitely not       or her classroom environment.                 with a task at which they think they
for every                                            be working as if I don’t exist. In fact, if      This has several advantages over the       can succeed.” However, these two cen-
child                                                one student learns to work independent-       traditional SST (Student Support Team)        tral tenets of Montessori become more
                                                     ly for ten minutes while I walk out of the    model. First, all interventions are Mon-      complicated when we are referring to
                                                     room this year, I will consider it a win.     tessori-based; actions that fit in with the   children with special needs, children
                                                     A few may never work as if their guide        pedagogy that the guide just might not        who have experienced trauma, and chil-
BY ALLISON JONES                                     or aide doesn’t exist for more than a few
                                                     minutes at a time. Yet, these facts do
The greatest sign of success for a teach-            nothing to contradict my commitment           Montessori guides are taught to
er… is to be able to say, ‘the children are          and belief that these students can benefit
now working as if I did not exist.’                  from a complete and joyful Montessori         “never help a child with a task at which
                    —Maria Montessori,
                     The Absorbent Mind
                                                     education.
                                                         I have been both a Montessori child
                                                                                                   they think they can succeed.”
                                                     and a Montessori teacher (at primary
The quote above can be daunting and                  and elementary levels), and that experi-      have thought of yet. Second, its central      dren who are for whatever reason not
even disheartening to many public                    ence has shown me that Montessori edu-        tenet is to reframe inquiry from “What        yet working joyfully and independently.
Montessori teachers. When your class-                cation is the opportunity to do real work     is wrong with this child” to “What is go-     It is clear that some children, in order
room and school are filled with a lot-               that meets specific physical, intellectual,   ing on with this child”?                      to access the Montessori environment,
tery-selected mix of children, many with             and developmental needs. It gives chil-          The protocol enables guides to con-        need supports and/or accommodations.
special needs, no previous Montessori                dren the tools to be as independent as        sider lagging skills that may prevent         Just as our primary and elementary stu-
experience, spotty attendance records,               possible, physically, socially, emotional-    a child from participating fully in the       dents work in different ways, it is unfair
who may have experienced trauma and                  ly, and academically. It allows them to       classroom. And, the protocol prompts          and unreasonable, for example, to ask a
likely haven’t had any breakfast, along              take joy and pride in their own abilities,    us to work within our Montessori prac-        child with severe ADHD to regulate her
with children who have been in Montes-               and to persevere through challenges.          tice to bolster those skills through tar-     own behavior at the level of her neuro-
                                                                                                   geted Montessori interventions. Finally,      typical peers without some kind of ad-
                                                                                                   because the protocol is always a group        ditional supportive structure. As Mon-
Most of all, these opportunities are,                                                              experience, both the presenting guide
                                                                                                   and supporting group benefit from the
                                                                                                                                                 tessorians, though, we never want that
                                                                                                                                                 support or structure to take away from
by design, available to all children                                                               process of collaborative problem-solv-        her own right to be an independent, ful-
                                                                                                   ing. The presenting guide gets external       ly functioning member of the classroom
                                                                                                   perspective that they desperately need        who drives her own development.
sori schools since before they were three,           Most of all, these opportunities are, by      when faced with a frustrating situation.          The line between what is too much
and know without thought that four is                design, available to all children.            The team as a whole gets to spend an          help (infringes upon a child’s indepen-
yellow and five is light blue, this goal can            There are a few things that have al-       hour a week talking in-depth about real       dence) and too little help (ineffective
seem an impossible task.                             lowed us here at Breakthrough to start        children and real practice. “Stealing” in-    and doesn’t allow for the child to par-
   As the Child Study Lead for Break-                the work towards providing this trans-        sights and interventions for their own        ticipate fully) can be quite thin. To help
through Montessori PCS, I am respon-                 formative experience for all children.        classrooms is strongly encouraged.            us analyze our interventions and make
sible for all interventions and special                                                               Child Study is still a work in progress    sure that they are an aid to the child’s
education services. Breakthrough is                  Child Study                                   at our school, but it has provided in-        development, there are two rules we
midway through its second year, with                    Child Study is a protocol designed by      sights into what is going on with a num-      have worked out:
135 three to six year-olds, most of whom             the National Center for Montessori in         ber of children who were struggling;           • Interventions must support
                                                                                                   sometimes insights that are surprising.           internal skill development, in-
                                                                                                   Furthermore, it provides a framework              stead of externally reinforcing
                 WASHINGTON MONTESSORI INSTITUTE                                                   for helping Montessori guides recon-              or extinguishing behavior. Our
                             AT LOYOLA UNIVERSITY MARYLAND                                         cile the need for both real Montessori            interventions are designed to teach
                                                                   Primary & Elementary
                                                                                                   and rigorous analysis that can be shared          children skills that they have not yet
                                                                   Summer Assistants               with the non-Montessori world. Child              mastered, not to “pay” them for de-
                                                                   Courses
                                                                                                   Study also serves as both an aid to, and          sirable behaviors. For example, while
                                                                   Academic Year
                                                                   Primary                         a protection from, the special education          giving a child a star every time he
                                                                   STARTING SEPTEMBER
                                                                                                   bureaucracy.                                      sits down may prompt a child to sit,
                                                                   Academic Year                      Detailed records of targeted interven-         this behavior does not necessarily
                                                                   Elementary*
                                                                   STARTING SEPTEMBER              tions can be used to support the eligibili-       transfer across environments. On
                                                                   *SUMMER FOUNDATION
                                                                   COURSE REQUIRED
                                                                                                   ty of students who are found to not make          the other hand, if we give a child
                                                                                                   progress, and students who might other-           extra acknowledgment every time he
           SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE!                                          Washington             wise be referred to special education can         sits down with the idea that sitting
                                                                            Montessori
       MASTER’S PROGRAMS IN PRIMARY AND                                     Institute              be guided towards normalization by the            down is the first step towards an
       ELEMENTARY MONTESSORI EDUCATION                                                             insights gained through and interven-             experience of successful work, and
           Our AMI programs are MACTE accredited.                                                  tions designed during the process.                that once he experiences the joy of
             LOYOLA.EDU/WMI • 410-617-7777                                                                                                           completing self-chosen work he will

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My journey teaching ESL in Public Montessori
no longer need those extra acknowl-               Finding amenable service
  edgments, we are helping that child               providers
  develop the skills of concentration,                 One great help to us in the messy,
  and inhibition, which ultimately lead             complicated process of providing high
  to self-regulation.                                                                                                        BRINGING MONTESSORI INTO THE PUBLIC CONVERSATION
                                                    quality Montessori to all the children
• Interventions must be designed                    who show up at our door has been find-
                                                                                                                  MontessoriPublic is a digital and print communications and advocacy platform for
  to fade away. Before we start an                                                                                public Montessori, presenting news and information about public schools, publicly
                                                    ing like-minded service providers. Over                        supported programs, public policy, and relevant ideas and events in education.
  intervention, we have a plan for                  our first two years, we’ve managed to
  how it will be phased out. If the                 find a cadre of occupational therapists,                          MontessoriPublic is distributed free of charge to every school listed in the
  intervention is check-ins with an                                                                               Montessori Census (montessoricensus.org), as well as all MACTE-accredited teacher
                                                    speech therapists, psychologists, and                           training centers, state and national Montessori organizations, and individual
  adult outside of the class, there is a            behavioral analysts who believe in what                        subscribers. Multiple copies are sent to public schools based on the number of
  plan for how, once the intervention               we are trying to do, and who are will-                                           teachers listed in the school’s Census entry.
  shows success, those check-ins can                ing to learn and adapt their own prac-
  be spaced further and further apart                                                                                      To subscribe, visit montessoripublic.org, enter your email address,
                                                    tice to Montessori pedagogy. While we                                            and add your mailing address to your profile.
  until they are no longer necessary.               are trying to find the interventions and
  If the intervention is to spend a                                                                                 For advertising information, submission guidelines, or other communications,
                                                    supports that will help our students to                                      contact David Ayer at editor@montessoripublic.org.
  transition time at a special activity             thrive, having partners who believe that
  away from the group, there should                 the Montessori environment is right for
                                                                                                                                              Editorial Director: David Ayer
  be a plan in place for the slow, sup-             our students has been of paramount im-                         Contributors: David Ayer, Silvia Dubovoy, Gena Engelfried, Britt Hawthorne, Allison
  ported reintegration of the child into                                                                               Jones, Christine Lowry, Gretchen Shaheen, Liesl Taylor, and Kacee Weaver
                                                    portance. Between the internal practic-
  the transition. The only exception                es of sound Montessori and support for                               Publication design and production: Matt Giraud, Gyroscope Creative
  to this, in my opinion, is children               children with additional needs, and the                                             MontessoriPublic is a publication of the
  with physical needs such as sensory               external support from specialists who
  integration disorder, or children                 really understand what we’re doing, we
  who need extra movement in order                  have been able to help some children go
  to function successfully in the class-            further than anyone imagined possible.
  room. In the case of needs that are
                                                                                                                 Noncommercial reproduction of material in this publication is permitted and
  physical necessities, fading may not              Allison Jones, M. Ed., is Child Study                           encouraged. Please consult authors for rights to reprint copyrighted articles.
  be an option.                                     Lead at Breakthrough Montessori Public                                Copyright 2018 National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector
                                                    Charter School, in Washington, D.C.                                                          public-montessori.org
                                                    She holds AMI Primary and Elementary
                                                    diplomas.

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My journey teaching ESL in Public Montessori
T H E P U B L I C C O N V E R S AT I O N

Transitioning to inclusion
Our three year journey
towards inclusive
Montessori

BY KACEE WEAVER

In suburban northern Utah we have
little inherent cultural or racial diver-
sity and yet, in the summer of 2014 as
I attended the first Montessori For So-
cial Justice Conference at City Garden
Montessori in Saint Louis, Missouri, I
realized that the opportunities provided
to the 26-30% of students in our school
with special needs stood in stark con-
trast to those offered to the majority of
the student population. The lack of ap-
propriate representation for this minori-
ty unnerved me and I felt the determina-
tion to improve the education and lives
of our students with diverse learning                Hands-on learning at Maria Montessori Academy
needs. Over the last three years, we have
made great progress in including our                 teachers each. Each has a special edu-        Intervention Team (SIT) and discuss          through the discrepancy model (a mis-
special needs children as fully as pos-              cation caseload of about 30 students.         additional interventions and data col-       match in abilities vs. progress) we are
sible in our “mainstream” Montessori                 They are responsible for writing the          lection to evaluate the effectiveness of     able to set specific goals and meet them,
curriculum.                                          IEPs and collecting data on “their” stu-      the interventions. The teacher then im-      with the strengths a student has. A
   Twenty-six percent of Maria Montes-               dents according to the students’ IEP          plements the “Tier 2” interventions in       child who tests with low math calcula-
sori Academy’s 655 students, Kindergar-              goals. Caseload managers meet weekly          the classroom. This can be through an        tion and low processing speed may need
ten through ninth grade, are classified              with the general education teacher to         additional reading/math group or an          to use a calculator or a number chart as
as Students with Disabilities. Of these              discuss and review the students on their      alternate material (returning to golden      an accommodation for things such as
141 students, all but four are spending              caseload. They assure that a qualified        beads or using pictorial representations     operations with unlike denominators.
all of their time in the general educa-              person meets the additional instruc-          instead of concrete materials). The in-      A student who tests with an intellectual
tion environment. If you were to tour                tional minutes outlined in the student’s      tervention is given four to six weeks,       disability may need an alternate cur-
Maria Montessori Academy you would                   IEP, whether it is the general education      and then data is brought back to the         riculum and basic functional skills like
see students working individually or in              teacher or teaching assistant, special        SIT. If progress is made, the student        telling time, counting money and read-
small groups in classrooms, hallways,                education assistant or themselves. In a       stays on a watch list. If progress is not    aloud technology. This isn’t to say that
common areas, offices, the staff break-              Montessori environment, this is not too       made, the student is moved to a “Tier 3”     we don’t continue to follow the student’s
room, the conference room or outdoors.               difficult to do, since all children are al-   intervention.                                desire to count objects or read about di-
General education teachers or assistants,            ready on their own informal IEP. Addi-           Tier 3 intervention groups are small-     nosaurs, but we also include multiple
special education teachers or assistants,            tionally, when IEPs are written, we take      er and specifically targeted to build the    opportunities to build the lacking skills
parents, and sometimes administrators                into account the specialized instruction      lacking skill. Our Interventionist and       and IEP goals through their interests.
or office aides lead these small groups.             that the Montessori materials provide.        her team of two work with individually          Students with severe cerebral palsy,
                                                                                                   with students or place them in a group       Down syndrome, emotional distur-
                                                                                                   with a special education teacher or assis-   bance, autism, speech delays, specific
In Montessori environment, all children                                                            tant that has students with similar needs.
                                                                                                   Data is collected and evaluated after an-
                                                                                                                                                learning disabilities and intellectual
                                                                                                                                                disabilities participate fully in the pro-
are already on their own informal IEP                                                              other four to six weeks a third meeting      grams as their same-aged peers. Two
                                                                                                   with the SIT will shed light on whether      students have an ABA aide (one-on-
                                                                                                   the intense intervention is working and      one therapist trained in the principles
   The entire school is seen as a learning              A Multi-Tiered Systems of Support          should be continued or if there is a pos-    of applied behavior analysis) provided
environment and every effort is taken                (MTSS) program is in place for teachers       sibility of a learning disability and Spe-   by their personal insurance companies.
to prepare these spaces. At Maria Mon-               that determine students are not success-      cial Education testing is needed.            Three students are new to Maria Mon-
tessori Academy, special education is                ful with the “Tier 1” instruction. When          Testing a student for special educa-      tessori Academy as lower elementary
treated as a service, not a place. In the            a teacher has determined that the stu-        tion gives the adults that advocate with     students and they spend their morn-
elementary there are four special edu-               dent is not making adequate or expect-        the child an inside look at the specific     ing work cycle in the Learning Lab to
cation teachers that are assigned to six             ed progress they meet with the Student        learning needs. When a student qualifies     learn the transitional skills they need

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My journey teaching ESL in Public Montessori
MONTESSORI PUBLIC: SPECIAL ED & ELL

to be productive in the lower elementa-     of other options to support this student’s   shared vision we have experienced con-         education peers when in an inclusive
ry classrooms. They practice choosing       growth and development, including pic-       flicting paradigms, tested faith and staff     environment.
work, sitting at line, getting snack and    ture charts, sign language, family com-      turnover.                                         It has been suggested that we not to
more, in a typical (although smaller)       munication and more. Each day is a new          We hired a new special education            use the term Fully Inclusive to describe
classroom environment with a trained        day to adapt the environment and grow        coordinator and increased our special          our school lest someone take that to
Montessori teacher. They participate in     our skills as Montessori guides.             education teaching and assisting staff.        mean that we are unable or unwilling
afternoon cultural lessons, recess, lunch      Becoming an inclusive school has not      We’ve brought on an Interventionist            to provide a full continuum of services
and specials with their peers with little   come easily and we still have a long way     and an Instructional Coach. We part-           under the requirements of IDEA. Nev-
or no additional adult services.            to go to reach our ideals. Our staff has     ner with the Institute for Montessori In-      ertheless, the spaces we offer are not
   However, not all students are as suc-    participated in several book studies over    novation at Westminster College in Salt        outweighed or outnumbered by the
cessful. We were recently advised to in-    the last three years: Relationship Driven    Lake City and through a grant from the         qualified staff we provide to support
stall a seclusion room (also known as a     Classroom Management by John, M. Vitto,      Sorensen Foundation received consulta-         all our students. We believe in full in-
time-out box) for one of our significant-   Creating an Inclusive School by Richard      tion from a Special Education Consul-          clusion of all students in the general
                                                                                         tant. We provide ongoing training for          education environment to the fullest
                                                                                         both the special education teachers and        extent possible and our programs are
Becoming an inclusive school has not                                                     assistants in Montessori pedagogy and          crafted to meet the needs of all students
come easily, and we still have a long way                                                the Montessori teachers in special edu-
                                                                                         cation teaching strategies. We prioritize
                                                                                                                                        through the prepared environment.

to go to reach our ideals                                                                collaboration time, funding for train-
                                                                                         ing, and increased salaries for those that
                                                                                                                                        Kacee Weaver is the Assistant Director
                                                                                                                                        of Maria Montessori Academy. She
                                                                                         work with our most challenging stu-            holds a dual B.A. in Early Childhood
ly challenged students. This non-verbal     A. Villa and Jacqueline S. Thousand and      dents. We’ve improved parent education         and Elementary Education, a M. Ed.
student with Down syndrome becomes          Donna Bryant Goertz’s Children Who           through our weekly newsletter, Face-           in Montessori Education from St.
agitated and communicates by stripping      Are Not Yet Peaceful: Preventing Exclu-      book presence and teacher blogs. Our           Catherine’s University and a lower
his clothing and throwing his own ex-       sion in the Early Elementary Classroom,      community believes in inclusion and            elementary MEPI certification.
crement. The seclusion method signifi-      which has helped formulate a vision and      supports the research that indicates that
cantly challenges our Montessori ideol-     expectation for the inclusion of our stu-    typically developing students receive as
ogy, so we are currently trying a number    dents with disabilities. Even with this      many or more benefits as their special

                                                                               CMStep Secondary I and II Credential Program
                                                                                 • Graduate credit and M.Ed. degree options from Xavier
                                                                                   University
                                                                                 • CMStep secondary program is AMS-affiliated and accredited
                                                                                   by MACTE
                                                                                 • Partners with Clark Montessori Jr. and Sr. High School
                                                                                      • Recognized as a top model school in the U.S. by the
                                                                                        Center for School Change
                                                                                      • “Top Ten Most Amazing Schools in America”
                                                                                        by Ladies Home Journal
                                                                                      • One of the three finalists in President Obama’s
                                                                                        Commencement Challenge
                                                                               CMStep Montessori Leadership Program
                                                                                 • Providing AMS-recognized PD credit for Montessori Leaders
                                   EDUC ATE
                                   EXPERIENCE                                  Katie Keller Wood, Executive Director
                                   INSPIRE                                     For course content and scheduling information:
                                                                                visit   www.cmstep.com
                                                                                call    804.869.2111
                                                                                write   P.O. Box 17152, Richmond,VA 23226

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My journey teaching ESL in Public Montessori
T H E P U B L I C C O N V E R S AT I O N

ELL in public Montessori: A case study
What can Public                                      Center for Montessori in the Public         variety of plants and pets (a rabbit, a ger-    resulting in more student-talk and less
Montessori offer to                                  Sector, I learned that there are approxi-   bil, and a bearded dragon) within the           teacher-talk. Sara Suchman, Director of
English Language                                     mately 500 public Montessori programs       classroom.                                      Coaching and School Services at NC-
                                                     in the United States. Yet New York City,       After that first remarkable visit, I con-    MPS, explained that beginner ELLs usu-
Learners?                                            perhaps surprisingly, has only one pub-     tinued my observations for four months          ally go through a “silent period,” a phase
                                                     lic Montessori school, the New York         and interviewed several faculty mem-            in which they do not orally communi-
                                                     City Montessori Charter School (NYC-        bers. Upon completion of my field re-           cate in the new language, which is an
                                                     MCS) located in the South Bronx, one        search, I had a much better understand-         accepted way of learning in a Montes-
                                                     of the city’s poorest-performing school     ing of the Montessori approach and              sori classroom. Indeed, during my ob-
                                                     districts. After getting approval from      identified three of its key components as       servations, I saw a student move from a
BY GRETCHEN SHAHEEN                                  NYCMCS Principal Abeku Hayes and            implemented by NYCMCS which may                “silent period,” which was respected by
                                                     my school’s Institutional Review Board,     provide benefits to ELLs: individualized        the faculty, to a phase in which he began
I have taught in a variety of school set-            I eagerly began my research to learn        education through differentiation; col-         to produce short sentences.
tings, including traditional district pub-           what, if any, benefits a Montessori ed-     laboration among students, which fos-              During my weekly observations, I
lic schools, public charter schools, and             ucation may provide for some of New         ters student conversation and language          frequently witnessed the use of Montes-
private schools. My experiences in the               York City’s most vulnerable students–       skills; and the application of hands-on         sori materials. In fact, it is hard to imag-
classroom, both as a teacher and later, as           immigrant ELLs.                             Montessori materials, bringing many             ine a lesson in the Montessori classroom
a graduate student, helped to shape my                  My first visit to NYCMCS was my
educational philosophy. While I believe              first time ever setting foot in a Mon-
that a structured and orderly environ-
ment promotes students’ academic and
                                                     tessori school. I spoke with Principal
                                                     Hayes and learned that he also had first
                                                                                                 Seeing Montessori in action left me
behavioral progress, children learn best             encountered Montessori after working        even more astounded
when allowed more personal freedoms                  in traditional schools. After discussing
and given greater academic autonomy.                 our educational philosophies and the
My personal views on teaching and                    Montessori approach, Principal Hayes        lessons to life for emergent bilinguals.       that doesn’t rely upon manipulatives
learning inspired my recent thesis re-               gave me a tour of the school. Adorned          Like many Montessori schools, each          of some sort. For instance, I observed
search in which I examined the benefits              with plants, select works of art, attrac-   classroom at NYCMCS boasts two                 students using an assortment of math
of a Montessori education for English                tive Montessori materials, and students’    teachers to provide more attention to          materials, such as a checkerboard cloth,
Language Learners (ELLs).                            creations, the understated classrooms at    each learner. Frequently, I observed           number tiles, and math beads to learn
    During the planning stage of my                  NYCMCS exude tranquility. However,          the lead teacher delivering a lesson to a      about place value, multiplication, and
study, I researched different types of               seeing Montessori in action, more than      small group of students while the assis-       division. Students also enjoyed using
progressive education, paying particu-               the physical appearance of the school,      tant teacher circulated throughout the         several different types of language arts
lar attention to New York area schools               left me even more astounded. I partic-      room, offering help to individual stu-         and social studies cards. In many cases,
available to students of immigrant fam-              ularly remember a visit to a fourth and     dents and small, cooperative groups. In        ELLs worked with native English-speak-
ilies, regardless of socioeconomic status.           fifth grade classroom. While a few stu-     addition, every Monday morning, stu-           ing peers to complete an activity using
During my search, I came across Mon-                 dents worked independently, the ma-         dents completed a “Weekly Work Plan.”          these manipulatives.
tessori, which I believed at the time to             jority were spread out in small groups      Just as Dr. Montessori advocated for a            Overall, while the academic approach
be accessible mainly to children of priv-            throughout the classroom. Whereas           freedom within limits for children, NY-        and humanistic disciplinary methods
ileged, wealthy families. Upon digging               some worked together at tables, others      CMCS students choose from a variety            implemented by NYCMCS may provide
deeper, I learned that Dr. Montessori                reclined on the floor. The classroom        of activities and projects appropriate to      an advantage to ELLs, operating a school
had originally developed her pedagog-                buzzed happily along with conversations     their developmental level to complete for      that is at once public and Montessori is,
ical approach to specifically address the            about the various learning objectives at    the week. Differentiation is an inherent       of course, challenging. As a public Mon-
needs of underprivileged children in                 hand. I saw many groups using Montes-       part of the Montessori approach; thus,         tessori school, NYCMCS faces issues
an impoverished area of Rome. More-                  sori learning materials, and at certain     ELLs are constantly engaged in relevant,       that other Montessori schools do not.
over, after encountering the National                points, I noticed students tending to a     self-selected tasks.                           Funding and high-stakes state testing
                                                                                                    Greater student autonomy in con-            continue to concern administrators and
                                                                                                 junction with multi-age classrooms in          faculty alike. Nevertheless, this research
           Practical Life Specialists                                                            Montessori schools naturally stimulates        study left me with a great appreciation
         Pouring • Polishing • Washing
       Cooking • Cleaning Up • Gardening
                                                                                                 student discussions on a daily basis,          for the project of public Montessori
            Sewing • Woodworking                                                                 which is especially important for lan-         schools. Each day, NYCMCS offers stu-
                                                                                                 guage learners. On multiple occasions in       dents an education that respects them as
     Over 2500 Carefully Selected Items
           Preparing the Environment                                                             the regular education classrooms at NY-        individuals, values their autonomy, and
         Art • Music • History • Geography                                                       CMCS, I witnessed older students assist-       strives to meet their needs in a person-
          Science • Sensorial • Language                                                         ing younger students with the Montes-          alized way.
        Resource Books • Peace Education
               Elementary Materials                                                              sori materials as well as other routine
                                                                                                 tasks. While it seems simple, flexible         Gretchen Shaheen holds an M.A. in
                                                                                                 seating and the freedom of movement            Latin American Studies from New York
                                                                                                 in a Montessori classroom effortlessly         University. A certified teacher, she has
                                                                                                 initiates cooperation among students.          taught a variety of subjects in grades
                                                                                                 In addition, each focused lesson of the        K-6, and currently serves as a Primary
                                                           FREE CATALOG 800 •214 • 8959
                                                                                                 ELL classroom that I observed encour-          Literacy Promoter in the Peace Corps
    Your Resource for Preparing the Child’s Environment since 1976                               aged collaboration among students,             Dominican Republic.
                          MontessoriServices.com • ForSmallHands.com

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My journey teaching ESL in Public Montessori
MONTESSORI PUBLIC: SPECIAL ED & ELL

Special needs parents have needs of their own
Parents need to know                           in this issue) to IEP (Individualized Ed-   are outside the boundaries of authentic
what Montessori                                ucation Plan) is a journey that requires    Montessori.
offers for their                               patience and commitment on every-              What support do these learners and
                                               one’s part. Communication is the key        their families need, and how can we pre-
children                                       and teachers come to understand that        pare environments where the children
                                               letting parents know when things are        can be successful? The number one
                                               not going quite right can pave the way      thing these children need are knowl-
                                               to more difficult discussions about iden-   edgeable parents who are calm and in-
                                               tifying what a child’s additional needs     formed, and who believe that the child’s
                                               really are. These are key discussions and   teachers, as well as school administra-
BY GENA ENGELFRIED                             need to be encouraged in the context of     tion and staff, understand and honor the
                                               parent-teacher conferences, where our       child and their unique way of approach-
Children must grow, not only in the body       tendency is to highlight only positive      ing the world. The children also need
but in the spirit, and the mother longs to     aspects of a child’s development. As this   extra specially prepared environments
follow the mysterious spiritual journey of     journey toward identifying and address-     (possibly including, for example, senso-
the beloved one who, tomorrow, will be         ing a child’s needs ensues, the key words   rial materials and sandpaper letters in
the intelligent divine creature, man.          are clarity, honesty and compassion.        a lower elementary classroom), individ-
                      —Maria Montessori            There are also parents who seek out     ualized lessons, and a teacher or guide
        Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook          a Montessori environment knowing            who is qualified and able to help them
                                               that their child has a special need—and     find their unique strengths and interests.
Special needs students bring a lot value       these needs can often be quite profound.    These are investments worth making.
to our school. Their uniqueness is well        Montessori’s early career and her suc-         Parents who have recently received a        responsibility. It is also worth the time
served by our method and it is good for        cess with children who were deemed          diagnosis for their child or who are in        spent. If parents can connect, trust and
all of our learners to be exposed to di-      “unteachable” has been discussed wide-       the process of an evaluation will ben-         come to accept their child’s uniqueness,
versity. As public schools we know that        ly. Today, these students, whether their    efit from the gentle reminder that this        then they, and we as educators, can form
                                                                                           change of understanding is going to            cohesive teams to find the best ways to
                                                                                           take some getting used to. In her book         meet their needs.
These children need parents who believe                                                    for special needs parents, Special Needs
                                                                                           Parents: A Resource for Parents of Chil-
                                                                                                                                              Not every special needs child is like
                                                                                                                                          Jamie Oliver, Temple Grandin, Kiera
that the teachers, administration, and                                                     dren with Special Needs, Judith Loseff         Knightly or John Nash, but all of these
                                                                                           Lavin describes the process that some          contributors to society were once special
staff understand and honor the child                                                       parents go through when coming to              needs students. We have a duty and an
                                                                                           terms with the fact that their child has       obligation to help each child reach their
                                                                                           a learning difference. Loseff reminds          full potential, and we can begin by help-
if our institutions are going to grow and     disability has been identified and la-       readers that the news that one’s child is      ing each parent know that their child is
thrive, we need to serve students with        beled or not, can do well in our schools     not a typical learner can be devastating       unique and wonderful.
special needs. The atypical learner usu-      as long as parents understand that our       to many parents. She reminds us that              Working together as a team, the
ally makes up at least 10% of any school.     goal is to move children and adoles-         parents who get this news may need to          adults in a child’s life can prepare an
In public district, magnet, or charter        cents toward independence and intrin-        go through the stages of grief that ac-        environment of support, challenge, love
schools, this percentage is almost in-        sic motivation. Making this clear, from      company any great loss.                        and guidance that will help the child
variably higher.                              day one, is very important. If a parent’s       As public Montessorians, it is easy to      grow in confidence. As a child with a
    If we are to serve these children, we     goal is purely academic progress, Mon-       get caught up in the initiatives, safety       special need learns new ways to com-
must serve their parents as well. But         tessori may not be the right environ-        concerns, curriculum management is-            pensate, create, and be successful, he or
parents of children who learn different-                                                                                                  she will be able to reach their potential
ly often themselves require a bit more                                                                                                    and use the gifts that they have. Talent,
attention and understanding than what
we, as Montessori teachers and leaders,
                                              If parents can trust and come to accept                                                     skill and self-efficacy can grow in an at-
                                                                                                                                          mosphere of support and self-reliance.
typically expect.
   We tend to attract two types of par-
                                              their child’s uniqueness, we can form                                                       Helping parents to see that their child,
                                                                                                                                          like all of the other children, are on a
ents of special needs students. The first     cohesive teams to meet their needs                                                          road to independence, and encouraging
type is unaware of the full extent of their                                                                                               them to believe that they will get there,
child’s needs, but may be beginning to                                                                                                    is the answer.
suspect that they have an atypical learn-     ment for their special needs child, es-      sues and administrative duties that pull
er. These parents are usually attracted       pecially if they are seeking a school that   and tug from every side of the school.         Gena Engelfried is the Head of School
to the presence of an assistant in the        offers a token economy, star charts and      Taking the time to sit and help parents        at Golden Oak Montessori (a public
classroom, Montessori’s “hands-on”            praise as motivators. As public schools,     of special needs students to choose            charter school in Hayward, California).
approach, or the positive, loving, and        we are often required to accept all stu-     Montessori wisely (aware of our lack           She has been a Montessori primary and
caring environments that characterize         dents who seek enrollment, and this is       of motivational praise and our focus           adolescent guide, consultant, speaker,
our schools. Identifying a child’s need,      a noble thing. But as public Montessori      on independence) is essential. Help-           and international educator in Indonesia,
from Child Study (as developed by the         schools, we need to stand out ground         ing the parents of newly diagnosed             Kazakhstan, and Australia.
National Center for Montessori in the         and be willing to draw the line when a       children process the news that a child
Public Sector, and described elsewhere        parent requests accommodations that          has a disability is an honor and a huge

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My journey teaching ESL in Public Montessori
T H E P U B L I C C O N V E R S AT I O N

Cultivating an attitude of inclusion
Montessori is                                           Statistical Manual used by psycholo-       Creating an inclusion                         • Minimal sensory stimulation with
inclusionary                                            gists added difficulties with sensory      classroom environment                           thoughtful decoration that enhances
by design                                               processing as a criterion for making          Inclusion is the creation of a class-        rather than overwhelms.
                                                        an ASD diagnosis).                         room community conducive to helping           • Optimal temperature and natural
                                                      • 60% of children identified as exhib-       all students meet academic and behav-           lighting.
                                                        iting Attention Deficit Hyperactive        ioral goals. It is understood that:
                                                        Disorder were found to have sensory         • Healthy social development is a pri-       The Social-Emotional
                                                        processing disorders.                         mary emphasis in early childhood           Environment
                                                        Although we don’t have current sta-           (birth to age eight).                       • Predictable routines, structure,
BY CHRISTINE LOWRY                                   tistics, it has long been accepted that        • All children learn in different ways          schedule with well- planned transi-
                                                     Specific Learning Disabilities are a re-         at different rates.                           tions.
“It seems like more and more of my                   sult of some sort of processing disorder.      • It’s every child’s right to be included.    • Positive, warm, accepting adult-
 students are having trouble settling                Speech and language disorders are on             An inclusive classroom benefits all           child interactions.
 in.” “I’ve tried everything but she just            the rise and often have a sensory pro-        with opportunities to develop accep-           • Social skills teaching with opportu-
 can’t follow directions.” “We’ve worked             cessing difficulty component.                 tance, respect, and compassion.                  nities for practice, role-playing, cu-
 and worked but he isn’t remembering                                                                                                                ing, prompting, and encouragement.
 his sounds.” “Kids seem different these            The myths                                      What is good for one is                        • Opportunities for “social cohesion”
 days—I just don’t know what to do.”                    “I can’t work with children with spe-      good for all                                     such as class meetings, mutual en-
                                                     cial needs. I don’t have a special educa-        As Montessori educators, we know              couragement, guided problem and
The facts                                            tion degree or training.”                     the foundational importance of a prop-           conflict solving, work toward a
   Sound familiar? Montessori teach-                    “If I have to focus all of my time on      erly prepared environment. Our goal is           common goal (Silence Game, Walk-
ers in all settings, public and indepen-             this one student, I won’t have time for       to prepare the optimal physical, tempo-          ing the Line, Goings-Out).
dent, are expressing concerns about the              the other 26 in my class.”                    ral, and social-emotional environment          • Time to engage, experiment, and
                                                                                                   that will enable all of our students to          work at one’s own pace.
                                                                                                   thrive. Our training in observation, not         This knowledge, our attitude and
“Kids seem different these days—                                                                   just record keeping of lessons present-
                                                                                                   ed, but truly seeing with the eye of the
                                                                                                                                                 optimal preparation is the first step
                                                                                                                                                 in creating an inclusive classroom. All
I just don’t know what to do.”                                                                     scientist, as Dr. Montessori tells us, will   children, regardless of needs or chal-
                                                                                                   give us the information we need. Our          lenges, want to belong, want to be a val-
                                                                                                   knowledge of child development and            ued member of their community, want
numbers of students whose behavior is a                “If we can get the child diagnosed we       ability to determine typical and atypical     to succeed, and get along with others.
challenge to manage, who seem unmo-                  will have a label that will tell us what      growth in each domain, the character-         There are individual supports, the tools
tivated and easily distracted, and who               to do.”
aren’t learning in the way we have come
                                                     Our roots
to expect of “Montessori children.”
   What we do know is that the inci-                    Our hesitancy about our ability to
                                                                                                   Our philosophy grounds us in an
dence of students with identified “spe-              support students with challenges is un-       attitude of acceptance and respect
cial needs” is increasing. The Center                derstandable. But the good news is that
for Disease Control (CDC), using data                the Montessori system of education has
from 2012, estimated that 1 in 68 chil-              a number of “built-ins” for addressing        istics and needs of the children in each      and techniques, for working with chil-
dren have been identified with Au-                   individual needs. With some knowl-            Plane of Development, and our ability to      dren with challenges of behavior and
tism Spectrum Disorder. The National                 edge and understanding there is much          recognize Sensitive periods guides our        learning that we can learn to use (and
Center for Education Statistics (NCES                we have of offer to support all students.     ability to individualize for each student.    these can be explored in further articles)
2014-15) states that 13% of school age               By creating an “inclusive classroom” we       Our philosophy grounds us in an atti-         but fundamentally each of our students
children have been identified with spe-              can accept, respect, and benefit all of       tude of acceptance, and respect for each      is a unique individual, with strengths
cial needs, including specific learning              our children.                                 child giving us the tools to model grace      and challenges. As Montessori educa-
disabilities, autism, developmental de-                 A child is not a label, and a label only   and courtesy, and positive ways to in-        tors we have the advantage and the sup-
lays, and mental health issues. However,             gives us the broadest of contexts for         teract for our students and create a true     port of an amazing system for under-
a more recent figure of 15-20% is more               understanding behavior and learning           community of “social cohesion.”               standing, teaching, and supporting each
commonly stated. Data from 2011-12                   challenges. The scope of this article is                                                    of our special children.
estimates that 11% of children age 4-17              not the characteristics and definitions       What Is Optimal for
have been labeled ADHD.                              of a given diagnosis. “Special education”     All Students?                                 Christine Lowry, founder, administra-
   Any number of researchers have hy-                really is based on observation, individu-                                                   tor, and lead teacher at two Montessori
pothesized reasons for these increases,              alized supports, understanding of some        The Physical Environment                      schools with the mission of serving all
but the Star Institute for Sensory Pro-              tools and techniques for support, and         • Well organized, ordered, and beauti-        kinds of learners, holds an M. Ed. in
cessing Disorder has shared data that                guiding a child to more positive behav-         ful activities that are developmental-      special education from UNC-CH and
could indicate a commonality across                  ior and learning. There is no set “pro-         ly appropriate and of interest to the       an early childhood Montessori cre-
identified needs and labels                          gram” that works for all children with a        students.                                   dential. She provides consultations for
 • 90% of children diagnosed with                    shared diagnosis.                             • Furniture and activity area arrange-        schools to develop and support their
   Autism Spectrum Disorder have                                                                     ment that supports movement and             plans for their classrooms and indi-
   sensory processing disorders. (In                                                                 work patterns.                              vidual students. She can be reached at
   fact, the most recent Diagnostic and                                                                                                          christine@montessori-now.com

10    M O N T E S S O R I P U B L I C | W I N T E R 2 018                                                                                        For up-to-the minute news and discussion
MONTESSORI PUBLIC: SPECIAL ED & ELL

The case for push-in services
NCMPS White Paper                            • Individual and small group les-                individual needs as a normal part of        • A child with emotional disturbances
supports push-in services                      sons—The entire Montessori class-              classroom life.                               who needs a quiet place to regain his
for ELL and SPED                               room is set up around one-on-one            • Push-in services in the general class-         or her composure before returning
                                               and small group work. When an                  room support peer engagement and              to work in the classroom.
                                               interventionist comes in and offers            friendships and reduce social stigma.         Even when a school primarily uses
BY NCMPS STAFF                                 such lessons, it fits well within the          Respect for workflow: During in-           the recommended push-in approach,
                                               norm of the classroom and in no            dependent work time, skilled interven-         the availability of a resource room can
The following article is adapted from the      way disrupts or stands out from the        tionists invite students to lessons as         help meet these specific needs.
NCMPS White Paper “English Language            usual flow of the classroom.               they are ready, rather than interrupting
Learners and Special Education Stu-          • Uninterrupted three-hour work              concentrated work or lessons from the
dents in Montessori Schools: The Case          period—Montessori classrooms               classroom teacher.                                                         M o n t esso r i
for Push-In Services”, available as a PDF      are structured around a three-hour          • Respecting a student’s workflow by                 MI                   In st it u t e o f
                                                                                                                                                AS
(with full references) at public-montes-       work period during which students              minimizing interruptions supports                                      A d van ced
sori.org/smarter-tools/#resources. Other       move freely between work areas and             student concentration, self-direc-                                     St u d ies
NCMPS White Papers are available on            materials. This structure allows the           tion and motivation and is a crucial
the same page.                                 interventionist to work with stu-              component of a strong Montessori
                                               dents at a mutually agreeable time,            experience.
Montessori classrooms                          minimizing interruptions, support-          • Push-in services allow ELL and spe-
support a push-in model                        ing student choice and thereby en-             cial education students to reap these
   Both education research and federal         hancing learning.                              essential benefits of the program.
mandates point toward the desirabili-        • Materials that move from the                   Reduction of transitions: Montes-
ty of well-implemented inclusion pro-          concrete to abstract—Montessori            sori pedagogy minimizes stressors such
grams for English language learners            materials begin with concrete repre-       as transitions in order to allow students
(ELLs) and special education students          sentations and then move to abstract       to focus their full energy on learning.            “I looked forward to each class
(SPED). Within an inclusion model,             for all students. These same materi-       Push-in services create this environ-              meeting and seminar. The instructors
bringing interventionists to the general       als are easily accessible to ELL and       ment for all students.                             and the materials presented were
education classroom, rather than sepa-         special education students and can          • Consistent expectations: In a                   highly motivating.”
rating students for support services, is       be used by push-in teachers to rein-           push-in model, interventionists can
increasingly viewed as an optimal mod-         force regular lessons.                         observe and follow the classroom               “Very good quality; depth and
el for supporting students with special                                                       teacher’s way of interacting with              breadth. Interesting, valuable
educational and additional language          Benefits of push-in for                          students.                                      material. I will recommend this
needs. The logic of the Montessori meth-     Montessori                                    • Consistent setting: Students learn in
                                                                                                                                             program to prospective teachers.
                                                                                                                                             I have changed for the better; better
od uniquely situates its classrooms both       At the same time, the impact of                an environment with which they are             mom and better teacher.”
to support and benefit from a push-in        the Montessori model is strength-                already familiar and comfortable.
model of special education and English       ened through a push-in program and,              Increased independence: As stu-                “The whole program is outstanding!”
Language Learner instruction.                in turn, weakened when students are          dents learn from interventionists how to
                                                                                          navigate the environment independent-
                                                                                          ly, they increase their success and sense
The logic of Montessori both supports                                                     of self-efficacy within the Montessori
                                                                                          classroom.
and benefit from a push-in model of                                                       Limitations of the push-in
special education and ELL instruction                                                     model
                                                                                              Under some circumstances, attention
                                                                                                                                                     MACTE
                                                                                          to the needs of the child dictates that                    Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education

   “Push-in” refers to the practice of de-   pulled out of the classroom for services.    working with the child in a resource
livering ELL or special education ser-       Push-in services allow ELL and special       room or other quiet space away from
vices inside the regular classroom rather    education students to receive the ser-       the classroom is preferable to push-in
                                                                                                                                                MIAS offers:
than “pulling out” identified students       vices they need while reaping the same       support. Some Montessori communi-                   • Small classes with individual
for services in a separate setting. Mon-     benefits of the Montessori program as        ties label this as “step-out” support, as             attention
tessori programs are ideally suited for      their classmates.                            it is flexible and can be initiated by the          • Offering a convenient
supporting this service model. Montes-           Social integration: Push-in services     child as well as by the interventionist.              schedule that caters to
sori classrooms delivering high fidelity     within the Montessori classrooms bene-           Circumstances in which step-out                   working students
implementation offer:                        fit the social development of all students   support might be preferable include:                • Experienced staff specialized
 • Mixed age groups and fully differ-        in the classroom, not just those with         • Speech and language services in                    in connecting students to their
    entiated instruction—A full array        special needs:                                   which pronunciation and articula-                 unique gifts residing within
    of materials is available within each     • Exceptional students can be sup-              tion are key to student learning.
    multi-grade classroom. Instruction           ported to work in small groups with       • A highly distracted child who ben-
                                                                                                                                                    Start your journey today!
    is differentiated for all students,          typically developing students and            efits from having a first lesson in a
    making the differentiation for ELL           native English speakers.                     separate environment before work-              Visit: www.montessori-training.com
    and SPED an easily incorporated          • All students learn from each other             ing on the material in the classroom.              22781 Canyon Court - Castro Valley - CA - 94552
                                                                                                                                                               (510) 581-3729
    and natural part of the classroom.           and learn to see differences and                                                                         montessori.ins@gmail.com

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