1513 Hall Johnson Road
Colleyville, TX 76034
The start of a new year traditionally offers a chance to reflect on the past. At the same time, it provides an opportunity to plan for the future, and at BGMS we’re planning something special for you for each month of the spring semester. Right now, while you still have all that nice white space stretching out on your new 2012 calendar, please take a moment and make a note to attend these interesting events!
► What Is Montessori Elementary?
Thursday, January 12, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Modern scientific research makes it official! According to a special issue of the journal Human Nature (Sept. 3, 2011), the time period known as “middle childhood,” ages 6 to 12, is a time of great cognitive creativity, increased emotional regulation, and growing social independence. The brain is at its peak for learning, and the child’s ability to control impulses, to reason, and to plan for the future comes into focus. Neurologically, the brain is building, organizing, and amplifying the tens of billions of connections that allow brain cells and brain domains to communicate. Physical changes, such as the loss of baby teeth, are caused by an increase in production of adrenal hormones. There are behavioral changes, too – children become fascinated with social groups and with learning society’s rules, and they are keenly attuned to questions of fairness and justice.
But all this is no surprise to Montessorians. Dr. Montessori observed these changes many years ago, describing them as typical of the “second plane of development,” the years from 6 to 12.
It is precisely because the needs and characteristics of children during the second plane of development are so different from those of the first-plane child that Montessori elementary is not merely a continuation of the activities of the primary classroom, but rather a completely different experience. Montessori elementary offers an approach to academics that captures the imagination, fans the flame of interest in research, and prepares a solid foundation for lifelong love of learning.
Our annual “What Is Montessori Elementary?” evening offers parents the opportunity to experience an elementary classroom environment. Our BGMS elementary guides will present an overview of the six-year Montessori elementary program. They’ll demonstrate how this approach to teaching, learning, and social development challenges the elementary child and meets his needs for ever-expanding knowledge of the world. They’ll show you the reference manuals that set out the complex and detailed Montessori elementary curriculum in all areas, and answer your questions about the elementary program at BGMS. This program will be a chance for you to learn about Montessori for the elementary years, and what makes it such a developmentally appropriate educational approach. Please RSVP to the office to let us know you are coming and to reserve childcare, available for $12.00 per child.
► The Journey and Discovery
Friday, January 20, 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. and
Saturday, January 21, 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Don’t you wonder what’s really happening in BGMS classrooms after you drop your child off every morning? What is the meaning of that “work” the children are always talking about? If teachers aren’t telling children what to learn, and children aren’t silently listening to teachers talking, how does the learning process take place?
We invite you to discover the answers to these questions by participating in a unique and unforgettable experience – the Journey and Discovery. This is your chance to see your child’s school through her eyes. You will see what she sees, experience what she experiences, and learn what (and how) she learns!
On Friday evening, January 20, you’ll be guided through a Silent Journey of observation in all the environments your child experiences at BGMS – from the Parent-Infant Room through the Adolescent Community. On Saturday, you’ll return for Discovery – hands-on learning with the Montessori materials in each environment, and a discussion of the Montessori approach from birth through adolescence. This experience will enable you to respond with more understanding to your child when she shares her day with you, and your conferences with her guides will be much more meaningful.
The Journey and Discovery experience for parents was created by BGMS founder Barbara Gordon nearly 40 years ago. The concept has spread throughout the Montessori community, and Barbara continues to receive requests from schools all over the world who want her to introduce them to the Journey. This year Barbara will personally guide the Journey for us – a very special opportunity for BGMS parents!
Space is limited for this workshop, so sign up now by calling the office. New parents and those who have not participated before will have priority! Participants must attend both sessions – Friday evening and Saturday. The cost is $25 per person, or $40 per couple, and this includes refreshments on Friday evening, and continental breakfast and lunch on Saturday. Childcare will be available by reservation, for $12 per child per session.
► Events for Parents at the AMI Refresher Course
Friday, February 17:
Keynote Address, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 18:
Parents’ Workshop, 9:00 – 4:30 (lunch included)
Omni Fort Worth Hotel
1300 Houston Street, Fort Worth, Texas
This year the AMI Refresher Course, attended every year by AMI guides and administrators from around the country, will be held at the Omni Hotel in Fort Worth. This presents a unique opportunity for BGMS parents, who are being invited to participate in the event!
On Friday evening, February 17, keynote speaker Paola Trabalzini will address the theme of the conference, "Engaging the Human Personality." An editor, author, and important member of the Italian Montessori community, Paola lectures in the teacher training courses of La Sapienza University in Rome. Tickets ($10) are available in the BGMS office.
On Saturday, February 18, Donna Bryant Goertz, founder of Austin Montessori School and a long-time friend of BGMS, will present a workshop exclusively for parents. She’ll address two different topics:
Lyin', Cheatin' and Stealin':
Why We Don't Even Allow Ourselves to Think About
Our Own Children's Behavior in Those Terms
Beyond Bullies and Victims:
Eliminating Those Destructive Roles and Labels
Those who attend can expect a day of insight, inspiration, and laughter as Donna draws on nearly 50 years of experience as a Montessori teacher, parent, and grandparent to shine a new light on old problems. The cost is $120 for the full day including lunch, or $50 for either the morning or the afternoon session only. You can register online at www.amiusa.org, or stop by the office and pick up a conference brochure and registration form.
► “School 2.0,” with Dr. Steven Hughes
Monday, March 5, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Clark Conference Center, University of Texas at Dallas
800 W. Campbell Road, Richardson, Texasas at Dallas800 W. Campbell Road, Richardson, TX 75080
Many BGMS parents remember Dr. Steven Hughes from his dynamic presentation at the international conference sponsored by the Montessori Institute of Texas (MIT) in Southlake several years ago. Currently President of the American Academy of Pediatric Neuropsychology, Dr. Hughes is also the Chair of AMI’s Global Research Division and a member of the faculty of the Maria Montessori Institute in London. A strong advocate of activity-based, developmental approaches to education, he is a frequent speaker for and consultant to Montessori organizations around the world.
We’re excited to announce that Dr. Hughes is returning to North Texas. On March 5 MIT will partner with the Center for Children and Families, part of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas, to host his presentation of “School 2.0.”
In “School 2.0” Dr. Hughes invites us to envision the school of the future, asking: What should young people be learning (or learning to do) to experience successful, happy, and interesting lives in the 21st century? Can traditional school give young people what they need, or is it time to rethink education? What does neuroscience tell us? Will the role of teachers change? What will students do? This presentation explores the challenges faced by educators in the 21st century, and considers some promising approaches that are setting the stage for “School 2.0.” (Just between us, don’t be surprised if the school of the future looks a lot like BGMS!)
The cost of the event is $20 per person, with advance registration required. Registration will soon be available on the MIT website, www.montessori-mit.org, where you will also be provided with a map of the UTD campus and a parking pass.
► “Forty and Fabulous” Spring Soirée
Saturday, April 21, 6:30 – 11:30 p.m.
Hurst Conference Center
1601 Campus Drive, Hurst, Texas
BGMS is “Forty and Fabulous!” Spring Soirée Chair Uma Benzick is planning a birthday party to end all birthday parties – cocktails, dinner, and a live and silent auction featuring class projects made by our children! You won’t want to miss this special 40th anniversary celebration, being held this year at the spectacular new Hurst Conference Center. More details can be found in the announcement on p. 7 of this newsletter.
► “The Bird and the Bees and the Flowers and the Trees: Talking with Children about Life,” with Donna Bryant Goertz
Tuesday, May 1, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Donna Bryant Goertz, founder of Austin Montessori School, returns to BGMS for an evening with our parents. Those who attended her parent evening last year on “Whining, Wailing, and Begging” and her February workshop for parents at the AMI Refresher Course will want to hear what Donna has to share with us about that universal human question – where do we all come from? You may be surprised to learn that the Montessori experience, which encourages reverence for life and intellectual curiosity about plants, animals, and human beings, has already laid the foundation for you to talk with your child about “the birds and the bees.” Donna brings her knowledge of children’s stages of development, and her personal experience as the mother of seven and grandmother of 16, to answer the questions we all have about how to talk to our children about the facts of life. Childcare will be available by reservation, for $12 per child per session.