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Welcome to the MTIPS Resources Page

This page contains resources pertaining to Teacher Education, Parent Education and School Promotion. The site is used by educators from more than 60 countries and averages about 1800 views per month.

The information is presented in three different formats: articles, videos, and transcripts from a weekly on-line Q and A chat room called Ask a Mentor. The information is organized by class level, audience, content, and format. Resources pertaining to more than one area are cross-referenced.

Of particular convenience is the search feature at the bottom of the page. You can type in any word and all content with that word will be listed with a brief excerpt to help you find exactly what you are looking for.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

What Does a Child Really Need to Get Through Life?

Despite our fixation on academics there are really two categories of skills that will make or break a life: character traits and life skills. And although these are often conflated, they are two distinct areas of development.

Character Traits:


These are some examples of character traits. And the truth is that your opportunity to help your children develop them generally only comes during times of trial, big or small, when our first instinct is to intervene, ignore or offer ONLY comfort. Comfort in many cases should be offered. But you can offer more.

Example: “You didn’t get chosen for the role you wanted. I can see how upset you are. I am really sorry. Part of what is bothering you might be that you really felt you deserved the part. But the committee judged that someone else would do a better job. One of the best ways to overcome a disappointment like this is to be humble: to realize that in this case you weren’t the best one for the role. And that’s ok. That is called humility. I know that I am not better than everyone else, and I can accept that.”

Life Skills

How to Introduce Oneself
How to Communicate with Poise and Maturity
Prepare a Meal
Do Laundry
Handle Money
Make Purchases
Make and Execute a Plan of Multiple Steps
Direct Others
Follow Others Lead

These unfortunately are getting drowned in a tsunami of the pace of life and the breakdown of commonly accepted grace (that is not a matter of diversity, it is a matter of relativism). Treating others well (while it may not mean the same thing to everyone) is a common courtesy and universal cutting across cultures. And intention is everything. You don’t have to get it exactly right, you have to do your best to understand someone and treat him or her the way you think they would appreciate.

Life Skill Example: “When we approach the checkout, it usually makes people feel happy if you look at them and greet them. Sometimes the people working at the checkout line become invisible to the customers. Would you like to be the one to greet him and ask how his day is going? Do you want to practice with me first? Be sure to look up at my face when you talk or it will be hard to hear you. Also, look into my eyes when you are speaking. Ok, you are ready to do it. When we get to the store, you go before me in the check out line and be our family greeter. Let’s see if we can make the cashier smile.”

So many opportunities! Don’t let them get away from you.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Your Children Are Not Your Own

Contrary to how it feels when the nurse hands your first born over to you and waves goodbye, your children do not belong to you. They are not simply extensions of you. You have your life and they have theirs. Your lives are not interchangeable. Your dreams are not interchangeable. Children are yours on loan, for what will feel like a shockingly short period of time when they get ready to launch off on their own. And remember, your most important job is to prepare them for that launch. It is critical to remember, however, that despite all of our best intentions and even good parenting choices, there are no guarantees. Children are agents of free will. 

At some point, your children will have to make their own decisions. Some will be good ones, some will not. This is a guarantee. The best we can do is set our sights constantly on the future, on who we want them to become and ask ourselves what specifically and intentionally we have done recently to help our children develop this way. I have found that my answer is frighteningly often: nothing. 

If there were two things I could without fail bestow upon my children it would be agency and empathy. I wish for them that they grow into adults who constantly ask these two questions: “Being that things are as they are, what then shall I do?” (Well said, Jonathan Sacks)

And how can I make this life, this world, this moment a little bit better, a little easier, or a little more beautiful for those I share it with and those who come after? 

--> If I achieve that, I will consider it a job well done indeed. 

–Wendy Calise Head of School 

Monday, October 2, 2017

OfficeMax Takes a Stand on Parenting


Watch the commercial and see for yourself.

Who is doing all the work for what are clearly grown able young people who could shop for themselves?

You got it…Mom. She even carries the bags.

While tempting to shrug this off as no big deal, this commercial is unintentionally defining “good parenting” - a mom running around doing everything while her passive children follow impotently along. The problem is, while this is efficient for mom, it is one of the few opportunities she has to get her children ready to stand on their own two feet.

What could they have learned?

How to interpret the shopping list
How to figure out the layout and organization of a store
How to ask a clerk for help
How shop within a budget that you set
How to handle money and count for correct change
How to carry your own bags

So what would a “good parent” do?

Leave her children at home and do the shopping for them.

Review the list with her children, show them around the store and then let them shop on their own.

 Give her children the list, some money, and wait in car while enjoying some kid free time on her Kindle.

If you want your children to be RTFW, you’re going to have to take them out of the shopping cart.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Teacher to Parent - Positive reinforcement doesn't work in the long run

Well said, Mr. Stallings.

Q. My third grade son recently came home in tears saying he didn’t want to go to school anymore because he was punished for talking during silent reading. The teacher kept him in from recess. I think this is horrible. It isn’t a teacher’s job to destroy a child’s love for school. Instead of constant punishment for every little infraction, what about using positive reinforcement?

A. He was in tears for having to miss recess? Ah, sweet innocence of youth. Let’s hope he never gets a really tough consequence. Or a boss. Or a job.

I don’t see what the teacher did as either horrible or tear-inducing. My advice would be to have a conversation with your third-grader on the topic of “coping skills.” Because if being kept out of recess has destroyed his love for school, I shudder to think what’s in store when he gets to algebra.

Read Full Article

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Helicopter Parenting - We Do Not Appear to be Turning the Corner

This is a great article on some of the challenges of current parenting culture and the long term effects it is having on young adults who are raised this way. And what is best, it is filled with pictographs and stats that are easy to digest, though hard to swallow.

Read Article

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

You Kinda Have to Watch It

Great video by Simon Sinek 

I don't mean to be dark, but if we think we have challenges now?????  We are currently sipping from a little cocktail straw. Twenty years from now we are going to be drinking from a fire hose. 

And stay with him. He is NOT bashing millennials. He is asking us to understand them. He is asking us to care.

Love to hear your thoughts.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Parenting Meltdown

The State of the School 2016

... Good parents prevent failure. This is one I think that we all sort of scam ourselves with. “I let my kids fail.” Most of us won’t even let our children get frustrated zipping their coats without intervention. The result? Adults who do not have experience to know that failure is actually a step on the road to somewhere. Not a final destination. Nor a final devastation.

Suffering. Surely nothing good can come of this. It all depends on the event. When a child makes a blatantly destructive, selfish or mean spirited choice, let the suffering begin. There is no substitute. No work-around. A parent who intervenes in this process is raising an adult who will not readily associate her choices with the impact it has on those around her. But what about the suffering at the hands of others or fate? In this case, offer comfort, offer perspective, offer hot soup. Anything but intervention. (I am hoping we can all set aside for the sake of this essay things like abuse and agree that these are not the circumstances to which I am referring. More along the lines of, “I’m not allowed to sit with my friends.” Or “The coach never puts me in.” Statements that often end with, “It’s not fair!”) In these cases, a young soul just needs some comfort and strong encouragement to get back up on the horse...

Thursday, March 5, 2015

How the NAIS Conference Helped Me Know I Am Not Crazy

The Trouble with College

By Wendy Calise

Last week on Thursday and Friday, 12 of our CMS faculty and staff attended the National Association of Independent Schools' Annual Conference. As is always the case, it was a star-studded cast, and I could go on for pages about all that we learned.

But I want instead to focus on one particular presentation that 

made a strong impression on me: Panel of the Future of Education

The panelists were the Chancellor of the University of Denver; the President of York College of Pennsylvania; a political philosopher who was formerly the President of both Wellesley and Duke; and the President of Southern New Hampshire University (the largest provided or online higher education in New England). It was a powerhouse of knowledge, and they shared with us their predictions for the future of the university experience, and the current challenges they face.

Here are some takeaways:

  • Higher Education is experiencing a classic industry disruption that so many other industries have experienced.
  • The Internet has "democratized" access to knowledge.
  • College as we know it now - a four-year boarding experience with live classes focused on the acquisition of academic content - will not look the same in ten years. 
  • Options that make a college degree more accessible and more affordable for vastly more people are already in the works. 
  • Colleges are moving away from ACT and SAT scores as a place to start determining who they should consider accepting. It is not yielding the kind of students they want. 
  • College admission officers are less impressed with extra-curriculars than they are with students who have held a job.

This all seems like pretty good news. No one is predicting that the four-year on-campus experience will disappear completely, but rather there will be vast options of on campus, online, and a blend of both available.

Some news that was not so good:

Residential colleges are greatly challenged with the current students they are seeing:

They do not prioritize their time
They don't understand how to live in community
They do not persevere when things get tough
They lack a general life maturity
They are unprepared for independence
They do not know how to write
They don't ask questions to help themselves
They are unprepared to make choices
They are not very able to figure things out
They don't seem to know themselves
And finally
They do not seem to understand that they have an individual, personal responsibility to build their college educational experience.

These four panelists indicated that they are less concerned about a student's ability to qualify for college acceptance and far more concerned with a student's ability to graduate.

Although it was discouraging to hear this consensus from these college leaders, it was deeply affirming that we are on the right track as Montessori educators who share a common understanding of the nature of the child.

Here are some things we know about a Montessori education:

In a Montessori Adolescent Program the Middle School students’ strong need to understand the adult world is addressed. Through managing micro-businesses as well as taking advantage of learning opportunities in the wider community, Montessori students will come to understand the basic foundation of how an economy functions, how to manage money, how to direct others and take direction, how to take initiative, collaborate and persevere, and how to get a job done.

Lessons in the Elementary Montessori Classes are always given in small groups giving each student ample opportunity to express interests, ask questions, and make meaningful contributions, thus developing a sense of educational responsibility. Children in these classes play a part in what they learn which leads to much greater engagement in school and academics.

Mixed age  PreK/K Montessori Classes create an ideal environment for children to engage in academic pursuits as well as learn the critical skills of collaboration, problem solving, and creative thinking. Because they are encouraged to work independently, they build a strong sense of themselves and their enormous capabilities.

Toddlers in a Montessori Toddler Community become responsible by participating in tasks that make a real contribution to the class community, including baking a fresh snack each day to share with friends. They become resourceful by learning how to play together, how to gather in a group, how to get a turn, how to give a turn. Teachers carefully balance modeling and offering help with allowing toddlers to make their own choices and experience the results.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thoughts From a Head of School

By Wendy Calise
Head of School
Countryside Montessori School

What Do Shopping for Schools and Shopping for Shoes Have in Common?

So, I am looking for new shoes.
Here is what I want:
  • Black
  • Two inches high
  • Wedge heels
  • With a strap
  • Leather
  • Open toe
  • Dressy
  • And I want them by Friday.

Answer: No Problem!

We expect what we purchase to be tailored to our particular specifications. There is almost nothing we can’t find, nothing we can’t ask, and nothing we can’t get delivered.

In this day and age, why can’t school deliver my order like every other business does?

Let’s consider some actual parent requests:

  • More homework / Less homework
  • Strict Enforcement of Policy / More Flexibility
  • An Exception for My Child / More Accountability for Another Family’s Student
  • More Attention to Testing / Greater Focus on Real Learning
  • More Technology/ More Hands On Learning
  • More Options for Parent Education/ Fewer Requirements for Attendance at Meetings
  • More Performances / Fewer Performances
  • Give a Student a Bigger Part in Performance…
  • Change the Songs in the Choral Program…
  • Classes Three Days a Week…
  • Print Instead of Cursive…
  • More Book Groups…
  • More Math…
  • Expel Another Family’s Student…
Every time a school agrees to move the goal post for you, you can bet they are moving the goal post for other families as well. And oftentimes the “yes” to another family will come at the expense of your child.

Every time your school faculty and staff deny a request, they are upholding a core value of the school. They are preserving the model of education that you have decided is the very best.

The schools with the greatest integrity and deepest commitment to their work hold fast to their rules, policies, and mission. Even when it is unpopular in the moment or with a particular family.

This is a critical but very nuanced message. CMS has a clear methodology, a strong mission, and a community of families who share a common vision regarding education. The students at CMS are guided by the professional staff that you met during your interview process, not by the beliefs or dictates of other parents.

The more clear a school is about its policies, the more it sticks to its principles, the higher its expectations for families, the greater the quality of the educational experience for the students.

So, what do shopping for schools and shopping for shoes have in common?
At a good school, not much.