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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.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

The Case for Inclusion

One of the primary goals at our school is a commitment to the development of character. And a Montessori classroom provides a unique environment that is rich with opportunity for growth in this area.

Have you even wondered when this development of character, so important to us all, begins at school?

On your child’s very first day and every day thereafter.

Regardless of age, the teachers are always working to help your children make good choices and learn from their bad ones. They are facilitating conversations that stimulate critical thinking and develop problems solving skills.
But let’s face it, the problems most of our children face are modest. We are not living in tent cities. We are not worried about being the victim of gunfire on the way to school. We are not considering where our next meal will come from. We are not suffering and dying from malaria. Oftentimes the first true test of character for our children comes when they are sharing a space and working with difficult children, some with special needs.

Although CMS is not a school for special needs children, we do accept children with needs if we think that we can accommodate them. We often collaborate with specialists from outside our community to make it work. But most importantly we rely on your children to make it work. And they do. They learn how to navigate a myriad of situations that would confound many adults: How to comfort a child when you can’t understand what has upset her, how to respond if a child has pushed or hit another, how to bring a child back to help restore your work that he has obliviously trampled across. Your children have developed skills to handle these difficult situations. And it is these strengths that later in life will separate the men from the boys…unless they are the girls.

There is likely not a moment that would make your heart swell with pride sooner than watching your son or daughter
shepherd a child who is struggling through some hardship. It is during these times that we see our toughest kids soften and our meekest ones strengthen. It is when we have the rare chance to peek into their souls and see the qualities of their true nature: kindness, compassion, patience, tenacity, and generosity. The adage that special needs kids are really a gift to us is only a cliché to those who have not worked with them.

We know that the development of character is the reason that you have chosen to send your children to CMS. You were not misguided in that choice. Your children are working hard every day…on constructing themselves.

Download the full pdf file here:  The Case for Inclusion

Wendy Calise graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in psychology in 1988. A Montessori student herself, she is now the Educational Director at Countryside Montessori School in Northbrook, IL, where she has taught classes of children ages three to twelve for nineteen years. She holds Association Montessori Internationale diplomas at the Primary and Elementary Levels. In August 2009 she founded the Montessori Teachers Institute for Professional Studies which offers a variety of continuing education opportunities for Montessori teachers as well as support for teachers and schools in the form of mentorship and consultation.

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