Practical Life: Folding

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First thing every morning, an observer in the Montessori Primary classroom will most likely observe a young child diligently folding the clean laundry from the previous day’s washing. Here, Jessie Braud, Directress in the Primary Two Classroom, invites us into her beautiful classroom, where a child concentrates on her work from the beginning sequence through to the end.  Continue reading “Practical Life: Folding”

Loose Parts Play: A Montessori Playground


There’s a minimalist thing that has been going on in the open play spaces at Villa di Maria for years, and it’s not from lack of resources. The logs, buckets, wood chips, stumps, chalk, sticks, stones, and naturally moveable pieces that litter the school grounds are not junk; rather, they are the evidence of the children’s collective creativity. What architect Simon Nicholson proposed as “loose parts” in 1972, they are the materials that can be moved around, carried, redesigned, repurposed, and reimagined to become anything a child can imagine. Nicholson believed that the loose parts in our environment are what inspire and empower our creativity (read his original paper from 1972 here)Continue reading “Loose Parts Play: A Montessori Playground”

In the Kitchen with Children


With Thanksgiving fast approaching, many of us will be spending more time in the kitchen than usual. And what better excuse than that to include our children alongside us while we prepare the delicious food we will serve to our family and guests!

Today, Sophie Andre, a wonderful Lower Elementary Aide (who also teaches French to the Lower Elementary students here at Villa di Maria) who hails from one of the culinary epicenters of the world, France, has offered her tips and tricks (and even a simple recipe) for working in the kitchen with children. Sophie is full of ideas for little hands eager to help in the kitchen, especially because she has been including her young daughter Lynne, in all of the fun.  Continue reading “In the Kitchen with Children”

Who We Are: Thomas Jöstlein

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As part of a series we’re calling Who We Are, we’re working to build and connect our community by interviewing the talented, dynamic parents and staff who make up the people of Villa di Maria. Today, we meet Thomas Jöstlein, musician and father of two here at Villa di Maria. He and his musical family are an integral part of our community, often contributing the the musical culture of the school. On Symphony day, Thomas can be seen waving to the students of Villa di Maria (he’s the tall one in the back of the orchestra with a wide, friendly smile).  Continue reading “Who We Are: Thomas Jöstlein”

Upper Elementary Talks with Artist Mohau Modisakeng

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This year, the Upper Elementary class has had many art-related learning opportunities right at their fingertips. Recently, they had the honor of viewing South African artist Mohau Modisakeng’s exhibit before it was open to the public, and sat down (quite literally) to talk with him about his moving, personal photography and videography.  Continue reading “Upper Elementary Talks with Artist Mohau Modisakeng”