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All Special Topics/Presentations offered by Donna Bryant Goertz for 28 different segments,

each of them one hour and a half long.  A videotaped presentation is available for those marked with an asterisk.

 

  1.  Lyin’, Cheatin’, and Stealin':  Why We Don’t Even Think About Our Own Children’s Behavior in Those Terms

  •  Nor do we ever use such words to describe other children’s behavior as they grow and learn and adapt to the codes and customs, the values and principles we hold dear in adult society.
  •  So how do we think, what do we say, and how do we guide our children’s attachment to the truth, their honoring of the rules, and their respect for the possessions of others?

 

  2.  Sharing and Taking Turns:  How, Why, and at What Age

  • The developmental task of a child under six is to be wholly absorbed in activities of individual self-construction.  Authentic sharing and taking turns is a point of arrival that comes from the core of the heart, mind, and spirit of the child of six years of age.
  •  How can we foster the deep security and self-esteem required in the child under six for authentic sharing and taking turns to emerge?
  •  How can we avoid demands that a child share and take turns that early that we elicit a hollow imitation?

 

  3.  Beyond Bullies and Victims:  Eliminating Those Destructive Roles

  •  Temperaments and personalities, and therefore behaviors and relationships, vary dramatically from child to child.
  •  How can we bully-proof and victim-proof our children?
  •  How can we enlighten our thinking and structure our responses to their behaviors and relationships so that we eliminate the roles of victim and bully?
  • How can we build a family and a community that refuses to cast children in roles or to define their behavior and relationships destructively?

  Handouts:

  1. Being Present
  2. Conflict Break It Up And Break It Down by Pilar Bewley
  3. Nurture Shock by Po Bronson
  4. Possible Responses To Your Children
  5. Social Emotional Development at School
  6. Solving Problems Through Vengeance, Violence, Punishment
  7. Star Wars and G.I. Joes
  8. Toys R Us

 

  4.  Out and About:  Where and for How Long

  •  How do we give mindful attention to the extent of a particular child’s ability to benefit from, tolerate, or endure outings?
  •  How do we select or eliminate outings and distinguish whether they are for the child’s development, the adults’ enjoyment, or of unavoidable necessity?
  •  How do our own adult self-discipline, impulse control, and delay of gratification serve as the model for that of the child?

 

  5.  Montessori Manners:  Grace and Courtesy of Home and School

  •  How do we support the child to say please, thank you, and sorry in a way appropriate to his age?
  •  How do we help the child come to a natural expression of heartfelt good manners?

  Handouts:

  1. Being Present
  2. Did You Say Sorry?
  3. Oiling the Gears and Wheels of Social Life
  4. Sharing by Maureen Hickey
  5. The Restaurant

 

  6.  Specific, Detailed Acknowledgement Instead of Praise

  •  How do our adult pride, empty praise, and constant comments keep us from a deeper relationship with our children?
  •  How can we express authentic admiration, helpful reflection, and honest feedback to our children?
  •  How can we give a descriptive response, specific acknowledgment, and detailed information?

  Handouts:

  1. Case Against Gold Stars by Alfie Kohn
  2. Five Reasons to Stop Saying Good Job by Alfie Kohn
  3. Instead of Praise – A List of Acknowledgements and Specific Descriptions
  4. You Did It! from MariaMontessori.com

 

  7.  Get a Life:  Crowding Out the Three Screens

  •  How can we fill a child’s life with experiences that generate self-sufficiency, contentment, resourcefulness, and a rich inner life?
  •  How do the three screens interfere with the child’s maximum satisfaction in life and contribute to discontent, cynicism, and depression?

  Handouts:

  1. 16 Reasons to Stay Screen-Free by Jim Trelease
  2. Saturday Sunday – A Montessori Child’s Weekend
  3. Whole Lot More Fun – Growing Up Without Screens

 

  8.  Inclusion and Peace:  Supporting Variety in Temperament and Learning Styles and Rates

  • How can we prevent others from seeing our child in terms of disabilities in behavior or learning and assigning her labels?
  • How can we see a child in terms of strengths and interpret a child’s particular attributes in terms of talents?
  • How can we translate a child’s characteristic behaviors and learning styles and rates into a way of thinking and speaking that are worthy of her truest self?

 

  9.  Writing to Reading:  What’s the Process at Austin Montessori School?

  • Why does writing precede reading and support its spontaneous emergence?
  • How can we help see that the drive to express bursts forth into writing?
  • How do we feed the senses, the intelligence, and the imagination to bring forth writing?

  Handouts:

  1. Becca’s Chinese Table
  2. Gabriel García Márquez
  3. Making Speech Visible by Dr. Jeannine Herron

 

 10.  Freedom and Responsibility:  Can’t Have One Without the Other (Children’s House)  *

  • How can we set limits and circumscribe boundaries to support authentic freedom?
  • How does freedom differ from license?
  • How can responsibility to others provide the limit of personal freedom?
  • How do control of impulses, delay of gratification, and self-discipline promote healthy freedom?

  Handouts:

  1. A Parent’s Role:  How it Differs from That of a Guide
  2. Activities of Independence and Belonging
  3. Developing Skill and Responsibility (Lunch Preparations)
  4. Guiding a Child’s Growing Responsibility
  5. Planning for Success
  6. Remembering Things
  7. Why We Choose Our Words

 also:

       Freedom and Responsibility:  Can’t Have One Without the Other (Elementary)

  •  How can we set limits and circumscribe boundaries to support authentic freedom?
  • How does freedom differ from license?
  • How can responsibility to others provide the limit of personal freedom?
  • How do control of impulses, delay of gratification, and self-discipline promote healthy freedom?

  Handouts:

  1. A Parent’s Role – How it Differs from that of Guide
  2. Activities of Independence and Belonging
  3. Authoritative Families’ Children by Gwen Dewar
  4. Developing Skill and Responsibility (Lunch Preparations)
  5. Development of Individual Self
  6. Earning Money, Spending Money by Susan Stephenson
  7. Managing Money & Time by Susan Stephenson
  8. Setting Effective Limits by Laura Markham
  9. Why We Choose Our Words

 

 11.  The Cycle of Activity:  One of the Child’s Basic Needs (Children’s House)

  • What is it?  It’s not a matter of life and death – is it?  Food and sleep, love and limits, and the Cycle of Activity?
  • Why do our children do that?  Why are they that way?  How can it seem like a matter of life and death to them?

  Handouts:

  1. Becca’s Chinese Table
  2. The Drive to Self-Develop
  3. YouTube Video “Observation of Baby”
  4. Becca’s Chinese Table

 

 12.  From Cycle of Activity to Big Work:  How Montessori Homework Forms the Foundation for Montessori Education (Elementary)

  • How does the Cycle of Activity at home grow into Big Work at home?
  • How does the combination of the Cycle of Activity and Big Work at home form the foundation for Montessori Elementary Education at school?
  • How do the concentration and focus spontaneously invested by the child in chosen activities satisfy a deep need and bring about healthier development?
  • How can the parents take charge of the family culture and lay out the vast array of appropriate choices that make up Montessori Homework?

  Handouts:

  1. Becca’s Chinese Table
  2. Big Work
  3. Early Elementary Playmaking
  4. Homework in the Early Elementary
  5. Whole Lot More Fun – Growing Up Without Screens

 

 13.  Maximum Effort and Independence:  Helping Children Grow a Strong, Flexible, and Resilient Sense of Self

  • Why do independence and maximum effort give the child authentic self-esteem?
  • How do we arrange for experiences of independence and maximum effort for the child?
  • How do we show respect for the child’s need to struggle?

  Handouts:

  1. Becca’s Chinese Table
  2. How We Succeed by Failing by Kathleen Parker
  3. Planning for Success
  4. Supporting Independence in Problem Solving

 

 14.  Full Participation in Family Life:  Meeting the Child’s Need for Power and Influence  *

  • How do we provide authentic experiences of community life to the child?
  • How do we arrange for a child to contribute to the welfare of the family in ways that are meaningful?
  • How can we include the child in big decisions in ways that are significant, genuine, and relevant, and yet still age-appropriate?

  Handouts:

  1. Developing Skill and Responsibility
  2. The Drive to Self-Develop
  3. How She Spends Her Screen-Free Days
  4. Marco’s New Truck
  5. Matches, Needles and Knives
  6. Owner’s Manual for a Montessori Primary Child
  7. The Restaurant

 

 15.  Power Play:  Children’s Need for Active and Dynamic Adventure (Children’s House)  *

  • How can we provide the excitement and tension needed by children in the First Plane while keeping them grounded in concrete reality?
  • How can we provide for the need for excitement and adventure of Second Plane children without immersing them in the Myth of Inevitable Violence and the Culture of War?
  • How can we free the fresh intelligence and powerful imagination of the child to envision a better way to work through intractable problems?
  • How can we prevent the quicksand of the past from swallowing our future?
  • How do the cynicism and fatalism of violence lead to hopelessness and depression?

  Handouts:

  1. Games and Toys of Violence
  2. Parent Observation Exercise
  3. Stop Teaching our Kids to Kill by Dave Grossman
  4. Why Gun Play Still OK by Heather Shumaker (with Donna Bryant Goertz’s comments)

 

 16.  Preserving Intrinsic Motivation:  Valuing Process over Product (Children’s House)  *

  • How can we live with our child in such a way that she can value her own journey and honor her own path?
  • How can we assist the child to reach for her own highest achievement without distracting her with extrinsic rewards?
  • How can we show our respect for our child’s own standard of individual excellence?
  • How can we free our child to satisfy her deepest longings so that she will find satisfaction in life?

  Handouts:

  1. Five Reasons to Stop Saying Good Job by Alfie Kohn
  2. Honoring the Emotional Child by abundantlifechildren.com
  3. How She Spends Her Screen-Free Days
  4. Human Tendencies
  5. It’s The Weekend!
  6. Planning for Success
  7. Sensitive Periods Chart
  8. Spiritual Territory by Mario Montessori
  9. Young Children and Television

 also:

      Preserving Intrinsic Motivation in the Elementary Child (Elementary)

  • How can we live with our child in such a way that she can value her own journey and honor her own path?
  • How can we assist the child to reach for her own highest achievement without distracting her with extrinsic rewards?
  • How can we show our respect for our child’s own standard of individual excellence?
  • How can we free our child to satisfy her deepest longings so that she will find satisfaction in life?

  Handouts:

  1. A Parent’s Role:  How it Differs from that of a Guide
  2. Activities of Independence and Belonging
  3. Authoritative Families’ Children by Gwen Dewar
  4. Developing Skill and Responsibility (Lunch Preparation)
  5. Earning Money – Spending Money by Susan Stephenson
  6. Homework in the Early Elementary
  7. Instead of Praise – A List of Ideas for Acknowledgements and Specific, Detailed Descriptions
  8. Matters of the Heart
  9. Setting Effective Limits

 

 17.  The Seasons of a Child’s Year – Celebrating Our Treasure:  The Mystery and Meaning of Who We Are

  • How can we develop our own ways of celebrating, ways that reflect who we are as a family, not who the mass media or the commercial interest tell us to be?
  • How can we help our family form an attachment to symbols and ceremonies that celebrate our own family values?

  Handouts:

  1. Autumn Traditions to Bond with Your Child by Dr. Laura Markham
  2. Family Celebrations by Patricia Oriti
  3. The Gift Every Child Really Wants by Pam Leo
  4. Keeping Celebrations Meaningful by Mary Ann Collins
  5. Understanding Happiness by Maren Schmidt

 

 18.  Children’s Books:  From Concrete to Abstract; External Life to Symbolic Life

  • What is the importance of concrete, real-life stories for the child in the First Plane of Development?
  • When is the foundation of external reality complete so that the burning questions of who, what, when, and where become the urgent questions of when, where, why and how?
  • How do the abstract and symbolic elements satisfy the hungry intelligence and abstract mind of the child in the Second Plane of Development?

 

 19.  Relationships in the Classroom:  You, Me and Us

  • How can we give our children the most and best support for the natural and independent development of relationships at school, be they with adults or other children?
  • What is the work of each age to learn the skills of good friendships?
  • How can we empower our children to be able to see and bring out the best in others while keeping themselves safe?

  Handouts:

  1. Our Community
  2. Our Community of Paradoxes

 

 20.  Montessori Culture Clash:  All Around Town  *

  • How can we be real with and for our children while modeling respect and tolerance for others?
  • How does our saying no, cheerfully and firmly, and meaning it prepare and strengthen our children for doing the same as adolescents?
  • How does our integrity in living out our own values and standing firm in our own family culture prepare our children for staying safe and healthy during adolescence?

  Handouts:

  1. Birthday Parties
  2. Creating Partnerships Among Parents
  3. Outings & Adventures
  4. The Restaurant
  5. United Airlines Movie

 

 21.  Helping the Child Replace Whining, Wailing, and Begging with Effective Communication  *

  • Why do our children whine, wail, and beg?
  • How do we unwittingly provoke and promote the very forms of expression we wish to prevent?
  • What’s our role in helping our children present their point of view, express strong emotion, and make fervent requests in a more pleasant civilized manner?

  Handouts:

  1. Being Present by Charlotte Kroger
  2. Books in Support of Helping the Child Replace Whining Wailing and Begging with Effective Communication
  3. Creating Sanctuary by Charlotte Kroger
  4. How to Stop Your Child’s Whining by Dr. Laura Markham
  5. Whining
  6. Why They Whine by Gary Ruskin

 

 22.  Falling in Love Again and Again:  From Birth through Maturity  

  • How can we protect our children from pop-culture values, images, and customs that exploit their natural emotions, distorting them and translating them into teen scene versions of the real thing?
  • How can we support the authentic and healthy aching of life as it transmutes over the ages and stages of development in its journey of being, belonging, and becoming?

 

 23.  The Full Cycle of Life:  The Kind and Gentle Way of Being with our Children about the Full Cycle of Life (Elementary)  *

  •  How do we give our children an age-appropriate foundation for their expanding true map of reality that reflects the mystery of the full cycle of life?
  • How do we start now with naturally occurring experiences in everyday life, before we find ourselves in a state of grief, to support our children’s everyday relationship to the full nature of life through plants and animals?
  • How do we help our children grow healthy roots in reality so they can be resilient when their time comes, sooner or later, for experiencing the passing of a beloved family pet or of a friend or a relative?

  Handouts:

  1. All But the One on Death
  2. The Full Cycle of Life:  A Death in the Community
  3. The Full Cycle of Life:  Death and Decomposition
  4. Going Out Off Campus:  Early Elementary
  5. Parent Lending Library Books on Death and Dying
  6. Talking to Children about Death

 

 24.  New Life:  How New Life Comes Upon the Earth

  • How does new life come upon the earth among the plants, the animals, and humans?
  • How much information, when, and in what detail do our children need?
  • Why do we give the basics first and the variations next, as determined by the particular family?

  Handouts:

  1. New Life Book Letter

 

 25.  The Spiritual Needs of the Child

  • How do we answer our children’s questions about the Realities and Truths beyond concrete experience?
  • How do we support our children’s intuitive experiences of Mystery and the Mystical?

 

 26.  Elementary Children:  Guiding them to Safety, Protecting them from Harm

  • To make this exploration beneficial and safe, to preserve the child’s sense of security and his feeling of trust in life, it is essential that we spend time in solitude and with our partner to contemplate our feelings about all these subjects.
  • What is our philosophy of life, what is our view of human nature, how do we look back through history and make sense of the wonder and the horror of it?
  • The hideous problems we face today – wars, atrocities, massacres—are best approached with hope by referring back to the past.
  • We concentrate on problems solved in order to shore up our hope and secure our foundation of trust in life.
  • We look back and see how we have overcome the imperialism of the past, the slavery, the segregation, the repression.

 

 27.  Reflection – Recollecting Year, Anticipating Summer

  • How do we distinguish between authentic needs and wants?
  • What role does extreme effort play in our children’s development?
  • How do we help our children find satisfaction in daily life?
  • What role does gratitude play and how do we model that for them in our own lives?
  • How can we live out loud so that we are speaking of ourselves instead of preaching at our children?

  Handouts:

  1. Assignations for Summer Days and Nights
  2. Behold
  3. Ideas for Keeping Learning Going All Summer
  4. Parent Notes Page
  5. Summer Outings
  6. Through the Eyes of Delight

 

 28.  Montessori Foundational Philosophy:  Preserving the Authentic Characteristics of Childhood: The Basis for Montessori Self-Development and Self-Education

  • I.a.   The Absorbent Mind: How is the Child’s mind like a camera?  How is it like a sponge?

The child under six possesses an absorbent mind of astonishing characteristics and power. It is capable of absorbing language and culture whole. How does recognition of the child’s Absorbent Mind determine what is provided in the Montessori classroom? What does it inspire the Guide to cultivate within him/herself? What can we do at home? What can we cultivate within ourselves? 

  • I.b.   And the Sensitive Periods: How are they like beneficial obsessions? How are they like productive fixations?

From birth to six years, the child progresses through seven successive and overlapping periods of intense and exclusive focus on particular aspects of the environment. These periods and the spontaneous activity they stimulate result in the acquisition of specific skills or characteristics.  How can we support the child to gain the most benefit from the sensitive periods? How can we help the child avoid the stressed-out behaviors and emotional displays that come from frustrating the intense drive of a sensitive period? 

Following Our Child’s Development from Age to Age and Stage to Stage

  • II.a. The Human Tendencies:  Why do our children persist in doing what they do?  What hidden purpose drives them?

What tendencies drive every human being from birth to death? What compels us to do whatever it takes to survive, then to thrive, and finally to invent, create, and celebrate just for the joy of it? How do these tendencies manifest themselves in the zero to six year old? How can we collaborate with our child to harness these tendencies for self-development and self-education?

  • II.b. And the Four Planes of Development:  What are the healthy characteristics of the child from zero to three and from three to six?  From six to nine and from nine to twelve?  What causes these healthy characteristics to falter or take a false turn?

When the child’s authentic needs are met during a plane of development, we see the true child. How can we provide for healthy development and avoid some of the upsets and habits that come from frustrating essential activity. How can we work on environment and relationship instead of constantly addressing problems? What are the obstacles to strong development and how do we remove them? What elements of support for healthy development can we put in place?

Donna Bryant Goertz  © 2014

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Donna Bryant Goertz founded Austin Montessori School in Austin, Texas, in 1967.  She directed the school and taught there for thirty-four years.  While continuing a co-directorship of the school with Donald C. Goertz, Ph.D., Donna now leads parent education, staff development, and new programs initiation.   Educators, professors, and students from all over the world have studied Austin Montessori School’s continuum of service to families of children from 18 months through 16 years to learn more about the philosophy of Montessori education and the particular school culture.  Donna received her Montessori Elementary diploma from the Fondazione Centro Internazionale Studi Montessoriani in Bergamo, Italy, and her Assistants to Infancy diploma from The Montessori Institute of Denver, Colorado.  She is a founding member of Educateurs sans Frontiers, a select group of Montessorians from more than a dozen countries dedicated to applying Montessori principles beyond the school walls.  She has been published in several well known educational journals and has spoken at conferences throughout both North America and the world.  Donna and her husband, Don, are the parents of seven children and grandparents of sixteen, all of whom have spent countless years in Montessori schools.   

Donna Bryant Goertz  © 2005