Trillium Montessori Talks

Trillium Montessori Team

Welcome to Trillium Montessori Talks, the podcast where we dig into the theory and application of Montessori methodology in the classroom and beyond. Join us for candid conversation about the challenges us Montessori teachers face and how we can enhance the classroom experience for our students and ourselves. Ready to optimize your Montessori practice? Head to https://www.trilliummontessori.org/podcast to learn more.

024: Scientific Learning in the Elementary Classroom with Zoe Rising
Sep 27 2022
024: Scientific Learning in the Elementary Classroom with Zoe Rising
The hands-on quality of the Montessori method is what sets it apart, and that’s never more apparent than during science lessons. From demonstrating complex concepts in the classroom to encouraging students to conduct their own experiments at home, Montessori educators have the ability to inspire curiosity and imagination in their students every day.In this episode, we sit down with cofounder of Montessori Laboratory and former Montessori student Zoe Rising to talk about scientific learning. She shares some of her favorite science experiments and demonstrations for helping students understand abstract ideas. We also talk about the limits of Maria Montessori’s framework and how we can apply it to our new scientific concepts.What’s in this episode:Zoe’s fondest memories of learning science in a Montessori classroomHer favorite Montessori science lessons to teach her studentsHow we can use demonstrations to introduce students to abstract conceptsWhy science experiments are so engaging for elementary-aged childrenChallenges you might encounter when planning science lessons and experimentsWhat makes the Montessori approach to scientific learning different What we wish Maria Montessori would have been able to develop framework forFor full show notes, resources, links and to download the transcript, visit Mentioned in This Episode:Six Easy Pieces by Richard FeynmanExplore Montessori LaboratoryConnect With UsVisit our websiteFollow us on InstagramConnect with us on Facebook
023: Working With What You Have: Tips on Guiding an Under-Resourced Classroom
Sep 13 2022
023: Working With What You Have: Tips on Guiding an Under-Resourced Classroom
Unfortunately, many schools and classrooms are experiencing a lack of resources: Montessori materials, trained guides, and even basic school supplies. In times like these, it’s important to get creative! While the Montessori method does rely heavily on hands-on education, there are plenty of ways to inspire curiosity and learning without access to a wealth of resources.In this episode, we share a few ways you can address the eight principles of Montessori education without access to Montessori materials or trained guides. We share the importance of helping your students engage in meaningful work and how to incorporate it in the classroom and at home. We also explain how to organize your limited classroom supplies to make them accessible for your students.What’s in this episode:Why so many schools and classrooms lack resources right nowHow the Montessori method allows for guides and parents who want to create their own materials and lessonsHow to address the eight principles of Montessori education with limited materials or untrained guidesWhy it’s sometimes better to limit materials at the start of a new lessonHow to use your students’ natural curiosity to guide your lessonsWhy we don’t believe in rewarding students for their classroom performanceHow to provide opportunities for students to do meaningful workHow to organize your limited supplies to maximize their potentialFor full show notes, resources, links and to download the transcript, visit Mentioned in This Episode:Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius by Angeline Stoll LillardConnect With UsVisit our websiteFollow us on InstagramConnect with us on Facebook
019: Time to Reflect: Questions to Ask Yourself to Improve Your Craft
Jun 7 2022
019: Time to Reflect: Questions to Ask Yourself to Improve Your Craft
There are two major paths towards self improvement: external feedback and self-reflection. While external feedback happens naturally in most classrooms, self-reflection is a skill you have to make time for and practice. When you do, you’ll improve your craft, connect more deeply with your students, and feel more confident in your abilities.In this episode, we’re talking about the power of self-reflection for the Montessori teacher. We’re explaining how to practice daily reflection and turn it into intentional action. We’re sharing some questions you can ask yourself, and we’re explaining how to model the practice of self-reflection for your students.What’s in this episode:Why it’s important to practice self-reflection as a Montessori teacherWhy self-reflection isn’t just about thinking, but also doingWhich questions to ask yourself when reflecting on your lessons and strategyHow your mood can affect your interactions with studentsHow to identify and remove obstacles preventing you from improving your craftInternal versus external obstacles in your life and workWhy it’s vital that you try to inspire curiosity in every student, every dayHow to make time for daily reflection and model it for your studentsFor full show notes, resources, links and to download the transcript, visit trilliummontessori.org/podcastResources Mentioned in This Episode:N/AConnect With UsVisit our websiteFollow us on InstagramConnect with us on Facebook
018: Is It Ever Okay to Praise a Child?
May 31 2022
018: Is It Ever Okay to Praise a Child?
Most of us in the Montessori world have been cautioned not to praise children. Too much praise can lead to patterns of codependency and inadvertently teach children that their self-worth should be based on the perceptions of others. But is there really no place for praise and compliments in the Montessori classroom? And if there is, how do you do it right?In this episode, we’re talking about praise, compliments, and connection with your students. We’re explaining the difference between evaluative and descriptive praise, and we’re sharing different ways you can practice giving praise in the classroom. We’re also explaining how to refocus a conversation and connect with a student who you can tell is seeking attention.What’s in this episode:Why we choose not to praise or reward children for “good” behavior in the Montessori classroomWhy it’s important to foster a pleasure in doing the work, not just in receiving rewardsHow to replace praise-heavy statements with new phrases and ways of encouragementThe different types of praise, and how students react to each typeHow to practice observations and noticing, and how to use those comments to inspire conversationPraise versus compliments, and when it’s appropriate to compliment studentsWhy your conversations with students should always foster connection without codependencyHow to refocus your conversations with students when they are seeking praiseFor full show notes, resources, links and to download the transcript, visit trilliummontessori.org/podcastResources Mentioned in This Episode:N/AConnect With UsVisit our websiteFollow us on InstagramConnect with us on Facebook
017: How to Respond to Questions From Elementary Children
May 17 2022
017: How to Respond to Questions From Elementary Children
Have you ever been stumped by a student’s question? As children grow and learn, their questions get more complex and difficult to answer. How you respond–or don’t respond–to these hard questions is telling of your confidence as a teacher, and it’s an opportunity for you to model humility and curiosity for your students.In this episode, we’re sharing some techniques for responding to students’ questions when you aren’t confident in your answer. We’re explaining how question asking plays into childrens’ development and helps them build confidence. Plus, we’re sharing some ways you shouldn’t respond to a student’s repetitive questions.What’s in this episode:How asking questions fits into a child’s phases of developmentWhy we get uncomfortable when we can’t answer a child’s questionHow to respond to student’s questions when you aren’t sure of the answerHow your tone when responding to questions can affect the child’s confidenceWhy it’s important to help children realize that they can ask questions of their peers, not just their instructorsHow delegating questions can help you avoid burnout and frustrationWhy it’s sometimes helpful to not provide the answer but instead to encourage self-educationHow some students use repeated questions as a way to connectHow to provide a brief, succinct answer that will encourage students to seek more information themselvesWhich responses you should eliminate from your teaching repertoire For full show notes, resources, links and to download the transcript, visit Mentioned in This Episode:N/AConnect With UsVisit our websiteFollow us on InstagramConnect with us on Facebook
016: Confessions of a Black Thumb Botanist
May 10 2022
016: Confessions of a Black Thumb Botanist
During your early years as a Montessori teacher, you might feel like you’re in the dark. Sometimes, you might be asked to teach on subjects you yourself aren’t entirely confident in. Other times, you might feel overwhelmed by the day-to-day work of running a classroom. But like a seed planted beneath the soil, the only way out is up. As you grow, you’ll push through those barriers and stretch closer and closer to the light.In this episode, Letty is sharing an experience from her very first year of teaching that taught her a lot about perseverance and patience. We’re chatting about the experiential learning you can provide your students and why it’s often more impactful than theory-based learning. Plus, we’re sharing a few life lessons we can learn from plants.What’s in this episode:How Letty began her Montessori teaching career in a brand new schoolTeaching a subject you don’t feel entirely confident inHow Letty might have handled her first teaching experience differentlyLearning alongside your students and appreciating the learning processHow to plant seeds–literally and figuratively–in your classroomWhy the experiential parts of the learning process are even more important than the theoryLife lessons we learn from plants that you can share with your studentsFacing and embracing obstacles as a new teacherFor full show notes, resources, links and to download the transcript, visit Mentioned in This Episode:N/AConnect With UsVisit our websiteFollow us on InstagramConnect with us on Facebook
015: The Tired Teacher & The Emotional Effects of COVID
Apr 26 2022
015: The Tired Teacher & The Emotional Effects of COVID
If you’ve been teaching throughout the pandemic, you’ve probably heard of or witnessed fellow educators leave the field. The increased expectations of teachers in our society paired with the physical and emotional impacts of COVID have made for thousands of tired, overworked teachers. But through personal action and systematic changes, we believe we can improve our work environments and weather the symptoms of “long haul emotional COVID.” In this episode, we’re talking about the factors that have led to an increase in tired teachers–from COVID to world news to societal expectations. We’re breaking down the common symptoms of “long haul emotional COVID” and why they affect teachers so strongly. Plus, we’re explaining how you can take care of yourself and your students while also working to enact change in your school.What’s in this episode:The different factors that contribute to teachers feeling tired and overworkedHow long haul emotional COVID affects teachers and students alikeUnderstanding the misalignment among the needs of teachers, students, and administratorsWhy so many teachers have left the profession during the COVID pandemicWhy self care is only part of the solution for tired, overworked educatorsHow to navigate the emotional long-term effects of the COVID pandemicFor full show notes, resources, links and to download the transcript, visit Mentioned in This Episode:Distance Learning in Times of DisasterConnect With UsVisit our websiteFollow us on InstagramConnect with us on Facebook
014: The Montessori Assistant Toolkit
Apr 19 2022
014: The Montessori Assistant Toolkit
When we talk about the Montessori classroom, we often talk about two groups: teachers and students. But there’s another key player in the classroom, someone whose role is vital to the success of teachers and students alike: the assistant! Even in the fast-paced classroom environment, it’s important that assistants be given the resources and opportunities to educate themselves on how best to interact with and nurture their students.In this episode, we’re talking about our brand new resource for elementary assistants, The Montessori Assistant Toolkit. We’re explaining how this educational resource sets the entire classroom up for success and makes teachers’ lives easier. Plus, we’re sharing how you can access the toolkit–either for yourself or your assistants.What’s in this episode:Why it’s sometimes difficult for assistants to get the training they needWhy assistants need training in both the practical and socio-emotional aspects of managing a classroomHow educational resources for teachers and assistants set the entire classroom up for successWhat’s included in this toolkit and what assistants will learnHow assistant education lays a foundation for long, healthy teacher-assistant relationshipsWho this toolkit is for and how to gain access to itFor full show notes, resources, links and to download the transcript, visit trilliummontessori.org/podcastExplore The Montessori Assistant Toolkit, Elementary Edition here: courses.trilliummontessori.org/p/montessori-assistant-toolkit-eeConnect With UsVisit our websiteFollow us on InstagramConnect with us on Facebook
013: Building Relationships with the Elementary Child
Apr 12 2022
013: Building Relationships with the Elementary Child
When it comes to building relationships with your students, what comes to mind? Do you feel lost or overwhelmed by the concept when not given any actionable steps to enact it within your classroom setting? You are not alone. Buzz words are all the rage in education, but you won’t get very far without tools to help you understand how to build relationships with different types of students in the varying settings that occur throughout the school day.In today’s episode, we’re discussing the various ways that you can intentionally and mindfully engage with your students to build relationships. From your morning greeting, through the work cycle and recess, to gathering opportunities and the afternoon goodbye, there are countless tips and tricks that you can implement. Building relationships takes time, and you won’t know what works for you and your students until you give it a try. So, tune in, take notes, and turn your classroom environment into one that is full of trust, growth, and learning, with minimal strife.What’s in this episode:Why concrete steps are important to the implementation of educational concepts (for both the teacher and the studentHow perceived laziness or lack of motivation is usually just a lack of understandingThe importance of breaking down big picture activities into smaller stepsObserving who your students are and what they like, and incorporating informal conversations into daily interactionHow to intentionally engage with students during the day’s work cycle (and avoid negative attention loops)Opportunities to listen and engage in conversation and play, without dominating or leadingThe importance of shared experiences (e.g. read aloud time, singing songs)Why you should start and end the day with moments of strong connectionFor full show notes, resources, links and to download the transcript, visit trilliummontessori.org/podcastConnect With UsVisit our websiteFollow us on InstagramConnect with us on Facebook
012: Human Tendencies as Witnessed in the Elementary Child
Mar 29 2022
012: Human Tendencies as Witnessed in the Elementary Child
Humans are the only creatures that we know of that have the ability to not only adapt to but also shape our environment. Human tendencies helped our hunter-gatherer ancestors to survive the wilderness, and today, they help us survive and adapt to different environments and social groups as well as society as a whole.In today’s episode, we’re discussing how human tendencies present themselves in the elementary child. The list is comprehensive and largely unchanging, and we’ll go through each tendency with examples of how they can be carried out in the Montessori classroom. These inclinations influence the behavior of the elementary child and construct the framework for the adults they will eventually become.What’s in this episode:Why elementary children need to feel oriented to their environmentThe importance of exploring their immediate environment and the larger world around themHow daily observation plays a role in the Montessori environmentHow to bridge from concrete to abstract learningPhysical activity is how children learn bestHow imagination can create realityThe motivation that comes with practicing for exactnessWhy variety is important to repetitionHow various forms of communication provide important social interactionFocus on mental and moral perfection in the elementary childFor full show notes, resources, links and to download the transcript, visit trilliummontessori.org/podcastConnect With UsVisit our websiteFollow us on InstagramConnect with us on Facebook
011: Balancing Freedom & Responsibility in the Elementary Classroom
Mar 22 2022
011: Balancing Freedom & Responsibility in the Elementary Classroom
As a Montessori teacher, one of your most important roles is maintaining the balance between freedom and responsibility in your classroom. You want to give your students opportunities to think for themselves and make their own decisions, but you also want to maintain a level of safety and harmony within the classroom. So how do you find that sweet spot?In this episode, we’re talking about finding balance between freedom and responsibility in your elementary Montessori classroom. We’re explaining the different types of freedom your students should have and why freedom should never be used as a reward or taken away as a punishment. We’re also talking about how children develop their inner sense of responsibility.What’s in this episode:Why it’s sometimes difficult to find a balance between freedom and responsibility in your classroomWhat to do if you find yourself swinging too far towards one end of the spectrumWhat Maria Montessori says about freedom and how to implement it in the classroomWhy freedom shouldn’t be used as a reward or a punishmentHow to “follow the child” and respect their stages of developmentHow to identify your students’ needs and create opportunities for them to meet those needsHow to respect each individual student’s abilities and level of understandingWhat kinds of freedoms your students should have in the Montessori environmentWhy Montessori children have the freedom to move without asking for permissionHow to inspire children to develop their internal sense of responsibilityHow finding the balance between freedom and responsibility sets your students up for success in societyFor full show notes, resources, links and to download the transcript, visit trilliummontessori.org/podcastConnect With UsVisit our websiteFollow us on InstagramConnect with us on Facebook
010: How to Ensure Students Repeat Math Concepts to Proficiency
Mar 15 2022
010: How to Ensure Students Repeat Math Concepts to Proficiency
Repetition is key to students’ understanding of certain concepts, and no subject requires more repetition than math. For most students, however, repetition in math doesn’t come naturally. Instead, we as teachers must find a balance between letting them take charge of their own learning and gently encouraging practice and repetition.In this episode, we’re talking about the different ways you can ensure your students practice math skills to proficiency. We’re explaining why some students don’t naturally gravitate towards materials when practicing math concepts, and we’re sharing some tips and tricks for encouraging them to do so.What’s in this episode:How to find balance between freedom and structure in math lessonsHow our own feelings about math can rub off on our students, for better or for worseHow to structure a math lesson to inspire repetition and understandingWhy you should encourage and teach students to use the materials, not assume they’ll know how to use themHow to provide scaffolded support for students who need itHow to create variety for your students in terms of math exercises and materialsHow to explain math’s relevance to our daily lives and interestsHow practice partners can encourage students to practice and repeat math conceptsWhy it’s important to include your students in the planning process of your math lessons and practice scheduleFor full show notes, resources, links and to download the transcript, visit trilliummontessori.org/podcastConnect With UsVisit our websiteFollow us on InstagramConnect with us on Facebook
009: How to Inspire an Interest in Writing
Mar 8 2022
009: How to Inspire an Interest in Writing
Of all the skills we practice in the Montessori classroom, writing seems to be the most divisive. Some students love it, and others avoid it–either because they don’t enjoy it, they aren’t comfortable with the vulnerability it requires, or they don’t understand how to put their thoughts into words. But as their teacher, you have the opportunity to foster in your students a love for and understanding of writing.In this episode, we’re talking about the different ways you can spark a further interest in writing for your students. We’re explaining some of the common reasons students are reluctant to write and how to overcome them. We’re also sharing different ways you can model a love for writing and provide plenty of writing opportunities in the classroom.What’s in this episode:How to create more opportunities for writing throughout the dayHow to foster an environment where student feel they can write about their true feelingsHow teachers can model vulnerability by reading within the classroomWhy it’s important to connect writing to the students’ interestsWhy students prefer real-world opportunities to write, not writing for the sake of writingDifferent types of writing activities you can provide for your studentsHow to expose your students to different types of writingHow to practice editing and revising without making it repetitiveThe importance of modeling a love for writing for your studentsFor full show notes, resources, links and to download the transcript, visit trilliummontessori.org/podcastConnect With UsVisit our websiteFollow us on InstagramConnect with us on Facebook
008: Early Childhood vs. Elementary Montessori Classrooms: How and Why They Differ
Mar 1 2022
008: Early Childhood vs. Elementary Montessori Classrooms: How and Why They Differ
When most people think of the Montessori classroom, they envision three- to six-year-olds. And while early childhood education is an important part of the Montessori method, it doesn’t stop there. The elementary classroom environment is very different from that of early childhood, and for very good reasons.In this episode, we’re talking about how the early childhood and elementary Montessori classrooms differ. We’re breaking down the differences in environment, structure, and community and explaining how these differences directly correlate with the stages of development. Plus, we’re sharing how you can foster independence and curiosity with both age groups.What’s in this episode:How the Montessori elementary environment differs from the early childhood environmentWhy these differences are vital to students’ development and learningWhy collaborative work is so important for elementary childrenHow elementary children can practice gathering their own materialsWhy teach young children about the world and elementary students about the entire universeWhy elementary students seek variety and big work in repetition of conceptsHow to foster independence for students in different age groupsFor full show notes, resources, links and to download the transcript, visit trilliummontessori.org/podcastResources Mentioned in This EpisodeExplore the Montessori Principles to Practice Webinar LibrariesConnect With UsVisit our websiteFollow us on InstagramConnect with us on Facebook
007: Going Beyond the Montessori Elementary Albums
Feb 22 2022
007: Going Beyond the Montessori Elementary Albums
When you first graduated from your Montessori teacher training program, you probably did so with a spring in your step and an armful of albums. While these albums are incredibly useful when planning your lessons, you’ll find that there are times when you must go beyond the albums. So when should you do that, and how can you stay true to Montessori methods while you do?In this episode, we’re talking about what it means to go beyond the albums. We’re sharing different ways you can supplement the albums with materials, external resources, and even your own research. Plus, we’re explaining how equity, equality, and diversity come into play when you update your albums.What’s in this episode:When the albums are useful and when they might limit your lessonsWhy some children don’t need every single lesson in your albumWhich other resources you can use to support your studentsWhen to consider creating your own lessons about topics outside the albumsHow to supplement existing lessons with outside resources and your own lessonsHow to get creative with your materials and manipulatives beyond their original purposeWhy you should always be updating your albums, specifically your science lessonsHow to consider equity, equality, and diversity when updating your albumsFor full show notes, resources, links and to download the transcript, visit trilliummontessori.org/podcastResources Mentioned in This EpisodeExplore the Montessori Principles to Practice Webinar LibrariesConnect With UsVisit our websiteFollow us on InstagramConnect with us on Facebook
006: How to Use History Question Charts
Feb 15 2022
006: How to Use History Question Charts
In the Montessori classroom, we’re equipped with tons of engaging materials to foster curiosity in our students. Some of the most useful (and underappreciated) materials at our disposal are the History Question Charts. But how do you introduce them to your students, and how can you encourage students to explore them on their own? In this episode, we’re sharing our tips for introducing and using the History Question Charts in your Montessori classroom. We’re discussing different ways you can use the charts during lessons and how to engage elementary students with stories. Plus, we’re sharing a few ways you can inspire curiosity and encourage your students to explore areas of history that personally interest them.What’s in this episode:Why elementary students are so inclined to learn about historyHow we use stories to present history in the Montessori classroom environmentWhat hands-on materials you can use during history lessonsHow to inspire curiosity in your students during conversations about historyWhat History Question Charts are and what they’re used forHow to use answer cards with your History Question ChartsHow to model the use of the charts for your studentsFor full show notes, resources, links and to download the transcript, visit trilliummontessori.org/podcastResources Mentioned in This EpisodeExplore the Montessori Principles to Practice Webinar LibrariesConnect With UsVisit our websiteFollow us on InstagramConnect with us on Facebook