Overall Suggestions for Sisaket Montessori Schools


After holding a conference for Montessori teachers to come and listen to my observations and suggestions, I thought it would be important to make a post of these thoughts in order for them to be reminders.

My main points include:

  • Making sure to have clean and tidy materials and shelves
  • Giving Montessori lessons as much as possible, no work books unless required
  • Telling stories (Montessori and others)
  • Giving children freedom to learn on their own
  • Teaching in small groups
  • All adults need to be on the same page about acceptable behavior, and respond when it is not acceptable
  • Encourage practice of the lessons given with suggestions about how to follow up, until the children are able to independently choose
  • Follow the child, observe the interests, and give lessons
  • Help each other as teachers, come together to ask questions, problem solve, and share resources
  • Observe each other teaching, and give input

Now for the material/organization suggestions:

  • Need to have Montessori Charts and timelines
  • Not all classrooms were grades 1-3, they need to be
  • Children should work together, not individually all the time
  • Should be writing at tables for posture
  • Need to have reading books in the room, non-fiction and fiction
  • Need loose paper for work: lined, grid, and blank
  • Should have a specific place for snack, it should be an event, not happening all the time
  • Make sure students are not playing with materials, but using them for their intended purpose
  • Children should help with cleaning the classroom, and setting it up
  • Have a place for each child to keep his/her work
  • Should have pictures of other people and places around the world
  • Should have some artwork displayed
  • Could have different types of plants in the room
  • Make sure children are encouraged to help each other, not just getting help from an adult
  • Sit in a circle for a group, not lines. You are one family.
  • Not all adults need to be teaching all of the time, should be observing and taking notes as well
  • Make sure to give a variety of lessons from all subjects, tell stories, ask questions, and have resources for the children to research from

Overall, I suggest reviewing albums in order to know the lessons and also the philosophy. I also note that there will need to be another Thailand AMI training, because many of the teachers are not yet trained.

I suggest an AMI global art and craft exchange, so that people from around the world can share their culture’s art in Montessori classrooms elsewhere.

Finally, do your very best. Keep going, you are all inspired and beautiful guides believing in this kind and intelligent way of educating children. Know that you are not alone, but that you have the support of Montessori teachers around the world. Ask for help.

I am grateful to have met all of you. Thank you for loving me and accepting me into your world. It has been a pleasure to work with you. I have loved sharing my experience and my knowledge with you as we collaborate in this education. We are now connected by this beautiful philosophy, know that I am thinking of you and wishing you well.

Chok-dee  โชคดี

Love,

Jamie เจมี่

Today was a gift

Yesterday I arrived on Koh Samet. It is an island in the Gulf of Thailand. Though, the islands of Thailand are popular destinations, this one is for more relaxing and peaceful types of people. Sure some come to party, but I came here to retreat and reflect. Thank goodness I found a bungalow on the beach with a few likeminded other guests.


I fell asleep to the sound of ocean waves and woke up to the sounds of birds and a little rain. I sat on my porch looking at the ocean and drinking some coffee while I listened to my thoughts.

I realized the following: all of my time in Thailand has felt like a dream and this is because I have been living in the present moment. I have been continuously moving, seeing, experiencing, and engaging. I haven’t stopped to reflect, to step out of the moment to see the moment. Oh how beautiful it is! 

I also realized that it was in Thailand seven years ago that I learned to be fully present. What a precious and beautiful gift this place has given me. This skill has helped me to learn so much: to observe, to communicate, to be patient and kind. 

I am so grateful. 

Anuban Benjalak 

Today is my last day helping in Thai Montessori schools. I taught some students the verb grammar box which was soooooo fun! They loved all of the movement and after the lesson they walked around repeating the phrases.

Open the book, shut the book
Close the door, lock the door

It is fun to practice English with them. Our language structures are different but with practice it will start to make sense.

I helped review lessons with the teachers in the afternoon. It is difficult because they have two trained teachers and the others are not trained so they are learning lessons from the AMI teachers. 


I hope there will be another training in Thailand soon.

Bai tiow

Bai tiow (go out for fun)

Over the past few days I have worked hard during the day, then adventured a little. My hosts love to show me around and I am so grateful! Otherwise, I may not have seen and experienced what I have so far.

Saturday we went to the candle festival in Ubon Ratchatani. It was raining, but we still had fun seeing all of the amazing carved wax floats. Such art and skill, it was beautiful!


Each Wat (temple) carved one and they are huge! They spend about 2 months making them! What a beautiful parade. It is a celebration after the Buddhist lent, and celebrates the full moon.

Next we went to the Thai silk weaving museum! Oh my it was beautiful. I was astonished at all of the work put into making the silk, and the patterns! Each part of Thailand has their own pattern! So beautiful.

Pattern made with bamboo

They also had a traditional Isaan dance performance. Isaan is the culture of North-east Thailand.


It was a full circle moment being there in a dress my friend Yana made from silk she bought in Thailand.


Then we went to “a buffet” but really it’s a place where you cook your food.


Monday we went to Laos! What a beautiful country! And I got to see the mighty Mekong river which I’ve always wanted to see. It is a very important river in SE Asia and has the most variety of large fish in the world! 


Next we climbed to Wat Phu near Pakse. What a beautiful Khmer temple from the 11th century. Previously there were temples from the 5th century but they didn’t survive. It was a ceremonial location with many steps, like a short pilgrimage on the way to heaven at the top of the mountain. 


It has a mixture of Hindu and Buddhist aspects because people from India helped build it. Today it is Buddhist.

I am so grateful to experience the beautiful of the world. To climb a mountain and see nothing but forest, water, and beautiful stone ruins was so peaceful.

Montessori lecture and workshop


Woah. The past two days have been full and now I am feeling so grateful to be a part of this global Montessori network. How beautiful to come support and also work together to make Montessori the best it can be.

Saturday I gave a lecture on Montessori theory for the elementary age. Then I went through all of my observations from the six schools I visited and also gave suggestions and reminders. 

Conference room

During my time in Thailand I have been a consultant sponsored by the Thai government to support their public Montessori schools. Truly an honor. 

Action

It is amazing to bring worlds together for a common love and purpose: children and Montessori education. 

The forty teachers were happy and grateful for my help, and I was grateful to meet all of them and work with them. I think they don’t feel so alone anymore. They realize they can ask for support and help. 

It was really fun as well.

Also, I realized I have knowledge and experience to share. 

The fire mountain (volcano)
We reviewed lessons on Sunday

We talked about how important freedom is for the development of the children and also to have a love of learning. This may be the biggest point I made after observing quite structured classrooms. 

Teachers came from three districts in Thailand to be at this conference. It was a joy to work with them and inspire this work. I came from a place of understanding the difficulties and offered suggestions to help these new programs. 

I showed them photos of my classroom, and a video of the school. Now they all want to visit my school. I think knowing how old our school is gave them hope that it is a system that can work.

I also reminded them of the story of Dr. Montessori in order to focus on the point that it all started with street children in Italy. Many of the schools complained about not having enough materials and funding. I wanted to help them realize this is the case in other countries as well, but also it is thriving in others so my hope is for us all to work together. To support each other in this mission. 

We can do it if we are in it together.

Feeling happy, inspired, and loved.

Ban Nong Wa day four

My heart is full.


Today I encouraged smaller groups and also to combine boys and girls instead of separating them. 

I gave an English lesson for the words triangle, rectangle, and square.

I also taught the verbs jump, run and walk with lots of action.

I am grateful for the love from these students, they are so sweet and kind. The teachers are also very open to suggestions and welcoming of my presence. Thank you.

I also listened to some students play music, it was beautiful and fun to see different instruments.

Thank you for your kindness.