Montessori21stCentury’s Weblog

Montessori Lessons, Ideas and More…

Hello, World! Foreign Language and Culture Studies

“The world is so full of a number of things,

I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”

Robert Louis Stevenson

Montessori education encourages exploration and tries to open up a child’s horizons by encouraging a positive and curious spirit. The world around us contains wonders for students to explore at many levels, from the microscopic to the universal. 

Foreign languages and cultures can provide rich and varied experiences for young people through new words, new places, new traditions, new food, new music, new art, new fashion, and many other cultural components. So, whether your students will start by learning more about their own family heritage or will be introduced to a completely new culture, there is literally a whole world of potential adventures for students studying other languages and cultures.

* * * * *

For almost 40 years, François Thibaut has been teaching young children to speak new languages, using immersion, visual cues, and humor. His highly-acclaimed Professor Toto programs are designed for children from ages 2 to 8, and they are available in French, Spanish, Chinese, Italian and German. Visit the Professor Toto website to view excerpts from the instructional videos, read reviews of the program, and find out more about their 30-day risk-free guarantee.

You can also read the personal impressions of a teacher and grandmother when she tested out the Professor Toto system with her 27-month-old English speaking Chinese granddaughter.

Reading, Writing and Spelling in Spanish helps you build customized, creative Spanish lessons for students 3-11 years old, with grammar, vocabulary, number, time, geography and many more resources.

Foreign countries can provide an interesting basis for unit studies.  Most of us have worked with unit studies before; but if you are not familiar with them, you will find a good overview here:

This unit study guide for Italy provides many ideas and resources, and might also inspire you to design your own unit study for a country or region that you feel would engage your students.

For more great Italian unit studies ideas, be sure to peruse “Oh, How I Love Italy” from Marjorie Kiel Persons at Classical Magic, Inc.

* * * * *

For more on the benefits to children of learning a foreign language, read this interesting interview article from The Duke University Talent Identification Program.

Also, review this analysis from the NEA.

* * * * *

Find out more about how childhood varies in selected countries, with articles for students and by students.

To explore more about both multiculturalism in the United States and world cultures, check out this extensive resource:

Leave a comment »

Exploring Holidays and History


Spring brings many special holidays and historical events to enrich our homes and classrooms. Enjoy these resources to help your students understand and explore these interesting observances.

For a round-up of various links for January and February lesson plans and ideas, visit:   

Black History Month – February

Black History Month, observed in February since 1926, provides many interesting opportunities to explore history, culture and food.  The Creative Process can get you started with their “Celebrate Black History Month” page, linked here:

You will find more information, resources and recipes in the links below. , , , and

Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, February 12, 1809

There is no question that Abraham Lincoln is one of the most famous and most admired presidents of the United States.  Many states no longer observe his birthday as a separate holiday; but his life, accomplishments and assassination are at the heart of one of the most complex and pivotal eras of American history.  President Lincoln’s life and career make an excellent basis for unit studies. Explore these interesting websites for more information. , , and

George Washington’s birthday, February 22, 1732 (Presidents’ Day observed February 20, 2012)

Sara L. Ambarian helps us get to know the man who is called “the Father of our Country”, with information about George Washington in her article, “Celebrating the Personal Life of George Washington”. You’ll find additional educational links about our first president at the end of the article.

For more presidential lesson ideas, read “It’s Time to Think Outside the Box and Kindle, Too!” from, with its suggestions for studying Thomas Jefferson.  You can also enhance your studies of government and politics with a batch of the famous, traditional and tasty Senate Bean Soup, from Dale and Rita at North American Montessori Center.

St. Patrick’s Day, March 17

Visit these links for lesson and craft ideas for the “greenest” spring holiday!  and  

Easter, April 8

Georgette Baker from Cantemos offers some fun projects for Easter and other spring holidays.  Check out her festive hat and easy tie-dye instructions.  

For long-lasting Easter fun outdoors, Jan from Garden Artisans shares a cute Hippity Hoppity Bunny Topiary project here:  

Bake up an interesting Italian tradition with Mary Ann Esposito’s Neopolitan Stuffed Easter Bread.  If desirable, you could make it easier, more economical and/or more kid-friendly by replacing the fancy imported meat and cheese with meat or cheese of your choice.  It might also be more kid-friendly if you dice the meat and cheese a little smaller than Ms. Esposito does in the tutorial.  The recipe is full of interesting Easter symbolism, and what child wouldn’t be fascinated (as Ms. Esposito was herself) by the whole raw eggs baked into the bread!  

Find more Easter inspiration at the following sites. ,  and

Cinco de Mayo, May 5

Cinco de Mayo is not, as sometimes assumed, Mexican Independence Day (a separate holiday which is celebrated on September 16). It marks the Battle of Puebla in which Mexican troops defeated French troops. Find out more at:  

For introduction or reinforcement of Spanish language lessons, check out the offerings from Cantemos  and Professor Toto  

For Spanish-speaking students or those learning Spanish, check out our Unit Study Lesson Plan About Mexico in Spanish.

For more lesson ideas and some recipe ideas for Mexican food to make, check these interesting sites. , /, and /

Mother’s Day , May 13

Parents and educators are always looking for ideas and resources for the popular holiday, Mother’s Day.  Dale Gausman from NAMC lists some books and ideas in his article, “Mother’s Day in the Montessori Classroom”. He also provides some lesson plan ideas for older students.

These websites provide some additional ideas for crafts and decorations.  and

Memorial Day, May 28

Memorial Day is a solemn, but potentially important holiday with which to acquaint children at age appropriate levels. NAMC’s Dale Gausman discusses the history of and Montessori perspective for teaching about Memorial Day in his “Montessori Curriculum Ideas for Memorial Day”.

Find more information on the history of this day of remembrance, at:  and  


For more seasonal and holiday observances for educators, visit:  and

For more about holidays, in a convenient monthly chronology, see Rae from The Creative Process’s “Monthly Observances and Notable Dates”.

Leave a comment »