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- AMI approved
- Unequalled beauty
- Precise control of error
- Exact isolation of one quality
- Perfect interrelations
The phrase “concrete to abstract” is heard frequently in the Montessori community. In fact, I've read many Montessori progress reports that state that a child is not yet working abstractly or is still using concrete materials. But what exactly does that mean? The phrase can be rather ambiguous, especially to a new Montessori teacher or parent who may have little working knowledge of Montessori terms and practices.
The objective of Montessori is to develop the concept first. By using concrete materials during the early, sensitive years, the Montessori child can learn the basic concepts of mathematics and language. Montessori students use concrete hands-on learning materials that make abstract concepts clearer. Lessons and activities are introduced simply and concretely in the early years and are reintroduced several times during the following years at increasing degrees of abstraction and complexity.
All of the materials in the Montessori classroom have been specifically designed to attract the interest of the student, while at the same time teaching an important concept. The purpose of each material is to isolate a certain concept the child is bound to discover. Montessori believed that “what the hand does, the mind remembers”. Concrete materials make concepts real, and therefore easily internalized. The student works abstractly (paper and pencil) when he or she has internalized the pattern and no longer needs the Montessori material.
Maria Montessori believed that all humans are born with a “mathematical mind”. From the beginning, the students are introduced to mathematical concepts in concrete form. The use of concrete materials to learn abstract concepts and operations is fundamental to the development of the mathematical mind in the Montessori classroom as the materials represent abstract ideas. The materials can be felt and manipulated so that the hand is always involved in the learning process. This approach to math is logical, clear and extremely effective. It allows the students to internalize math skills by using concrete materials and progressing at their own pace toward abstract concepts. Students understand and develop a solid foundation in mathematics. Later, as they master the concrete they begin to move to the abstract, where the child begins to solve problems with paper and pencil while still working with the materials.
Geometry too, relies on the concreteness of the materials. Traditionally, geometry is taught as an abstract series of rules, theorems, and propositions meant to be memorized by the student. Maria Montessori saw geometry as firmly rooted in reality. Her geometry curriculum uses concrete, sensorial experimentation that leads students to concepts through concrete research. The focus of the geometry work is not as dependent on the result as it is by the work the student has done to achieve the result.
Concrete materials are not just used for math and geometry. The practical life activities in the Montessori preschool not only provide self-confidence and independence, but helps with concentration and memory which leads to more abstract learning in math and reading. Elementary students use concrete grammar symbols to demonstrate the parts of speech. Once they have mastered these, they move on to more abstract grammar work with the grammar boxes and sentence analysis. Timelines are another concrete material in the Montessori classroom. They are a concrete, linear representation of history.
The materials found in the Montessori classroom play an important part in the development of the child. They provide a way for children to construct their own reality and awareness by presenting it first concretely and allowing the children to manipulate and discover the next level of abstraction.
Jip’s dream was to become a successful professional soccer player. He played for the Dutch national youth teams and signed a contract at AFC Ajax aged 16, but unfortunately three cruciate ligament injuries at the age of 17, 18 and 19 prevented him from living that dream. During his stay at the AFC Ajax youth academy he came in touch with Ruben and Patrick. Jip kept playing semi-professionally but decided to focus on his study and even won the prize of ‘Student Talent of the Year’ during his Bachelor (Honours) in Organisational Sciences. He thanked this to his extracurricular activities and his positive, energetic, and disciplined attitude. After finishing his Master Business Administration, he moved to Melbourne to start Montessori Sports programs in Australia. In 2021 he came back to Amsterdam to continue his mission with Montessori Sports. He holds a 6 to 12 AMI Assistant Certificate. Jip believes that sports and Montessori is the best combination for young children to develop their full potential.
Madlena Ulrich spent her childhood in Germany and attended a Montessori Elementary school there. She moved to Norway as an adolescent and later obtained a Bachelor’s degree as a preschool teacher and is about to finish a Master’s degree in pedagogy at the university College of Vestfold, Norway. She took her original AMI 3-6 training at Mount St. Mary’s Montessori College in Dublin, Ireland. Since 1995 she has worked in the classroom and has been involved in the development of Montessori in Norway by giving lectures and serving as Vice President on the board for the national association NMF. In 2008 she started on her Training of Trainer’s, spending two years with Molly O’Shaughnessy in Minnesota and a Summer course with Ulla Wikefeldt in Sweden. She is currently part of the AMI faculty in China and lectures in Norway as well as in many other coutnries.
Patrick worked at the AFC Ajax Youth Academy from 2012-2016 as a data analyst and is an UEFA licensed youth coach with more than 12 years of coaching experience with children in the ages from 3 till 16. Patrick is a creative and optimistic individual that is passionate about education and entrepreneurship, able to connect and reach out to different generations. He loves the process from creation to improvement and refinement. With products as well as with people. Furthermore, he strongly believes that human connection is the core of everything we do and why we are here on earth. In 2018 he founded Montessori Sports and moved to Beijing, China, from where he set up various Montessori Sports programmes in the Asia-Pacific region. He is specialized in creating environments with room for constant changes and
improvements, based on the individual needs of children. Patrick holds a honors bachelor degree (Bsc) in Sports, Management and Business at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. He has almost completed the AMI 3-6 Diploma Course.
Kyla Morenz is an AMI 6-12 Elementary Trainer from Toronto, Canada. Currently she is a co-Director of Training at Montessori Institute Prague, Czech Republic and a trainer working in Collonges-sous-Salève, France. She has taught in 6-9, 9-12, and 6-12 elementary Montessori environments in Canada and Morocco. She has particular interest in bilingual education, developing language materials for the elementary classroom, and adult learning and education. In addition to her work on diploma and orientation courses, Kyla regularly presents workshops for parents, classroom guides and assistants. She mentors teachers and schools with 6-12 programs in Canada and the Czech Republic. She has lectured on AMI elementary diploma courses in Ireland, England, Canada, United States, and France. She has worked with both simultaneous and consecutive interpretation in France, the Czech Republic, and Romania. She has a B.A. from the University of Waterloo and her M.Ed. from Loyola University in Maryland. She obtained her TESOL certificate from the University of Toronto, Woodsworth College. She has AMI diplomas at both the 3-6 and 6-12 levels.
Jenny Marie holds AMI diplomas for the ages 3-6 and 6-12. She has mainly worked with the 6-12 and 12-18 (adolescents). She also holds a M.Ed. and she is an established AMI Elementary trainer. Jenny-Marie was one of the founders of the Montessori School “Lära för Livet” in Varberg, Sweden in 1995, teaching children from 1 till 16 years of age. She founded and runs the first and so far the only Swedish Montessori Farm School. Jenny-Marie has taught elementary and adolescent students for over twenty-three years. She has been serving as head of school since 2006. She has also lectured at the International Centre for Montessori Studies Foundation-Bergamo (CISM), in Italy since 2006.
Patricia Wallner has been working in Montessori since 1970. She took her AMI 3-6 diploma in Washington D.C. and the 0-3 diploma in Houston, Texas with Dr. Silvana Montanaro. For 17 years she worked in a bilingual Infant Community in Amsterdam, The Netherlands where she lives. In 1995 she began the Training of Trainers program supported by the Association Montessori Internationale and during her training earned a Master’s degree in Education. She has trained students and lectured in Europe, Asia and the U.S.A. Her goal is to promote Montessori, especially for the 0-3 age group in Europe.
The main language which will be used during this weekend will be English. We would like you to organize your own translator if you need any.
The costs for this Montessori Retreat will be €75 per person. Except for breakfast all meals and drinks are included (2 x dinner & 1 x lunch). The maximum number of participants is 150. We have set a limit on the number of persons per school to 8. We hope you understand that we would like to let as many schools possible benefit from this beautiful weekend. If you wish to come with more persons, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will contact you if we have free places left.
Special Offer during this weekend Nienhuis Montessori offers you a 20% discount on all orders and free shipping on all shipments within the EU. Please feel free to benefit from this generous offer! Please send in your orders in advance by email to email@example.com, so that we can already make the necessary preparations.
Our address is Heutink, Anders Celsiusstraat 15, 7442 PB Nijverdal, The Netherlands. Nijverdal is located in the eastern part of the Netherlands near the German border. There are different ways to reach us:
By (rental) car
As we are all used to GSP navigation devices nowadays, just enter our new address and we are sure that you will find our new headquarters. It is located about one hour north of our previous headquarters in Zelhem.
By plane/train from Amsterdam
You can easily plan your journey from Amsterdam to Nijverdal by using www.9292.nl. This is the national public transport website which is used in the Netherlands. Make sure that you arrange your own transport from your accommodation to Heutink / Nienhuis and back.
In order to find a place to stay you can use the familiar websites to find hotels like www.booking.com or www.trivago.com. Another possibility is to stay at an affordable rate at a bed & breakfast nearby our company. You can use www.bedandbreakfast.nl to find a b&b nearby our company.
COVID measurements inforce in The Netherlands
In The Netherlands there are no more specific COVID measures for public places or events. In order to be sure, and when you get closer to the Retreat date, please visit https://reizentijdenscorona.rijksoverheid.nl/en for the latest info.
You can register here. After your registration we will contact you for more detailed information about the participants so that we will be able to prepare your badge for the event.
The last date to register for this Montessori Retreat is 21 October 2022