Local teacher authors Montessori book
By Mandy Moran Froemming
March 6, 2015 at 10:00 am
After more than 40 years as a Montessori teacher, Charlotte Cushman is sharing her expertise outside of the classroom.
Cushman is the author of the new book “Montessori – Why it Matters for your Child’s Success and Happiness,” published in December by The Paper Tiger.
The book was borne from a series of newsletter articles she has written over the years on Montessori learning methods and child development from the Montessori perspective. She was encouraged by a publisher she had connected with on Facebook to edit them into a book format.
Cushman teaches at the Minnesota Renaissance School in Anoka, a Montessori school she owns with her husband, Dan Van Bogart. She had previously owned and operated Independence School, which she opened in 1985 with her best friend Carol Landkamer. They held classes in the Anoka Methodist Church, which also first housed the Minnesota Renaissance School. Cushman joined Minnesota Renaissance when Landkamer retired.
Cushman teaches 2 1/2 through 6-year-olds, whom she said she finds adorable.
One of the highlights of becoming a published author has been seeing the looks on her students’ faces when they find their own photos in the book.
Cushman wrote that the conclusions she comes to in the book are based on what she has observed about how children learn and how they think.
The Montessori Method, developed in the 19th century by Italian doctor and teacher Maria Montessori, encourages independence.
“The purpose of education is to teach children how to think,” said Cushman, as opposed to what she calls the “memorize and forget” approach in traditional schools. “That’s what Montessori does.”
Montessori schools offer mixed age classrooms where children are able to choose their own activity within a range of options.
Concentration is enhanced by teaching skills during certain “sensitive periods” of a child’s development in areas such as social skills, reading, and math. Students master one skill before moving on to the next.
Children, Cushman said, are driven to learn. That evidence can be seen when toddlers learn to walk and talk with limited instruction.
Cushman said she wrote the book so parents can better understand the Montessori Method. She also wants to bring a level of understanding to the child’s perspective. It offers the big picture of a Montessori classroom and shows how all of the pieces work together.
“I want to help adults see the world from the child’s point of view, so that they understand him during the most serious period of his life, the time when he is in the process of creating the only thing that can bring him success and happiness – his mind,” Cushman wrote in the book’s introduction.
Cushman sees it as a resource for current Montessori teachers as well.
Her work has received excellent reviews on Amazon, some from experts in the field of Montessori education.
Rita Kramer, who wrote a biography of Maria Montessori, recommends Cushman’s book to anyone who has, or teaches, young children.
“It explains clearly and illustrates with telling anecdotes how children develop physically and intellectually, and at what stages of life they are sensitive to different kinds of learning,” Kramer wrote in an online review.
Cushman is already considering future writing projects, including a children’s book focused on American history.
“Montessori – Why it Matters for your Child’s Success and Happiness” is available for sale online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.