Welcome to the Spark Studio Journal and to a new year of learning! This journal will provide insight, context, tools, and a deeper understanding of studio life. This first post is all about the first few weeks with some key themes that often come up right away, as well as a place to come back to throughout the year as needed.
At Empowered Minds, we recognize and understand that transitions are a natural part of life, and compassion is key as we move through them. We call it our “Fresh Eyes” approach. Beginning each day with fresh eyes and a beginner’s mind allows us to be curious without judgment or biases. This is foundational for a Guide, however, as your child navigates new experiences, we encourage you to practice having “Fresh Eyes” each day and modeling the mindset for your children as well.
We are beginning the year with a few helpful FAQs to get you started and guide you through our days and processes at the Spark level.
What does a typical day for a learner look like?
Here is a day in the life of a Spark learner
Do we help children with settling in and transitioning into their first few weeks at school?
Transitions are tough because Crossing the Threshold into the Unknown may scary for all of us. This week learners started on the right foot, embarking on this journey into a ‘new and unknown world’. Mornings, mid-days, and weekend transitions may seem tough at this point in the journey but will evolve, especially as the learners’ memory banks grow with feelings of empowerment, positivity, and curiosity within the environment.
These moments are opportunities for us all as fellow travelers (families and guides) to use the “Fresh Eyes” approach – a great reminder to begin each morning with the understanding that each day is an opportunity, and thus support the learners in order to build resilience and expand their circle of comfort and library of experience.
In the coming days, learners will be learning lessons of freedom that the environment provides, and of the boundaries that come that come along with it. If the transition into the community seems hard, know that it is natural. We will hold space as the learners tap in, experience, and navigate beyond their feelings and emotions, coming out on the other side empowered and independent, knowing that they are stronger than those moments of insecurity.
As an offering, take a moment to read this loving note written by Kristin Mariella, where she reminds us:
- Our attitudes matter so much guys! We have to believe in them!
- Our children are so sensitive, so aware, they pick up on aaaaall of it, really.
- So let’s work on our own mindsets… And step into the role of the calm, graceful, brave adult that is ready to separate with confidence and love.
Will my child get a new lesson every day?
The Spark environment follows a Montessori morning work cycle which is individualized according to the needs, interests, and learning style of each child. The Guide “Follows the Child,” which means that they base their lessons (introduction of new works in Montessori language) on detailed and objective observations they make during the course of the day, which is one of the very important aspects of their role in the studio.
Daily lessons range from large or small group lessons and individual lessons that the learners will then try on their own. As the guides observe, they are trained to determine when and how to introduce a new or a challenging lesson to a learner, and when to review a previous lesson for repetition in a skill, considering such factors as the age, pace, and interest of the child. Once a work is introduced with a lesson, the children freely choose to learn with it whenever, and as many times as, they are intrinsically called to it.
Before a guide invites a child for a new lesson, they consider if:
- the pick will pick up previously introduced works independently (without the guide’s encouragement), repeat the lessons with concentration, and finish the works.
The beauty of Montessori is that it is a child-led, process-based method spanning over years that involves repetition of works to gain proficiency, as opposed to, a fast-paced process that introduces concept after concept.
Thanks for trusting us with your child and being on this journey with us.