Jackie Grundberg has been in the education field for 20 years. She is a Montessori credentialed AMS Elementary (6-12) Guide and has 11 years of experience in an upper elementary classroom. She currently is an Instructional Guide, Field Consultant, and Practicum Advisor for the Center for Guided Montessori Studies (CGMS), which is an online Montessori teacher credential program. She has a Masters of Education in Instructional Technology and a WA State teaching certification to teach middle school general studies and high school biology. She has 2 children who are in Montessori elementary programs. Two years ago, she started her business, Montessori Consulting Services, where she conducts parent ed workshops and private consulting to parents and educators. She’s about to launch a new project focused on helping parents and educators implement Montessori science into the classrooms and home. Stay tuned!
Prior to teaching, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in environmental biology. She has traveled all over the world working as a wildlife biologist. “I was able to experience the most incredible jobs! I worked with seals and sea lions at an aquarium, protected endangered birds on Long Island, climbed mountain tops to monitor birds of prey, studied wildlife management in Kenya, which included climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, and lived in a Cameroon rainforest for 6 months studying primates and birds! I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.”
In the Fall, look out for her at several Montessori conferences, where she’ll be speaking on STEM & Montessori and how to incorporate field biology in teaching environments. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram @montessoriconsultingservices
In Montessori Teacher Training we do lots of work around the prepared adult. What does the prepared adult mean to you as a parent?
The prepared adult is extremely important to me. My personality is to be organized or prepared ahead of time. Although I’ve adapted a “go with the flow,” with children because you can never know what will happen with kids, it comforts me to have a plan and know what to expect.
How do you encourage grace and courtesy?
Practicing grace and courtesy is constant in my household. I don’t let things “slide,” because I want my children to know that they should always be expected to practice grace and courtesy. I hope the behavior should become natural at some point. I encourage it by being an excellent role model and also pointing out good examples (people) when we come across it.
Montessori education speaks a lot about peace education. Montessori herself was nominated for the Nobel peace prize. We work really hard on creating peaceful environments at school. What does this look like for you in the home?
At home, my children are constantly with each other, and that means they get into disagreements often. Their sibling relationship and communication skills are what they are working on. This includes speaking to each other kindly, walking in the house, keeping the volume of our voices low, completing our household responsibilities AND also helping each other out. I think most importantly is how we speak to one another.
Montessori said that the six to twelve-year old aged children is quite social and is really interested in others, their community, and the wider world. In the Montessori classroom, we cater through this with cosmic education. What do you find works for you in your house to help meet the intellectual and emotional needs of the 6-12-year-old child?
What a wonderful question! This ties in so beautifully with my new curriculum I’m developing! At home, we can do this by asking questions (guided inquiry) that encourages thinking and problem solving. At home, getting outside is one of the easiest things to do. Go for walks around the neighborhood, go to parks and museums, plant gardens and volunteer! Notice what is happening in your community, discuss deeper in some issues by poses questions, and see if you can together come up with some solutions.
If you are interested in knowing more on how to support yourself and your family through the Montessori journey check out this course here.
Many Montessori schools do not give homework, what type of home learning do you encourage in your house?
I like to demonstrate at home real life practices of subject areas. This is the perfect time to answer the age-long question, “Why do I have to learn this? I’ll never have to use it!” I love cooking with my children. They use math skills when we want to double or half the recipe. Sometimes, we can find a particular measuring cup, so they have to add fractions. Having my children work together is a wonderful practice to their collaboration. Just the overall practical life skills to know how to cook for oneself, clean up and being conscious of what goes into our bodies. If you incorporate the garden, you have so much science!
In the Montessori 6-12 classroom, the child takes care of the environment around them, usually, we don't tend to have many complaints from children however parents sometimes say that at home their child can be reluctant to help with jobs. Do you have any experience with this?
I have to honest that it has been very easy for us as we established a routine of being responsible for particular tasks at home from the very beginning. As soon as a child was able to take something off the shelf, we taught him/her to put it back when they were done with it. It doesn’t mean that it always happens now, but when we give reminders, there isn’t a push back. It’s more of a “oops! I forgot.” This also doesn’t mean that it can’t be established later when the kids are older. In this case, I would suggest a family meeting and discuss the importance of all of us working together to make sure the household runs smoothly.
Do you think there are any benefits to your child having a Montessori set up at home and at school?
I believe 100% having my home environment supports what is happening at school. I can’t stress this enough as an educator at school. There is such a smooth transition from home to school every day. If a parent doesn’t know how to do this, I would highly suggest getting help.
See more in this Montessori parenting series here