Montessori Education for Autism

Montessori Education for Autism


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For all of our friends at MEfA

Colourbox Montessori Nurseries would like to say,

“Thank you to ALL the ‘Key Workers’ and ‘Keep at Homers’,

Especially the NHS and care staff caring for our family members

While their precious little ones are being cared for at nursery”.

Somewhere, over the rainbow 🌈 there’s a better future for us all.

Come with us and we’ll take you there, to a World that’s learnt to love and care.

Side by side and hand in hand, We will make this a better land.

Featuring the children and staff of Colourbox Montessori nurseries

in the towns and villages of Newmarket, Haverhill and Red Lodge in Suffolk.

This is for you, from all of us, Thank you

We are very sad to learn that Phyllis Wallbank, the Patron of MEfA Montessori died, aged 101, on 9th April 2020. Phyllis who has been our Patron since our charity was formed, was a close friend of the Dr Maria Montessori, Phyllis went on to found her own all-age Montessori school in London in 1948, thus helping to launch the movement in Britain.

Initially the school was tiny, operating from the sitting room of the rectory where Phyllis and her husband, the Rev Newell Wallbank, resided. It was named The Gatehouse, and at first there were just eight pupils. There was also nearly no money as the Wallbanks subsisted on the tiny salary (about £150) that Newell received as curate of St Bartholomew-the-Great church in Smithfield.
We're really looking forward to Montessori Education for Autism's 2019 Annual Conference here this Sat 5th October with the theme 'The Power of Storytelling'. To find out more and to book a space visit

They have a great line-up of speakers, including Russ Kane. Born in London, Russ Kane, was famously the voice of Capital Radio's 'Flying Eye' for 20 years. Today Russ broadcasts on BBC Radio London and he is a co-founder of Men's Radio Station ( which focuses on men's mental health and well-being. His 90-minute one-man stand-up show, 'Kaned Laughter', has been performed to sell-out audiences in London, Los Angeles and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. With a background as an advertising copywriter, both in London and New York, Russ amassed fifteen international writing awards for his work, including the Gold Medal at the New York Film and Television Festival. In 2002, his autobiography 'Shout At The Moon' was published.
Here it is! Our fabulous Storytelling Conference is on Saturday 5th October.
2019 MEfA Montessori Annual Conference

Saturday 5th October 2019
Mycenae House, 90, Mycenae Road, Blackheath, London SE3 7SE

The Power of Storytelling

09:30 Registration, Breakfast and Orientation
10:00 Opening Welcome and News Update: ASHOK KUMAR: MEfA GRADUATE, MEfA CHAIR OF ALUMNI
“The Power of Sharing Stories – Nurturing Resilience”
"Storytelling and Language Development in the Early Years”
“Just One More Story Please!”
“Storytelling through Dance”
14:45 Choice of Workshops: Carol Mannion, Wendy Fidler – others to be confirmed.
16:00 Close
For more information and to book your place please contact MEfA at: or call 0208 305 2202
Directions to Mycenae House:
Travel to Mycenae House: Train: London Bridge to Westcombe Park Station
Underground train/tube: to North Greenwich then 108/422 bus to Blackheath Royal Standard*
For local information please call 07860655597. Mycenae House is fully accessible to wheelchair users.
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…………… @ £20.00 Cohorts 1-19 Graduates, MEfA Members and MEfA Families
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Cheques are payable to 'MEfA'
Credit/Debit card payments: Please call 07860655597
Bank: CAF Bank Ltd Sort Code: 405240 Account: 00019126 Reference: your name
Please return this form to Montessori House, 135 Westcombe Hill, Blackheath, SE3 7DP
*Alight at Blackheath Royal Standard - do not travel on to Blackheath Village
Hi All! My friend’s son is diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome. Her concern is as follows;

“The school accomodates his needs.. but he does not want to. He doesn't want the school or his peers know about it. Recently we had to meet the Special education teacher to discuss his subjects selection. He refused to come . He does not want to be categorized as SEP at school.”

Please could you share your experiences in such situation and how did you go about it.

The child is 15 and family live in Queensland, Australia. If you could also recommend Special Needs educator/therapist there, it would be really helpful. Many thanks.
I'm not a Montessori teacher but teaching special needs children and wanted to know for my own knowledge that, do you people use non Montessori material in your classroom for the concept to be generalized? Thanks in advance

Welcome to MEfA - the support site for families, special educators, policy makers and press organisa

Operating as usual


On Saturday 19th March we celebrated the graduation of Cohort 22 of the MEfA Montessori post graduate SEN CPD course Part 1: A Blueprint for Observation. Our amazing graduates gathered at Montessori House to give their acceptance speeches and receive their certificates. We are so proud of their achievements.

Cohort 23 will commence their studies in September 2022; if you wish to apply, or would like more information, please contact us via email [email protected] or call Wendy on +44 (0) 7710433994


Happily we are adding some extra school classes after the Easter break. Children aged 2-11 years will now be able to attend on Monday mornings in addition to Tuesday and Wednesday mornings and Thursday afternoons. Forest school is available on Tuesdays and Thursdays - and our flagship after-school programme soley for children with Autism continues on Tuesdays.


Cohort 22 of the MEfA Montessori post graduate SEN CPD course commence their studies tomorrow - in person at Montessori House, London and also on-line. Always onwards and upwards! Keep safe.


Registration is open now for Cohort 22 of the MEfA Montessori post graduate SEN CPD course Part 1: A Blueprint for Observation commencing September 2021. Please book early to avoid disappointment.


A post graduate student MEfA Montessori SEN CPD course has drawn up a questionnaire as part of her research - can you assist with your responses please?
'Everyone's going through a very uncertain time' - the effect of the pandemic on children and families with special educational needs:
1. How many children are in your immediate/nuclear family?
2. In which position in the family is/are your special needs child/ren? (Eldest, middle, youngest, only child, etc.)
3. During COVID-19 Lockdown have you received any support for your special needs child/ren?
4. If your child is eligible for extra services have these been available during lockdown?
5. Has the 'new normal' caused any anxiety in your family, and if so how has this affected you and your special need child/ren?
6. Has any member of your family needed hospital or doctors appointments and were you able to access them them?
7. How do you feel that lockdown has affected your child/ren?
8. Have the lockdown restrictions about getting outdoors had an adverse effect on your child/rens behaviour and development, and if so, how?
Please send answers to: [email protected]


'Even if two children want the same material, they should be left to settle the problem for themselves unless they call for the teacher's aid' (Montessori, 1989, p.69)
Montessori, M. (1989) Education for a New World. Oxford: Clio Press Ltd.
Photo: c. 1930. Sevres, France. Child washes cloths for the classroom which over the next several days will be sprinkled and ironed, folded and put away. Two other children stand by.

MEfA Post Grad SEN Part 1 22/01/2021

So now we have the MEfA Montessori post graduate SEN CPD course Part 1: A Blueprint for Observation on line. This is our pilot on line course and Cohort 21 of this training are being amazingly supportive.
Some of you have been asking for this for years, so let us have your expressions of interest. Cohort 22 will be open for Registration very soon.

MEfA Post Grad SEN Part 1 The MEfA Montessori post graduate SEN CPD short course - Part 1: A Blueprint for Observation focuses on the physiological, neural and psychological development of babies and children. The...


The 3rd MEfA Montessori Waldon Therapy Certificate Training weekend was a great success! At the heart of MEfA Montessori Therapy and Waldon Therapy is the assertion that meaning comes from movement; that movement is the ultimate source of motivation, learning and development. As Dr Montessori said, nothing comes to the brain without first coming to the hand. The desire to learn is reshaped continuously as brain and hand revitalise one-another. The capacity to learn grows continuously as children 'construct' their physical, emotional and mental abilities and their personalities and characters.


The rights of young people
with a learning disability
or autistic young people
in hospitals


Mario Montessori "My Most Unforgettable Character"
In 1965 Mario Montessori granted an interview to The Reader’s Digest, sharing some memories of his exceptional mother: Maria Montessori. First published in the American edition of this magazine, it soon found its way to some of the global editions of The Reader’s Digest. Here, you can download the copies in English, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, and Swedish. The article is printed below.

One of the world’s great educators, Maria Montessori originated many of the techniques that are now used to teach young children. A warm-hearted scientist, she never lost sight of the child as an individual and very special human being.

By Mario Montessori
When I was a boy, I was woken early one morning at our house in Rome by the shaking of my bed and a deep rumbling sound. I had no more than opened my eyes when my mother walked in, calm and smiling, and sat on the edge of my bed.

"Mario," she said, "do you see how the chandelier sways from the ceiling?" I did, "Do you feel how the floor trembles?" I nodded.

My mother spread out her arms as if inviting me to a wonderful surprise. "This, Mario, is an earth­quake."

For Maria Montessori, even an earthquake was an opportunity to open a child's mind. She believed God had invested human beings with the urge and the power to fulfil themselves. In finding a way to liberate that power she gave the world a new approach to education, as a joyful process of self-discovery and self-realisation.

Looking back, it is hard to conceive how she crowded so many accomplishments into one lifetime, first as a scientist - an anthropologist, and Italy’s first woman doctor* - then as the inspired educator who founded the worldwide kindergarten movement which bears her name. My greatest pride is to have shared in her work. Once when I was a boy, I was separated from her in a crowd. Finding her again I boasted, “You cannot go to any place where I cannot follow you.” I almost made this boast come true. For 40 years, as secretary, assistant and junior colleague, I followed her over half the world - wherever her vocation took her.

Unlike many of the austere career women at the turn of the century, Mother dressed elegantly and radiated feminine charm. She loved good food, good company and good talk. Her intense brown eyes could sparkle with delight, and they could also observe with precision.

“The secret of the good life,” I once heard her say, “is to live in obedience to reality.” She could look objectively at the world about her and see what was actually there, uncoloured by wish or expectation. Her course for teachers began with lessons in observation. “You have been trained to make the child pay attention to you,” she told them. “Here it is you who must observe the child.”

“Too Much to Do.” As a little girl my mother was the most backward pupil in her school, unable to get the lessons into her head. Then, at ten, Maria suddenly changed. Along with a heightened interest in religion, not unusual in girls of that age, she developed a sense of vocation. Her parents first became aware of it while she was seriously ill with influenza. The doctor told them to be prepared for the worst. Maria reassured her mother, “Don’t worry, Mamma mia, I am not going to die. I have too much to do.”

Now she came first in her class. Her parents suggested she should become a teacher, then the only career open to women. She refused to consider it; she had made up her mind to be an engineer! At 14 she attended classes at a technical school for boys. After a year she switched to biology and finally decided to take a degree in medicine.

“Impossible,” Professor Guido Baccelli, dean of the medical school at the University of Rome, told her. But in the end, she gained admission, won a scholarship, and helped to pay her own way by private tutoring. Her father, deeply disapproving, refused to speak to her for years.

As the only woman in the medical school she had to put up with taunts and torments. But she got her degree. She joined the university's psychiatric clinic, where one of her duties was to visit the city's lunatic asylums to pick subjects for study.

In those days defective children were classed with - and housed with - the insane. In one asylum La Dottoressa (as she was often called) saw such children herded together in a bare room like prisoners. "Look at them," said the matron in disgust. "When their meals are finished, they throw themselves on the floor like animals in search of crumbs.“ My mother watched. With shrill and incoherent cries, the children stretched their hands out for scraps of bread which they kneaded into different shapes.

With a flash of insight my mother saw that what these children craved was not so much food as experience. Those little hands were groping for contact with the world! Some inner power was propelling these children to try and develop body, mind and personality. Instead of being isolated and restrained they should be liberated. But how to reach them?

Dr. Baccelli, now Italy's minister of education, invited Maria to lecture on the education of the feeble­minded. As a result of the public interest aroused, he founded an experimental state school for defective children - with Dr. Montessori in charge. "So, after all," joked Dr. Baccelli, "you are still only a woman and a kindergarten teacher!"

"My dear idiots," was how Mother referred to the children in her diary. All day long, from eight in the morning to seven at night, she spent with children society had given up as hopeless - observing, experimenting, "fanning the little flame of intelligence I saw in their eyes." After two years of intensive work, she entered her pupils for a normal state-school examination. The "dear idiots" showed that they were not hopeless after all. In fact, many did as well in the tests as normal children.

When the news was published, it made a sensation. But Mother, with rigorous detachment, saw that the real significance was not that defective children could accomplish so much, but that normal children were doing so little better.

Visiting state schools, she found that everything possible was done to discourage the child's initiative. Pupils were forced to sit on benches so close to the desks that they had to bend and twist their bodies to slide in. Once locked in place, they supposedly couldn't help listening to the teacher. Highest credit went for sitting still; the slightest movement was severely punished. "Our moral sense seems to be in the seat of the trousers," she told a group of educators and public officials.

Children's Houses. After launching the school for deficient children, Mother returned to the university and eventually was appointed professor of anthropology. Seven years passed before she found her life's work. A private housing project had taken several hundred poor families out of a dirty, over-crowded tenement and put them in more adequate houses. But while parents were away at work and older children at school, the younger children under six ran wild. It was decided to start a kindergarten, and Dr. Montessori was asked to take charge. She accepted at once. Here was her long-awaited chance to try out her ideas on normal children.

Her Casa dei Bambini (Children's House) opened in the notorious San Lorenzo slums. "Sixty tearful, frightened children, so shy that it was impossible to get them to speak; dejected, uncared-for, pale, under-nourished children who had grown up in dark hovels without anything to stimulate their minds.” That is how my mother described her charges on their first day together.

During the next two years, these “little vandals”, as one reporter called them, were to help my mother revolutionise education. Instead of imposing arbitrary rules and pounding facts into their heads, she looked for ways of releasing their independence.

Her first step was to free the children by civilizing them. “Teach the importance of doing even the smallest task well,” Mother admonished her teachers. “Then give them freedom to choose their activity and indulge in it as long as they like.” Montessori children learned to blow their noses quietly, wash their hands, tie shoelaces, polish their shoes, fasten belt buckles, and pour water or milk without spilling it. “Self-reliance and self-discipline,” she wrote, “are outward signs of healthy inward functioning.” Sigmund Freud once remarked admiringly that children trained in the Montessori spirit were bound to make poor customers for psychoanalysis later in life.

Recognising that it is through the senses that a child develops his intelligence, Mother devised learning aids to give him the feel of a subject through direct experience with tangible objects. Using identical pieces of wood painted in different colours, the child learns to grade colours from lightest to darkest. Sorting out bells which look exactly alike but produce different tones, he discovers musical notes and relates them to a scale. (Most of today’s educational playthings are inspired by the learning aids Mother devised over half a century ago.)

“I Can Write!” In Mother’s view, three was not too early for a child to begin getting the feel of letters cut out of sandpaper, one of her many devices. One day, one boy, drawing with a crayon, wrote mano (hand). At the top of his voice he yelled, “I can write.” Children and teacher gathered round him full of surprise and enthusiasm. And then, one by one, some of the other children began to write also, shouting, “Me too,” “Me too.” Nobody had taught them. All Mother had done was to let the child work in a specially prepared environment, one in which he could make his own discoveries, and arrive at concepts through his own concrete experience.

At the Casa dei Bambini, children learned to write four or five months before they learned to read. One day, in a class of children who had begun to write a little, Mother wrote on the blackboard, “If you can read this, come up and give me a kiss.” Several days passed and nothing happened. “They thought I was writing on the blackboard for my own amusement, just as they did,” she said. “Then on the fourth day a tiny mite of a girl came up to me, said, “Eccomi,” (“Here I am”) and gave me a kiss.” By four or five, most of the children in the Casa dei Bambini were reading and writing.

The school revealed something else: that it is not fear of punishment or hope of reward that motivates a child, but the sheer satisfaction of the work itself. The children were released to do what was in them - and the greatest reward was going on to the next stage.

War Closes In. In the years following the publication of Mother’s first book on education, The Montessori Method, in 1912, her principles of teaching the very young were adopted by many schools in Europe and the United States. Later, with the rise of totalitarianism, they came under attack. In Germany and Austria, the N***s burnt her effigy over pyres of her books. Mussolini tried to exploit her fame, then turned against her when she refused to serve his propaganda ends. The schools and institutes she had founded were closed by the government.

“Mario,” she said, “we must realise that this was the only way God could make us understand that we had done enough here and that He needs us elsewhere.” And at 64 Mother left Italy to establish new headquarters in Barcelona**.

When the Spanish Civil War broke out, I was in London and Mother was alone in our Barcelona house with three of my children. Trucks manned by Loyalist militia roamed the streets, arresting suspected Franco sympathisers. Feelings ran high against Catholics, and to be Italian as well increased the danger.

A truck stopped in front of our door. The armed milicianos who occupied it looked intently at our house. As my older son told me later, Mother turned away from the window and gathered the children. “Some day,” she said, as calmly as she had explained the earthquake to me, “everyone must die. For some it will come sooner than to others. We are going to pray now and ask God to guide us wherever we must go.”

Then came the sound of a truck pulling away. My son went downstairs and cautiously looked out of the front door. The men had gone, but they left a sign. Written in red paint was the notice: “Respect this house; it belongs to a friend of children.” It was signed with the communist emblem: the hammer and sickle.

In country after country, war closed the Montessori schools. After escaping from Spain on a British gunboat, Mother set up headquarters in Amsterdam. A call came from India, and we went to help train teachers. Italy entered the war while we were there, and though we were interned as “enemy aliens,” Mother carried on her teaching.

Call to Africa. After the war, now in her 70’s, she returned to Europe. Once more her ideas were eagerly sought after, and Montessori schools and training centres flourished again. She spent much time reading and writing in our family seaside house in Holland’s tulip belt at Noordwijk aan Zee.

One day in May, at the height of the tulip season, I lunched with her before a window commanding a panorama of flowers and sea. I told her that I had met an official of Ghana, which was soon to become independent and desperately needed schools. He wanted Mother and me to help teach the teachers.

“If any children need help, it is those poor children of African countries,” Mother said. “Certainly, we must go.”

I reminded her of the heat, the primitive living conditions. After all, she was 81.

“So, you don’t want me to come!” she scolded me gently. “Some day I may go and leave you behind.”

“You will never go where I cannot follow,” I told her, repeating that childhood boast of long ago.

I left the room to find the map of Africa in an atlas. When I returned, Mother was dead. She would have gone to Ghana, or any other place where children needed her.

* Maria Montessori was not the first female physician of Italy.

** Her residence was initially established there in 1917.

AMI would like to thank Reader’s Digest for their courtesy when we asked for permission to share this with our community on the occasion of Maria Montessori’s 150th birthday. Copyright © 1965, published with permission of Trusted Media Brands, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The Readers Digest 1965


Best Friends Forever?

As we head back to school it's a good time to help children examine their relationships with their peers.

There is so much that children have missed over the lock down period, but many were happy to skip the BFE, 'tween' and 'teen' dramas.

The physical and emotional distance from their friends has allowed children to reflect on which of their friendships they wish to take with them and which they wish to leave behind in the new school year.

We can ask our children what friendship really means to them - which three words come to mind? Whether you ask this to a group of children, or your own child, it allows children to come up with descriptors such as, 'kind', 'loyal', 'trustworthy' or 'stands up for you'. Ask, "When you think of your three best friends do they have these qualities?"

This type of question enables children to pay attention to their gut feelings - feelings that emerge as a kind of summary of their experiences and expectations that might otherwise be hard to put into words.

When children become mindful of how they feel, think and act when they are with specific people they learn to trust themselves. Focusing on other children's positive traits helps them to discern who adds value to their life rather than fixating on who steals their joy.

Practising curiosity and pulling back from judgement keeps adults connected with children, without making children feel that we are criticising their choices; we have to allow them to make their own decisions.

Offering children compassion and empathy through their experiences keeps you connected and helps children to work through their feelings.

There will be positive and negative consequences from the social isolation that children and families have experienced during lock down, but there are also opportunities for growth that we can carry forward into our 'new normal'.


Emotional Implications of a Return to School ...
MEfA Montessori School is planning to reopen in September 2020 and, for the majority of our children, this will be after an absence of six months.

We understand that when we do reopen some of our adults and children will be nervous. Many of our children have enjoyed their time at home with their parents and siblings - but others have become edgy and anxious.

We have been blessed with a lovely sunny Spring and early Summer and many of us have spent a lot more time in nature than we have been able to do before.

Many families have sent us photos and videos of their children indoors baking, crafting and constructing - and outdoors cycling, gardening and enjoying nature walks.

During the lock-down, I have spent most afternoons nurturing our beautiful Forest School/Well-being Area and I can testify to the benefits of gardening for mental, physical and emotional well-being.

In the early weeks back at school children (and adults) will be tired, and as any parent knows, this can result in irascible behaviour.

We will be sharing risk assessments and protocols with the whole school community which will bring comfort to those who may be worried about the transmission of infection.

Although the UK international travel restrictions are gradually reopening, we still have families who have been 'stranded' abroad for almost four months. These families will face additional challenges as and when they are able to return.

All of this will bring challenges, but we are totally focussed on making the return to school for our children and adults a truly nurturing experience.

Soon we will be bringing the 2019-2020 school year to a close; do please keep sending us your family news and photos!


Registration is now open for Cohort 21 of the MEfA Montessori post graduate SEN CPD short course Part 1: A Blueprint for Observation


Tuesday March 17th was a tearful day for our parents and teachers alike. We decided to close our beautiful MEfA Montessori School, days ahead of Government guidance for all schools to close, because of the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus.

During the past 3.5 months we needed to cancel the MEfA Montessori Waldon Therapy Training, the 2020 Alumni Conference, our Summer Party and the Graduation Event for Cohort 20 of the MEfA Montessori post graduate SEN CPD course, Part 1: A Blueprint for Observation

We have also cancelled the September 2020 Cohort of Part 2 of our training. At present our Annual Conference for Parents and Professionals is still scheduled for October – let us see what the pandemic situation is, and whether anyone wants, or is allowed, to travel to busy events.

2020 is the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Dr Maria Montessori. We had planned to travel to Chiaravalle and Rome (Italy) during the summer to attend celebratory conferences. Also, Autumn term plans to run MEfA SEN training in Pondicherry (India) and Bergen (Norway), and the annual Nienhuis Montessori Retreat in Zelham (Holland) have all been cancelled/ put on hold.

On 29th June 2020, the Government decreed that all schools in England will reopen with full classes in September. Happily, as we are a charity, we do not come under the auspices of this legislation. We ‘locked down’ before it was mandatory to do so, and we will most likely ‘unlock’ a little later – after we see what transpires. Our current plans are to reopen slowly in September.

Siebert Road, our vehicular access road, has been designated a Greenwich School Street - Invicta Primary School is accessed by this street. A School Street is closed to motor vehicles at drop off and pick up times. This means that we will not have vehicular access to our Montessori Forest School and Well-being Area between 08:00 – 09:30 and 15:00 – 16:00, causing some issues for staff arriving and leaving and anyone needing access during these times.

There will be a consultation about whether to make the scheme a permanent fixture. It is likely that we will contribute to say that the disabled bay opposite our school gates will be inaccessible during the planned ‘school streets’ times.

We have been gradually opening our Forest School and Well-being Area – outdoors only – and several staff and families (socially distanced of course) have come to explore the bounties of our fruits, flowers, veggies and general loveliness outdoors. We have sweet peas, eating peas, broad beans, runner beans, coco beans, courgettes, tomatoes, sweet and chilli peppers, radishes, carrots and beetroots. And (although we should never start a sentence with ‘and’ or ‘but’) lots of lovely flowers – also our grapevine, apple tree and lemon tree.

We had a bit of a wobble when we received an email from our website host on 29th May to tell us that they were closing in one month! The cavalry arrived! We are forever indebted to our lovely neighbour Vicky Rubery who helped us to design and migrate the website and emails you can now see at [email protected]
Let's wait and see what's beyond 100 days ...


We are very sad to learn that Phyllis Wallbank, the Patron of MEfA Montessori died, aged 101, on 9th April 2020. Phyllis who has been our Patron since our charity was formed, was a close friend of the Dr Maria Montessori, Phyllis went on to found her own all-age Montessori school in London in 1948, thus helping to launch the movement in Britain.

Initially the school was tiny, operating from the sitting room of the rectory where Phyllis and her husband, the Rev Newell Wallbank, resided. It was named The Gatehouse, and at first there were just eight pupils. There was also nearly no money as the Wallbanks subsisted on the tiny salary (about £150) that Newell received as curate of St Bartholomew-the-Great church in Smithfield.


Unprecedented times: take what you need from this and relax and enjoy -
Do real things.
My advice: Do not try to recreate the classroom at home.

School is a laboratory where certain kinds of real things happen. It is set up in a very particular way with very particular participants designed for particular outcomes. It is unique, special, rather lovely when done well and perhaps impossible to replicate.

The home laboratory is something entirely unique and special and rather lovely in it’s own right – and impossible to replicate anywhere else. Different kinds of real things are done at home. Value and appreciate the opportunity to be home and do some real things.

Children who do real things - in collaboration with others - learn real skills and grow up to be independent humans who know how to cooperate and collaborate and contribute to society.

Certainly, home provides an opportunity to build on the school experience – and there are thousands of websites and ideas out there for doing so - but now is a special a time where family experiences can be valued and appreciated in an entirely expansive and beautiful way.

Because parents and children have unexpected time together and there is no need or call to rush anywhere, we can embrace this once in a lifetime event and be together; and, for once, there is enough time. You may ask,

Enough time for what? Well there is enough time …

To work together
Spring clean! There are many practical life activities to learn and do: making beds, washing and folding laundry (teach children how to use the washing machine and dish washer), plan dinner and breakfast menus, dust, learn how to make beds, vacuum & sweep floors, clean bathrooms, organize the cupboards, wash dishes, dry and put away, disinfect door k***s, mailboxes, common surfaces. Clean the car, the garage, the boat, the refrigerator. Cut and stack wood. Sweep the driveway. Rake the yard. Get garden beds ready. Plant garden starts indoors. Observe and admire your work.

To play together
You may be amazed what can be learned about money, resource management, justice, logic, problem solving, reading, math, democracy…but especially what can be learned about each other by playing games. Play board games and the old childhood games that are disappearing: Hide ‘n Seek, Sardines, 4 square, Tag games, Kick the Can, Capture the Flag, Hop Scotch, Jump Rope & Double Dutch, Jacks, Marbles, Mother May I, Red Light/Green Light, Spud, Cat’s Cradle, Musical Chairs, Hot & Cold, Battleship, Tic-tac-toe, Slap Hands, Catch, Blind Man’s Bluff, Marco Polo… Observe and relish your play.

To move together
Go for a run, a ski, a bike ride, a kayak/boat ride. Walk the dog. Build a fort or secret land. Enjoy the change in seasons, watch and listen to the returning birds, observe (smell) black cottonwood trees leafing out, take weather readings and predict the weather, move your bodies, walk with your breath. (NB: ‘phenology’ is the scientific study of seasonal change). Observe and remember your adventures.

To cook and dine together
You’ll do a lot more eating together than maybe anytime since your children were babies. Show them how to cook your favorite dishes (maybe something your parents made). And show the children how to set a proper table, how to have a conversation over a meal, how to serve tea, work on manners (grace and courtesy). Try to eat two meals a day together as a family. Starting and ending the day around the family table is a gift of talk and time. Observe and appreciate your food and family time.

To sing and make music together
If you don't play an instrument, listen to your children practice their instruments. Sing a lullaby you sang to them when they were infants. Make a family song book and illustrate it. Listen to favorite artists and talk about what you like about their music (not their ‘image’ but their music). Singing together is a powerful way to build up the family structure – and by the way if only the prettiest birds sang – the forest would be silent. Where would our forests be without ravens and eagles and Stellar’s jays squawking across our mountains and valleys? There is beauty in the effort together. Observe and enjoy your music.

To make stuff, make art together
Be crafty, construct stuff from wood scraps, Legos, felt and yarn bits. Play dolls. Get out the glue and tape and papers and cloth. Sew, knit, crochet, make Origami, paint, compose music, write stories, make puppets, write a puppet play (or any play), perform a reader’s theatre after building the sets. Dance. Invent stuff. Practice the scientific method. Find the area of a room, the house, the yard, the street. Draw a map... Observe and admire your creativity.

To be quiet together
Make quiet. A small silent time everyday resets things, brings the family in balance.
Being quiet together is a powerful model for being still with one’s own thoughts. Reading, daydreaming, drawing…there are lots of ways to be quiet – but it is so dramatically powerful to value quiet and make it together. Observe and take delight in the peace.

To have fun together
Make laughter. It will be remembered best and most of all.
Read a funny story aloud. Tell jokes, tell stories about each other (and childhood stories), call grandma or grandpa and have them tell stories about their childhood (or your parents), forgive mistakes and laugh them off, chuckle at your inventions, creations, music…Observe yourselves and take yourselves lightly.

Think and play and move and work and create and laugh together.
This is a time to connect, not correct.
Have compassion for one another in this new time.
Everyone is generally doing the best they can under the most unusual circumstances.

Be together. There is enough time.

Do real things

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Montessori Education for Autism (MEfA)

Montessori Education for Autism is a UK charity that relies on public donations and grant funding to deliver and campaign for good mental health for children and families with autism.


Welcome to MEfA Montessori - the support site for families, special educators, policy makers and press organisations who are eager to make a difference for children, young people and adults with autism and other special educational needs.



Montessori House 135 Westcombe Hill

Opening Hours

Monday 9am - 5pm
Tuesday 9am - 5pm
Wednesday 9am - 5pm
Thursday 9am - 5pm
Friday 9am - 5pm
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