Implementing Montessori Education in Danang, Vietnam, by Ms. Marierose Hoang

It is now September 2015. The first Montessori class with 30 children is in full session and continuing well. The teachers clearly understood the Montessori methods, and sometimes devise new ways to communicate with and to share with the children. The children are happy and very much engaged in the different activities of a Montessori classroom. They developed good habits as taught by Montessori. Some parents came to the classroom, observed their children, and said that they saw a different child at home now.

With the success of Summer 2015, the plan for Summer 2016 is to have a follow up session with the past participants and a 2nd training session. At Thanh Tam, Sr Anna is planning to start, in the next two years, not only a Montessori class intended for children with developmental delays such as down syndrome, learning disabilities, and mental retardation, but also a class for underserved, disadvantaged normal children.

Sr Anna and I believe that Thanh Tam School in Danang, with continuous support, is on the way to becoming an authentic Montessori School for special needs children and in the process, realizing Maria Montessori's vision in believing that this method is the proper way to teach and lead the children at their early developmental age.

Sr Anna was very grateful of CHMS parents' and children's support this past year and is looking forward to building a continuing relationship and friendship with CHMS, not only from the financial perspective but also from an educational point of view. 

Vietnam is very much in need of an education reform and I cannot think of any other way better than trying to spread Montessori philosophy, one school at a time.

- Marierose Hoang

See Part 1 and Part 2 of this story:
Part 1 - Introducing Montessori Education in Danang, Vietnam by Ms. Marierose Hoang
Part 2 - Observing Montessori Education at Children's House Montessori School of Reston by Ms. Marierose Hoang

E-mail: thanhtamspc@gmail.com
Website: http://sites.internet.lu/folders/spcdanang/thanhtamdanang.htm
Web Album: http://picasaweb.google.com/tamtruongspc
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/thanhtamschool


Observing Montessori Education at Children's House Montessori School of Reston, by Ms. Marierose Hoang

After spending 2 months witnessing Montessori in action at Children’s House Montessori School,  Sister Anna Tuyet Lan, Director of Thanh Tam Center of Special Education, became passionate and truly believed that the children under her care would be able to benefit from such an education.

Taking advantage of the fact that I would be in Vietnam visiting family during Summer 2015, Sister Anna invited me to come to Danang to share my experiences as a Montessori teacher to her staff. I readily accepted but did not realize until a few weeks before arriving that there will be about 30 nuns and teachers looking forward to this event. An intended casual event of sharing my Montessori experiences turned out to be a formal training session. Three weeks of feverish scrambling, sending English materials to be translated into Vietnamese were quite stressful, I must admit.

Meanwhile, upon her return to Vietnam, Sr Anna and her staff had been busy preparing a Montessori classroom with the help of her students from the carpentry department (another vocational section of Thanh Tam School), building and making necessary Montessori furniture and materials. She was able to get some funding from a charitable organization, Companions In Grace, to equip the language and sensorial areas; parents and children of CHMS completed the much needed math materials with the yearly Global Outreach program and were brought back to Vietnam in July 2015.

The environment prepared was close to perfect and after 10 days of delivering an intensive training program, I ended my journey spending time in the classroom with 20+ hearing impaired children and their teachers. I can't help but being proud and gratified of this very first Montessori class at Thanh Tam Center of Special Education.

The result was far more than expected.  The classroom was so peaceful: each child was in total concentration with his/her work, and so involved to the point of even forgetting their snack time. They did not want to go home and wanted to come to school earlier the next day. This did not happen before, they were often distracted and out of control but today with Montessori, it was less stressful for me and I was able to observe, be more in tune with the children and enjoy my job, said one of the teachers. After all, didn't Maria Montessori start with the children with intellectual and developmental disabilities?

- Marierose Hoang

See Part 1 and Part 3 of this story:
Part 1 - Introducing Montessori Education in Danang, Vietnam by Ms. Marierose Hoang
Part 3 - Implementing Montessori Education in Danand, Vietnam by Ms. Marierose Hoang


Introducing Montessori Education in Danang, Vietnam, by Ms. Marierose Hoang

What a rewarding experience for me to be able to go back to my home country, Vietnam, this past summer (2015) to help the Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres and specifically their school, Thanh Tam Center for Special Education in Danang and introduce Montessori education. My husband, Lai Dang, has been working in Danang, Vietnam, for quite a few years and is a neighbor to Thanh Tam School. We have witnessed the birth of this special school from the start and were always wondering how we would be able to help.

In the early months of 2014, Lai became a familiar customer at the coffee shop set up by the TT School to teach bakery to some special needs students. It was there that he met Sister Anna Tuyet Lan, the director of the school. She gave him a tour of the school where 250+ children with special needs were being cared for and educated by the nuns. These children came from Danang and the nearby towns/villages, mostly from poor families who cannot afford an adequate special education. The subject of Montessori education came up during the conversation.  Sister Anna expressed her wish to be able to learn more about Montessori.  She had known about Montessori philosophy for a long time but never had the opportunity to witness it in action.  Lai talked to me and asked if I would be able to help.

We decided to ask Keturah to help us in this endeavor. Ms. Keturah, being a true Montessorian, readily opened her arms to accept the 2 nuns, Sister Anna and Sister Ann. Thus began the long and somewhat difficult process to obtain an entry visa to the USA, which they both obtained immediately during the first interview. They came, and have fallen in love with Montessori. Many parents of Children's House Montessori School (CHMS) met them. Ms.Keturah and the entire staff, children and parents at CHMS welcomed the Sisters in the true spirits of love and sharing.

- Marierose Hoang


See Part 2 and Part 3 of this story:
Part 2 - Observing Montessori Education at Children's House Montessori School of Reston by Ms. Marierose Hoang
Part 3 - Implementing Montessori Education in Danand, Vietnam by Ms. Marierose Hoang


Welcome Back!

Welcome back to Children's House Montessori School of Reston! We're so excited for the new school year to begin. The classrooms have been cleaned, all of our materials are prepared and on the shelves, and the teachers have received their annual training. Now all we need are our eager learners! Tomorrow is the big day, and we can't wait for you to arrive!

We sincerely hope each of our families had a relaxing and memorable summer. We are looking forward to hearing the children tell us of their great adventures during camp and vacations. Please don't forget to have your child wear closed toe shoes every day, and remember to bring your cubby bags and backpacks with extra clothes, labelled with your child's name!

Here are a few important dates to put on your calendar for the next month. Look for details in the family newsletter this week...

  • September 11th - Parent Coffee
  • September 14th - Back to School Night
  • September 25th - Staff Meeting 
  • Septemebr 23rd - Gardening begins
  • September 27th - Annual fall family field trip for apple picking
  • October 2nd - Specials begin
  • October 5th - Parent Night - "How to Foster Internal Motivation in Your Child"
  • October 12th - No School (Columbus Day)
  • October 30th - Fall Festival and Potluck

Children's House Montessori School of Reston: Offering a Unique Experience and an Authentic Montessori Education 

Each school in Northern Virginia offers something unique. When you are searching for a preschool for your child, it can be difficult to identify exactly what sets one school apart from another. So, we're going to make it easy and tell you what makes Children's House Montessori School (CHMS) of Reston so wonderful.

Our community is unique in it's own way - our families enjoy being involved in the school and it is not uncommon for families to form lifelong friendships during the time that their children are in our care. Our families return year after year, child after child - many have trusted us with 3 or more children, have been with us for 5-8 years or more. Our teachers are dedicated, educated, experienced with children, and all are Montessori trained. Our teachers make a difference in our community - in an area as transient as Northern Virginia, it's not common for all of the teachers to return to the same classroom year after year, but at CHMS they do. 

Our family community is strong because we have wonderful families of course, but we also believe in offering opportunities to spend time getting to know one another through events such as the Ice Cream Social and Parent Coffee at the beginning of each year, our fall and spring festivals, the eagerly awaited Parent Day, and the best of the best - our Annual Family Camping Trip - where memories are made that will stick with both the children and their parents for many years to come. It is truly a wonderful experience. 

In addition to our one of a kind community, we put a great deal of thought and effort into providing opportunities for children to explore and appreciate nature through the natural playscapes that we've added to our playground, creating several habitat gardens, a six week fall and spring gardening curriculum, and weekly educational hikes. If you are a lover of the outdoors, appreciate nature, and want your child to learn to love nature and value time spent outside, then you'll appreciate our unique focus on nature.

Our weekly "specials" go beyond traditional extras to offer educational enhancements to our curriculum. In addition to the previously mentioned educational hiking that we do each week as part of "specials," we also offer a spectacular Montessori music program, which Ms. Karen (assistant director) puts together for us each year. The children learn to read, play, and understand music. Classical music and classical musicians are integrated into our daily activites from preschool through kindergarten, and annually we have two music shows for the parents - one during the holiday program and one during the Kindergarten Art Show. Our third weekly "special" is Spanish. We bring in a fluent Spanish-speaking teacher to work with the children throughout the year to introduce them to a new language.

In addition to community, our focus on creating nature-based education, and weekly specials, we also integrate the Virtues Project into our daily interactions. Teaching virtues has made a significant positive impact on our environment. If you observe our classrooms and playground, one of the first things you'll notice is that the children take these virtues to heart and practice them in every interaction - they are cooperative, helpful, thoughtful, respectful, and kind to everyone around them and it shows by how peacefully they work and play together. The Virtues Project is a remarkable program that we are happy to offer.

The final unique program that we offer is one that starts as soon as the children enter the school and is integrated into the classroom throughout their three years with us - it is our focus on art appreciation. In the preschool and pre-k years, the children learn about artists, are introduced to famous works of art, and have ample opportunity to try a variety of art materials. But it is the kindergarten art appreciation classes and annual Kindergarten Art Show that provide the exceptional experience in art appreciation at CHMS. In kindergarten, the children receive art lessons, learn in depth information about 10 or so artists, and create their own replicas of famous art work. Our children leave CHMS with a thorough understanding and appreciation of art history, and we're told that many of them continue in their love of the arts long after they've moved on to elementary school.

We hope that you've clicked on the links throughout this blog post to learn more about what makes Children's House Montessori School of Reston so special. We welcome your questions via phone or email (703-481-6678 or Keturah@childrenshouse-montessori.com), and look forward to getting to know the new families who will join our CHMS community this year.