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What Do Adolescents Need Right Now?

What Do Adolescents Need Right Now?

 

 

 

By Laurie Ewert-KrockerDirector, International Montessori Training Institute, former Hershey staff member, Hershey parent and grandparent

 

Adolescents need us to remember that they are fundamentally human beings who want to be respected and treated with the same level of dignity with which we treat other adults.

Montessori education recognizes that we all share the same human tendencies and basic needs throughout our lives—and that as children grow through stages of development, particular needs and characteristics are highlighted and need support to build the potential of adulthood.

In a time of instability, it’s important to remember what’s fundamental for all human beings—and then consider particularly what is important to teens right now.

The need to Orient:  We are all experiencing new and changing schedules as well as significantly restricted environments. Adolescents suddenly have limited access to peers and adults other than parents and family members. They will GRIEVE this loss on some level. Not having their peers and their “tribe” close by will be impactful for them on a social/emotional level. Sensitivity to that loss is paramount. They are also going to experience different kinds of expectations from everyone than is usual—from teachers, from parents, from friends. And those expectations are likely to change as everyone follows a learning curve and responds to unpredictable events. Expectations of them might also go unarticulated or ineffectively communicated. They need the people in their lives to help them orient to the changing conditions of their lives right now. Clarity, patience, and kind honesty need to rule the day.

The need for Order: We all need enough order and some level of predictability to stay healthy and functional. Everyday chaos is overwhelming. Routines will be helpful—just as long as the routine considers the adolescent’s needs as well as everyone else’s.  Their need for order will be more internal than external, while the adults might cling to external order as an anchor. Give them some space to own their own disorder (like in their rooms) and express where order is helpful to them. Lovingly explain how order helps each person in the family to feel safe and secure—but perhaps in different ways. Offer to help them keep order from time to time—rather than demanding it.

One idea: Have regular family meetings to check-in with everyone (even if there are only 2 of you!) What’s going well? What’s challenging? What are everyone’s current needs? How can we help each other? How can we paint a picture of a hopeful future with each other? How can we share some quality time together to be fun, joyful, playful? What will make us laugh?

The need to Imagine positive outcomes: Adolescents need a certain level of consistency and assurance from adults about the future; we will get through this! Help them imagine what that will look and feel like. Invite them to consider positive changes for the future based on what they are experiencing and perceiving.  They need messages of hope and regular assurances that their needs are being considered and attended to as best the family can. But beware—they can tell if you are lying—so this means incorporating hope and faith in the future into your own outlook.

The need for Work: “Work” is what we all do to contribute to the sustaining of our lives and our communities. Humans work to adapt to the environment and improve life. Work gives us purpose and meaning. For an adolescent, work needs to feel relevant and valuable—not just something to keep them “busy” or “out of people’s hair.” Work needs to feel either like a valuable step toward their future or like a contribution to the community’s needs. Their school work should feel like it has a purpose in their lives. The work they do for the family needs to feel like a contribution. Can there be a family rotation of chores, menu-planning, cooking, etc. that includes the adolescent—but also considers that their timeline for getting things done might be a little different than adults? (If they don’t get something done until later in the day or week than you would like—be patient and let the timeline be theirs, if possible.)

Is there community service work they can do in their families or for their community while still maintaining social distancing? Can they write letters to elderly relatives? Can they make babysitting kits for families with young children? Can they record story-telling or reading aloud sessions online for the children of busy working-at-home parents? Can they make board games and mail them to children of family friends? Can they sew protective masks? Can they put together simple building kits for children? Use some of their own Legos to create unique construction kits? (Disinfect and mail or drop off outside the door?) Can they put your family budget on a spreadsheet to track expenses? Organize music playlists for people? Can they work in the yard or take on repair or maintenance projects like painting or building?

The need for Communication: Communication may be humanity’s number one need right now on the planet. Adolescents need LOTS of communication opportunities—lots of opportunities to share what THEY are thinking and feeling

  • Communication from parents: regular, short meetings and check-ins that ask them how THEY are doing and feeling (not just TELLING what the adults need and think); honest, clear information about what is happening in the world (but not so much that everyone is swirling around in the worst-case scenarios); lots of “I” statements from adults: “I think this is what is happening;” “I think this is what we need; but what do YOU think?”
  • Task and responsibility charts for the family—where everyone gets to choose several tasks from a list and they commit to a time frame for getting them done; a sense that everyone is partnering in the situation and no one is shouldering the labor for everyone else.
  • Communication from peers; peers are an adolescent’s primary need—so making sure they have access to friends and classmates is crucial. Seeing their peers face-to-face online regularly would be helpful. Relaxing the phone and tech rules a bit for now makes sense—but not at night when sleep is still the primary mental and physical health requirement for adolescents.
  • Examine your own expectations for your adolescents—what are you expecting them to take on (like care of siblings or housework)? Has that been articulated? Have they been diplomatically asked and negotiated with? Do you know how they feel about that? Adolescents are often very willing and able to step up into adult roles as needed—but they need to feel treated with respect, and they need to feel their perspective is considered.

The need for Self-Expression: Adolescence is a time of life focused on identity formation and internal processing. Self-expression happens through open dialogue with others but also through the arts and physical activity. Being restricted from playing sports, going to music or dance lessons is going to be painful. How can they continue to be involved in their chosen forms of self-expression? What space and materials might they need to set up a studio or work-out space at home? Are there online programs that can keep them motivated? (Don’t be surprised if they feel the need to have a digital connection with friends WHILE they engage in self-expression activities.)

One of the insights of a Montessori approach to education is that whatever a child/adolescent might be doing in the moment (that may look questionable to our adult minds), there may be a very important human drive or developmental reason behind it. We try to stop ourselves from reacting, observe and consider what that need might be, and respond by supporting. Knowing that our Human Tendencies are always an active force in our lives—but may look different at different times—helps us to consider our own humanity and the humanity of those around us. We will all be compelled to orient, order, work, explore, communicate, abstract, imagine, self-express in the coming weeks and months—but those tendencies will look different for each of us. Our everyday work will not only be to remain consistent, calm, and flexible, but to work at truly SEEING each other and LISTENING to each other.

 

Hershey Announces its 2020 Virtual Gala

Hershey Announces its 2020 Virtual Gala

The Hershey Montessori School Gala has gone fully virtual!

 

 

 

This year’s gala, Timeless, is now fully VIRTUAL! Jump into the future with us as we’ve re-invented this exciting annual fundraising event. Now more than ever, we are in need of human connection. It is true that we are unable to go to the gala, but nothing is stopping us from bringing the gala to you – our amazing community!

The newly formatted Hershey Montessori School Gala will offer daily virtual opportunities to engage in fun and interesting activities during the week of May 10th – 17th.

As part of the line up, we will have a special kick-off celebration on Sunday May 10th that will bring a chance to win a special Mother’s Day package designed just for Mom.

We will have live performancesgames, a Cocktail Hour with our Presenting Sponsors, our famous Wine Pull, Raise My Paddle, Silent Auction, and Live Auction.

Our Live Auction items include

  • A week-long condo stay in Siesta Key, Florida
  • A 3-night Bed & Breakfast stay in Öregrund, Sweden
  • A Playground World play set
  • Gorgeous granite for home or office

Register here for the VIRTUAL GALA and watch for items to be previewed.

Please mark your calendar for this incredible evening and stay tuned for the full schedule of events to come.

Your attendance and financial support will enhance the lives of Hershey students from birth through graduation as the funds raised go directly to benefit these children by covering expenses that tuition does not.

Questions and sponsorship requests may be directed to Julie Loxterman, Development Coordinator, at jloxterman@hershey-montessori.org or by calling 440-357-0918 ext. 64. Sponsorship opportunities will remain open until filled!

We look forward to our Timeless celebration with you!

 

Join The Hershey Gala Facebook Group to stay connected!

 

All proceeds go directly to benefit Hershey students by covering expenses that tuition does not.

Interested Parents to Visit Hershey March 11

Interested Parents to Visit Hershey March 11

Interested parents will be attending an Open House at Hershey Montessori’s Concord Campus on Wednesday, March 11, 2020.

Attendees will be provided an overview of the Birth through 6th Grade programs and observe various classrooms.

Registration for this event is still open.

If you would like to tour Hershey Montessori School to personally see programs in progress and experience the unique classrooms, which have been created specifically to engage children from infancy through the elementary years, please contact us. You will gain a greater understanding of Montessori methods as you witness children enter and interact with a learning environment uniquely designed to fit their current educational, social, and intrinsic needs.

Is Hershey Montessori School right for your family? Find out on March 11th.

RSVP by filling out the form below, emailing Admissions@Hershey-Montessori.org or calling 440-357-0918.

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Hershey Students Learn the Power of Positive Thinking

Hershey Students Learn the Power of Positive Thinking

 

Hershey Montessori School’s Upper School students recently welcomed local guest speaker Marvin Montgomery, a motivational speaker and sales trainer with more than 30 years of experience.

Hershey students were enlightened as Montgomery shared insights throughout his presentation, “The Power of Positive Thinking.” Montgomery demonstrated how having a positive attitude can change a person’s outlook on life. Students and staff alike enjoyed his inspirational speech as they laughed and participated with Montgomery’s examples and provided stories of their own.

Students were able to see how their outlook impacts their outcome. If they wake up in a bad mood and expect to have a terrible day, that is most likely what will happen. However, if they wake up expecting to have a great day, it is more likely to be a great day.

Montgomery stressed the importance of looking on the bright side and finding the positive in every situation. The students were able to relate to how their outlook on events in their life had impacted the outcome of a situation.

Hershey Montessori School staff and students thank Montgomery for his simple, yet profound, tips. Everyone walked away with food for thought on how to approach each day and the events of their life.

“Change is a great thing,” Montgomery said, “Don’t just go through the motions. If something is bothering you, change it.”

 


 

We Invite You To Refer Your Friends and Family!

We Invite You To Refer Your Friends and Family!

Our first ever referral drive has kicked off and we are asking you to tell your friends about us!

We want to share more Montessori with more families who value quality education the same as you do. We believe you can help us find them.

Hershey meets the usual checklist that many families look for in a school, such as individualized attention, great teachers, an excellent education, and a safe school environment. However, Hershey also offers a personalized academic pace based on the natural development of the whole child, scientific teaching methods, stress reducing connections to nature, meaningful social connections, and a strong emphasis on critical thinking and community.

It’s not surprising that parents often cite the intentional community we create as one of the most compelling reasons to enroll. That is why we are seeking referrals from those who know and love Hershey. Families who share the same goals for their children create a community that benefits everyone – children, parents, and teachers alike.

Over the last 40 years our parents and students have been our best source for growing our community. Sharing good news and stories about Hershey Montessori School to trusted family, friends and neighbors has helped to create and build upon the close-knit Hershey community that we all cherish.

In gratitude for every referred visitor who tours our school, we are placing the name of the referrer in a quarterly drawing for a basket filled with beautifully handcrafted items made by our microeconomy students at our Huntsburg campus, along with a Hershey Montessori apparel item.

Growing together means that we will get to experience more of what is so beautiful to Hershey – our connections.

Each year, we are moved by the outcomes we see in our students as they grow and develop as creative and resilient human beings. Now more than ever, we are compelled to provide more Montessori to more children. Help us to reach more children and adolescents with the Montessori methods and ideals that we all know and love: grace, peace, respect, unity, and the like.

We hope you will share in our passion for this growth.Hershey open house visitor day

Tours and visits can be scheduled online or by contacting Lakisha Wingard, Director of Admissions, at 440-357-0918, or Robyn Dill, Administration & Admissions Manager, at 440-636-6290, or by emailing admissions@hershey-montessori.org.

Let’s grow our community together!

 


 

Hershey Staff Participate in NVC Workshop on Communication

Hershey Staff Participate in NVC Workshop on Communication

“An education capable of saving humanity is no small undertaking: it involves the spiritual development of man, the enhancement of his value as an individual, and the preparation of young people to understand the times in which they live.” —  Dr. Maria Montessori, Education and Peace

Communication in today’s world has many avenues. Just imagine that it was only 30 years ago that both cell phones and the Internet took hold. Information that was once exchanged verbally is now delivered via texts, emails, tweets, posts, and pictures. It is now more relevant than ever to continue to cultivate and enhance face-to-face, interpersonal relationship skills — and this is something that Montessori education certainly strives for. Instilling the relevance of these crucial interpersonal communication skills in each and every student is one of the hallmarks of our program.

This past week, the entire Hershey staff had the opportunity to attend an all-day workshop on Needs-Based Communication, also known as Nonviolent Communication (NVC). NVC is a method of communication that transforms old patterns of reactiveness and defensiveness into compassion and empathy with the hope of improving both communication as well as relationships.

The workshop was led by Gregg Kendrick, founder of Basileia, LLC.  NVC greatly aligns with Montessori pedagogy as it creates a space for attention and respect in every moment. This is something that we certainly can use more of in today’s world. NVC lays a solid foundation by incorporating observation, feelings, and needs with both empathy and honesty. If practiced regularly, this model can enrich and strengthen communication.

In the coming months, the staff will connect what was learned and incorporate more of these skills with students, parents, and each other, to promote a more harmonious and enriching community. To find out more about the Hershey Montessori education you can view more on our information page.

To learn more about NVC, visit Basileia.org.