ABOUT THE AUTHOR
It was during his time in Peace Corps Nicaragua when Austin had the striking realization that the first years of life are tremendously formative and far too overlooked. Upon returning stateside, his involvement in research and his studies in graduate school confirmed and further elucidated the notion that the earliest years of life lay an important groundwork for future learning; experiences had during this period have life-long effects on an individual. When not attempting to straddle the worlds of research and practice, Austin is probably outside, reading, or learning something.
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ABOUT THE BLOG
“Freedom in intellectual work is found to be the basis of internal discipline” (*Montessori, 1917/1965). This quote highlights a notion which goes completely against our conventional wisdom. Internal discipline is to be instilled externally. Students develop discipline through following top-down
Maria Montessori described observing children in a traditional classroom as being tantamount to an entomologist observing dead insects pinned to a board, “where the spontaneous expression of a child’s personality is so suppressed that he is almost like a corpse,
We are not rational beings. In fact, many aspects of our cognition are inherently emotional. When one’s emotional well-being suffers, so does her cognition. Because of the inseparable nature of emotion and cognition, the way we feel has a profound
“Children who grow up in poverty often exhibit delays in academic and social-emotional school readiness that undermine their school progress at kindergarten entry and initiate a lifelong trajectory of underachievement and underemployment.” What a powerful concept — a lifelong
The brain is an incredible machine with immense potential. When we are born, our brains are wired to learn from, and adapt to, our environment. Given what we know about the brain’s unique malleability in the first years of life,
Studies of neglect and maltreatment of young children have revealed a lot about early brain development (e.g., Cicchetti, 2002; Nelson, 2000). These studies have highlighted that experiences in the first years of life can have profound implications across the lifespan.
It is common knowledge that parents play a vital role in their children’s development. However, we are slowly coming to understand just how vital this role is. Teachers understand this connection better than anyone; we interact with our students’ parents,