First stop Waterford!
Waterford is Irelands oldest city situated on the southeast coast. It was founded by Vikings in 914 A.D and parts of it’s ancient walled core remain today. Waterford is best known for manufacturing glass with Waterford Crystal first being produced in 1783. If you plan on staying a night or two, you can rest your weary head at Waterford Castle Hotel & Resort. The luxury hotel attracts guests from far and wide with it’s distinctive combination of historical and modern features.
Why have we stopped in Waterford you ask? Well, Maria Montessori made a very special visit in 1927 to Newtown School located here. She took great interest in the artistic productions of the children aged 9-12, declaring them unique. Maria’s visit promoted the Montessori philosophy which would shape Ireland’s education system.
Montessori Fun Fact: Maria Montessori has been nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize (1949, 1950, 1951).
Activity: Cereal Box Viking Helmet
- Empty cereal box
- Grey duct tape
- White duct tape
Step 1 – Create Helmet’s Lower Rim
Open your cereal box and cut out one side of the box. Then, cut the piece in two for the rim. Measure to the size you need for your child’s head. Lay the box flat and cover one side with grey duct tape. Once the rim is covered, fold it over and add a little more tape to the end to keep it in place.
Step 2 – Create Helmet’s Upper Rim
Use one side of the cereal box and cut off the flaps. Cover in grey duct tape for a silver metallic finish. Fold over and tape one end down to the inside of the helmet. Repeat the process on the other side.
Step 3 – Add Your Horns
Using the other side of the cereal box, draw a horn shape and cut it out. You can use the cut-out horn as a template for the second using the remaining cardboard. Cover each horn in white duct tape and create a small fold on the bottom of each. Place the fold of each horn onto each side of the helmet and secure with grey duct tape.
Step 4 – Add Large Studs to Helmet
Using any remaining cardboard or paper if not, carefully cut out some circles and cover with more grey duct tape and tape into place all over the helmet.
Now you’re a Waterford Viking!Read More
All of us have been impacted by COVID-19 in many ways, both professionally and personally. The presence of the virus has also created some significant challenges for those living with dementia, especially for those living in long term care communities. In addition, as states work to reopen or partially reopen care communities, the common misunderstanding that individuals living with dementia cannot practice social distancing may result in their continued unnecessary and harmful isolation.
Individuals with dementia have the same needs as everyone else—to feel valued and respected. As dementia progresses in the brain, memories of facts and skills for complex thought fade but feelings such as happiness, love, frustration, and sensing respect remain. “Treatment” for dementia is socialization or elimination of boredom.
Focusing on the 4 basic needs that individuals living with dementia have, here are some best practices to consider during this time of COVID-19 and as we move forward.
Allowing safe freedom of movement within the care community.
Everyone should have the opportunity to move about as freely as possible, but changes in the brain caused by dementia may mean that individuals are not able to exercise the judgment and reasoning to do it safely by maintaining a physical distance and wearing a mask. There are a number of reasons why a person with dementia needs to walk about such as the need to engage in a familiar routine, desire to find the bathroom, want of exercise, desire to relive boredom, etc.
Do not try to keep the person seated all day in order to stop the walking about. This may cause anxiety, boredom, incontinence, poor circulation, constipation and overall weakness, thus increasing the risk for falls. Walking helps elders to maintain balance, gross motor skills, and overall healthy functioning of the body’s systems.
Know the person
Leadership should empower all staff to take the time needed to get to know the person and to work with the elder on a routine that keeps the person engaged in activities that meet her or her needs.
Rely on what you know about the person and their past and present habits to try to figure out why the person would like to walk about. Consistent staff assignment is important in order to know the person’s preferences and habits. Once you have identified the cause or suspected cause of the behavior, you can try some solutions. You may have to try several different things before you find the right fit for the person.
Pay attention to when the desire for walking about occurs. It is common for an increase in noise to cause the person to want to get up and leave the area. Activity or noise that used to be easily tolerated or enjoyed such as the TV, radio, staff coming and going at shift change may be overstimulating and uncomfortable.
Ask the physician to help determine if the person is in pain, has a urinary tract infection, or is experiencing side effects of medications.
Create routines that involve movement
Suggest a daily walk. Accompanying the person at a safe distance on a daily walk or enlisting the help of family, friends or volunteers to walk in a safe location such as a courtyard is a simple solution that usually works very well. Build this into the daily routine.
Look for indoor opportunities in well ventilated areas for regular exercise such as an exercise class with a limited number of participants or seated exercises done with a video or internet-based tutorial.
Many people walk about out of boredom or because they are looking for something meaningful to do.
If the person enjoys a certain type of hobby, try setting up a hobby table in their room where they can go and work on a project whenever they like.
Provide cleaning materials such as a broom, dustpan and dusting cloths and invite the person to clean his or her room on a daily basis to encourage movement and purposeful activity.
Try to encourage a healthy sleep routine for the person and avoid napping during the day, particularly due to lack of things to do.
Provide orientation information
Provide information about the time of day. People with dementia often wake throughout the night and becomes confused about time. They may wake up in the middle of the night and get dressed. Having a large digital clock that shows AM and PM may help with the time confusion. Leaving a light on in the bathroom and the hallway may help reduce disorientation at night. Avoiding daytime napping and spending time outdoors will also help encourage normal sleep patterns.
Protecting elders against COVID-19.
People living with dementia may find it difficult to understand health information and to remember to follow infection control guidance like washing their hands or wearing masks.
Consider how much information to convey about COVID-19, to avoid inducing anxiety, but enough to convey the importance of following the guidance. Provide simple information that is easy to understand for a person with cognitive impairment in a large print type size that is easy for elders with visual impairment to read. Encourage the elder to talk about any fears or concerns. Listen, reassure, comfort, and try to maintain a positive attitude.
Help elders make frequent handwashing part of the regular routine. Create positive visual reminders such as signs for the bathroom that state, “Clean hands feel good.” Provide warm cloths at each meal for elders to use prior to eating. Provide encouragement and celebrate accomplishments when the elder remembers to wash his or her hands.
Make tissues, garbage cans, and sanitizer visually accessible throughout the community for easy access and a visual reminder to use.
Help elders make mask wearing part of the regular routine. After the morning routine, suggest placing a mask on one’s face before leaving the room. Provide a hook and reminder note inside the bedrooms, near the door, as a reminder to put on the mask before exiting. Provide staff with a positive statement (mantra) about using masks that each person uses in order to communicate the same positive message.
Remove masks prior to entering elder’s rooms in order to greet the person at a physical distance and allow the person to see the face of the staff member. Wear high contrast large print name tags with the person’s first name only and a large, clear photo of the person. Place name tags on the chest rather than hanging from a lanyard.
Look the person in the eye when communicating with a mask on, use positive gestures, and maintain a calm presence.
Keeping families safely connected with their loved ones.
Social and emotional well-being of both family members and elders often is centered around maintaining frequent contact with one another. Because the physical distance required during COVID-19, families are concerned about their loved one’s health status. In addition, both parties can experience anxiety and loneliness from the separation.
Maintaining positive relationships
Assist elders and families with regular visual assess to their loved ones by setting up recurring appointments for video conferencing.
Provide assistance to elders to connect with loved ones routinely by phone.
Assist elders in writing letters, cards, or emails to family and friends. Provide cards, stationary, and stamps and invite the elder to dictate a letter (or email).
Provide family members with directions and a template for creating a memory book for their loved one. Ask family to drop off the book, or volunteer to print and assemble the book if the family emails an electronic file.
Suggest that families create a memory box or care package with a variety of interesting items such as photos, travel memorabilia, trinkets, favorite snacks, magazines, etc. for the elder to enjoy.
Limit family visits to two people at a time. Ask family members to wear masks and use sanitizer or wash hands immediately upon entering the building. Offer name tags to family members to assist the elder in recognition. Provide a variety of visiting space options in areas that can be ventilated by opening windows. Provide chairs for visiting throughout outdoor spaces.
Provide activity ideas for the families to enjoy together such as gardening, listening to music, games, taking walks, filling bird feeders, etc.
The need to have purpose in one’s life and to be productive doesn’t end once someone reaches a certain age, moves into a care community, or receives a diagnosis of dementia.
Purposeful and satisfying activities should happen as a normal course of the day on one’s own or in small groups. The community should offer opportunities for new learning, religious practices, meditation, art, music, exercise, etc. on a daily basis that meet individuals’ interests and cognitive level. When elders are free to follow their interests and meet their own needs, they feel fulfilled rather than bored.
Personalized materials can be provided and kept in individuals’ rooms, so they are available at all times. Other materials that are sanitized after use, can made available for work on tables throughout different areas of the community. A variety of kits can be assembled with supplies and given to elders who express interest in the topic.
Engagement for individuals living with dementia
Successful activities are often hands-on and involve movement and sensory stimulation they include:
- Arts and crafts
- Writing poetry
- Telling stories, reading books
- Cleaning one’s room
- Washing and folding one’s clothes
- Religious and spiritual practices
- Wood working
- Personalized music listening
- Small group sing-a-longs
- Mindfulness, relaxation and mediation
- Familiar Cards and board games
- Memory books
- Montessori activities (practical life, sensorial, language, mathematics, and culture)
By Jennifer Brush
What is Montessori for Dementia?
I am asked a lot to define Montessori for dementia. Many people have heard of Montessori schools for children, but are not clear how it applies to adults. Montessori philosophy, based on the principles of free choice and purposeful activity, has historically been focused on children’s education. However, its essential principles and practices are increasingly seen as critical to enhancing the lives of the older adults in our care. Central to both the Montessori philosophy and person-centered care are the core values of respect for the individual, the importance of knowing the person deeply, seeking and honoring the elder’s preferences over all aspects of his or her daily life, and creating a supportive environment that allows for continued participation in familiar and preferred activities, inside and outside.
In a Montessori community for elders, persons with a wide range of abilities work both individually and collaboratively on an array of activities from which they are free to choose. Elders have freedom to move within the community and to engage in household roles and responsibilities, with guidance as needed by trained staff. The focus is on the well-being of the whole person, including physical, spiritual, social, mental, and emotional needs. Communities offer occasions for new learning, religious practices, meditation, art, music, exercise, and so forth. In addition, there are opportunities for interaction with children, friends, family, and groups outside of the care community.
What follows is a brief description of each of the essential features of Montessori for dementia communities.
The prepared environment is designed to facilitate maximum independence and exploration by all members of the community. Hands-on adult activities and materials are accessible to elders 24 hours a day. This allows elders to feel ownership of their space, encouraging participation in care of the community.
Freedom of Movement
Elders choose where to sit and what to work on, with guidance or assistance as needed from trained care partners. They are encouraged to move about the environment rather than remaining seated or in one place all day. This freedom of movement helps elders to maintain balance, fine and gross motor skills, and overall healthy functioning of the body’s systems.
Elders work with both specially designed materials and everyday household items. Activities are hands-on and often involve movement and sensory stimulation. Each activity has multiple purposes. These may include strengthening gross or fine motor skills, maintaining hand-eye coordination, developing sustained attention on a task, or providing sensory stimulation. The purpose of an activity may also be artistic expression, enjoyment, or the satisfaction that comes from making a meaningful contribution to the community.
Humans are born with an intrinsic desire to explore and learn. Rather than focusing on keeping elders “busy,” the prepared environment provides opportunities for choice, independence, and meaningful engagement. When elders are free to follow their interests and meet their own needs, they feel fulfilled rather than bored.
With regard to elders, we think of concentration as joyful engagement in work that one finds satisfying. Care partners do not interrupt elders’ concentration when they are engaged in meaningful activity and only offer assistance when it is needed.
Humans are naturally driven toward achieving independence. Therefore, a Montessori prepared environment is set up to facilitate maximum independence for elders. Care partners invite them to engage in daily tasks (either independently or in partnership) rather than completing these tasks for them.
Mixed Abilities of Individuals
Elders of different abilities work together, form friendships, and help each other in a supportive community. Peer collaboration is encouraged; elders share their strengths with others who need more support in those areas. Rather than staff taking over all leadership roles, elders have opportunities to use their leadership skills in areas of strength and interest.
Every elder living in a Montessori community has an individualized plan that is created as a result of assessment of and collaboration with the elder and his or her family (when applicable). This individualized plan is communicated to all staff so that the community as a whole works together to support the elder in meaningful life engagement.
Observation is an integral part of the Montessori philosophy. We recommend routine observations of all elders in the community, both when they are on their own and when interacting with others. Observation enables us to gather information that will help us adjust elders’ individualized care plans to better meet their needs.
Grace and Courtesy
Social skills such as offering and responding to greetings remain relatively intact through aging and dementia, so elders enjoy opportunities to welcome guests, invite friends to join them during activities, help others, and to assist with caring for the community. In a care community, it is the role of the staff to model grace and courtesy at all times and to assist elders who need support with these skills.
Older adults and people living with dementia have the same needs as everyone else—to feel valued and respected. In the absence of a cure for dementia, socialization and engagement in purposeful activities is a powerful treatment for the symptoms associated with dementia. People with dementia still need to feel wanted, learn new information, have relationships with friends and family, and contribute to the community. A Montessori community provides a safe, engaging, and meaningful environment for elders to live a purposeful and rewarding life.Read More
I am looking for a student who could work for me from the last week of May to the end of June to cover a maternity leave.
I pay €15.00 per hour plus 8% holiday pay.
The job would consist of:
Preparing the drinks, sterilising bucket (toys) and children’s bags early in the morning. To meet and greet the children as they come in. To bring the children to the toilet when needed. To supervise the children and help them with their Montessori activities. To wash out the beakers after lunch and generally assist the other two teachers and myself. We have 20 children in our Montessori and we are in a Parish room in St. Patricks Church, Harbour Road, Dalkey, Co. Dublin
My phone number is 087 9934240 if you need to call me.
Lisa MardellSmart Cookies Montessori
Safari Childcare are happy to interview childcare course graduates and experienced childcare graduates for positions of work experience and employment in our services. We are opening a brand new centre in Clancy Quay Dublin 8 in late July 2021 with a number of other new centres in Dublin to be announced very soon.
We are paying salaries at 24,000+ bonuses up to 40,000+ bonuses. There are a host of other benefits to be discussed with the right candidates. We are looking for around 45 new people to join us over the next 12 months. We have a significant number of international students coming from childcare university courses abroad doing work experience, many of whom return for employment which is great but we feel more could be done to work with our domestic colleges.
E-mail: email@example.comRead More
My wife and I are looking for an experienced and reliable Childminder for our three girls – toddler aged 3 and twins aged 1 in our home in Monkstown. It’s a part time position for 24-23 hours a week. Times, days, length of days are negotiable.
If interested contact Padraig: firstname.lastname@example.orgRead More
Little Apples Academy are looking for a full time Montessori teacher to start with us in September/ end of August. We are a small school in Blackrock village. We take children from 2 onwards and really want someone who loves to work with children.
Contact Gemma on: 0867792578Read More
I’m looking for a kind, energetic person to help mind my three children Monday to Friday after school and full days during the school holidays as our current minder (who is Montessori trained!) is starting maternity leave soon.
I have 10 year old twins and a six year old. The twins are a boy and girl and thee six year old is a little boy. I
need someone who can drive and has their own car. The first school collection is at 1:20 and the second is at 2:20. My daughter is dropped home by a school bus every day at approximately 3 o’clock. I need someone to help with the homework, after school activities, playing and preparation of a simple evening meal. Some light housework is required and every second Friday is free. I come home by 5:30 every evening and there is an earlier finish on Tuesdays and Thursdays usually around 4:30.
We live in Cabinteely near Kilbogget park and playground. If interested contact: email@example.comRead More
By Jennifer Brush
Engaging, beautiful and purposeful, Montessori materials are great for everyone. Just as Montessori classroom teachers guide and support students instead of lecturing to them, Montessori staff guide and support older adults instead of doing everything for them. Staff and elders work shoulder to shoulder as equally valued members of a shared community. Older adults and people with dementia are invited to take on leadership roles in their areas of interest, such as leading a book discussion group or planning the menu for a holiday meal. Montessori materials for these activities are neatly organized, labeled, and physically accessible all throughout the living area. Staff guide elders with these roles and activities until they build new routines, and their skills improve to the point that most are able to enjoy these activities on their own.
So, what do Montessori materials, roles, and activities for elders look like?
Once learning that an elder enjoys gardening, we may invite her to take on the role of watering and caring for the houseplants in the community. This role allows her to make a meaningful contribution to the community, while also encouraging her to move freely and maintain her balance, allowing her to work on fine and gross motor skills, and participating in something familiar. In addition, staff may introduce this elder to other related activities, such as flower arranging or using nomenclature cards with images of flowers.
Nomenclature cards are Montessori materials that are often used with children for building vocabulary and concepts in all subject areas. Also known as 3-part cards, this Montessori material consists of pictures and matching labels; using the material helps elders to maintain their ability to read, identify and name objects, and sequence the steps of an activity. Nomenclature cards use something called control cards as a way to help the individual to self-correct without interference from staff.
Metal Insets, a cornerstone material in Montessori classrooms, can also be enjoyed by elders. In tracing the various stencils, elders practice their fine motor control, hand eye coordination, concentration, and sequencing. The artistic component of creating different designs with the stencils, drawing lines, and shading is a creative outlet. Elders often use the metal insets to design stationary to use for correspondence with family and friends, and can build the skills necessary for more sophisticated art projects, as well as maintaining independence with activities of daily living that require fine motor control, such as buttoning and spooning.
The Montessori philosophy for adults gives older adults the opportunity to grow, engage, love—and most importantly, live.
Dr. Maria Montessori wrote that “joy, feeling one’s own value, being appreciated and loved by others, feeling useful and capable of production are all factors of enormous value for the human soul” (Montessori, 1987). Montessori is more than an educational model; it is a philosophy of life for people of all ages.
You can change lives and improve elder care by implementing the Montessori philosophy in your care setting, and we can help by training staff and providing step by step coaching to help you be successful.Read More
Join SMSI in the Walk to Chiaravalle, Italy! A fundraising activity inspired by the birthplace of Maria Montessori. Join in with members, parents, faculty staff and students as we walk virtually from Dun Laoghaire to Chiaravalle, ‘passing through’ some well-known (and not so well-known) corners of Europe.
At each ‘stop’ you will receive an update on the top ten places to visit, a fun recipe to make with the family, a children’s activity and a Montessori fact! Let your mind relax and explore on this virtual holiday while we take you to far away and exotic places.
To join is easy, we ask you to commit to the following steps:
- Like our SMSI Facebook page to receive updates.
- Join the fundraising event on Facebook.
- Make a donation or encourage others to donate to SMSI Fundraising where we will continue to use this support to promote our 2025 strategic goals.
- Order a pedometer or track your steps on an app!
- Get a group or go at it alone!
- Count/Log your steps for the day.
- Post your weekly goal on social media with the hashtag #smsiwalktoitaly
From start to finish this trip is over 4,392 kilometres (that is 7,000,000 steps)! On this trip, we will journey from Dun Laoghaire all the way to Chiaravalle, Italy, passing through the following destinations:
Dun Laoghaire, Waterford, Oxford, London, Amsterdam, Noordwijk aan Zee, Brussels, Paris, St Foy de la Grande, Barcelona, Nice, Florence, Rome, Cita de Castello, Chiaravalle.
In each location, we will learn about the destination, places to visit, see beautiful photos, learn a fact or two about the city and Montessori, as well as having a fun family-friendly recipe or activity to do altogether,
We, St. Nicholas Montessori Society are committed to raising money to support Montessori Education in Ireland and throughout the world. Join us in this exciting event to bring your family together in a happy and healthy way!Read More