Tag Archives: Montessori practical life

Out and About with Inly Interns

Middle School internships at Inly School in Scituate MA

John and Laura interned in the Communications and Development departments at Inly School

Middle School students presented PowerPoint reports and reflections on their internships today, and audience members (including parents, faculty, and Upper Elementary students) were impressed with their level of self-confidence, self-knowledge and honesty!

We were able to catch up with a handful of Inly Middle School students for some quick feedback on their experiences during Internship Week.

John: Communications @ Inly School

The Communications department was lucky to have John Barthelmes on hand as a videographer and assistant during Internship Week. The 8th grader worked on shooting and editing an admissions video for the Toddler and Bridging program, as well as an animated logo sequence for use with other Inly School videos. He also assisted the Auction Committee with its digital slide show and volunteered extra time to help with Auction tasks.

An active member of the Middle School’s Communications Committee, John directed and edited the popular Inly Newsroom web series. A huge film enthusiast, John runs a multimedia production company called Warear Productions with his friend Evan and plans to pursue a career in the film industry.

Laura: Events @ Inly School

Laura did a stint in the Development office at Inly during the busiest week of the year! As an Event Planning intern for the Inly Auction, she was invaluable when it came to organizing materials and last-minute preparations. Laura worked on auction logistics from printing bid sheets and assembling packages to setting up at the venue and selling raffle tickets that evening.


Inly School intern at WATD in Marshfield MA

Ali interned at WATD Radio in Marshfield MA

Ali did her internship at WATD, the local radio station in Marshfield, where she learned about both news broadcasting and music programming. From observing the 6:00 a.m. program to helping with the evening news, she observed closely and “saw it all happening.” Ali says she’d like to get involved with radio in high school and college, and then maybe go into some sort of media or broadcast journalism. Listen to Ali’s on-air interview with Donna Milani Luther, head of school.

Inly School Expansion and Outdoor Classroom: Interview with Donna Milani Luther on WATD

Shaliyah: Thayer Academy Library

Shaliyah did her internship in the library at Thayer Academy. She was busy checking books—and laptops—in and out, and said it definitely put her organizational skills to the test. “I had to be very organized every day,” she said. Does she want to be a librarian? “Definitely not!” she said, and then laughed. It wasn’t too quiet, she explained, it was just a bit too sedentary. “I want a job where I can get up and move! I don’t think I want to just sit in one place.” On her last day there she did get away from her desk, to another part of campus. She was able to sit in on a history class, which her father was teaching. “Now that was fun,” she said.

Luke: Music Unlimited

Luke, a drummer and music fan, did his internship at Music Unlimited in Kingston. He enjoyed being in the music store atmosphere, surrounded by instruments and equipment. He liked dealing with customers on the floor (he wasn’t allowed to ring up sales because of their age requirement) and especially liked helping with inventory. “I wish there had been more inventory to help with, because I like doing that kind of work and I like to be busy.”

Alexa: Emerson Animal Hospital

Alexa, always an animal lover, did her internship at Emerson Animal Hospital. Although she admits to being nervous going into the experience, she emerged more enthusiastic than ever  and convinced that she wants to go into veterinary science. “I’ve always thought I’d live to be a vet some day, but the idea also kind of scared me. I didn’t know what it would be like but I really, really liked it. I think I definitely want to do this when I’m older.”

Cole: Loomis, Sayles and Company

Cole took a turn in a corporate setting in downtown Boston. Working at Loomis Sayles, an investment management firm, he assisted with customer service and organizational projects, which he enjoyed. Although he was not able to apply his math skills to global fund management, he was able to solve several problems.

So you engaged in problem-solving? “Yes.” Creative problem-solving? “Yes, I guess you could say that.” And did you enjoy this type of work? “Yes, I did.” Cole said that he liked working in a corporate office setting and would like to intern at a similar place in the future. (Don’t let the long hair fool you!)

Shaliyah interned in the Thayer Academy Library; Seynab was at the Somali Development Center

Thanks to our hosts for having Inly Middle School students!

With both 7th and 8th graders participating in Internship Week, the list of hosting organizations, institutions and businesses is long! This year’s hosts include:

Branson Airport, CT Outfitters, Celtic Paws, Duxbury Art Association, Emerson Veterinarian Clinic, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Holly Hill Farm, Loomis Sayles, Mass. Gymnastics Center, Music Unlimited, Osprey Builders, Pilgrim Area Collaborative, Puopolo’s Candies, Red Mango, R & C Farms, Sally Weston Assoc Architects, Salvation Army Kroc Center, The Shed Outlet, The Somali Development Center, South Shore Baseball Club, South Shore Conservatory of Music, South Shore YMCA Mill Pond, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Thayer Academy, Twist Creative Group, WATD, W. B. Mason, Weir River Farm

For more information on internships at Inly School, see:

Middle School Internship Program at Inly: Authentic experiential learning in action

Middle School Internship Program: Authentic experiential learning in action

As we visited students at their internships the last week in April, we were yet again struck by the poise and maturity that comes through so strongly in these situations. The students’ hosts were so impressed with their work ethic and professionalism. We hope that this sense of accomplishment carried over at home, although we also know that fatigue may have stood in the way! (Who knew that 25 hours of work could be that exhausting?!?!)

A key component of the Inly Middle School curriculum, internships a great reminder to all of us about how important it is for adolescents to be authentically exposed to the larger society they will enter. Amid all the tumult, inconsistency and insecurity, we need to remember that they can do much more than we typically expect when given the chance and proper support.

The rationale behind Inly internships

Why do we do internships in 7th and 8th grade?

Middle school aged children are fascinated with their potential roles in the larger society and eager to explore these roles through their own participation. Authentic work experiences are an important part of their exploration of the world. At Inly we’ve designed our Internship Program to give students the opportunity to experience this key aspect of adolescent development and exploration.

The Montessori connection

The Montessori educational program leads each student naturally to the world of work. From the youngest age, the child’s activities in the classroom are referred to as “work,” and students are given substantial independence in how they approach this work in school and out of school. While their independence and initiative is encouraged, they are also taught that they are accountable for thorough completion of what they set out to do.

The connection with adults

At school they have developed many productive relationships with adults, including their teachers, the school administrators, and many parents, most of whom they are comfortable addressing by their first names. The Internship Program is designated to give our Middle School students further experience being supervised by adults, accomplishing important work, and meeting adults’ expectations.

What is a typical internship like?

There is no such thing as a typical internship. While each internship experience is different, all are valuable for the intern.  There is no “right” way to host an intern and no “rules” for the experience. The goal is that middle school students participate in authentic, productive, necessary work.

That being said, there are some uniform guidelines:

Inly interns work for at least 25 hours over the course of their week-long internship.

During internships, all students are required to keep a daily journal to help process the experience and prepare for their follow-up presentation. Specifically, they are asked to reflect on the questions below:

  • What did you learn about the organization you chose for your internship?
  • What was a typical day like?
  • What did you learn about yourself and your work habits?
  • What skills did you use or observe others using to be successful in this job?
  • Are you interested in this field of work?  Why or why not?
  • In hindsight, how was the process of securing your internship?  What did you do well?  What would you do differently?  What advice would you give to someone who hasn’t gone through the process before?

When students return from internships, they give oral presentations to faculty, family and other students. For seventh graders, this often sparks new ideas for next year’s internship!

Where do Inly students intern?

All over the place! Here’s a short sample of organizations and businesses that have hosted Inly interns over the past few years:

Advanced Food Systems Inc., Babycakes Bakery, Bayside Runner, Booth Hill Horse Barn, Company Theatre, Gary Land Photography, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Holly Hill Farm, Music Unlimited, NephCure Foundation, South Shore Art Center, South Shore Natural Science Center, Ventress Library, Weir River Farm

In addition, we’ve been fortunate to host talented interns in several departments at Inly School, including: Communications, Marketing, Events, Development and Alumni Relations. Those interested in early childhood education have also served as interns in the Toddler House and Children’s House preschool and kindergarten programs.

For more information, see the Middle School page on the Inly School website.

Montessori Kids at Home: Inly Parent Insight Event Wrap-Up

As part of our ongoing Montessori Education series, here’s a re-post of an article written in Fall 2011 by Jill Baxter, Parenting Learning Co-Coordinator of Inly’s Parent Steering Committee:

Practical life skills and Montessori principles—for preschool and beyond

Lauren Vitali, Children's House preschool and kindergarten teacher

At last week’s Parent Insight Event, Children’s House preschool and kindergarten teacher and Inly parent Lauren Vitali and Assistant Head of School and Inly alumni parent Julie Kelly-Detweiler led a conversation about implementing Montessori principles in the home. Parents from many different grade levels participated in a discussion that related topics including lunch choices, tantrums and chores to Montessori principles such as independence, responsibility, and the “prepared environment.”

Changing our mindset in connection with independence and responsibility is a tough one—whether it is setting the table, making a bed, or preparing part of a meal.  Often, it is easiest and most expedient for a parent to get it done alone. It takes time and thought to decide when it is appropriate and, then, allow children to undertake tasks, prepare the environment to help ensure their success (allowing for imperfection). Building extra time into your day to allow children to take on meaningful, age-appropriate tasks will pay dividends, however.

Montessori principles at home and at school

Many parents will be happy to learn that chores such as setting the table, emptying the dishwasher, or doing laundry actually bolster Montessori principles! As students in a Montessori classroom, all Inly students have weekly jobs they perform at school to help keep their community environment neat, safe, and healthy. Cutting fruit, cleaning tables, feeding classroom pets, recording attendance, or organizing snack are all jobs which encourage independence and help build and maintain a sense of community in the classroom. As Julie pointed out, giving children meaningful responsibility in their home also encourages them to think of themselves as part of a whole, and, in turn, identify the work they are doing as meaningful for themselves and others.

The link between independence and the Montessori “prepared environment”

Lauren offered sage advice on the link between independence and a prepared environment. While it may involve some extra time and thought in the short-term, a prepared environment can make giving your child responsibility and independence easier in the long run. Making your home a “prepared environment” can be as easy as moving the cereal bowls within reach, having a snack basket, or designating a work area with materials available for homework or book projects. Organizing clothes in a way your child understands can ease battles before school and allow you to more easily set boundaries for what is appropriate and what is not.

Montessori practical life materials

Montessori practical life materials for toddlers and preschool (source: montessori-n-such.com)

Of course, many of us know that encouraging our kids to take on additional responsibilities (even with a prepared environment) doesn’t rule out conflict. When there is conflict, using language that children are familiar with from school may help. Talk to your child’s teachers about language used in the classroom that you could implement at home, and ask about the jobs your child performs in the classroom to get ideas for age appropriate tasks your Montessori kid can take on at home.

I left that morning meeting resolved to figure out ways my boys can help around the house more and also with an “Independence Guide” handout that gave concrete examples of responsibility and independence at each stage of development. I think I can sort out some new responsibilities for my Montessori kids. I also walked away with a greater sense of community, happy my kids are in a school with a profound respect for children and family.

Montessori Links

Recommended resources on Montessori education and Montessori in the home:

Classroom Structure: The Prepared Environment and Mixed-Age Classes at Inly School

Montessori at Home: Practical Tips for Toddlers, Preschool Children and Parents (Inside Inly Blog)

Montessori Terminology: AMS Guide
All the Montessori terms you need to know—from Prepared Environment and Practical Life to Sensorial Exercises and Sensitive Periods

Montessori at Home: Practical Tips for Toddlers, Preschool Children and Parents


Establishing Continuity Between Home and School

Link: Montessori at Home

Bringing Montessori principles into your home can be a valuable bridge to what your child learns at school. Here are some tips from the American Montessori Society on ways to build that connection:

  • Create an ordered environment.
  • Teach real-life skills.
  • Promote concentration.
  • Nurture inner motivation.

Link: Montessori at Home: The Prepared Environment

Here’s more from the North American Montessori Center on ways to extend Montessori learning and principles into the home.

From the Inly Toddler Teachers: Teaching Practical Life Skills at Home and School

Each day in the Toddler and Bridging programs we work to teach our students self-help skills, confidence and independence. Here are a few suggestions you can do at home to support our work at school:

Allow your toddlers and young children to set the table at meal time, and allow them to help clean up. Purchase a small pitcher for pouring; move their plates, cups and bowls were they can get them; and, most of all, allow them time and opportunities to try things for themselves. We know there are often spills, but give them a sponge to help clean up.

Young children are so observant and absorb knowledge from around them. Following what we as adults do and allowing them opportunities to do things for themselves is another way of being part of a family. For toddlers, their work is all about real life!

Video: Montessori Toddler “Practical Life” Work at Inly | Pouring

Read more about the Inly Toddler House curriculum here. See the Practical Life section to learn how materials and exercises are designed to contribute to the development of both small and large motor skills and assist the child in becoming self-sufficient and independent.


Montessori Practical Life Learning in Toddler House

Inly students, even as young as one and two, are encouraged to learn by doing. Students in Toddler House engage in Montessori practical life work, in this case pouring, where they perform tasks themselves in order to gain independence.

Click the video to see the work come to life.

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Mother's Day Tea—An Inly Kindergarten Tradition

By Jennifer DiGregorio, Inly Parent

It started several weeks ago in very subtle ways. Other mothers of Inly kindergarteners will know what I mean. The knowing looks. The whispering. The secret.


At our house, we talk every day about the “best” part of our girls’ days. Usually, they state “everything.” Lately, Abby had been telling us, “I can’t tell you.” A six year old, however, cannot keep a surprise in, especially when she is working on it. I later learned that “I did not need to bring my own cup,” that “I would have lunch,” and that “it would start at one-three-oh.”

Abby preyed upon our mailman, waiting anxiously for the “surprise” to arrive. Like Willy Wonka with his Golden Ticket, she carefully brought the yellow tulip invitation to me, and she was overjoyed that she now could talk about the special event: The Mother’s Day Tea.

For about a week, I was able to use The Mother’s Day Tea as the rationale for early bedtimes and an extra bath or two. It worked flawlessly. “You don’t want to be dirty for the tea,” “You don’t want to be tired for the tea.”

Abby planned her outfit carefully, a long-discarded Easter dress with a spinning skirt and twinkly-toed high-top sneakers. She arranged for a special hair do, and she was good to go. Was I?


I started to well up half-way between my office in Marshfield and Inly School. In Children’s House Two, we have a few moms who had experienced an earlier tea with an older sibling. They gave us other moms knowing smiles as our seven creative and enthusiastic kindergarteners stormed through the door and grabbed our hands. Each of the children’s faces beamed with pride. From the placard listing our menu to a set of beautiful two-top tables, it was clear our CH2 kindergarteners had worked for hours to prepare for the celebration.


I sat down to a personalized placemat which matched my daughter’s. Abby showed me the pink flower she had potted and watered for me. She held the pottery pieces she had shaped and painted like precious jewels. She served me perfect cucumber and butter sandwiches, banana chocolate chip muffins, and fruit before she served herself. One by one, each student carefully poured iced tea from pitchers into the “tea cups.”

All around me, I could hear the other students and their mothers talking about the sweet music, the delicious food, and the wonderful company. These conversations were highlighted by “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome.” The Mother’s Day Tea, after all, is the culmination of three years of “practical life” and  “grace and courtesy” lessons learned and practiced in a Montessori Children’s House.


All of our children shared the work—as a team—of preparing their room and the meal for our party. At Suzy’s cue, each child brought his or her mother fantastic gifts: a laminated list of words describing  each “mother” surrounded by a rainbow of art; a beaded bracelet interwoven with inspirational sayings in a beautiful gift bag; a big hug; a juicy smooch.


While the sugar from the iced tea and the muffins eventually kicked in and sent our children into a tickling, wrestling match, we were able to regain some calmness and peace out on the upper field. It was great to see Abby playing with all of her classmates in their element, no holds barred. For me, it also was special to experience the magic of Inly as a mom, having tea, grooving to music, and loving our girl.