The Crystal Teaching Method
My philosophy is unique and is a cohesive integration of the practices, methodologies and educational environments I have experienced over the past 10 years; spanning three continents, 15 disciplines and ranging from ages 3 to 18.
Simply put, my philosophy of education can best be expressed as a “middle way”. The philosophy combines what I consider to be the best elements of Western literacy & numeracy strategies, European early years education philosophies (Reggio Emilia, Montessori, Waldorf) and Eastern holistic philosophies including the practice of mindfulness.
As I have had teaching experiences in all sorts of countries, schools and classrooms, I have come to the conclusion that most philosophies of education have great merit. Thus, through the years, my teaching philosophy became more eclectic; that is, not subscribing to one philosophy or another but taking the best of all those philosophies and combining them into one.
Some examples (but not limited to this) can be found here:
Valued Aspects Apparent in My Philosophy
|Reggio Emilia||Collaborative project-based learning, promoting self-expression, provocations, parental collaboration|
|Montessori||Child centred, hands-on, sensory learning|
|Waldorf||Emphasis on imagination and creation|
|Strict Academics||Good old fashioned knowledge, routine, structure|
Though all of The Crystal Teaching Method (CTM) curricula contains elements of all the above, the philosophy adapts to the different needs of the learner and as such, the curriculum changes somewhat depending on the age of the learner. To be more specific, from ages 1 -3 the curricula have stronger Montessori and Waldorf elements, while ages 3-5 have stronger elements of Reggio Emilia and academics. All curricula is founded in language and literacy. My approach to Early Years language and literacy development is more progressive in that it does not focus heavily on letter recognition and the alphabet. Though these elements are included, the focus is more on recognition of sounds, syllables and rhythm of the language first, which naturally lend themselves to letter recognition and reading. As mentioned above, there is also a focus on teaching mindfulness and awareness to babies and children; which I believe to be the key to overall well-being and success.
While it might seem that it is not possible to combine these philosophies into one (given that by nature some of them seem to be polar opposites), I whole-heartedly feel that it is possible! It is simply a matter of timing; of knowing when and how to use each of these elements to benefit learning. It really can be seamless and beautiful!
It should be noted that the philosophy and curriculum I have created is not founded on strict scientific investigation or rooted in academic research. Rather, it is through direct experience as a classroom teacher and parent that it has come to flourish. It is suitable for daycare, the classroom and for home-schooling. I have had tremendous success and joy using this approach and so have my students and children. I sincerely hope it is beneficial to you and the youngsters you love and work with!
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