Math & Religion

37 images Created 13 Feb 2016

In the heart of Crown Heights, Brooklyn there is this little Montessori school that teaches you to add and subtract, to multiply and divide with beads on little rectangular mats as pedagogue and teacher Maria Montessori encouraged her students to do back in the 1900's in Italy where she created her very provocative, yet revolutionary "Help your child do it himself" teaching methods.This two-storey school is built inside an old family house on Eastern Parkway where classrooms were once living rooms and kitchens and where the backyard is now a playground. The 115 kids who attend the school come from all walk of Jewish lives, more or less religious and they are taught to "be themselves" and "learn how to unleash their inner, wild self, while keeping it somewhat tamed." There is no yes and no answer in a Montessori school, but rather a "what do you think would be best for you," is the usual reply teachers use. If a student asks a question, he/she has to first get the attention of his teacher, by reaching out and tap his/her shoulder and see if she/he is busy with other students/manners. The school and the method teaches kids the concept of their own spaces and how to mold themselves with the outmost respect of others' freedom. From 3 to 14 years old, children play and study in mix level classes where the oldest of the pack help the youngster through homework and problem solving, setting an example for the future. What is nowadays known as the Montessori Method is applied fully here at the Lamplighters Yeshiva of Brooklyn and it mixes very well with the study of Chassidut and Jewish Theology and culture and the philosophy of creating "your own livable space in the environment surrounding you" as taught by The Fifteen Properties of Wholeness of architect and sociologist Christopher Alexander. What may appeared as a regular daily Jewish private school it is actually a forming institution where children are left to make decisions on their own despite their very young age so to mold decision making and character for the future generation to come, one building block and "chain of thousand" at the time.
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