Charlotte Cushman, a Montessori teacher for over 40 years, published a new book July 4.
Cushman taught 2-1/2- through 6-year-olds at the Montessori Minnesota Renaissance School in Anoka she owns with her husband, Dan Van Bogart. She has retired from teaching but still helps at the school.
Cushman’s new book, “Your Life Belongs to You,” covers significant events and people regarding the founding of the U.S. The book also includes colorful illustrations for each story. Some events and people highlighted include the Boston Massacre, the meaning behind the Declaration of Independence, George Washington and Samuel Adams. Cushman desired to create the book after receiving positive feedback over the years from telling stories of the birth of the U.S. to her students.
“We need to teach these things early on. I do not like how even into adulthood so many people are not educated on such events,” Cushman said.
After reading stories to her students each day, Cushman was amazed and impressed by the questions the students would come up with. Students became excited during story time and made observations like “Do we still have freedom like the people of those days?” and “Why did John Hancock sign his name on the Declaration of Independence so large?”
“The stories really got the children to observe and think critically and that is exactly what we want,” Cushman said.
The Montessori method of teaching, established by the 19th century Italian doctor and teacher Maria Montessori, encourages independence. Cushman explained the teaching style in Montessori is very clear and concrete. Steps of learning are taught sequentially and at a pace designed for each individual.
Cushman commented on how traditional education is destroying our country. She has observed many educators and disagrees with their methods, believing learning faster is the best way to learn. Within her new book, she desires to better inform the youth early on.
“Why is it OK to learn so much about other countries but not spend the time to learn about our own?” Cushman said.
Only hours after being announced, “Your Life Belongs to You” reached the No. 1 spot on Amazon under children’s literature and colonial literature. Since then, the book has stayed in the second and third top spots. She has also received commendable reviews from her previous book, “Montessori: Why It Matters for Your Child’s Success and Happiness,” from leading Montessori educators.
Her book is available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. For more information, visit www.yourlifebelongstoyou.net.