Montessori Activities, Preschool

The Montessori Method

The Montessori Method is characterized by:

Teachers that follow the child’s lead

Uninterrupted Learning Periods

Real Work with Real Materials

Multi Age Classroom

Prepared and Peaceful Environment

Teachers that Follow the Child’s Lead

‘Directress or guides (teachers) take a backseat when it comes to leading classroom activities. Each guide supports that child as he follows his interests. Subsequently, the guides’ job is to provide the right work at the right time so that the child is challenged and never bored. Guides give presentations or formal lessons  throughout the day one-on-one or to small groups of students. After a presentation children have the freedom to work with materials respectfully.

Uninterrupted Learning Periods

Montessori discovered that children can work for three uninterrupted hours. Children move independently around the classroom to different curriculum areas. A typical early Montessori classroom will be centered around a 3 hour work period. However there is time carved out for circle time, group work and other planned activities.

Real Work with Real Materials

You will not find toys that light up or sing songs in the Montessori classroom. Rather, children work with glass pitchers, real plants, wooden serving trays. The clarity of a crystal pitcher and the weight of a ceramic basin offers stimulation for a child’s mind. Montessori believed that children have an inner yearning for  beauty and order. These real items teach the child to work carefully and respectfully with materials. Consequently, when a child breaks a glass plate he learns about cause and effect. After cleaning the broken glass, he appreciates the importance  working carefully and slowly.  

Multiage Classroom

The Montessori classroom is based on a 3 year cycle. This means that 3-6 year olds (or 2-5 year olds) learn in a classroom together. Since the Montessori approach is a natural and holistic approach the classroom may look  similar to one’s home. An environment filled with familiar items helps offset the many unfamiliar materials. First year students spend most of their time working with practical life material. As he grows he builds upon these skills and begins working in other curriculum areas. In time, a third years student lead activities and help first and second year students with their work.

Prepared and Peaceful Environment

When the child arrives each day the classroom is clean and prepared for child to work immediately. For example oranges are sliced so that students can make juice. The child walks into a classroom that is void of broken work or missing parts. Work that is not complete is removed from the shelves so that children never work with partial materials.

Peace is part of the curriculum and guides lead children in conflict resolution role play. Quiet areas of the classroom give children the opportunity to sit, reflect and read. Children have access to numerous activities to practice a peaceful existence.

Preparation for Life

In summary, the Montessori method molds productive, centered young citizens. These classroom skills easily transfer to life at home and abroad. A Montessori student is prepared for life.

The education of even a small child, therefore, does not aim at preparing him for school, but for life.
Maria Montessori
Physician, Educator, Advocate for Peace

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