Friday, September 26, 2008

For the Love of Montessori

Just recently I visited with an educated man who echoed my sentiments exactly. He said," all that we need to know, we learned it by the time we were five years old. After that we are just polishing it up."
I wanted to take a minute to talk a bit about discipline in a Montessori classroom.
Montessori when it is done well, is a perfect blend and a perfect balance of both freedom and structure. I as a Montessori teacher understand that maintaining the delicate balance is one of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of my job.
One of my most favorite quotes of Maria Montessori is this: "True discipline comes more from within than without and is the result of steadily developing inner growth."
When you enter a Montessori classroom most often you will believe that we have cast a magic spell on these children, the children appear to be calm and self directed. The secret to this success is the freedom within the limits of very clear set ground rules.
These are as follows:The Ground Rules in the Montessori Environment
The environment is designed for and belongs to the child.
The children restore the environment during and after an exercise. They are responsible for mopping up spills, rolling their own rugs, placing their chair under the table, and returning the work to the appropriate spot on the shelving.
The child is free to use any apparatus in the room with which the child is familiar through demonstration by staff.
The child must use the equipment with respect -- without harming it, himself, or his classmates. Children may not use material in a way that would distract other workers.
The child may work on a table or a rug, whichever is suitable to the work chosen.
Children may not work on display shelves, as their presence there would obstruct the other children's access to the materials.
The child has the right to work undisturbed and undistracted by others. He may initiate, repeat and complete an exercise alone without a break in his concentration cycle.
Children may not touch the work of others unless invited by them to do so. No child is allowed to interfere with another's learning cycle. (This provides security for the involved child to work undistracted until completion.) If a child must leave his work temporarily, he can continue later, confident that he will find his work as he left it.
The child has the freedom to move about the room as his needs dictate in the above rights.
The children should move about calmly, quietly, so as not to disturb the activity or privacy of any other children or the group as a whole. Running, jumping, or shouting disturb others.
The child has the freedom as a social being to talk with others in the course of his activity.
The child should speak kindly, quietly, and privately, respecting another's right to work without being disturbed.
The child has a right to work alone.
Children are not forced to share work. Generosity develops from within as a child matures and gains security and ego strength. In a sense, children share all the materials in the Montessori environment because when the materials are returned to the shelf, they are then available for another child.
The child may work with another or in a small group where there is a mutual agreement or an invitation to join.
The children must respect each other and all others as with any individual activity in the pursuit of the common project, in no way interfering with or disturbing the work of others.
The child has a right to occasionally "do nothing."
Children learn in many ways while observing others, relaxing, wandering, etc. A child's idleness is respected as long as it does not distract other children from their work in any way.
The child has a right not to join a group activity. He may continue working with individual exercises or he may stand apart as an observer of group activities without becoming an active participant.
Children may not interfere or disrupt an activity they have chosen not to join, nor may they join and leave freely once they have made the choice. this is their responsibility to the group.

We also teach skills with our Grace and Courtesy lessons. These lessons are presented through demonstration and then practiced through role-playing, then modeled by the teachers and the older children. They are the foundation of the classroom. They set the tone of respect and kindness. Conflict resolution techniques are given because children don't just automatically know how to be a friend, express anger or how to solve problems. We give them the tools to successfully tackle them.
In addition we teach Practical Life lessons, these are everyday living skills such as pouring, polishing or scrubbing a table. These help a child to focus and learn how to complete a task. They require a step by step process which will further develop both self-discipline and logical thinking. In time it will lay down a foundation for more abstract academic activities.
Now on a more lighter note:
The children are learning a song about the Solar System. There are nine verses because there are nine planets. When we learn all nine verses and polish them up, we hope to have you all come in and listen to their accomplishment. I will keep you posted.
For added security we just added an alarm system to the house, with additional smoke alarms. Like I've said before our job is to keep your children happy and safe!
I love what I do, there isn't anything that I would rather be doing than this!
Love to all of you!
Animal Puzzle
Hippity Hoppity Bouncer

Clean up
Sandbox Fun!
Happy Birthday to you!!
Math work
Snack Time
Language and Pinpunch
Scrubbing a Shell
Outdoor Environment Fun

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fall is in the air!

We've had some fun over the last two weeks studying about Johnny Appleseed, learning a cute apple song sung to the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot," learning our directions, N,S,E,and W, and learning which is our right hand and which is our left; of course we had to sing and dance to Looby Loo so we could practice!
Enjoy these cute pictures of your children!!!
All smiles!
Outdoor Environment
Outdoor Environment
map work
100 Board
Sensorial fun!
Multiplication Board
Trianomial Cube
Metal Inset Extention
Binomial Cube