Thursday, December 27, 2007

Independent Work in the Montessori Classroom

When we speak of independent work for three year olds, many teachers in traditional classrooms look dismayed. They assume that our Montessori classrooms must be full of chaos and disaster. Nothing could be further from the truth!

In the Primary class (ages 2 1/2 to 5), children sit together in the morning circle to have brief discussions about their weekends and the coming day, and then go about their morning activities of choosing material with which they would like to work.

New material is presented to a single child or group of children, depending on the type of material. Once children see how the material is used, they will work with it independently on their own whenever they decide they want to do a particular exercise.

A point of fascination for visitors is often the fact that children choose to do serious work. Left to their own devices, they do not choose to finger paint all day! Rather, work with the Movable Alphabet (for writing leading to reading), long addition with the Golden Beads, or sensorial material such as the Red Rods prove most popular.

If you are working with your child at home on the weekends, homeschooling, or just want to add a bit of Montessori to your daily life, try introducing new things in a simple way and set material up so that it is child-friendly, and let your child take the lead in deciding what to do at home.

Child-friendly options can be as easy as making sure your child can reach everything he or she needs to make basic snacks in the kitchen or putting small sturdy steps up to the washing machine, so your child can put in a small load of things.

Questions? Send in a comment and let us know!

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