A Short Note about Lessons
A “work” is any material a child may use in the classroom, however, each “work” requires a lesson. A lesson is when a child is shown how to use a work by a Montessori teacher (or directress or guide, as Montessori called her teachers). As is true in Montessori Primary (3-6) environments, lessons with materials are done individually, and each child receives a lesson when they are both developmentally ready and have the necessary skills to be challenged but also successful with the material. Because each child is so different, they receive an individual lesson tailored to their specific needs and interest; while the work is still used (approximately) the same way by each child, no two lessons are alike! This also means that no two children have had the exact same lessons in the classroom. When we write about “our work” below, we give examples of lessons that are given throughout the week, but that does not necessarily mean they are lessons every child has received. If you have any questions about your child’s individual curriculum trajectory, please reach out to us!
Our Work in the Classroom
Over the last month, the children have been in the process of “Normalizing”. This is a Montessori-specific term that refers to the child recognizing norms, routines, and expectations in an environment, and beginning to function as a member of the classroom community. Already we have seen great steps toward this normalization process—children are helping each other with work, reminding each other of rules, and are recognizing the order of the environment and “cleaning up” or “putting things away” without being asked. As we continue this process, we are working on choosing work independently, how to unobtrusively watch another child work, and how to get the teacher’s attention without disturbing other children. The proper “work choice” that is just the right amount of challenge for each child can improve confidence, independence, and a love of learning that encourages children to seek out the next challenge and develop intrinsic motivation.
As a classroom, the children have greatly enjoyed the scrubbing work in Practical Life. Water-based materials are calming sensory activities that help children develop focus and follow a sequence of steps. There has also been a great deal of interest in drawing (a classic!), Journal work, and the Flower Mystery Bag. Other lessons the children have been working on include the Pink Tower, the Red Rods, introductory Bank games, spelling with the Moveable Alphabet, Bead Stringing, and Land/Air/Water Jars.
We planted in our garden this week as well! Children who were interested planted flowers, bulbs, and vegetables throughout the garden. The planting process was very exciting for many children, and they proudly watered “their flower” or “their tomato” throughout the week.
At Circle this year, we end our morning with “Peace Candle” and a “Peace Song.” This is a simple activity where we practice mindfulness, take deep breaths, and have a moment of quiet to calm our bodies and transition to lunch. We have learned two songs; Peace is the World Smiling (a song Ms Hannah sang in her Montessori class as a child!) and Let There be Peace on Earth. We look forward to engaging in discussions on what “peace” means in the next few weeks.