Step into a primary classroom and you will be amazed at how peaceful, happy and busy the children are. At home your child is most likely heard saying “I want to do it myself!” In the Montessori environment we not only allow it but encourage it. Maria Montessori observed that children love to do “real work” and when allowed they not only learn but become more confident in the process.
In a primary classroom, you are likely to see a 3-year old doing something such as watering the classroom plants and polishing it’s leaves. This is not pretend she is really participating in real “work” and is part of the classroom community. You may see a 4-year old lying down at a work rug with a 5-year old friend working with the movable alphabet and doing short vowel word building. Not only is the older child learning from teaching the 4-year old but the 4-year old is feeling proud to be doing the “big kid” work and is confident when challenged to move to the next level.
It may take you a minute to locate the teacher of the classroom. This is because she is often found at the child’s level, working one on one or with a small group of children as she constantly looks around and observes the others. A Montessori teacher’s main role is that of a keen observer. She will usually be found observing her children and allowing them to make independent choices while she waits to see if it is necessary to intervene or guide them in a different direction.
Children in the Montessori classroom will often spend 2-3 years in the same classroom. They will begin as a learner and leave as a leader. The main areas of a Montessori environment are Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math, Geography/Science and Art. Children make choices from the Montessori work areas and are invited by the teacher to receive one-on-one or small group lessons. We aim to create a community in which everyone learns, works/plays, shares and celebrates together.
“The things he sees are not just remembered; they form a part of his soul.”
– Maria Montessori