A Day in the Life of a Montessori Student
Parents often wonder how learning takes place in a class of twenty children moving freely around the room carefully choosing their own work. The classroom is prepared and ready each day for the children's young minds and hands to manipulate the beautifully constructed materials. These materials will help the children with learning about the world around them and leave our program with a well-rounded, strong academic foundation.
Please take a moment to learn about a day in the life of each of our students.
It is between 8:40-8:55 in the morning for most and you're pulling up through our semi-circle car-line to drop off your child for a fun-filled day at school. Our nurturing staff is outside to assist your child out of the car and give him or her a warm greeting to start their day.
Your child will walk into the school to their cubby located outside their classroom, whereby she will hang up her jacket and put on her slippers. Your child will then go into the classroom where the teachers are there to warmly greet her with a smile and a handshake.
Your child enters the classroom independently, proudly perceiving the school day as her own choice as she leaves you to begin a day of important work. But what exactly does the day for her and her classmates look like?
The day begins with circle time. The children and teachers will discuss the calendar and weather while also singing songs. They will listen as the teachers introduce any important concepts for the day.
Once circle time is over, the children begin their work period by freely choosing a work of their choice. This time at a Montessori school is an intriguing experience to witness. These young students select work from shelves that are kept on small trays and in baskets. One child may carefully carry her work to a table just her size or roll out a rug on the floor to define her work-space. A classmate works to put an apron over her head so that she can use the watering can to water all the plants in the classroom.
Two boys share a rug as they work with the knobbed cylinders, comparing and learning about size and dimension.
An older boy and girl are working together to form the complex quantity of 4,328 with the golden beads from the decimal system while another student is engaged in placing pieces of the Map of Africa puzzle in their correct spot. Another student sits at a table shaking wooden cylinders intently listening to the beans or grains of sand that are within them and proclaims "I made a match...these two sound the same!” A teacher works with a younger child to hone his fine motor skills as he learns how to use safety scissors and a large paper punch. Throughout the work period, the teachers move fluidly and peacefully from student to student giving lessons and calm reminders of appropriate behavior. They ask your child to explain the work she’s done and discuss with her what she’s learned, providing her with new words to add to her vocabulary.
Maybe the student wants to paint at the easel. Or, perhaps she is mastering how to snap a snap on the dressing frames. Another student may enjoy creating words with the sounds they have mastered utilizing the Movable Alphabet. Your child will engage in a variety of materials of their choosing based on the lessons they've been given.
Children continue to move around the classroom selecting and cleaning up various work. Your child may join a larger group of children who have chosen to spend a longer period working with clay and learning how to use various tools and share materials. As she creates and delights in the feel of the clay and the textures and shapes she has made, she continues to practice her conversational skills as she and her classmates quietly and politely comment to each other.
A healthy snack is ready for the children to enjoy at a two-person snack table. They may have one snack in the morning when they feel they are hungry and ready. A child will most likely invite another child to have snack with them. At this time, they wash their hands, set the table for themselves with a napkin and plate, sit down and serve themselves their healthy snack. When they are thirsty, they pour themselves some water from a child sized pitcher into their own glass or cup. The two children enjoy pleasant conversation about the birds they see outside or perhaps what adventure they had over the weekend. Upon finishing their snack, the children clean up after themselves and ensure the snack table is clean and ready for anyone else who is ready to have snack.
In the Toddler classroom, snack is served family style whereby all the children sit together at large tables with plates and water is served from child-sized pitcher into their cups. Teachers model table manners and polite conversation as the children enjoy their healthy snack with their friends.
The children will then enjoy some time outside on the playground for some fresh air and active free time with pre-school appropriate toys. Even this is a lesson for your child as she learns how to dress herself in her sweater or jacket, listen to directions, and navigate stairs and doors. As she holds hands with a classmate, she is learning responsibility and how to work cooperatively with others.
At some point, your child is bound to have a disagreement with a classmate, but even this is seen as an opportunity for her to learn life skills. Disputes that happen in the classroom or on the playground are handled by giving the children words to effectively express their feelings to others. They may use the Peace Rose to help with the two-way dialogue. Students are taught to respect the space and work of others and to practice patience as they wait to use materials that are already being used by another student.
Though your child may not tell you everything about her day when you pick her up, you can be sure that it was busy and fulfilling. She has fed and cleaned up after herself. She has practiced cooperation and coordination. She has smiled and laughed and worked out a disagreement with a friend. She has worked and she has played without differentiating between the two. She has learned about so many academic concepts through hands-on experiences. She has done all these things with great focus and is as proud of herself as you are of her.