My First Montessori Lessons
September 21st, 2012
This week there was an Open House at Miss Mouse’s school. She. Was. Jazzed. For days leading up to the big event, it was all she could talk about. And she woke me up at 3:30am the night before, terrified that she had missed it. The purpose of the Open House was for the students to share their classroom activities with their parents. There was no set agenda (very Montessori). The classroom was just open and available.
As we arrived, Miss Mouse squealed and greeted several of her classroom friends, exchanging enthusiastic hugs. But the moment we entered her room, her demeanor changed. She was all business. She picked out a spot for us on the floor, selected a small woven rug, and carefully unrolled it. Then she went to a low bookcase, picked a “lesson” and brought it to show me. Then she picked another.
And another. And another.
We were one of the last families to straggle out the door after more than an hour of activity. I was so impressed, not only by my daughter but by the setup of the classroom and the activities they do. Each activity is called a “lesson” and they are designed so that students – once introduced to the lesson – can work on them independently.
Here’s an example. Along one wall of the classroom was a row of small plastic storage drawers, numbered. Miss Mouse selected one and brought it over. Inside, was a mishmash of little objects. A tiny plastic baby doll. A monkey finger puppet. A top. There was also a piece of fabric with the letters “t, s, m, and b” written across the top, with divider lines running down between the letters, the length of the fabric. The lesson was to spread out the fabric and line the items up in the appropriate column according to their starting phonetic sound.
Miss Mouse concentrated on her work, proudly announcing to me where each item should go. She enjoyed it so much, we had to do that lesson three times before she wanted to move on.
There were also puzzles of various sorts, a plastic bin filled with beans into which plastic “things” had been buried, and transfer activities (like pouring water or spooning rice grains).
And below is The Calendar, complete with list of daily jobs at the top. It’s a highlight of the day — checking to see what your job is. Fish feeder? Line leader? Classroom duster? Oh joy! Oh bliss!
It was great for me to get a behind-the-scenes look at daily classroom life. Miss Mouse sometimes struggles to explain what she does each day in school and I spend almost no time in her classroom since independence is a key Montessori value and long goodbyes are not encouraged. The Open House gave me great insight into her routines and helped me find appropriate language to ask her about her day.