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Celebrating the Holidays in the Montessori Classroom

In the Montessori environment, celebrating holidays is a magical, exhilarating experience for the students. For adults, it is easy to become stressed over the commercialism that comes with the holiday season. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead of focusing on commercialism, we can encourage our children to develop healthy attitudes toward the holidays by introducing them to observances cherished by other cultures.

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Holidays are important, and children want to celebrate them. Students can revel in the festive holiday season as they discover cultural observances from countries around the world. What an opportunity to embrace the Montessori principles of inclusion and peace while simultaneously learning about celebrations that have significance within varying cultures!

To celebrate multicultural inclusion, teachers may choose to focus on holidays, such as:
The winter holidays bring a sense of light and happiness to the winter months. With shorter days and longer nights, many cultures celebrate light.

December embraces various cultural celebrations, including Chanukah, Pancah Ganapati, Dōngzhì, Yalda, and Bodhi Day.

And more! Wouldn’t it be fun to let students pick any country, and then learn about the significant holidays celebrated by its people? The varying cultural celebrations worldwide are endless.

Encourage children to learn about their culture(s) of choice and demonstrate it through art, song, dance, or even storytelling. They can work in groups or independently…however they choose. Children can focus on one culture, or perhaps they will choose to focus on more than one. Either way, it opens their minds to different cultures around the world, minimizing the commercialism that is tied to the American holiday season.

Holiday celebrations in America are joyous and should be appreciated and celebrated. But as parents and educators, we can also create a sense of community and provide an opportunity for children to learn about the history and culture of populations worldwide, encouraging them to appreciate differences in others.

December 19th, 2017

Posted In: About The Montessori Method

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Montessori Classroom Setup

Everyone is familiar with the standard image of an average classroom. A teacher stands at a board facing the students and goes over the lesson while the students try their best to understand. Unfortunately, not all the kids understand the information the way it is taught. Early education is where the future of a child’s interest in learning is molded, so it’s important to make sure that everyone can keep up and are given equal opportunities to learn. This starts with creating a learning environment that aids the learning process. One of the best ways to achieve the ideal learning environment is by using the Montessori Method in the classroom.

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Montessori classrooms are arranged in a way that allows for a different, unique, and better learning environment. Instead of the standard rows and columns in other classrooms, they utilize an open design that allows students to explore and choose how they work either in quiet independence or with others. There are usually designated areas for different subjects that contain different ways that the student can interact with the information. This can be something like a number line on a rug for counting, a collection of blocks used to spell, or a dinosaur chair next to a shelf of books about dinosaurs.

Another unique aspect of Montessori classrooms are group tables where different students can come together and share their work. This collaborative approach is fundamental to Montessori classrooms and can help students better understand what they or a classmate are doing. They also heavily emphasize “hands-on” learning and “learning by doing”, so the content and option rich environment lets them learn the way they want to and the way that works best for them. These features allow for more connections with the content and better understanding overall.

Not only is the classroom arranged to aid learning, it is also created with a familiar and welcoming tone in mind. Classrooms can often mimic homes including features like carpeting, soft furniture, and shelves with books throughout the room. Because these things are familiar to the students, it allows them to stay relaxed while they learn and makes them more comfortable with exploring on their own.

All of these features equate to probably the most important part of a Montessori classroom which is that the students aren’t taught the information, they learn it while being guided by the teacher. Instead of teaching the class as a whole, each student is treated as an individual and thanks to the resources available in the classroom, everyone can learn their own way.

October 11th, 2017

Posted In: About The Montessori Method

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What to Expect in a Montessori Classroom

Naturally lit, comfortable, and relaxed. These are the first things you are likely to notice when walking into a Montessori classroom. These classrooms are designed in a way that makes a child feel welcome and free. Montessori classrooms are not just cozy and laid back. They are also enticing and pleasing to the eye.  Young minds are generally more eager to learn in an environment that is as interesting as it is comfortable.

Non-Traditional but Effective

Just as the Montessori approach to learning is non-traditional and unique; so are their classrooms. There are many staggering differences you will find in a Montessori classroom versus a traditional classroom setting. A few of these differences are:

  • No Desks. Instead of seeing row upon row of desks, you will see all different types of child sized furniture and various workstations. Montessori students are not bound to one spot in the room. These children move about the room freely, absorbing information as they go. Highly organized workstations that focus on different subjects give children the freedom to choose their work and figure out problems for themselves. A vast selection of work materials, assignments, and activities ensure that each student has access to all the information they could possibly need.
  • Teachers are Guides. You will not see a Montessori educator standing at the front of a classroom giving orders. Alternatively, you will see our teachers guiding students rather than leading. When a teacher steps back to watch their students, they can easily get a grasp on where each student stands in their development. Instead of staying at the front of the room, Montessori educators move about with their students, giving instruction and aid when needed.
  • Mixed Age Groups. Montessori classrooms seldom lump children with students of only one age group. The age range for these classrooms is generally three years. The benefits of mixed age grouping are undeniable. The older teach the younger and the younger learn by example. Younger students are eager to learn from their older peers and older students can recognize gaps in their knowledge when teaching others. This also instills a sense of community. Adults will never find themselves in a community with people of only their age group. Montessori classrooms are no different.

The goal of a Montessori classroom is to foster independence and ensure that each child is given the richest education possible. This is hard to achieve in a cookie-cutter environment that is the traditional classroom. Each child is unique in their gifts and development. These classrooms are designed to open the door to each child to learn they way that works best for them as an individual.

February 27th, 2017

Posted In: About The Montessori Method

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