Jeni Peterson, Montessori East teacher, Cycle 1 Cooinda classroom
We used our astute powers of observation as Montessori teachers to another advantage over the holidays. During Term 3, we had made careful observation of how the children were interacting in our classroom environment, and it uncovered some great ideas to make the space more homely and inviting.
Once the children left for the break, we emptied the classroom and started from scratch, carefully planning each area based our how the children were interacting with the environment. It was a lot of hard work, but so rewarding to see the children return and hear the "oohs" and "aahhs".
The children also played a role by contributing their ideas and putting together new furniture for the class. It is important for the children to be a part of the change and play an active role in its establishment. Here are some opportunities we provide for the children to experience this:
Having the children help with preparations - for example cutting up the fruit platter and setting the snack table.
Children helping to replenish the environment for others:- for example the older children top up sewing threads, pencils and polish. Children replenish the ingredients for bread making, so that someone else can have a turn.
Playing an active and meaningful role in their environment, makes a child feel a sense of belonging through contributing to their society.
A similar exercise could be done at home. Take a careful look at how their toys and books are organised (or not!), observe how your child interacts at home with his/her things. And together you could create a more Montessori like space at home. Some simply ideas can bring big improvements.
- Spring clean - remove items that are no longer useful. Declutter the space.
- Work on a plan for a place for everything
- Create some zones for things such as craft materials, building blocks etc.
- Create a peaceful reading corner. Rotate the books on display.
- Have a comfortable area for preparing and eating snacks
- Make it orderly.
- Add some beauty. In our classrooms, fresh flowers and plants are always present.
I'm sure you can add many ideas to this list. We love the news changes we made and you will too.