Welcome to the September edition of my ‘A Year in a Montessori Classroom’ series. I plan on posting once a month about my classroom and what we are learning. My hope is to help you learn a little about how a Montessori preschool and Kindergarten are unique among early learning classrooms.
September is a time of transition for us all. Some of our students are starting school for the very first time, some are coming from other schools and some are returning to the same classroom but as an older student. For all of us, we have had summer break and we need to get back to our routines.
The first thing to know (and love, in my humble opinion) about a Montessori classroom is that about 2/3 of the students are not new to the classroom. They have already spent one or two years in the classroom. This means they know the routine, they understand the rules and they are comfortable with the teacher. It also means the teacher (me, in this case!) knows most of his or her students very well.
Why is this important or noteworthy?
Having this level of knowledge and comfort with returning students helps eliminate time spent getting to know students and planning for their educational progress. I am able to start on day one understanding how my students work, what their passions involve, how they struggle, what kind of learner they are, etc. It is only a small number of students I need to get to know from the ground up.
For the students who are returning, they are ready to be helpers for the younger students. I find the 2nd year students to be the best helpers. They are SO PROUD about their knowledge and growth (and that they are no longer the youngest in the room) that they are tremendously happy to show the younger students how to do things in the classroom. What amazing learning for all the students from day one!
The youngest students are often happier when a child close to their own age takes them under his/her wing than if it was the teacher. As the teacher, it is amazingly helpful to have an army of young educators giving comfort and guidance to the newest members of our community. This is an amazing level of growth and self confidence that can’t be found in many other educational philosophies.
Well, I’ve just spent most of my post on just one little aspect of the September classroom. It’s an important one, though. A few other things we do include learning things like the procedure for having snack, looking for your classroom job and doing it every day, learning how to clean a spill, push in a chair and roll a floor mat. Another important thing we learn at the beginning of the year (and practice all year long) is how to resolve conflict with a peer. That is a whole separate blog post so stay tuned.
If you are interested in more about my Montessori classroom (I teach at the New School of Lancaster – www.newschool.net), follow me on Instagram (@montessori_nurture). I will posting about our learning throughout September.
Finally, I’ve made a little YouTube video with a couple of the songs we sing in September. I hope you enjoy it. I’ll try to upload our songs each month if I am able. I hope you enjoy the songs and also learning a little about my Montessori classroom.