A Montessori child’s role:
In a Montessori classroom the children follow their inner motivation to explore. They build independence as they choose and complete works, using them gently and as intended (as shown in a lesson). They may repeat works until they have reached an inner goal or satisfaction. They show respect for themselves, for others and for the environment. They are members of a classroom community, and should do their part by willingly helping others and caring for materials. Most important, they should feel respected and secure in the classroom environment, excited to learn, and feel a sense of trust that their teachers will assist them in any situation.
A Montessori teacher’s role:
**Preparing the environment:
----The materials and furniture are child-sized, accessible, and interesting.
----The materials chosen are vast, stimulate all of the senses, and promote order, coordination, concentration and independence, freedom of choice, and self-regulation.
----The space itself is bright and spacious with many different learning areas
----There is always a variety of skill levels included in materials and works in each area
**Following the child by:
---continual observation, and assessment of child’s skills through use of materials
----learning a child’s interests, inner motivations
----offering lessons based on above
__providing challenges to promote growth in all development areas
**Offering children the freedom to choose within limits:
----child is encouraged to explore classroom and works
----lessons from teacher provide information about appropriate use of materials
----when child uses works appropriately (that is, being gentle with materials and using materials as intended), he or she is allowed to continue. If not, child is invited to sit for a lesson or is offered other works to use.
----child feels trust in deciding his own path in learning: seen in growth of self
confidence, repetition of works (practice), gaining skills, motivation to do more, challenging one’s self
----provide guidance/suggestions for works if child is not choosing on his or her own
----child is not told that he or she is “not ready,” but teacher finds a way to make
materials appropriate for different developmental levels
----managing the classroom means having specific ground rules to provide safe,
happy, and community oriented place to learn
---each person in the classroom must understand why ground rules are important. For example:
respect yourself: be safe, choose works that help you learn, etc.
respect others: let others work peacefully, quiet voices in the classroom, etc.
respect the environment: handle materials gently, clean up after one’s self
---revisit rules periodically with the class
---provide plenty of grace and courtesy lessons (focused on the ground rules): replacing works on the shelves, pushing chairs in, following a teacher’s directions, greeting each other, and many more
---provide redirection when needed: for instance, if a child has trouble cleaning up or replacing works on the shelf,
“Could you be my helper with this work? Great! after you put your work away, come on over.”
A few principles of the Montessori Method from Montessori: The Science behind the Genius, 3rd edition by Angeline S. Lillard, PhD (Oxford University Press, 2016), pp 30 - 31
Movement and Cognition
Movement and cognition are closely entwined. This observation makes sense: our brains evolved in a world in which we move and do, not a world in which we sit at desks and consider abstractions. Dr. Montessori noted that thinking seems to be expressed by the hands before it can be put into words. In small children, she said, thinking and moving are the same process. Based on this insight she developed a method of education in which a great deal of object manipulation occurs. In recent years there has been an explosion of fascinating research on the connection between movement and cognition that speaks to Dr. Montessori’s ideas about movement’s importance to thought. The findings imply that education should involve movement to enhance learning.
Dr. Montessori noted that children seemed to thrive on having choice and control in their environment and in their learning, and she envisioned development as a process of the child’s being increasingly able to be independent in his or her environment. I add here that teachers gently guide children to works when needed, such as when children do not use materials as intended: respectfully, peacefully, and to achieve that work’s goal. This is called freedom of choice within limits.
Dr. Montessori created interest in part by designing materials with which children seemed to want to interact. She also trained Montessori teachers to give lessons in a manner that would inspire children, for example by using drama in their presentations. The Montessori materials and basic lessons ensure a core of learning across curriculum areas, but each child’s imagination is invested in the particular avenues of learning that the child pursues beyond that core. Children will frequently repeat the same tasks if they are intrigued, are benefitting from their actions, and are refining their learning. For example, the pink tower is a work that second and third year students have mastered, but many are still drawn to this work. They use it in different but still beneficial ways, such as trying to build the tower upside down. While doing this they are problem solving, and are learning about weight and dimension and why these are important.
Addition with the Bank
2 sets small number cards, 1 set large number cards, and 3 large rugs
Tray with a foam strip with 10 holes and a cup with unit beads (more than 10)
2 bank trays with unit cups.
An equation booklet with a red cover and green (for units and 1000’s), red (100’s),
blue (10’s), and regular pencils (plus sign, equation line)
Presentation 1, Static Addition (no carry over) 2345
1}. Invite 2 children and ask children to set up number cards in bank card layout
(the sets of small cards on left, the set large number cards, and empty rug).
2.} Teacher, to each child: “Please go to the bank and get a bank tray and a cup.”
3.} Teacher, to Susan: “Please get 2345 from these small number cards and place them on your tray.
Get the bank materials for that number and meet me at the empty rug.”
4.} Repeat step 3 with Mary, using 3214 and second set of small number cards.
5.} Teacher: “Susan, what did you bring?”
Teacher: “Please make a fancy number with your cards and hand it to me.”
Teacher places fancy number at top right corner of rug.
T: “Place your materials at the top left corner of the rug, beginning with the thousands.”
Susan counts her materials onto the rug.
6.} Repeat step 5 with Mary, placing fancy number under Susan’s, and leaving space in between.
7.} T: “Now we are ready to join our numbers.” Move 3214 to just under 2345.
T: “Susan, would you join the units?” Susan joins and counts the units.
T: “Have many do we have now?”
T: “Please get the large unit card and label that number.” Susan places the card under the unit beads.
8.} Repeat step 7 for the 10, 100, 1000 place values , alternating turns between the children.
9.} Teacher: “Let’s read the number we made.”
All: “5559”. Teacher makes the fancy number and places it under 3214.
10.} Big review:
Teacher: “Susan brought 2345. Mary brought 3214.
Together, you made 5559. When you join two numbers and get a larger number, you call it addition.”
11.} Clean up materials appropriately.
Aims: To give children the impression that numbers can increase by tens (a zero or extra numeral is added to the number, and that addition is the joining of quantities
Control of Error: Teacher or another child. Child noticing that materials or cards are incorrect
or not laid out properly.
Points of Interest: Starting with small cards and moving to large cards, joining and counting new quantities, seeing all materials joined, making fancy numbers, comparing size of materials to size of numbers.
Age: 4. 6 - 6
Language: Addition, joining, place value, labeling, plus sign, problem
Source: Presented by Jody McLellan, NEMTEC, 2006
Written by Linda Cebrowski, 2006