Class Flow: A Day in the Life of a Montessori Kid
Montessori classes are built around the respect of the child. As such, children are allowed freedom of movement in the classroom, not being confined to one space, but moving from place to place as they wish.
A child will begin the day being greeted by the teacher as they get out of their vehicle. The child then will go downstairs to class to be greeted by classmates and other teachers, as she takes off her shoes and puts on her slippers. Then she might wander over to the Geography area, pick a puzzle map that interests her, lay a rug out on the floor, take out the puzzle map and control map with labels of countries' names and outlines, then take out a country puzzle piece, match it to the corresponding spot on the control map, and then another piece, until all the pieces have been carefully placed on the control map. Then the child might put the pieces back in the puzzle and put it away, or she might read the label cards and try to match them to all the country pieces.
After she's put the map and rug away, she might go wash her hands, get some snack to take to the snack table. She might eat her snack while talking and laughing with some friends who were also hungry around that time.
When she is finished, she might decide to work with those friends on a mathematics project, taking out thousand cubes, and matching them to their numerals, one cube for the 1000 label, two cubes for the 2000 label, etc. until they reach 9000. They then might decide to do the same with the hundred squares, ten bars, and unit beads. They might all work together to put those items away and do their own work for awhile.
Or, he might have a teacher approach and ask him if he'd like to work on something different. The teacher might show him a new material that's been added to the classroom, perhaps a tweezers work. The teacher will take out the tweezers work, and will sit down at a table with him. The teacher might say "Would you like to see how I do this work?" And he might say "Yes!" The teacher might show the child how to carefully pick up a bead with the tweezers, and put it in a little suction cup on a starfish shaped bath toy. The teacher might put a bead into each suction cup, then, still using the tweezers, take each one back out and put them back in their bowl. The teacher might say, "Would you like to try it?" And the child might say, "Yes" or "No" and he might put it away and try something else.
Our free work time (also called work cycle) usually goes for about 2 hours. After that time, the teacher will go to the circle line on the floor, sit down, and start singing. The children begin to put away their work and clean up, then go to join the group as they finish. They might sing songs in English and Spanish, learn about the characteristics of mammals, and be introduced to some new countries in North America. When the teacher dismisses the children, a few at a time (usually starting with the youngest and most wiggly children first) to go put their slippers in their cubbies, and put on their shoes. As they put on shoes all the teachers help those that need it get ready, and as soon as a few are ready, they are lead by a teacher to recess, which is also free play time, with the option of some easy group games. After recess, they are picked up to go home! Unless they're a full day student, in which case the cycle begins again, including arranging and eating their sack lunches, brought from their own homes, cleaning up after themselves, and beginning more interesting work in class!
And that's a day in the life of a Montessori child!
-- Mrs. Tricia Blosser, Founding Director