A renewed interest in the Montessori method of learning

I've had a perfectly delightful morning at kindergarten today for another class observation / participation. This time we had the opportunity to visit the Montessori classroom. It was fantastic!

From the Nienhuis catalogue

Montessori is an alternative learning method based on the philosophy of Italian physician & educator Maria Montessori. I've long been interested in it dating back to when Noodle was a pre-schooler. We had quite a set up here though I could never afford to buy any of the specialized materials. They're incredibly expensive and often only available to schools or educational facilities (but of course feature amazing craftsmanship). I was able to make a lot of things, such as sandpaper letters, but today was the first time I had seen many of the real things in the flesh. For some reason I hadn't seen the class when Noodle attended the same kindy.

The first part of the class involved the children role-playing greeting a guest and serving them tea. It was a lesson in the observation of etiquette and social manners. Every single boy was outstanding at the task, including Tyler. I was so proud! The girls will take their turn this afternoon so it was an intimate class with just eight boys. They used real china cups, wore cute little aprons, sat in the correct Japanese way and used formal Japanese expressions. The class even has a kid-sized Japanese sliding door to practice opening and closing.

For the remainder of the hour the kids were invited to share their favourite activity with their parent(s). I was surprised that Tyler first picked a bead threading activity. He had a special way of selecting the beads and clear preferences for the ones he liked (the sparkly diamonds). He told me he always chooses this activity. Normally at home he is much too raucous for this type of quiet concentration and finger dexterity.

We also had a go with the Pink Tower and the sound cylinders. Again he impressed me with his level of comprehension and concentration.

I had forgotten that the Montessori aspect of the kindergarten was one of the reasons we chose it for Noodle. Perhaps I should re-visit my old textbooks on the topic. I have a renewed interest in it after today and I have gained some ideas for things to stock our activity area with. I still have a lot of my homemade materials in the cupboard. It could be just the thing for Tyler.

1 comment:

  1. When my daughter was about 7 we went back to New Zealand for 3 months and she went into a Montessori class at the local primary school. My son went into a regular class and although they both had a fantastic time, Montessori would be the way I would go if I had the choice again.


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