Children in a Montessori environment practice so many skills and learn new and wonderful things each day, that it’s a bit daunting to write it all down. Below, we have an outline of Sophia, a 3.5 year old’s day. If you would like to see a complete 3 hour Montessori morning compressed into 4 minutes, enjoy this fun video from the Dundas Valley Montessori School.
A Montessori day begins even before class, when children choose their clothes, dress, carry their lunch boxes and open doors all by themselves.
|8:30 am: Arrival
Sophia greets her teacher at the door with a warm handshake and smile and then hangs up her jacket inside the classroom. This morning greeting reinforces our practice of Grace and Courtesy and allows Sophia to have a predictable and enjoyable start to each day.
Sophia enters her warm and familiar classroom where children are already quietly working. Each day, she has the choice of which lessons to resume or observe. Yesterday, she was introduced to the dressing frame, and she chooses it again today as her first work.
|8:30-11:00: Uninterrupted work time
During this period, children select, prepare, complete and clean up multiple activities. Today, in addition to practicing her lacing skills with the dressing frame, she receives a lesson on the letter “a”, paints, reviews her previous lesson on the smelling jars, learns about where yarn and wool clothing come from, and practices with the yellow knobless solids.
Below, you see Sophia’s lesson on the letter “a”. To prepare, Sophia chooses a sandpaper letter, gets out the block to hold the letter and the sand box for tracing. First, Ms. Minha and Sophia warm up their hands, then Minha traces the sandpaper letter “a”, twice, slowly and clearly, while saying the letter sound. Next, she invites Sophia to do the same. After tracing twice, they open the sand box, and Ms. Minha traces the letter in the sand. Again, she does this slowly and clearly while repeating the letter sound. Finally, Sophia practices tracing the letter in the sand. When she feels done, she tidies up again, replacing the materials she took out.
All morning, children can gather at the snack table, where they select a plate, serve a snack from the family-style platter, and sit to enjoy a mid-morning snack. After a child finishes snack, they clear their plate and moves on to the next project.
Also during this time, there is a rotating group of students who spend their time with outdoor exploration. Students find seed pods, insects, rocks and other treasures. They learn the different parts of plants, plant names and gardening skills.
The chimes ring to tell the students it’s time to tidy up their activities and enjoy their group play time. __NEED THIS Need note on an example of what they might do during this time__
Sophia lines up for hand washing before lunch-time, while the younger, half-day students are dismissed. Sophia and two other students help teacher Eileen push the lunch cart out to the playground lunch tables, and place each of the childrens’ lunchboxes at a seat.
Lunch is a calm and enjoyable social time. Sophia learned this year how to place her cloth napkin on the lunch table as a placemat and place each of her lunch items on the napkin.
|After lunch, Sophia returns her remaining lunch items to her lunchbox, places her lunchbox on the cart, and enjoys outdoor play time.|
Children can climb on the climbing structure, runs with friends, checks on the marigolds,and play with additional outdoor toys chosen for the season. Outdoor play allows the children the opportunity to follow their imagination and play after their morning of focused and determined work.
This is Sophia’s second work period. Ms. Minha is unsurprised to see Sophia return once again to the dressing frame activity. As Sophia practices, experiences controlled failure within the activity, and eventually finds success, she experiences mastery. Sophia’s focused efforts over the last few days have lead her to an “I did it!” moment. She is proud to master this activity. Even better, her effort and success has piqued Jonathan’s interest the dressing frame, and he requests a lesson from Ms. Minha.
This afternoon, Ms. Minha has a group cultural lesson: Introduction to Rocks. She discusses the layers of the Earth using a play dough model, and presents the parts of a plant, and parts of the seed.
Sophia is ready for afternoon circle and clean up. Once the room is tidy for tomorrow, Ms. Minha gathers the children for a book during circle time.
|3:00 pm: Dismissal
Sophia has had another day filled with impressive efforts and enjoyment. The joy of working through challenges and finding successes is clear on her face when she says goodbye to her teachers and leaves the classroom to greet her dad.