Many Montessori schools choose to pursue free play; instead of enforcing strict playground rules and removing any aspect of possible risk from the environment, children are encouraged to creatively play in a respectful way. If this means climbing trees, playing contact games, or working in the mud, then that’s alright! In today’s piece, we discuss how this free play movement has seen some interesting benefits to schools- one of the most important being that bullying drops dramatically.
The holidays can be both exciting and frustrating for a child. One way to help children deal with their emotions and find peace is to introduce a peace basket into the Montessori classroom. A peace basket contains items that are meant to help children feel calm and self-soothe.
Recently a NAMC student asked a question about toddler nap time in the Montessori childcare environment: I am seeking advice for toddler nap time. What suggestions do you have?
NAMC Montessori Teacher Training Blog: A Free Flowing Montessori Environment- Today’s NAMC blog considers the idea of establishing a seamless learning environment that does not separate between indoors and outdoors. Removing the separation between indoors and outdoors allows children to freely and naturally follow their own desires. Of course, there are challenges to preparing the environment in this manner, but the benefits to the children can be immense.
Exploring the Earth - Montessori Sensorial Work with Soil. Though it may sometimes be painful to track down and clean up, the soil beneath our feet is also a wonderful opportunity for Montessori Sensorial work. Dr. Montessori encouraged free exploration of the natural world to entice the senses and encourage learning; today we discuss how students can explore the Earth and the natural world by taking a closer look at dirt.
Singing about Cosmic Education in the Montessori Environment - "This Pretty Planet" (video and lyrics included!)
Montessori Practical Life activities have very specific goals when it comes to the development of motor skills, concentration, and consciousness in movement. Today we discuss ways to add variety to Practical Life shelves while still maintaining the integrity of those goals, along with keeping children interested!
Knowing when to Intervene in the Montessori Environment: Destructive or hazardous behavior must not be allowed to continue in the Montessori environment. A wise teacher will respectfully redirect behavior to that which is more appropriate.
NAMC Montessori Teacher Training Blog: Preparing the Montessori Environment for Children Who are Visually Impaired: an interesting piece discussing how with some small preparations, the Montessori environment can be adapted to the needs of a visually impaired child. In fact, with the promotion of whole-brain and full sensory learning, the Montessori method is uniquely suited to helping children of all abilities learn and experience success.
Preparing for Food Allergies in the Montessori Environment: Singling children out under the auspices of keeping them safe may ensure their physical safety, but it is damaging to their psyche. In addition, it sends a clear message to the other children that it is okay to exclude others because they are different from the community as a whole. We talk about how to keep your classroom safe and inclusive.
NAMC Montessori Teacher Training Blog: Food Allergy Awareness in the Montessori Environment - brings up the issue of food allergy awareness in your Montessori environment. 90% of all allergies are caused by only 8 types of foods! We discuss these allergens, why reactions are dangerous, as well as what to listen for. Since children often have difficulties explaining how they are feeling, knowing some of these warning signs may help you to recognize a reaction.
Ways to encourage quiet in the Montessori environment that does not involve the harsh sounds of shushing a child. By being respectful, modeling quiet behavior, and by dealing with excessive noise without the loud “SHHHHHHHHHH,” children will learn the values of quiet instead of simply being quieted.
Organizing Montessori Curriculum at the Beginning of the Year - we help to clear up some of the confusion that may arise while planning out Montessori curriculum at the beginning of the year. Because Montessori classes operate on a three-year cycle, curriculum scheduling may be rotated yearly for all students, or can be presented fully each year at each age level. Here are some useful tips on getting organized and engaging learning across all curriculum in the Montessori classroom.
NAMC Montessori Teacher Training Blog: Montessori Teachers: Making a First Impression and Enjoying the First Day of School. Using core Montessori values as a guide, here are some tips for getting the most out of and enjoying your first day back to school.
Montessori Classroom Activity Ideas for the First Day of School: Here are some ideas to help break the ice and bridge the gap between summer, home, and school.
Montessori Foundation Activities - The Silence Game: Ideas and discussion on how to play the silence game in your classroom as a group or individual activity, for toddlers right up to older children.
Montessori Outdoor Activities: Growing a Hummingbird and Butterfly Habitat - Tips on creating an outdoor environment that will attract butterflies, birds and insects that will bring your classroom closer to nature and provide many opportunities for observation!
Reading for Montessori Students: Activities and Challenges for All Levels - great ideas to promote reading, inside and outside the Montessori classroom
If you have an outdoor space that doesn't get much snow, create a 'snowball' throwing activity by taping up baggies full of packing peanuts. Great for hand-eye coordination, weather studies, and gross motor movement (just to name a few things!)
Prepared Environment Tips: Montessori Furniture in Preschool and Elementary Classrooms, discussion of how the environment and classroom design is crucial to the method, plus a helpful guide on exact furniture sizes for different age groups.
Montessori Classroom - Take Students on a Nature Walk. Fun ideas for exploring and learning about nature
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly- What a fun idea for a story activity! A lady shaped syrup bottle can 'swallow' objects as the story is read. Begin with small figurines, and move to letter beads to thread on pipe cleaner pieces as skills develop.
Circle Time Activities in the Montessori Classroom: Circle time isn't just for attendance. Sometimes, when the work cycle becomes disrupted, I will gather the children to circle to "re-center" ourselves. Circle time is a place to regroup and reconnect. Some of my students have even said that circle time is their favorite time of the day.
NAMC Montessori Teacher Training Blog: The Circle of Life in the Montessori Classroom: Activities for Sharing Birth, Marriage, and Death