I read all the education journals and magazines, so I’m finding the ‘latest trends’ in education to truly be ‘old trends’ from a method developed over one hundred years ago. An article written just this May, lists 12 Education Terms To Know in 2015. I read them, and I smile. Then I think, oh yeah- we (Montessori Teachers) do that! Here’s to the “Progressive” schools, I thank you for thinking outside the norm, and I wish these things below for all children.
The practice of one teacher keeping the class of students for more than one year. In Montessori Schools, it’s for three. Imagine a child not having to readjust to new expectations, new classmates, new adults. The month of September would be full of learning. Imagine the adult, greeting students in the beginning of the year, knowing them inside and out- on a very individual level. Teachers get to see the full transformation of the child. It’s beautiful. And not new…..
This pairs up with Looping for Montessori. The new students are typically the youngest, and the class builds from the bottom. It goes by Planes Of Development, in three year cycles.
There are many reasons why Montessori classrooms are multiage.
Consider the experience for each age grouping. In any of the classes or levels, there is a first year student, a second year student, and a third year student. The first year student has the chance to see the scope of what the next few years might look like for them. The first year student has the older children, generally 2/3 of a class, to help guide and support them. This new child comes with a blank slate, ready and open to experience work. In the view of the second year student, they are now midway, no longer the youngest- and yet not the oldest. They are getting deeper into working, and they have the ability to model for the younger children and the guidance of the oldest group of children. The third year is where is all comes together for Montessori children. It’s the year that has been building on all previous experiences and the child becomes the leader. There is so much to be said for learning and retaining what is taught to someone else. Each day the third year child gains a chance to teach and lead, imagine the confidence that comes with that. It’s magic, and not new….
Individual. Education. Plan. is done for children that are either gifted or behind. Montessori Teachers have in their minds and in their plans an individualized plan for each child. A student is taught to their unique level and needs, not to a group. EVERYONE is DIFFERENT, and that is a good thing. It’s like the world of education forgot. We teach to each child. Follow the (EVERY) Child, they say.
Cartoons are not used to teach a skill. If we are learning about Mammals, real images or life-like replicas are used in the child’s hand. Oh, there’s imagination in Montessori- it’s just not done in a Dress Up Corner way, but in a Literature-Based Project-Based, Reality-Based way.
Science. Technology. Engineering. Art. Math.
Again, this is not a new idea- just a new acronym. Every day, I see my students problem solving, creating, researching, and ciphering in ways WAY above their grade level (or what standards say they should be able to do). Itty bitty kids are learning about Botany, Zoology, Engineering, Art (always art- this is vital!), and Math. Oh the math. Little kids multiplying and using numbers into the thousands? Yes, please. Not a new idea, just new initials.
Delayed introduction to Tech.
This article talks about how parents of Silicon Valley, the tech leaders- choose non-tech education for their own children. Fact is, children need real experiences, and delaying the introduction to technology keeps those experiences exciting and keeps the mind from developing learning issues. This article discusses why young children should not have hand held devices.
Montessori Schools differ on this, from class to class and from school to school. In my class, technology is for research. Curious? Let’s look it up. One of the most memorable moments was watching Providence’s Peregrine Falcon Webcam. It launched us into a whole unit on birds of prey. This has been the Montessori stance on tech since the times of the first computer. Not so new…
Please take a moment and visit http://beyondthestoplight.com. It is all about how to manage a classroom without shame and embarrassment. If you struggle with classroom management, stop there first. In a Montessori Classroom, rules are made and protected by the adults AND the children. When an issue arrises, the class meets to discuss what needs to be done. No one’s name goes on the board, no one’s clip is moved to an undesirable color. Discussions about behavior and expectations can be done privately between teacher and student. Some of the most memorable conversations I’ve had with students is during a meeting about behavior. There IS discipline in a Montessori class, it’s just not posted for the world to see. It’s done with kindness, while maintaining the family/community feel of the classroom.
There are no rewards charts, no stickers, no prize box. Why do they work? Why do anything without being bribed for it? Well, people are forgetting, but kids naturally want to learn. Yep! It’s called intrinsic motivation.
21st Century Skills.
This image says it all. Visit one good Montessori Classroom, and you’ll see that this is already happening.
Yes, Montessori Materials are expensive. YET, you buy it ONCE. The materials in my classroom are over 40 years young, and have been used by hundreds of children. Invest in good work, you’ll have it forever.