Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Well-Rounded Montessori Curriculum

An ideal curriculum for children under six provides a good balance between physical activities and projects that require sitting down and working.

For those of you have have not seen our earlier post from "The Montessori Method," here is the link Montessori Schedule.

Here are some tips for home and school:
  1. Include three to four physical activity times per day. These activities can include group games, outdoor play, and anything else that lets children run and be active.
  2. Make available equipment and instruction for all areas of classroom education including language, art, math, practical life, sensorial, geography, foreign language, music, and nature (botany, biology, zoology). Children will not usually develop at the same speed in all areas.
  3. Focus on material that involves touching, manipulation, fine and/or gross motor skills, and hand-eye coordination.
  4. Create child-sized equipment, shelves, and quiet areas for work. Present a new exercise several times a week in general.
  5. Leave your child alone to work. Avoid the temptation to go and "check on him or her" unless your child asks your for assistance or wants to show you what he or she is doing. A lot of parents and teachers meddle out of habit, not necessity.
    1. In teacher training, we observe other trainees and comment, critique, and use feedback to develop teaching skills. You can do this at home by video taping your classroom area and watching yourself at the end of the day. Or ask a friend or older child to watch you and take notes. Try to learn how to step back and observe yourself, too! It can be pretty tough to do, but it is a great way to learn.
    2. Young children can focus on projects for a very long time. Let them do it! Even if you would prefer to steer your child away from drawing and towards a reading activity, stop yourself from doing it.
    3. Look at your child's schedule and work activities over a one week or one month period. Your child doesn't necessarily need a balanced work day on a 24 hour basis. If you look at a longer period, you can introduce new activities in the areas in which you want your child to spend more time. For example, if you want your child to do more math, instead of talking about it, make a note to yourself to introduce a new and appealing math activity the next morning.
    4. No talk about "bad at math" or "not good at reading" or anything else. Your child is too young to have preferences, anyhow. If a subject is not appealing, you can probably fix it by changing or improving your presentation. If you hit a subject area that you are not comfortable presenting (e.g. you are a tone deaf math professor and you want to teach your child to play the recorder), enlist a friend, hire a tutor, or buy an instructional DVD! You can share the lesson with your child and learn together, too!

Remember that areas of the curriculum such as personal care (bathing, tooth brushing, etc) area equally as important for development as math and reading, even if they seem less exciting!


montessori_lori said...

You are so right about the meddling - for some reason, it's hard to leave kids alone when they work. I need to work on that.

Pecos Blue said...

Great ideas. Thank you.