In a Montessori classroom students choose the work they will do, then prepare a space on a rug or table mat before retrieving the materials for the work. If the student has already had a lesson on the work, he/she is able to proceed. If not, the student waits for a lesson with the teacher before beginning the work.
This orderly process is one of the things that attracted me to my current job in the preschool classroom. It is a lesson I often need myself. For instance, today I am fiddling around the condo instead of
- choosing to pay bills
- preparing a table for that task
- getting the checkbook, pen, box-o-bills, stamps, and household ledger
- sitting myself down and doing the work!
Like many of the preschoolers, I would rather visit the US Postal Service website to find out about my new Jimmy Stewart and Jury Duty stamps, edit photos in Photoshop, or go with my walking buddy to Bath & Body Works at the mall (even though I'm not a fruity fragrant lotion cult member).
I'm so impressed that Norton, the class rabbit has been spreading his table mat before beginning new work this weekend. I haven't had to suggest work for Norton, although I have needed to redirect his attention when he wandered off to nibble on baskets and slipcovers.
"Observing One Child" notes from Montessori For Everyone:
• Is the child able to choose work independently? If not, who suggests the work, the teacher or another child?
• Do they get work out in the correct order - rug or table mat first, then the materials? Are the materials used for their correct purpose? Was the work complete, or did the child need to get materials from another area of the room?
It's a rainy day. It would be so much more fun to watch Jimmy Stewart in "Harvey" than to pay those bills! I think Norton would enjoy it, don't you?
© 2008 Nancy L. Ruder