Organizing a Montessori Day
Let's highlight a previous Nugget: Montessori Keys: Montessori as an Approach to Life
When we are teachers in Montessori schools, we strive to educate the parents on the fullness of Montessori, so they can have a Montessori-inspired home. This is best for the child, to be in a variety of environments where his needs and tendencies are respected and addressed while also tending to the needs and tendencies of the other people in that social structure (family, school, etc.).
When we are homeschool parents (whether trained Montessori teachers or not), we find that our work cycle naturally extends beyond the 3+ hour work cycle in the morning and (for 5 year olds and older) any second work cycles of the day. It becomes a 24/7 work cycle.
In our homes, or in Montessori schools that have the blessing of having children longer, we find that our work cycles become entirely natural.
We adults provide key presentations, that don't take just too much of the child's time; and we find we have time to be outside, to do art, to just sit and have a natural conversation, to plan that trip to the library, better yet for the older child to plan the errands needed. The children may choose to work with a Montessori material or apply a concept learned through Montessori experiences at any time of the day or night. I recall a 4 year old young man who awoke in the middle of the night to use the toilet, then proceeded to work on the puzzle map of Africa - the hardest of the set - he found it relaxing and found that he was indeed capable of working on it by himself. Why the middle of the night? Who knows! His mind was more relaxed; no distractions of noise and people and lights; no pressure from the adults around him (since they were allegedly sleeping, not (ahem) videotaping from around the corner).
In a home environment, the keys can be presented at any time. Maybe there is a dedicated school time - that is fine too - just remember what all happens at schools: snack, bathroom breaks, chatting with friends, watching the class fish, caring for the other animals, watering plants, gardening, working outside AND inside, food preparation, and more! The children do not have their hands on the materials every moment! So it is ok at home to have a variety of things happening - just provide the keys. The keys lay a foundation and a structure - and enjoy the freedom of time for exploration!
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