Video Credit American Montessori Society
You have probably brought your child to work but have you ever been to where your child “works”? What is it like to be in their classroom? Letʼs go and take a quick trip to a Montessori classroom right
now where work is play, and play is work. Itʼs an interesting place, a curious mix of student lounge over here, friendly conference tables over there, quiet reading zones, art studio, problem-solving area, technology hub, busy science lab, and “toy” areas.
The classroom is abuzz with activity yet is also a calm and nurturing environment where a child pursues their interests through authentic personal learning. The curriculum is a wonderful balance between mind and body development, between basic skills training and personal project courses. As well the areas of study provide an interdisciplinary understanding of how the world works.
As with all learning spaces geared toward productive endeavors, there is a teacher orchestrating the workflow and order of the classroom. The guide on the side, the encouraging supervisor, is also the custodian of resources and materials that provide a way for children to visualize and learn abstract concepts through hands-on experience. Teachers typically have colored tiles, tangram puzzles, an array of pattern and base ten blocks, multilink cubes, and even abacus sets. If you look over there youʼll find groups of students at varying age levels deep in thought as they discuss or complete team
projects. The older ones are eager to help the younger ones experience the joy of learning and skills progression. This multiage classroom is a brilliant arrangement for students who are gifted or who have other educational needs. They can move onward with each successfully completed skill while still being appropriately socialized within their age group.
Every now and then students will pause from all that work to reflect and think about how they have been doing so far. They are seated in their circle of safety each given a turn to express themselves while their peers respectfully listen and acknowledge their words. This is an informal yet invaluable lesson on effective communication.
If you enjoyed this field trip into your childʼs workplace how much more enjoyable it is for them as they go to work every day! Donʼt you wish your own workplace was as productive and enjoyable?