Something happens after spring break. Palpable and alive, there is a new energy in the Montessori classroom. Whether spoken aloud or not, students and Montessori teachers alike have begun the countdown to the end of the year. As time passes, the energy builds until, before you know it, the end is here.
Just as the amount of preparation in the beginning of the year can seem overwhelming, so, too, can the closing of your Montessori classroom for the year. If you plan ahead and apply proper modeling techniques, your students can help you dismantle your classroom during those last few days of the year. The following is a list of ideas to focus that enthusiastic “school’s out” energy.
How to Involve Students in the Montessori Classroom at the End of the Year
Montessori MaterialsHave on hand a supply of quart and gallon sized re-sealable plastic bags, as well as a large roll of plastic wrap. Students can dust and carefully place the Montessori materials in the bags (or wrap larger pieces in plastic wrap) and replace them back on the shelf. This keeps all the pieces together, saves you from having to dust materials when you return in the fall, and ensures that your shelves stay in order. Students also can help compile a list of missing or broken materials. This process is especially handy if you are moving classrooms or will have cleaning crews in over the summer. Everything stays together!
Class KitchenIf you are fortunate enough to have a kitchen in your Montessori classroom, employ your students in a thorough kitchen cleaning and reorganization. Make sure all the dishes are washed and put away properly. They can also empty and clean the refrigerator and freezer. Students can take stock of what supplies still remain in the pantry and make a list of what will need to be bought before school starts again.
Plants and AnimalsStudents may sign up to be foster parents to the class pets and plants (with prior parent approval, of course). Make sure that they understand the proper care instructions and send enough food to last a week or two so parents don’t have to run out shopping as soon as they get home.
Class LibraryIt’s time to re-shelve and organize the class library. Students can separate fiction from non-fiction, alphabetize by author and separate by genre. Dirty or torn books can be repaired. Students may also wish to survey classmates for books they’d like to see added to the library.
Play EquipmentBoth inside games and outdoor equipment should be gone through. All games should be gone through to make sure all the required pieces and instructions are there. The game shelves should look neat and tidy. The outdoor equipment should be put away neatly. Broken pieces need to be thrown away. Again, students should take care to make a list of what should be ordered before next year.
Thank You NotesEncourage your students to write thank you notes to special people they’ve encountered during the year. This could include parent volunteers, bus drivers, museum docents, and guest speakers. This is a great lesson on Montessori’s principal of Grace and Courtesy.
ReadingNever underestimate the power of reading. Students at any age love to be read to. The power of their teacher’s voice bring a book to life is a wonderful and calming presence in the classroom. Individual silent reading is also a great way to channel the energy that is running rampant through our normally calm Montessori classroom.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Monday, May 21, 2007.