We are pleased to share this guest submission, the third of three finalists in the NAMC blog contest. We thank Namita for her participation, and hope you enjoy this activity created for the Montessori Preschool/Kindergarten classroom, and adaptable to the Montessori elementary classroom.
Early childhood is the time of the “absorbent mind,” the age when a child literally starts taking impressions from the environment. It is the time to carefully introduce experiences, not with lessons or lectures, but experientially and sensorially, with practical activities.
It is election time in India. By use of a carefully-designed Montessori activity, the democratic election process is introduced in the Montessori curriculum.
Montessori Cultural Activity: Introducing Democratic Elections in the Montessori ClassroomElections in India
1. Introduction to the activity: prepare the Montessori students in advance by talking to them about the election in India. (Note: any other democratic country, state/province or municipality can be substituted). Although this activity is created for the 3-6 age group, it can be adapted to older Montessori students as well. This is a great opportunity to build vocabulary with older students. We have italicized some words in the text below for this purpose.
What is a Democratic Election?
A democratic election is a decision-making process by which a population (people of a country, for example) chooses an individual (candidate) to hold formal political office to represent them in government. Candidates hope to represent their constituents in government.
It involves a number of step-by-step processes:
- Announcement of election date(s).
- Announcement of results and submission of the list of successfully nominated candidates to the executive head of the state or the center.
- Election campaign leading up to the election date, whereby candidates communicate their objectives to their constituents.
- Election day is the day that the population (constituents) go to the voting polls and cast their votes.
- The publication of voter results and the declaration of the winning candidates marks the end of the election process.
- Paving the way for the formation of the new government.
3. Ballot Paper & Symbols: After nomination of candidates is complete, a list of competing candidates is prepared, and ballot papers are printed. Ballot papers (see Section 6.) are printed with the names of the candidates and the symbols allotted to each of the parties. In this activity, we will use an apple, and orange, and a banana as the candidates. Other items can be substituted, at the discretion of the teacher.
The parties formed choose their symbols from the following:
4. Voter Registration: the students complete a form to register as a voter before voting. This creates an Electoral Roll or Registered Voters List. In this activity, you can create Voter Identity Cards (see section 6) that students may bring to the polls for verification against the Registered Voters List.
5. Campaigns: The students campaign for their parties, putting forward their candidates and objectives/arguments with which they hope to persuade people to vote for their candidates and parties.
The three parties campaign and the students use following information to campaign for their respective parties:
6. How does voting take place: the students vote by a secret ballot. A polling station is set up in the Montessori school. On entering the polling station, the elector shows his/her voter identity card, which is checked against the Electoral Roll. Upon verification, the elector is allocated a ballot paper. The elector votes by marking the ballot paper with a rubber stamp on or near the symbol he chooses (apple, orange or banana), from inside a screened, private compartment in the polling station. The voter then folds the ballot paper and inserts it in a common ballot box which is kept in full view of the Presiding Officer and the polling agents of the candidates.
7. Counting of votes: after the polling has finished, the votes are counted. After the counting of votes is over, the name of the candidate to whom the largest number of votes has been given is announced as the winner.
A child who is living in the Montessori environment needs to develop respect for the environment. He needs to use his five senses to develop abilities to identify, sort, match, name and compare. He has to be able to communicate with the environment and able to develop thinking powers. We at a Montessori school, through our culture curriculum, aim at developing the child’s skills of questioning, experimentation, problem solving, and above all, aim at bringing a positive and caring attitude of the child towards the culture part of our environment. This is done through activities which are experientially designed and relate to the practical life exercises of the Montessori student. This helps the student relate to the activities he/she is already doing and easily absorb new concepts through these activities.
Namita Jain is a trained Montessori Directress. She has been teaching in a Montessori in India for the past five years. She has also completed her Lower Elementary (6-9) diploma program through NAMC.
The NAMC Upper Elementary history manuals provide activities that explore types and levels of government, investigating political processes, and historical perspectives on US and Canadian governments.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Wednesday, May 27, 2009.