Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Have the Best School Year Yet: Simple, Inspiring Ideas for Montessori Teachers

NAMC montessori teacher simple inspiring ideas best school year greeting student
The summer has flown by, and many of us are getting ready for the start of a new academic year. I find that thinking about the basics and essentials of a Montessori classroom helps inspire me for the upcoming year. Spending this time examining why I chose Montessori, what makes it unique and wonderful, has been a truly helpful start to every school year. The following is a list of simple ideas that will help to develop a routine in your Montessori classroom, build a sense of community and develop peacefulness, mindfulness and social grace and courtesy.

Start of the Day: The minute your students walk in the door, your community-building work begins. Building a sense of community in your Montessori classroom is the key to classroom harmony and success. It also helps foster skills that your students can apply to other communal situations.
  • Greeting each student as they enter the room - Be sure to shake each student’s hand and make eye contact. Feel free to do a High 5 or pinky finger shake too!
  • Morning Circle/Group - This is your time to set the tone for the day by establishing a routine. This time might include announcements about the day, sharing by students, or a song.

Have the Best School Year Yet: Simple, Inspiring Ideas for Montessori Teachers

Any Time of the Day: These are ideas that can be introduced and then used as needed.
  • Peace Table - Include a book for questions, issues and grievances. These can then be discussed and worked out in class/community meetings. Also, some appropriate books about peace and a “talking object” will be helpful.
  • Grace and Courtesy - Role playing is an extremely helpful technique for both peace education and grace and courtesy that masquerades as fun acting!
Celebrations: Decide as a class what may be appropriate ways to express cheer and joy. Will you shake your hands while being silent? Will you silently disco a la Saturday Night Fever? More than one possibility is fine!
NAMC montessori teacher simple inspiring ideas best school year sharing calendar
Sharing: Nearly everyone likes to share a little something about themselves. This will help you get to know your students and will help foster a community within your Montessori classroom.
  • Decide as a class whether you would like a set sharing time. For example, will everyone be allowed a brief time on Fridays at the end of the day? Or will five people share on Monday, five on Tuesday, etc? Maybe your students would rather that sharing be a more organic process, i.e., people share when they are ready, but they must give the adult advance notice?
  • Students can share something from home and/or their work. You can establish a place (a basket, table, etc.) where students can place what they would like to share with their fellow students.
  • Community meetings can also be a time to share joys and appreciations.
  • Students may also enjoy reading to their classmates.
  • Does your school have a policy for birthday celebrations? A sharing ritual can be developed to acknowledge this milestone.
Source: Focused on the Principles: Classrooms United and Thriving, Workshop March 2, 2007 in NYC, American Montessori Society National Conference, Compiled by Gretchen Courage. The NAMC Classroom Guides provide guidelines and insight for starting the school year well.
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Tuesday, August 18, 2009.

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