Friday, August 28, 2009

An Introduction to the Montessori Preschool Classroom for New Montessori Parents

NAMC introduction to the montessori preschool classroom new montessori parents girl working with cylinders
You have resigned not to cry. After all, preschool is going to be fun for your child. There are nice teachers and lots of children to play with. There is a playground with a sandbox, tricycles, and a garden to rake. There will be story time, singing, painting, and all those wonderful Montessori Practical Life materials on the shelf that you saw on your visit to the classroom. You just know it’s going to be wonderful, but the hardest part is going to be leaving your little one at the door of his or her new Montessori classroom on that first day.

To help you prepare for what to expect from your child’s Montessori classroom experience, here is a short primer on what she may be talking about when she comes home.

An Introduction to the Montessori Preschool Classroom for New Montessori Parents

    NAMC introduction to the montessori preschool classroom new montessori parents girl working alone
  • Circle time - These are daily gatherings of the whole Montessori class and occur at the beginning and end of the day as well as at transition times. Circle may include: calendar, singing, stories, science experiments, group lessons, problem solving.
  • Lessons/Activities – This is direct instruction by a teacher. Lessons (also referred to as activities) are usually presented one-on-one or in a small group. After a lesson is presented, your child may work on that activity any time it is available.
  • Work – A child’s work refers to a learning activity or set of Montessori materials. It includes direct and indirect aims, control of error, points of interest, and extensions. Work in the preschool classroom mostly consists of one- or two-person activities.
  • Mats – All work in the Montessori classroom, except written work, is done on mats. The mat clearly delineates the student’s personal work space. Don’t be surprised if your child comes home asking for a mat to work on!
  • Aprons – Students in the Montessori classroom are required to wear an apron for work involving water or art.
  • Snack – It is not unusual for snack to be a child’s favorite activity! Snack in the Montessori classroom is treated as a work. Your child will have a lesson on snack preparation. Afterward, he will be able to prepare and serve himself a snack during the day. Snack is kept simple and is not meant to replace a healthy meal.
  • Quiet or “Inside” voice – Children often need a lesson on finding and using their quiet voice in the classroom. This ensures a respectful working environment for everyone.
  • Practical Life – Practical Life activities are the traditional works of the family and home. They allow children to gain independence and self-discipline, develop gross and fine motor skills, build concentration, as well as indirectly prepare for math and writing. Maria Montessori observed that children prefer real work over imaginary work and real, child-sized tools are used.
  • Sensorial –Sensorial work covers every quality that can be perceived by the senses. The purpose and aim of Sensorial work is for the child to acquire clear, conscious, information and to be able to then make classifications in the environment. The Sensorial and Practical Life work is unique to the Montessori classroom.
  • Grace and Courtesy – Preschool children are in a sensitive period for learning good manners and becoming aware of being part of a community. Common courtesies such as saying please and thank you, greeting visitors, serving food, holding the door open and pushing in chairs are presented as lessons to the children.
  • The Peace Table or Peace Place – Dr. Montessori recognized children as the redeeming factor in the evolution of humankind. The Peace Table (or Place) is a designated place where children can go to peacefully resolve conflict and work out their differences.
Your child’s enthusiasm for her Montessori classroom may become contagious. For further reading on the Montessori preschool environment you may wish to try:
  • A Parents’ Guide to the Montessori Classroom, by Aline D. Wolf
  • Child of the World: Michael Olaf’s Essential Montessori for Ages 3-12+, by The Michael Olaf Company
  • How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way, by Tim Seldin
  • The Montessori Way, by Tim Seldin
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 Friday, August 28, 2009.


Post a Comment

Have questions or comments? Let us know what you thought about this article!

We appreciate feedback and love to discuss with our readers further.

NAMC Blog Inquiries Contact Form


Email *

Message *

Search the NAMC Montessori Teacher Training Blog

Are you interested in reading back through NAMC's blog articles from years gone by, or for more information on a specific topic?

Browse a select list of our most popular categories below; by clicking on one, you will see every article posted under that topic since 2007. You may also use the lower archive menu to select a year and month, displaying all blog posts in the chosen time frame.

If you are seeking a range of information on a certain topic or idea, try this search box for site-wide keyword results.

Choose From a List of Popular Article Topics

NAMC Montessori Series

Montessori Philosophy and Methodology

Montessori Classroom Management

The School Year

Montessori Materials

Montessori Curriculum

Montessori Infant/Toddler (0–3) Program

Montessori Early Childhood (3–6) Program

Montessori Elementary (6–12) Programs

What is Montessori?

Search Archives for Montessori Blog Posts by Date

Thank you to the NAMC Montessori community!

This year marks NAMC’s 20th anniversary of providing quality Montessori distance training and curriculum development to Montessorians around the globe. Since we began in 1996, we have grown to build a fantastic community of students, graduates, and schools in over 120 countries. We are grateful for your continued support and dedication to furthering the reach and success of the Montessori method. Thank you for sharing this amazing milestone with us!