Recess and outdoor activities are opportunities for a Montessori teacher to show her/his students how Montessori Peace and Cosmic Education lessons translate into the everyday life of the playground and schoolyard. As a teacher in an early childhood Montessori classroom, your work includes the Practical Life lessons of grace and courtesy and other character values.
When children play, some essential themes present themselves, such as friendship, compassion, cooperation, and kindness. (These four themes are further discussed in Charles A. Smith’s The Peaceful Classroom.) These themes and values can be introduced, encouraged and expressed through many activities in the Montessori classroom and fostered again in the community atmosphere of the Montessori playground.
Montessori Cosmic Education and Peace: The Outdoor Environment
Many life skills for communication that are being explored in the Montessori classroom, such as listening, understanding, tolerance, empathy, inclusion, and negotiation, also have a place of utmost importance in the Montessori outdoor environment. Whether games and activities at recess time, “going out” activities, sharing with other Montessori classrooms, or your students have the outdoor area to themselves, a policy of inclusion is important. When playing soccer or “ponies,” or any outdoor game — establish this policy of inclusion: that is, all students are welcome to play. Encourage your Montessori students to invite everyone to play, and help your students say “yes” to anyone who may ask to join their game.
Help older students to remember that they may need to adjust their game when joined by younger children, and that their behavior is setting an example for their fellow students.
Practicing conflict resolution and problem solving in the Montessori classroom through role playing can help students learn to work through playground squabbles and nurture community, independence, and self-confidence. This is work that can continue throughout all age groups and throughout the school year.
Just as in the classroom, at recess a Montessori educator’s role is to observe and guide. In this way, the Montessori teacher encourages and nurtures the important social skills that Montessori students are acquiring in these early years of development.
NAMC's Lower Elementary curriculum manual: Five Great Lessons Cosmic Education & Peace, discusses peace in detail, including conflict resolution.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Wednesday, May 26, 2010.