Back in January, I was discussing with my Montessori assistant how lovely it is to see all of the children working in a normalized manner and thriving on all of the activities on the shelves. The Vase of Kindness was being filled on a regular basis and the level of productivity in the class was incredible.
Recently two of our older children moved away, and our Montessori preschool has welcomed two new children into our Montessori preschool program. Subsequently, the dynamics of the group have changed, and an adjustment is underway. Both incoming students are new to a Montessori environment. I observe that they will benefit from guidance to develop the social skills necessary to compromise and problem solve, and that both are a little on the aggressive side. The impact of this new dynamic on the tone of our class community requires some care and attention.
New Students Joining the Montessori Community Later in the School Year - Welcoming and Observing
Our Montessori newcomers need particular guidance to choose their own work, to remember not to touch the work of others, to stay on task, and to solve their problems in a peaceful manner. Our once normalized Montessori preschool classroom is experiencing a temporary change requiring time for adjustment.
I have been searching diligently for ideas and activities to foster kindness, patience, consideration, and tolerance among my students, and although the role-playing and stories have been helpful, I still have a long way to go. I decided to involve the students in creating a Friendship Salad. We sent a note to our Montessori parents explaining the activity and specifying the recipe ingredient their child could bring for the Friendship Salad. Each child was responsible for contributing a piece of fruit or a bowl of fruit chunks to be shared with their classmates, and Friday was scheduled to be the big day.
Throughout the week we had many discussions about friendship and what it means to be a good friend. We did numerous role-playing activities, I brought in some amazing books from the library, and we talked a lot about tolerance, patience, and working together. Finally, the big day arrived and in Part 2 of this blog, I will share with you how things turned out.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Friday, March 4, 2011.