Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Creativity of the Montessori Teacher: Flexibility and Classroom Design

NAMC montessori teacher creativity flexibility classroom design and boy growing plant"What is it like to be a Montessori teacher? Is there much creativity in it?"

Recently I read a reply to this question that said that those seeking creativity in a teaching job should look to other methods instead of Montessori. The reply stated that "the Montessori materials were already chosen" leaving little room for teachers to utilize their creativity.

I found this interesting. I remembered that as an art and design major in college the last profession to interest me at the time was teaching. However, once I discovered Montessori through my first child's preschool experience, I found myself drawn to this unique blend of order, movement, beauty and creativity.


The Creativity of the Montessori Teacher: Flexibility and Classroom Design. Does a Montessori Teacher Get to Practice Creativity?

In the Montessori 3-6 classroom imagination and creativity abound as children choose to explore the Montessori materials. Children are free to explore without intervention or intrusion, as long as they are respectful of the material, themselves and others in the Montessori environment. The Montessori teacher/guide follows the children and their interests rather than a set curriculum that dictates what the children should learn at chosen times.

Of course, children in a Montessori multi-aged classroom (such as 2.5 to 6 years) do not have the same interests at the same time. The Montessori teacher must be a keen observer, excellent record keeper and be able to translate what is learned through this observation into a meaningful, attractive and dynamic learning environment. The Montessori environment is constantly evolving - daily, weekly and over the months. The Montessori teacher employs creativity in setting up a prepared environment with engaging, attractive materials and activities that meet the individual and unique needs of the children.

The Montessori environment is designed for the independence of its constituents. Children are able to make choices to meet their internal and intrinsic needs. The daily flow of the Montessori classroom changes over the hours as children choose different work throughout the day. It takes a lot of creativity on the teacher's part to help the children eventually become calm, focused and peaceful. The "prepared environment" is the key and its design is orchestrated by the Montessori teacher before the children even enter the space. The anticipatory and intelligent choices required to prepare the Montessori environment are challenging yet so thought provoking that being a Montessori teacher is the perfect way to utilize the creative mind.

Related NAMC blogs
NAMC montessori teacher creativity flexibility classroom design preschool guide The NAMC Classroom Guides provide helpful instruction for setting up and managing the Montessori environment.

NAMC thanks Maureen Northacker for this blog contribution.
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 Wednesday, October 19, 2011.

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