“The teacher, when she begins work in our schools, must have a kind of faith that the child will reveal himself through work.” ~ Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind
|Being spontaneous can lead to enriching, teachable moments in the Montessori environment|
What I learned from my Montessori students...I worked with some great mentors who showed me how to keep track of students and the lessons they had received. I learned to trust that the students would show me what they needed, when they needed it. Most importantly, I learned to trust the Montessori method and implement it to its full potential.
“. . . the task of the educator lies in seeing that the child does not confound good with immobility, and evil with activity, as often happens in old-time discipline . . . A room in which all the children move about usefully, intelligently, and voluntarily, without committing any rough or rude act, would seem to me a classroom very well disciplined indeed.” ~ Maria Montessori, The Montessori Method
Conventional educational classroom management measures a good teacher by her classroom management skills. If all the children are on the same page at the same time, seated quietly in their seats without fidgeting, she is a good teacher. Not so in a Montessori classroom! Instead, the children are up, moving about the classroom — getting materials, conducting experiments, working with their friends, eating snacks, and playing music all at the same time! There are, of course, daily periods of false fatigue where the noise and activity level escalates, but it naturally normalizes back to a quiet work period. My students taught me to be patient and let them grow and develop on their own terms. To give them the freedom to move about and explore. To create their own meaning and their own reality. They taught me to be calm. They taught me that if they are not hurt or hurting one another that I should step back and let them work it out.
“Education is not something which the teacher does. It is a natural process which develops spontaneously.” ~ Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind
My Montessori students taught me that the best-laid plans are easily put aside when:
• Someone brings a 10-foot snakeskin to circle in the morning
• There is a giant “Harry Potter” chess game in the botanical gardens parking lot
• Someone’s beloved pet died
• There is a chrysalis in the flower garden
• Someone’s mommy had a baby
• There is a torrential thunderstorm after months of drought
As a Montessori teacher, these were the moments for which I lived. And by setting aside the day’s plans, my students were able to live in the moment and learn that life is about the seemingly little things that make us ask questions and seek answers.