Friday, November 23, 2007

Montessori Prepared Environment: The Montessori Teacher

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Close your eyes and visualize a Montessori classroom before the children enter on the first day of school. What did you see? Beautiful materials on well-organized shelves? Real plants and fresh flowers? Beautiful, delicate objects within the reach of children? Rolled rugs? Child-size furniture? Lots of natural light? Before the children enter, however, there is one more preparation to make. You must prepare yourself as the Montessori teacher.

Although the teacher is in the background of the Montessori environment, the preparation of the teacher is of vital importance. After all, the Montessori classroom is constant in the lives of children, yet the atmosphere of the classroom can change on any given day. Why? Because of the teacher. When children enter the classroom, they immediately know what kind of day it’s going to be based on the reception they get from the teacher. Did she smile and shake their hand? Or did she rush past them on her way to the copy machine?

Montessori Prepared Environment: The Montessori Teacher

Maria Montessori said, "The first step to be taken in the preparation of the adult is a change in attitude."

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Montessori teachers are human and sometimes just getting to work on time can be a challenge. Maybe we didn't sleep well or something happened that morning before we got to work, or maybe there was an early meeting that we forgot about. Any number of little things can throw us off. It is important that we, as Montessori teachers, take the time to prepare ourselves before our children arrive. Adult concerns should be kept outside the classroom. Whether it’s by meditating for a few minutes before they arrive or saying a prayer as we unlock our Montessori classroom, we need to quiet ourselves and clear our minds for the children we are there to guide.

It is up to the adult to remember that the children are in the forefront. The Montessori teacher needs to relinquish her own agenda and allow the child the lead. The teacher should remove all obstacles which could impede the learning.

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The teacher in a Montessori classroom models grace, courtesy and a natural wonder about the world. She acts as a guide to children while they make sense of even the most seemingly mundane of experiences. She moves slowly and purposefully about the classroom. She is aware of herself and her role in the lives of her students. She takes the time to visualize how she wants her classroom to be and models that herself, preparing herself to teach and observe the children around her.

So, the next time you find yourself hurrying down the corridor in a rush to get to your classroom, slow down and think about how you’d like your day to start. Turn on some peaceful music, sit down, and give thanks for the children who will be entering your doors. They will never know, but it will make all the difference in everyone’s day.

More on this series:
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, November 23, 2007.


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