Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Enjoying Winter Activities in the Montessori Classroom

winter NAMC montessori activities button snowflake ornament
My Montessori school encourages teachers to have monthly field trips planned that enhance the curriculum. December, however, can be a difficult time to plan a trip around the building excitement of holidays and vacation, as well as possible inclement weather. So this year, one of my mothers offered a great suggestion: Why not have a holiday craft day instead? We put our heads together and started organizing this fun and festive day.

We scoured craft catalogs and stores for the perfect crafts. They had to be priced right, not too complicated, appeal to both boys and girls, and there had to be 30 of each! No easy task, I must say. Nevertheless, we came up with 3 crafts: a cooking activity, a decorating station, and a set of coloring pages.

Enjoying Winter Activities in the Montessori Classroom

My parent volunteer quickly went to work recruiting several other parents to help. She ordered the crafts from the catalog and busily set to work making examples to share with the children. We were thrilled to see that we had only spent $60 for 30 children to do each of the craft stations.

This morning, the children were so excited. We had room at each table for four to five children at a time, except at the cookie station, where we had room for two children. Those who didn’t yet have a place at a craft table, busily colored pictures of ornaments, sleighs, and snowmen. We had Christmas music playing in the background and everyone was cheerful and busily engaged.

My Montessori classroom looked like a bunch of elves had magically appeared! We made picture frames, glued buttons on wooden snowflakes and strung winter-shaped foam beads for necklaces and bracelets, which, boys and girls alike, proudly wore for the rest of the day. My older third grade boys scoffed at first, but each one of them proudly displayed their work to me later in the morning.

winter NAMC montessori activities animal frames
We worked on our crafts for an hour and a half in the morning, with just a small mishap…we ran out of cake sprinkles for the cookies and a mother quickly ran to the store to buy more! Children who finished early quietly started their morning work. Maria Montessori would have been so proud! My boys found that, magically overnight, an entire shipment of Star Wars and Bionicle books had appeared in the library and they were all busy reading to each other in the middle of the floor. We later had a journal entitled “Craft Day” and everyone wrote about how much fun they’d had and how proud they were of their work. They thanked the mothers who had helped. One little girl wrote “This was the best day of school ever!” The anticipation of waiting until after lunch to eat their cookies proved almost too much for some as I caught a few of them sneaking sprinkles and bits of icing!

It’s days like this that the spirit and the innocence of the children shines through. One first grade boy told me very solemnly “I’m coloring the picture of Santa very carefully and with the “right” colors, so he doesn’t get mad”. He then consulted with a third grade boy to make sure he had the colors of Santa’s mittens and sleigh just right. Another little girl carefully wrapped her bracelet in typing paper and wrote “Mom” in her best cursive. She beamed when she told me this was her Christmas present to her mother.

This Friday, my children have invited their parents to come for a brief holiday celebration where we’ll be singing Christmas and Chanukah songs and eating some yummy holiday desserts. Our holiday decorations will be displayed proudly and the children will be able to take them home to become treasured Christmas memories for years to come.
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, December 12, 2007.


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