Our infants are spending as much time as possible enjoying our beautiful outdoor spaces. Our older infants are enjoying the beautiful playground, building sandcastles, and driving toy trucks. All our infants are enjoying long wagon rides, appreciating the different vistas of fall. The falling leaves, the changing colors, and the beautiful goldfinches and swallows that often visit our school make for awe-inspiring and exciting rides.
The toddlers are thriving in the new outdoor environments created for them. In these uncertain times, the certainty of routines, the consistency of the order of the works set up, and the nurturing caring adults who are a part of their environments allow for them to feel happy and safe. During their work time, they are practicing skills and problem-solving for themselves, developing independence with practical life lessons, and fine motor activities. As Maria Montessori says ” Within the child lies the fate of the future”.
Each work in a Montessori classroom is filled with multi-layered purpose and intention. One way the younger Primary students prepare for reading and writing is with sandpaper sounds and categorizing objects by their initial sound. They may pull out the drawer that has objects that begin with a specific sound. For example, our “t” box has a turkey, teeth, train, etc. They may extend the work to include gluing beans to create the sound. This extension is multi-layered because not only does it reinforce the sound they just worked on, but it helps strengthen hand-eye coordination, concentration, and focus, and using the pincer grip to place each bean.
The children are just as comfortable doing work outside as inside. A favorite work in the Primary classroom is the bank work which demonstrates the four categories of the decimal system: unit, ten, hundred, and thousand using the concrete quantities and symbols. This lesson prepares the Primary child for understanding place value. After completing the bank layout the student is ready to move onto a new work known as formation of numbers or “fetching.” During fetching, they are given a complex number and asked to associate the quantity to the symbol. This hands-on lesson helps the child grasp the concept of place value.