Every day during the first few years of life Montessori Guides witness the remarkable changes in a child’s development as they begin to smile, laugh, sit, crawl, babble and talk.
Children then begin to socialize and play cooperatively with other children.
They next acquire important skills to get along with others such as turn-taking, sharing and following instructions, as well as skills that will help them academically such as drawing, counting, reading, and writing.
Early child development usually follows a sequence, as the child needs to master one skill before he can acquire the next, but all children develop at their own rate.
At times, a child may take a long time to master a new skill; at other times, he may seem to skip a skill in the expected sequence in his speed of development.
Through careful observation, assessment and communication the Montessori Guide develops a clear picture of the child within the 3-6 year classroom.
By the time your child enters preschool the synapses of the brain are growing and expanding like wildfire. Everything is exciting. Everything is new. The child is driven to learn all he can about the environment around him.
Dr. Montessori noticed that at certain ages, children seemed open and ready to learn specific things that appealed to their need to know. She called these sensitive periods.
It is during these periods that a child’s body, brain and total being are ready to absorb all that the environment can teach – like a little sponge soaking up information and knowledge.
The rich environment of the Montessori primary classroom contains specialized materials to satisfy the child’s thirst for knowledge. This is of course critical during these sensitive periods while the synapses of the brain continue to grow.
The three-year-old enters the classroom with wide eyes to all the possibilities
The four-year-old enters the classroom with confidence and excitement. Gone is the newness of the previous year.
The third year or Kindergarten year is one of completion. The child masters all areas of work. She becomes the leader, the ones others look up to for support and guidance.
Sometimes it’s hard to choose. There are literally hundreds of decisions to make in a Montessori classroom. This is critical to the development of independent thought within the child. Should I do a map, practice my counting, spoon the new beans, or eat snack?
We keep a three hour morning work period so that children have time to make decisions, to work, to play, to socialize.
Just because a child has been in a Montessori environment for a two year period, doesn’t mean they have done everything.
The Third year brings work into the abstract. Where as in the second year they count beads together to make 14, in the Third Year they simply need to look to know how many. No need to count.
It’s not necessary to sound out L A K E when you can simply look at the word to read it.
A table is washed and not one drop spills onto the floor. Without the coordination developed in the previous years, the exercise really becomes a job in mopping.
The map of South America, they have done repeatedly? They can now identify Chile, Ecuador, and Argentina. I bet they can even identify directions on a Compass Rose.
Isn’t that the saying? The definition of practice: Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision or desire. Practice is a means of pursuing the perfection desired.
Let’s not believe our children can ever know all there is to learn in a Montessori classroom when there is so much to practice!