Learning Experience

Roles

The Role of the Teacher
The teacher’s first objective is to prepare and organize the learning environment to meet the needs and interests of the children as well as promote independence. The focus is on the children learning, not on teachers teaching. Montessori teachers are the dynamic link between the children and the Prepared Environment. They systematically observe students to interpret their needs and modify the environment to meet the needs and interests of the children. They present clear, interesting and relevant lessons, model desirable behaviour and evaluate each child’s individual progress. Montessori teachers respect and protect their students’ independence and are supportive and encouraging without the use of rewards or punishments. They facilitate effective communication and are peace educators, consistently working to teach courteous behaviours and pro-social conflict resolution skills. Dr. Montessori called Montessori teachers directors and directresses, and many prefer the term “guide” to “teacher”. They hardly do any traditional teaching, but their students are academically well beyond what the Ontario Curriculum and Canadian standardized testing expects of them. The teacher’s role is to be the conduit between the children, and their learning environment.
The Role of the Student
To respect the rights of the group and other individuals in the environment In a Montessori classroom, the children are directly responsible for their learning – they are active (literally constantly in motion) and held to very high expectations in terms of behaviour. The children are in charge of their community, responsible for the cleanliness and order in their space, and to each other in their behaviour. Part of the reason teachers take such care to ensure the environment is beautiful is so that the children will be inspired to keep it that way. Montessori children work for their own personal satisfaction and enjoyment – and so they will most often choose to do work that is relatively challenging. Once they have reached a level of mastery, they tend to ask for more, because they get hooked on learning, on exploring, on expanding their minds, consciousness and abilities
The Role of the Parent
Parents are the primary teachers in a child’s life. The more Montessori teachers and parents communicate and cooperate, the more the student in the Montessori program is likely to benefit. Being supportive at home can be done best by first being informed. It is advantageous to be aware of basic Montessori philosophy and practices and to use these at home when appropriate. Simple things like a step stool at the sink, coats hanging at a level at which the child can access, placing books, toys and art supplies in an orderly way on shelves may all help foster independence. It is also extremely helpful to students when parents provide a home environment that encourages exploration and learning and limits screen time. In a Montessori classroom, the children are directly responsible for their learning – they are active (literally constantly in motion) and held to very high expectations in terms of behaviour. The children are in charge of their community, responsible for the cleanliness and order in their space, and to each other in their behaviour. Part of the reason teachers take such care to ensure the environment is beautiful is so that the children will be inspired to keep it that way. Montessori children work for their own personal satisfaction and enjoyment – and so they will most often choose to do work that is relatively challenging. Once they have reached a level of mastery, they tend to ask for more, because they get hooked on learning, on exploring, on expanding their minds, consciousness and abilities

Inside the Classroom

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Building Words with the Letters of the Moveable Alphabet

We work with the lower-case letters of the moveable alphabet, in order to create words of increasing levels of complexity. The moveable alphabet is a wooden box divided into compartments that contain the lower-case letters of the alphabet cut out in cardboard. The consonants are red and the vowels are blue.

Materials
  •  Mats
  • Small box containing three cards, each showing the image of an object on one side and the French name of that object on the other side
  •  Pencil and paper (for SK)
Steps
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    Open the box, take out the three cards, and arrange them one under the other at the left side of the mat, with the images of objects facing up.
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    Sound out the name of the object seen on each card.
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    Find the letter-symbol for each sound and lay them out clearly on the mat, forming the word corresponding to each image.
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    After all the three words are formed on the mat, reverse the cards, to see the words printed on their backside.
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    Compare the words printed on each card to the words built on the mat with the letters of the moveable alphabet.
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    Correct any mistakes that occurred in the word-building process.
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    Write the three words on the paper provided (for SK).
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    Once finished, put the work away.
Purpose
  • Help the child reproduce words with graphic symbols.
  • Direct preparation for reading and writing.
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This is a math activity for children who are at least four years old, once they have mastered the spindle box.

Materials
  • A two-compartment wooden box containing: a set of red numbers from 1 to 10
  • 55 counters (red discs)
  • A mat
Steps
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    Bring the box to the mat and open it
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    Lay the numbers 1-10 in incremental order from left to right, leaving spaces between them
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    Under number 1, place one counter
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    Under number 2, place two counters next to each other, so that they make a pair

Under number 3, place three counters, so that two of them make a pair and the third one, placed under the first two, is without a “partner”
In a similar way, continue to place the right amount of counters under each number, making pairs whenever possible (as in the image below)

Note that some of the numbers have a counter that doesn’t have a “partner.” These numbers are called odd numbers (in French, numéros impaires): 1, 3, 5, 7, 9. The numbers for which all counters have “partners” are called even numbers (in French, numéros paires): 2, 4, 6, 8, 10.

Purpose
  • Introduce the notion of odd/even numbers
  • Reinforce numeration and symbol-quantity matching
  • Early preparation for division and multiplication
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Metal Insets Activity

We work with square metal frames and matching metal insets. Square frames are pink and metal insets are blue. They come in ten different geometric shapes: square, triangle, circle, rectangle, trapezoid, oval, ellipse, pentagon, curvilinear triangle, and quatrefoil. Each inset has a knob by which to hold it.

Steps
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    Assemble the material: a tray containing paper, coloured pencils, the square metal inset and its frame
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    Bring the material to the table
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    Take the pink frame and put it on top of the paper
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    With a coloured pencil, start tracing the frame beginning at the bottom, while holding the frame steady with the other hand. Make sure the pencil touches every corner and changes direction when needed
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    Remove the frame and observe the square that was drawn
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    Cover the square with the blue inset and, using the other coloured pencil, draw around the inset
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    The activity can be repeated on the backside of the paper
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    Child’s finished drawing must have his/her name written on it
Purpose
  • Once these first steps are mastered, the child can realize drawings of higher levels of complexity by filling in the double outline with lines from far apart to closer together, or from darker to lighter
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