In my previous blog, I discussed the role of the teacher and students in the classroom. I described it as the opening of a Broadway show, and how the teacher is not the playwright who stands off stage and directs the actors (students). The teacher looks over the environment and is sensitive to the needs of each child and prepares the environment in a way that enables them to learn at their pace. This blog will extend on that topic (extending is something that we do everyday in Montessori classrooms); by discussing how “Work” is learned and is internalized with lasting results that can/will be beneficial to the betterment of society and the world at large.
The prepared environment, is an environment of specific “Work” areas: Practical Life, Sensorial, Mathematics, Language, Manipulatives and Culture. The setting is full of choices of work that is self-correcting displayed on shelves for the child to use. An environment such as this, allows the child to learn in a safe and secure space. As mentioned, in the previous blog, one of the most important fundamental goals of a Montessori toddler classroom is to provide a secure and nurturing environment. The sense of safety allows the child to explore freely the “Work” that he/she is drawn to and the lessons learned are internalized.
One might ask, “How will the work in a toddler Montessori classroom help my child in the future?” Well, here’s how: For instance, in most, Montessori toddler programs, the pink tower is a set of 10 pink blocks introduced as part of the Sensorial Work. The child is able to absorb the shape, size, the order of the tower (big to small). The smallest cube is 1 cm and the largest is about 10 cm. The child is unaware that they are learning by manipulating and working with the pink tower and is internalizing mathematical concepts that will benefit them as they move into a primary/children’s house, elementary and upper elementary classrooms in a Montessori setting where they will be introduced to abstract work (Binomial Cube, equations, etc.). The child will be able to pull from the internalized concrete sensorial work he/she experienced in the toddler classroom to enable him/her to be successful in the various stages of a Montessori learning journey. In Montessori, the patterns repeat themselves as the work is extended and internalized at each educational level. To extend on how internalized learning in a Montessori setting is beneficial for society and the world at large. Here is list of innovative entrepreneurs who attended Montessori schools and credit their early Montessori education for their success. (WSJ: The Montessori Mafia).
- Google founders, Larry Page, Sergi Brin, “We both went to Montessori school…”
- Will Wright, inventor of “The Sims” video game series, “It’s all about learning on your terms…”
- Jeff Bezos, (Amazon) “I’ve always felt that there’s a certain kind of important pioneering that goes on from an inventor like Thomas Edison, and that discovery mentality is precisely the environment that Montessori seeks to create. Article link: http://on.wsj.com/197Cc3L
Sophia Robinson TIII