The Montessori classrooms are environments prepared for children to learn and develop in a holistic manner – physically, mentally, academically, and socially. The teachers provide support, guidance, set and maintain expectations, and ensure safety, in order to lay the foundation for a child’s exploration and discovery.
Expectations that Foster Positive Socialization
1. Respect for Work / Activities / the Classroom – Respect for the Community & Next Child
When children select an activity from the shelf, children replace the activity in the same spot and the same manner in which it was found – mat is clean, apron is folded, chairs tucked in, spills sponged up or swept, etc.
2. Respect for Child at Work
Children are welcome to observe another child at work as long as they do not touch or interrupt. Children walk around work mats on the floor.
3. Respect for a Child’s Words & Space – Consent
“Do you want a hug?”
“Can I work with you?”
Support & Guidance Provided by Teachers
1. Grace & Courtesy – Part of the Montessori Practical Life Curriculum (click here for the Grace & Courtesy blog post)
Teachers are role models – for politeness, for making amends, for being a contributing member in a community
2. Role Model Positive Social Interactions
Point out observations & provide words/phrases – “Your friend is upset that you knocked his tower over. Let’s ask him if he’s ok and what we can do to help him feel better.” “Does your friend want a hug or want you to help him re-build it?”
The teachers always speak to the children with respect and treat them with dignity.
3. Invite & Encourage Helpfulness
Pairing up younger and older children on walks.
Pointing out observations and opportunities to help – “Jonathan seems to be struggling with his 100 chain, could you help him, Lily?”
4. Create Opportunities for Group Work / Activities
Teachers can pair up children to do particular activities together (all activities are clickable and lead to a blog post) – e.g. colour box 2 match to the environment, building the pink tower together, working on a math activity, graduate projects and so much more!
5. Create Choice – Places that Foster Socialization & Conversation vs. Individual Space
Teachers ensure a balance of two or more seats at a table vs. private one-seat tables to allow children choice on where to work.
6. Observe & “Follow the Child”
Teachers are constantly observing the children at work, at play, and interacting with one another. Teachers provide more or less support as needed by the child. We aim to foster each child’s independence.
7. Ensure that Children Feel Heard & Feel Safe
When children are provided safety and comfort, learning and development can flourish freely.
Help children find solutions on their own or in a group.
9. Gather the Children in a Large Group
Circle times and classroom meetings bring the whole community together to read a story, show and share an experience, sing songs, or celebrate milestones (like birthdays)!
The “charm to social life [is in] the number of different types one meets.”Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind.