What is all the hype about? A detailed look inside a traditional Montessori classroom

Ever wonder what is so magical about a Montessori classroom?

 

This will give you a behind the scenes inside look at a traditional Montessori classroom environment

 

 

You’ve probably heard about all the hype and craze surrounding Montessori and Montessori schools. Anything and everything from the teaching method,the classroom environment, child led activities, and Montessori materials.  But what does all that mean?  The Montessori method is a very unique, very distinct, very individualized learning environment with a proven way of teaching young children.

 

 

 

The Montessori Materials & Classroom

The materials, along with the carefully prepared environment, is what makes Montessori, Montessori.  There are various areas and activities of a traditional Montessori classroom.  This is what sets a Montessori primary (preschool) classroom apart from other preschool classrooms. Many people have heard of Montessori, but haven’t had the opportunity to actually see inside or visit a classroom.  Please be aware that there are many different Montessori run schools, each individually owned and operated; so unfortunately not every Montessori school classroom will be set up or run exactly the same.  With that being said; I try to keep a traditional Montessori classroom.

 

 

Montessori at Home

Montessori is a flexible enough curriculum that its practices, principles and materials can be incorporated into a home or home school environment. There are authentic Montessori materials that can transfer from the classroom environment into a home environment. The wonderful thing about the Montessori philosophy is that there are many ideas and skills that can be created and adjusted to make great alternatives and learning experiences for children.

 

 

There are ways to incorporate Montessori at home. A big part of the Montessori method is the ability for children learn to be independent and self regulated. Teaching and introducing children to ways in which they can learn valuable self help skills is crucial. Incorporating Montessori at home can be as simple as adding in ways for children to be independent, learn from their environment and be exposed to a variety of learning experiences. Curious to learn and find out more…?  The FREE Add Montessori to Your Home School course may be just what you’re looking for!  It goes over the history of Montessori and gives and introduction to the practices, principles and method. The course also goes over the basics of the Montessori Method, as well as each curriculum area; Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics, and Science, Geography, Botany & Zoology. This FREE course is a great way to get a better understanding of the Montessori Method and the practices & principles.

 

 

A look inside a Montessori classroom

These pictures were from my actual classroom that I taught in.  The shelves are child sized, with age appropriate, enticing materials.  The common item you will notice in most Montessori classrooms and materials is wood.  The use of natural wood for the shelves and materials, along with neutral wall colors, is meant to soothe the senses and and the attract the children to the beauty of the room.  Montessori classrooms differ from other preschool classrooms in that they are calming, peaceful, and uncluttered.

 

 

LANGUAGE AREA

“Language lies at the root of that transformation of the environment that we call civilization.” -Maria Montessori The Absorbent Mind, pg. 98

The Language Area is composed of phonetic sound recognition, three letter phonetic word building, four letter and more phonetic word building, and blends & phonograms.  The three letter words make up the Pink Level, the four letters and more make up the Blue Level, the phonemes and hard & soft letters make up the Green Level. If you notice, many of the Language materials are handmade, which makes it easy to incorporate and add to a home school environment.

 

The Pink Level also covers word families, picture to

word matching, and easy phonetic sentences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Blue Level also covers beginning & ending

consonant blends, and complex phonetic words

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Green Level also covers silent “e”, double vowel consonants, phonemes, and hard & soft letters

 

I also have opposites, parts of speech, sentence building & writing, and even antonyms & synonyms.

 

 

MATH AREA

“The results we obtain with our little ones contrast oddly with the fact that mathematics is so often held to be a scourge rather than a pleasure in school programmes.”-Maria Montessori The Absorbent Mind, pg. 170

The Math Area is composed of number recognition up to ten, mastering the teens & tens, and working on numbers up to one hundred.  This area also covers simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, and even division.  More complex works include place value, the clock, and fractions. Many of the Math materials are purchased, however the skills and concepts that the materials teach can easily be taught using hand made with alternative items.

 

Number recognition from one to twenty, with various materials & activities to master these skills

 

 

Simple addition, the tens work, & the hundred board all round out the Math Area

 

 

Telling Time, Place Value & Fractions are the

more advanced Math activities

 

 

 

SENSORIAL AREA

“And if we look at the sensorial apparatus which is able to evoke such deep concentration…helps also to the development of the mathematical mind.”-Maria Montessori The Absorbent Mind, pg. 170

The Sensorial Area is composed of activities that engage the senses of the children.  There are activities for smell, taste, and hearing; and various materials that promote sight and touch. Similar to the Math materials, the skills and concepts that the Sensorial materials teach can easily be taught using hand made with alternative items.

 

Sensorial materials to manipulate sizes, color, touch and hearing

 

 

Complex materials that introduce geometric shapes, as well as tasting & smelling materials

 

 

 

CULTURAL/GEOGRAPHY AREA

“…the child’s mind can acquire culture at a much earlier age than generally supposed, taking in knowledge is by certain kinds of activity which involve movement.”-Maria Montessori The Absorbent Mind, pg. 157

The Cultural and Geography Areas is the area of a Montessori classroom that frequently changes.  It is an area where new activities can be added on a weekly or monthly basis.  These areas are composed of science, botany (plants), zoology (animals), geography, and art.  This is by far one of the busiest areas of a Montessori classroom. Most of the materials in this area are hand made, so they can very easily be used in a home school environment as well.

 

Study of continents, seasons land, air & water

 

 

Botany, zoology, & insect puzzles and magnets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geography Maps

 

 

PRACTICAL LIFE AREA

“Activities here build on the child’s natural interest and help him develop good work habits, concentration, eye-hand coordination, a lengthened attention span and control of his body.”-Maria Montessori The Sense of Childhood, pg. 1

The Practical Life Area is another area of a Montessori classroom that changes frequently.  The Practical Life Area has many components to it that make it the most important area of a Montessori classroom.  Since children learn basic working, concentration, and eye-hand coordination skills, it is the prerequisite to all of the other areas in a Montessori classroom.  Activities could include spooning, using a ladle, pouring, scooping, and cutting.  This is by far the busiest area of a Montessori classroom.  All of the materials in this area are made. This makes it the easiest area to incorporate into a home environment. The luxury of this area is that you can customize materials and activities based on the developmental skill set of each child. The Practical Life area of is and area that changes frequently.

 

Other activities include food preparation work,

and using tongs & tweezers

 

 

There are also washing activities, bubble making,

table setting, and water activities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of the areas in a Montessori classroom contribute to the development of the whole child.  As stated before, not every Montessori classroom will be furnished and set-up exactly the same.  In quality, true to Montessori schools and classrooms, you will see similar setups and materials.  One of my favorite areas is the Practical Life Area, I liked to come up with fun water work activities, food preparation works, and washing activities.  I liked to add variety, and add activities that promoted the individual needs of the children currently in my classroom.

 

Is it not magical?

Now can you see what all the hype is about?!  Trust me, the pictures just give you a small glimpse of what a Montessori environment looks like.  Can you imagine how wonderful it is to see the children actively working in a Montessori classroom…it’s PRICELESS!!

 

So…is Montessori a good fit for your child?

Share your thoughts on if you think Montessori is the right philosophy for your child! Don’t forget to sign up for the FREE Add Montessori at Home course!

 

 

Anitra J.

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6 Comments

  1. Karla says:

    I had heard the word montessori but didn’t know much about it. Thanks for taking the time to explain.

  2. […] from Chronicles of a Momtessorian is trained in the MONTESSORI teaching method.  If you don’t know much about this method, in a short summary, Montessori encourages […]

  3. Great post with tons of info! I truly think my little would benefit greatly from a Montessori classroom. We just can’t afford that! I’m always on the lookout for things we can easily implement at home.

  4. This is so helpful! My son will be home this year so I’d love to incorporate these ideas into our “preschool” experience.

  5. This information is SO helpful for conceptualizing my Montessori homeschool environment! I think I need to prioritize improving my sensorial area. Geography and culture is my favorite, so I’ve been giving it a lot more attention. Thank you for sharing!

  6. I would love my daughter to learn in an environment like this!

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