As I am planning a Montessori approach with Heleyna I have been doing a bit of reading and watching some Youtube videos to see how it works (and how it compares to the Charlotte Mason Method) Looking at how Montessori classrooms work two things strike me as interesting.
First of all, the classroom is fairly quiet. The children have plenty of room to move around and not all of them are sat at a table. Many of the children are sitting or lying on the floor with a mat rolled out on which they are working. We do some of that already here. So there’s not such much of a shift in gear for that. I want to get a couple of plain rugs that can be rolled out as a work space.
The other thing I learned was that in the classroom activities are stored in an order of left to right. Then when a tray activity is laid out, it too is put out left to right. The teacher said that this begins to give a logical order for the child to learn from and helps them when they come to learn to read and write that we do that from left to right.
Now, Avila has some dyslexic tendencies. One of these is that books, cards and just about anything else she does she does right to left. This makes a lot of things back to front. She also had a tendency to write like that, although not so much these days. However her letter and number reversals continue. Her biggest bug-bear is in maths that goes from right to left in sums and left to right in reading the numbers.
I had already decided to invest in some number placement blocks and number cards for her and now I am more decided in this.
The final thought was I learned that Maria Montessori insisted that the children should have a beautiful environment to work in. She believed that beauty helped stimulate a child’s love of learning and his natural motivation to learn. The materials they use and the order of the room is therefore important. She undountedly learned this working with the children of the slum areas of Rome.
I’ll have to think about how that will translate in our learning environment here.