There are many reasons I love Montessori, but this past week (on two separate campuses), we were able to capture one of the happy by-products of a mixed-age classroom: spontaneous lessons from an older child to a younger one. Our older students are always happy to help their younger classmates and so lessons (as menial as hanging a coat or as complex as cubed roots) happen countless times throughout the day.
Our Montessori materials are designed to be used independently, and teachers give formal lessons. However, child-led lessons occur all the time. In one of the examples below, an older child was labeling the United States map when a wandering two-year-old decided to take a seat and observe. The older child immediately decided to turn the opportunity into a geography lesson and teach the younger student state names. Both children were able to benefit from this interaction - the younger child learned some new language, and the older child was able to build her skill and confidence.
Unintentional lessons occur just as often by children working alongside each other (on separate activities and never directly interacting). I was delighted when earlier this month, a young four-year-old learned subtraction by casually observing his older classmates.
Along with all the wonders and genius that come with a Montessori environment☺, we had a great month. We were able to incorperate both St. Patrick's Day and Dr. Seuss's birthday into our activities. We made several rainbow crafts (including a fruit rainbow with whipped cream clouds), completed a directed drawing of the Cat in the Hat, and made "green eggs and ham". We also made celery change colors and are attempting to grow a new celery plant from the stalk base.
I hope you all are enjoying your Spring Break! See you in a week!!