Fall in the Primary classroom brings many opportunities for more advanced work by our older 5- and 6-year-olds, as well as diverse challenges for our younger 3- and 4-year-olds. We’ve experienced a successful transition to the classroom. After eight weeks of repeated lessons in grace and courtesy, and in practicing and refining both large and small body movements, we are all better prepared for more academic work. As noted by Dr. Montessori, “The exercises for movement control and social graces help prepare the body and mind to focus and develop the necessary discipline needed for the task.”
Because the young child has a great need to become a part of the social group, the lessons of grace and courtesy are daily practice in the Primary Montessori community. Initially, lessons are given formally. The teacher first presents them to a large group of children, demonstrating social graces, such as “how to say please and thank you” or something as simple as “how to walk around the classroom without touching a friend.”
Once she has shown the children, then she invites each child to take a turn to practice the lesson. It is here that the teacher notes each child’s development of motor coordination, as well as the ability to attend to the lesson and follow directions. If she sees that a child is not successful in his/her ability to master the task, she will not correct the child, but she repeats the lesson, showing the child ways to help perfect his/her movement control. She does this, because she knows it is more important that the teacher “help the child correct their own error “so that the child is encouraged to move forward toward greater challenges that lie ahead in the academics.”
Once the formal lessons are presented, “gentle reminders” are given, such as “slow feet, please” or “show me how we sit at our group time,” to ensure social equilibrium is maintained. However, if the teacher finds that she is giving constant daily gentle reminders, then it may be necessary for a repeat of the formal lesson, so that the children are given more teacher help to perfect their inner control. Again, it is more important that we “teach teaching, not correcting.”
In addition to the lessons of grace and courtesy, early movement lessons also are presented individually to help the child develop additional practice for motor coordination, as well as other important academic preparation, such as order, concentration, and perseverance. It is essential that these lessons be given one-on-one, so the child can observe the detail in the teacher’s movements. When given this opportunity, the child will be more likely to become more precise and exact in his/her movements – a major key toward self-discipline.
The early weeks of school are very busy. It is a time of getting to know one another, adapting to the many classroom expectations and routines, and preparing both our mind and body for greater academic challenges. Now that fall is here, we are all looking forward to more “big work” and continuing to grow and learn the Montessori way!
- Adhering fall stickers to construction paper
- Marble painting with fall colors
- Pin-punching pumpkins
- Pouring, spooning, tonging, and tweezing pumpkins
- Scrubbing pumpkins
- Counting pumpkins
Our favorite pumpkin song
Picked a Pumpkin (To the tune “Old My Darling Clementine”)
Picked a pumpkin, a big fat pumpkin, that was growing on the vine.
And I carved a jack-o-lantern, and it turned out just fine!
Calendar of Events
Oct. 26-Nov. 6: Parent Teacher Conferences
Nov. 6: Parent Conference Day/No School
Nov. 11: Veterans Day/No School
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