Making Roots Blog
From the outside looking in…An owner’s perspective.
On any given day in a Montessori classroom there are dozens of different learning
moments happening at any given time. As a Montessori teacher, when you are in
the middle of a Montessori cycle, your focus is on the lessons you are presenting.
At the same time you have a broad sense of what is happening in the classroom.
That being said, you are not always able to witness the beauty of the process. You
are focused on the specifics of the presentations and the order in which you need to
present to your specific students, meeting them where they are. Sometimes you are
able to be “on the outside looking in” As an owner I have been blessed with this
opportunity to witness the teachers in our classroom facilitating academic progress
for our students.
A child does not just start reading one day. There is a strategic, detailed, and
beautiful process that takes place on the journey to reading. A child begins in
Practical Life, working to develop concentration, attention span, independence, and
fine motor skills. As these skills develop, they begin to move into other areas of the
classroom. Going through sensitive periods, as the while growing emotionally and
socially. They develop strong relationships with their teachers, which enables them
to have the confidence and the knowledge to act as role models to the younger
children in the classroom.
As a child is ready to move into the language area of the classroom, they are
introduced to works like pin poking, metal insets, and the sandpaper letters. Pin
poking and metal insets; continue to strengthen the hand and the pincer grasp for
later printing. The sandpaper letters introduce the children to the phonetic sounds
of the alphabet. Had the children not first had the time in Practical Life to develop
skills like fine motor and an understanding of working from left to right, they
would not be prepared for these new language works. The children continue
tracing the sandpaper letters, pronouncing the sounds. “Bbbb..boat” As they master
the phonetic sounds, they are then introduced to the movable alphabet. Through the
use of the moveable alphabet they begin identifying beginning sounds and then
building short phonetic words, such as dog. The process continues, next they will
be shown word and picture matching. Sounding out the word and matching it to the
corresponding image. Throughout this process they are practicing printing letters
on both a chalkboard and in their printing journals. No comes short phonetic
stories. The teacher recognizes when I child is ready for this, and provides the
child with a book to read. They sit with their teacher…..and, read a book. What an
accomplishment. They were guided through the Montessori process for reading
and attained success. This may be what the academic process looked like, however
these were not the only “things” that happened through this process.
From their beginning days in practical life, to moving into language and tracing
metal insets, to learning the phonetic sounds, to reading there were many magical
moments within. I have not yet mentioned these magical moments. These moments
are the true beauty of learning. There were moments of pride; smiles and puffed up
chests when they mastered an activity. Moments of joy; “I’m a big kid, I know my
sounds!” Moments of trust; when their teachers show they have faith in the child’s
abilities and so in turn they have faith in themselves. Moments of love; hugs of
love, hugs of thanks, and hugs of pride to their teachers.
Without these moments, the academics would not be as strong, as rewarding, or as
influential. No one can teach a child without first developing a relationship with
them. Our Montessori teachers are attuned to their students. Knowing when a child
is tired upset, excited, motivated. By knowing their students, they adapt to the need
of each individual child.
All of this instills a love of learning in the child, a foundation of learning. This is a
gift the child can carry with them always.