Montessori education is as individual as the child. This includes timing of lessons taught; work done, and even classroom transitions.
Signs of Readiness
When a child is ready to transition to the next Montessori classroom, he/she is exhibiting several signs of readiness as identified by the toddler teacher including:
- Advanced language skills
- A repetition of lessons
- An increase of Practical Life work (use of hands); longer work with more steps
- A greater sense of order and neatness during snack and lunch times
- Demonstrate a social awareness
The transition to accommodate the child is individual and purposeful. The Primary teacher will observe the child in the toddler classroom and parents are invited to observe a Primary classroom.
The child will begin visits into the Primary classroom. They will have snack with an older child and will begin receiving lessons from the Primary teacher.
Now they’re really excited to move into their new classroom, make new friends and be reunited with old ones!
Primary First and Second Years
A child’s first and second years in their Primary classroom are ones of foundation in building concrete skills. Routine, order, and consistency are important. They are skills developed for future learning and an emphasis is placed on process, not product. This is not “pre” school, it’s real school and real life!
- Lessons are designed for absorbent minds
- Learning is spontaneous and without effort
- There is a shift from unconscious to conscious learning
- There is process work, not product oriented
- More detailed work, demonstrating product, comes naturally late in the second year
Primary Third Year/Kindergarten
The classroom is comfortable. The materials are familiar; the teacher is the same, as are friends. Children show confidence, thrive in a routine, and are independent. The final year in a Montessori Primary classroom is an empowering year where the child is a leader in the classroom and has developed self-confidence and self-motivation.
- Growing in social relations, the most important part of their day is lunch with friends
- They choose to sit longer
- Children have discussions; stay on topic; and have longer spans of concentration
- Materials and lessons are taught within small groups
- Children are responsible (find things they need)
- Enjoy challenges
- They have social graces; know right, wrong, and fair.
- Third year students raise the flag each morning
- They demonstrate kindness, compassion, pride, and independence
- Work is often toward an end product
- They are still exploring, but asking questions, “Why is a whale a mammal and not a fish?”
- Children work toward abstraction in math and solve story problems
- They are working towards managing time and planning their day
The third year is one of self-direction as children explore new ways to solve old problems. Would children have the opportunity to shine and lead a class in another environment? Maybe, but doubtful. When children are developmentally ready and when they get to choose materials that match their individual timetable of development, their learning takes off! They become enthusiastic, confident, joyful learners.