Saturday, March 30, 2013
Here are a few pictures of the children during their normal school day. Jacklyn is the young lady patiently introducing how to fold napkins to the little girl. The picture below is our Practical Life shelf/shelves. This is where the children learn how to do basic skills like pouring, spooning, transfering liquids or solids. It is amazing to me that the children can repeatedly use this material (or as we say in Montessori "work") and not get bored. Infact, just as Maria Montessori has shown the children can become quite focused on fine tuning these skills. They learn how to wash their hands, how to cook, clean, take care of their environment inside and outside their school.
What they probably have not been used to is actually having the freedom to choose what they will do during a normal 'work cycle'. They receive some guidance from Jacklyn and I, especially with learning how to use the new material, and we watch and observe to find out what areas they are growing in and where they might need some encouragement to continue to fine tune those skills. Definitely a different way from conventional schooling. We don't have tons of copied work sheets and notebooks etc., that you would find in typical classroom. Which, of course, is cost effective for us and is wasteful to boot. They learn math for example, with sand-paper shaped numbers and letters that are placed on wooden tablets. Then they have a box of wooden alphabet letters that can be moved around to form their first words. The children love the materials. Boys and girls are learning to hammer and use a screwdriver. They are going to begin gardening soon. I have a huge bag of seeds of flowers, herbs and vegetables. I've been collecting ideas to make the garden a fun place to be. And our animals are right outside for them to observe and visit. We moved the parrots to the aviary that is attached to the side of the school. We can hear them talk, scream etc., when we are outside eating our lunch. Will had the guys construct a child-size door where they can enter. We also have a fire-pit on our patio.
Below is one of our little girls unfolding a 'mantelito', a hand-woven mat that the children use to place their work on. Just the rolling and unrolling of these mats creates a more calm child. And it gives them their own space in which to work. I enjoy this philosophy of teaching. It does provide a more independent child and it is less about keeping them all in their seats and teaching them the same thing.
I thought this just about sums up some of the challenges we face with children......