We Multiply: purposeful materials and freedom of choice combination of development
The transition from one environment to another is not determined by age but by the development of each individual child. When the children begin to walk and maintain their balance enough to handle the materials correctly, they move to the Children’s Community.
What does a Montessori Children’s Community look like?
When children begin to walk and maintain their balance, they leave the Nido environment and start in Comunidad Infantil. The materials multiply, each and every one of them has a specific purpose. There is also a Guide and an Assistant, all the time the children spend with us is in Spanish and English.
Freedom of movementbeingdoingchoice
In a Montessori Children’s Community environment children can move freely and decide which Materials they want to work with during the day. There are three rules: they can only work with Materials that the Guide has already presented to them; if there is another child they must wait for them to finish and the third rule is that they must leave it as they found it. All this develops autonomy and respect for others and the environment.
We work by objectives
The materials we find are 100% natural, there are no plastics, no lights, no screens. The children are still learning to develop their full potential. All the activities have a purpose, such as picking up the clothes pegs, for example, they are held in the same way as a pencil, so that they gradually internalise the position so that when the time comes they can do it naturally.
Observations of the children in the environment are made on a daily basis. This allows us to closely follow their progress and each of their steps. All the activities are evolutionary, so that the guide sets the weekly objectives of the activities to be presented to each individual child. He/she also observes the development of the activities already presented so that, if necessary, they can be presented again.
In the Children’s Community we find
6 areaslearning opportunities
Care of the environment actually fits into what we call practical life, which is in tandem with Care of the Person. Here the child has activities with the general purpose of developing fine motor skills, while at the same time we teach them to take care of the indoor and outdoor environment, fostering in them the ability to handle different materials. For example, the way of cleaning the table, from left to right from top to bottom, is preparing them for reading and writing.
This area aims to encourage the development of motor and neural skills more than any other with different materials that are introduced from the simplest to the most complex. They encourage the development of hand-eye coordination; logic; coordination; the sense of order and classification…like all Montessori materials, they are always made of natural materials that help the development of the senses by appreciating the different textures and shapes.
CARE OF THE PERSON
Care of the Person constitutes, together with care of the environment, the area of Practical Life. Here children learn to take care of their hygiene, dress themselves, take care of their clothes…it is the area that families can appreciate the most at home as they see how their children begin to dress themselves, put on their shoes and wash themselves. It is also the area that helps the most in “Potty training” (removing the nappy) as it gives the child sufficient autonomy to actively contribute to saying goodbye to the nappy.
“Open the books, open the wings”. Language development is one of the fundamental characteristics of this stage, so the more we can contribute to the children in this aspect, the more we will be contributing to a better entry into the next stage. Language is worked with three different types of materials (objects, cards and cards with objects) and with different activities. Something very important is that it is done indistinctly in Spanish or English depending on who is presenting the activity to the child. In addition, books and the reading corner are always present in the environment, for the children to take them individually or for the guide or assistant to read in a group.
ART And Music
Music and art are actually part of the language area but we mark them separately because it is so broad what we work on here that we believe they deserve a separate section. The children in this part not only learn nursery rhymes that they love, or work with tempera, we go a little further with them because as Maria Montessori indicates they are in the period of the “Absorbent Mind” and therefore with much more developed capacities than ours, or would it be easy for an adult for example to learn Chinese perfectly in only 2 years? That is why we are not satisfied with songs or doodling, we teach them great composers, painters, artists, as well as having instruments and a great variety of materials to paint and draw.
GRACE AND COURTESY
These two terms, very much from the first half of the 20th century when pedagogy was created, are more relevant than ever. If we want to prevent bullying, we must teach children from an early age to respect their classmates, to be kind, polite, correct and respectful of others and their environment. Therefore, although the terms in this area are perhaps a little outdated, the teachings and values in this section are more relevant than ever and are essential to our values as a school, because for us respect for others in general and for children in particular is part of our spirit and philosophy, and undoubtedly one of our fundamental pillars.