Saturday, September 27, 2008

Popular Work

There are some favorite works in our classroom, and the interest in them spreads from one child to another. The Montessori method utilizes the "horizontal learning" that children are so good at (learning by watching another child do something as opposed to learning directly from a teacher) by teaching children how to watch one another work (with permission, and with hands behind the back and mouth shut). This is the formal way to watch, but the children always notice what is being taken from the shelves and used...and they often remind each other in this way of what is available and how interesting it is!

The favorites of the classroom right now are puzzles! We have two wooden animal puzzles with about 12-15 pieces each that are challenging but do-able, and a new ABC puzzle that I have been putting out in installments (2 new letters a day...we are approaching the middle of the alphabet, and the kids are thrilled that it now requires three floor mats to complete).

Other favorites are the metal insets (individual shapes that can be traced with colored pencils and then filled in with lines or shading, and can later be combined with other shapes); putting rubber bands on a dowel; pasting; tonging cotton balls; sorting buttons and cutting paper.

Each child already has their own favorites, and that is fine. The works that they want to do are generally waiting for them on the shelves. And if somebody is using the desired work at the moment, the child is free to wait until it is back on the shelf...but usually they just choose something else. And that often lead to developing a new "favorite" work!

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