Whether you turn the tray at the end of a lesson, go from right to left or left to right, are AMS-trained, or AMI-trained - there are many foundational elements of Montessori philosophy we can all agree on. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the minutiae - remember the essentials. Below are 50 ways to keep the Montessori spirit alive in your classroom.
Do things with the child, not for them
Model the behavior you’d like to see
Use fewer words - guide with actions
Practice grace and courtesy with the adults and children in your classroom
Move precisely and with purpose
Follow the child’s interest to spark and maintain curiosity
Accept that every child moves at their own pace
Prepare the classroom so every child can be as independent as possible
Own up to your mistakes and apologize if necessary when you’ve made one
Respect the child
Coach the child in acknowledging and managing their emotions - this is a learned skill
Protect all forms of concentration once they begin
Remember it’s okay not to be perfect! It’s important to model this for your children
Be kind and firm - children need love and limits
Trust that the materials are self-correcting - any interference from an adult is potentially a missed opportunity for the child to conduct his own experimentation and learning
Evaluate if you are in constant need of being in control - and let go of it
Have a sense of humor!
Give effort-based praise
Trust in the absorbent mind and sensitive periods
Incorporate the outdoors and nature whenever possible
Encourage curiosity and exploration
Provide hands-on, concrete opportunities for learning
Practice Practical Life activities again and again and again!
Promote peer problem solving and don’t interfere unless absolutely necessary once it begins
Leave the working child unless they are hurting themselves, hurting someone else, or damaging a material
Keep an ordered environment
Associate movement and learning as much as possible
Give children the time necessary to complete a task
Observe the child - what are they interested in? Where do they need encouragement?
Allow yourself to be in awe of the natural instinct each child has to learn and grow
Remark on exciting things in nature and allow yourself to be amazed when a child points something out to you
Model self control and mindfulness
Help the child take control of their learning by answering questions with questions - “What do you think the answer is?” so they are encouraged to trust their instinct or explore and experiment to find the answer
Be an active listener
Speak to the child on his level
Provide feeling words whenever possible
Prepare the room with child sized furnishings and all materials within their reach
Use proper terminology for body parts, bodily functions, names, etc.
Create an atmosphere where mistakes are acceptable and part of the learning process
Accept the child for who they are - it is our obligation to see the light in each child even when their behavior is challenging
Partner with parents as much as and whenever possible. The child is the one that benefits when we do so
Do not seek to change or affect or modify or improve any other human - observe and accept the one that exists and prepare the environment to stimulate their continued engagement
Pause long enough to recognize the difference between a child wandering and a child who is seeking a momentary break in between lessons
Accept false fatigue as a natural occurrence and stay calm
Be grateful in the gift you have been given to share in the lives of the children in your class
Create opportunities for children to be active participants in the care of their environment
Surround yourself with other people who seem to understand how to speak with children - the ones who see the magic. Talk to the teachers who stay.
Find companionship in expertise and expertise in time.
Above all - remember “Of all things - love is the most potent.” No child can learn before they know they are loved and safe in your presence.