Monday, September 12, 2011

Montessori Makeover: The First Day

My 4-year-old preschool class' first day of school was today.  I was really nervous like I am at the beginning of every year.  You'd think after 11 years of teaching preschool the beginning of the year nervousness would go away.  But, no, not for me...  This year was especially nerve racking.  I am not a person who handles change well -- and switching to a Montessori-based curriculum was a major change!  It doesn't matter how wonderful the change might be.

Much to my delight, the first day of school went better than I could have expected!  The kids were great!  The assist parents were great!  And, best of all, the kids are really taking to the changes in the classroom.  They have learned to roll and unroll rugs and table mats, carry a tray, walk around a rug, ask to join a classmate in his/her work, and most of the kids even responded appropriately to a "call to silence."

We started the morning with Circle Time, during which we did the calendar, weather, head-shoulders-knees-and-toes, read The Kissing Hand, reviewed rolling and unrolling rugs, carrying a tray, walking around a rug, and asking to work with a friend.  I say reviewed because we had a practice day of preschool last week when the kids came to school in small groups for only 30 minutes each.  We learned all of these things during that 30 minutes, so today we did a review.  The kids took turns doing the demonstrations for the rest of the class!

After our review I gave the kids a lesson on how to use the art supplies that are out on the shelf.  There are crayons, colored pencils, paper, and clipboards.  I had also intended to give a lesson on pouring a drink from a pitcher to a cup, but we had juice boxes for snack so I decided to wait for another day to give that lesson.

After Circle Time we moved on to work time -- which included snack.  The kids of the assist parents helped to prepare the snack.  We had three assist parents today and three kids helping to prepare snack.  I bought the Melissa and Doug table setting place mats at a local toy store for the kids to use at snack time.  We didn't even need to tell the kids where to put the dishes on the place mats -- they figured it out on their own!

I have decided to start the year with all of the areas in the classroom open -- including the areas not traditionally found in a Montessori classroom -- gross motor, blocks, and pretend play.  After I begin bringing in the Montessori materials, this may change depending on how much time the kids are spending in these areas.  I may limit the use of these areas to the first 30 minutes of work time.

Here are some pictures of the kids at work time today.  I have blocked out their faces for privacy.

I was very excited to see two of the kids working together!

She covered the whole board with the little buttons!

Gotta love peg boards!

These are the snack helpers helping to prepare the bananas for snack.  I completely forgot to have them wear the awesome aprons that one of the moms made for the classroom.  Next time I'll remember those for sure!

Magna Tiles have always been a favorite in my classroom!

peeling bananas

cutting bananas

Eating snack with the neat new place mats!

The kids made me some art work to hang on my supply cupboards in the classroom!

Gotta love when they get ALL the blocks out within 15 minutes!  Check out that awesome structure they made!

Some pretend play!  Before I took this picture they had the table all set with dishes.

Nice working boys!

Notice the color sorting with the stacks of pegs!

 I was planning on waiting until next week to introduce new materials.  But, the kids are doing so well that I might even start this week!

We ended with a short Circle Time that included show & tell and the good-bye song.

Here is a link to the Magna Tiles I mentioned earlier.  They really are a great toy!

I am also linking up to Montessori Monday via Living Montessori Now and One Hook Wonder:

Montessori Monday


  1. I really loved hearing about how today went. I hope we will get more reports like this when you have time. Thanks!

  2. Wow, what a fun, colorful, packed first day! It looks like the year is off to a great start! Good work, Ms. Mieke :)

  3. Looks like a great day!!!!!! I love the structure the kids built! It is awesome! The work pics are great! Looks like a proper monetssori classroom! Great Job!

  4. It looks like your new classroom is off to a wonderful start, Mieke! It was a great idea to have the children come in small groups for 30 minutes before the beginning of the school year! I loved reading about all your activities. Thanks so much for linking up with Montessori Monday! I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page:

  5. Thanks everyone! I really appreciate the support! I don't know what I would do without all of you other mommy bloggers -- I get so many great ideas from your blogs and really feel like I am a part of a larger community that supports one another!