The Silent Journey and the Discovery

Lower Elementary work

Children’s House work

It’s that time of year again. Dozens of parents at Follow the Child Montessori School are setting their cell phones to vibrate, donning their sneakers, and getting ready for some lessons. The Silent Journey and Discovery is parent education workshop that allows parents to take a mental time-out from all the interruptions of their busy lives to truly absorb Montessori education. There are new parents, veteran parents, caregivers, teachers and staff, many are attending the Journey for the first time and still others are returning for a fresh perspective.

On the first evening, parents new to Montessori education have a chance to examine the classrooms (looking, but not touching)—not just those classrooms serving their own child’s age, but also those that their child will move into someday. Free from distraction, and given the time to truly absorb the surroundings and reflect on the age group, one begins to see the magic of the “prepared environment.” Where else in a toddler’s world will he find—at his height and within his reach—a delicate, beautiful vase filled with fresh flowers, a real glass and plate for his snack, and opportunity and encouragement to explore shelves full of materials and activities? Where can the preschool-aged child find opportunities for challenge, responsibility and independence such as independently making cinnamon toast, creating and adding large numbers using concrete materials, and using his learned conflict-resolution skills to manage complex emotions and words? The use of concrete materials allows young children to understand complex concepts. The abstract idea becomes reality when it’s in their hands. The children discover answers for themselves and this learning has great impact.

On day two of The Journey, parents explore the classrooms (the silent part is over!), choose work from the shelf (a limited selection of work that demonstrates the continuity of concepts throughout the class levels), work individually or with a small group, and participate in lessons. This experience greatly impacts a parent’s image of their child’s education. As the parent of a 4-year old, I remember thinking about how much concentration my son had to have just to keep his body and words in check as he learned how to function according to our societal rules, not to mention managing all the new concepts he was discovering through his lessons every day. Even as an adult, you can’t help but feel the profound excitement of discovery in the Montessori classrooms. Put yourself in the student’s shoes: You feel the respect the teacher has for you. You know you can take the time you need to understand big concepts. You feel your friends cheering you on as you conquer challenging work. You feel the power of your competence, the strength of confidence. As a parent, you feel the completeness and depth of this education.

Ready for elementary work? Here’s an example of an introduction to early geometry.

Upper Elementary Work

Just before lunch, the action moves to the playground as parents get a quick run-down on the rules of Broomball, a hockey-like game with a soccer ball and sticks reminiscent of oars.  Parents enjoy the teamwork and the exercise after a morning of concentration. After cheers, goals, saves and misses, the teams walk off the field, high fives, smiles and laughs. It feels like a giant play date for parents. After lunch, the challenges grow as the work becomes more complex.

Elementary work provides bigger challenges. Parents work together as they explore countries’ imports and exports or discover square roots. They touch on cultures, language, explore societal issues. They delve into science near and far, from cells to the universe.

At the end of the day, parents leave tired, but inspired, with more respect for their children and appreciation for teachers than ever before.

 

 

Follow the Child Montessori School
Montessori Education for Toddlers-12 year olds. Looking for an education for 14-month olds through 12-year olds designed to foster independence, responsibility, and self-motivation? Contact us to schedule a tour and classroom observation.
http://www.followthechild.org/contact/

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