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Exploring Montessori: Emotional Development {Series Part 3}

Spring is the time that many new parents begin to think about what they want their children’s education to look like. As parents are enrolling all around, now is the time to start exploring and becoming familiar with all the options our area has to offer. In addition to public education, Collin County has a wide variety of educational approaches and schools for you to consider. With the help of Greenville Montessori School, we’ve created this month’s “Exploring Montessori” series as a way to help you become more familiar with one of their options. Stay connected each week as we explore more of the Montessori philosophy.

Have you often wondered how your child is such an angel at school and not so much at home? Or scratched your head over the question: What does the teacher do that I am failing to do as a parent when it comes to understanding my child’s emotions? 

Here are some tried, tested and never-failing methods used in the Montessori environment:

Bell/Silence Game

Montessori has special methods that help both adult and child develop the art of ‘listening’. The Bell Game or the Silence Game focus on learning to listen well.

These games are mostly played in older classrooms where the children can control their movements and sit quietly for a certain period of time. There are different ways this game can be played:
• Using a bell where the children sit around in a circle and the bell is passed around without ringing it
• Children are asked to close their eyes for 20-30 seconds and told to listen to the sounds around them. This is a great listening exercise on a rainy day where children and encouraged to listen to the sounds of the rain drops hitting the window panes
• Another one is where everyone closes their eyes and the teacher makes different sounds using objects in the classroom. The children are then asked to identify the sounds

These exercises help quiet little minds, sharpen concentration and develop better listening habits.

The Peace Table

The purpose of the Peace Table is two-fold – one to teach children conflict resolution and two to equip them with tools to calm down.

When two children have a conflict the teacher will encourage them to go to the Peace Table which is placed in a quiet corner of the classroom. It has two small chairs. The table has a ‘peace offering’ that the children can hold while taking turns to express their feelings by using sentences like “When you do …., I feel ……”. This teaches them to express themselves using words in a calm manner and also to listen to others. You can keep ‘self-soothing activities’ like tracing on sand, playing with putty/clay or beads. The inner disturbance of the child settles down with sensory activity and leads to peaceful conflict resolution.

This Peace Table can also be used by a child to gain a little time to himself. Typically you would put a timer (say three minutes) where the child sits alone for a few minutes without feeling ashamed, guilty, deprived, or ‘punished’. If a child is agitated they sometimes volunteer to sit at the peace table. Activities like coloring or flower arrangement can be kept at the table which can distract the child from whatever angst he is feeling. Once he has calmed down he rejoins his friends.

The Peace Table is a great tool to have at home to help siblings deal with conflict and rioting emotions!

Circle Time!

If there is a challenging situation developing, let the child express himself through a demonstration. Montessori schedules circle time to show a talent / demonstrate an activity by children.

Once in a pre-school class, the children refused to let Johnny play with them, because his lunch-box smelled ‘bad’. (Yes, this is a true story!) Now this was an excellent situation in teaching children acceptance through understanding at Circle time.

We let Johnny show them, by actually demonstrating, how well he prepared a ‘tuna sandwich’ for himself. Children love and admire ‘do-it-yourself’ projects, and without saying anything more Johnny was soon hero of the group!

Circle time is a great way to allow children to share ideas, express themselves in a group and to listen attentively.

Celebration of Life

The Celebration of Life, is a Montessori tradition for celebrating a child’s birthday in class. The celebration is an elaborate process where we place the image of the sun in the center of a mat. Spreading all around the image, we place the names of the 12 months of the year like the rays of the sun. All the children come to the Circle, along with the teacher and the parents. The birthday child stands next to the birthday month, placed on the mat in the center of the circle. He/she carries a globe in her hand. As children begin to sing, “The Sun goes round the earth…” the child walks round the mat. Each circle represents one year in his/her life. It is symbolic of the yearly orbit of the earth around the sun. When the current birthday year is reached, children sing “Happy Birthday…”

The child brings in pictures, from birth to current age. Children love to see how they have grown from the time of their birth.

Montessori education is child-oriented. Respect for the child is reflected in every aspect of the program. By focusing on the child, and acknowledging his feelings, Montessori devised methods work!

 

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Missed last week’s post? Be sure to go back and read Exploring Montessori: Debunking the Common Myths {Series Part 1} and Exploring Montessori: Hands-On Learning {Series Part 2}.

Collin County Moms Blog is excited to see all that Greenville Montessori School in Allen is doing for children, and if you’re interested in Montessori, we encourage you to reach out to take a tour! To learn more about Greenville Montessori School, make sure to visit their website or Facebook page.

550 Trinity Dr. Allen 75002

(214) 383-5093

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