January is the month where teachers typically see their classrooms take a step-in further transformation. All of the children have accomplished five months of school and often return rested, yet eager to get back to the work and familiar environment of their classroom. Though some lessons, including Grace and Courtesy, need to be revisited, the children know the expectations and know their teachers. In Primary and Elementary, the children also know what work they may choose, and look at their shelves to see what exciting lessons lay ahead!
As the year continues to progress into the spring months, we see the children visibly mature. The crying babies who left their parent’s care, often for the first time, happily walk to their classroom, hang up their bag and coat, and joyfully start choosing the work from the shelves. The returning toddlers begin to look less like babies, and lead the younger children to work, assisting them when needed.
The three-year-old, have established the routine of the work-cycle, (choosing the work, doing the work and putting it away ready for the next person, repeat) and their interests shift toward more than Practical Life and Sensorial lessons. Four-year-old in their second year in Primary, begin to see themselves in a leadership position and begin the deep-dive into the sensitive period for writing and reading. The five and six-year-olds begin to “outgrow” their beloved classroom of three years and the teachers have to do extra work to catch their imaginations as they grow tired of being the oldest in the classroom and they begin to long for something more. They also physically mature, with longer legs, leaner bodies and some start losing teeth!
In Elementary we see a less physically obvious change, but the first-year children typically become better stewards of their classroom and start to dive more deeply into the work, now embracing the higher academic accountability of the elementary setting. The second-year students’ handwriting typically begins to look well-practiced and their work shows more attention to detail. They begin to find that love for reading a good book. The third year and beyond go further into abstraction of ideas. For example, third and fourth years, after working on math facts for several years with the manipulative materials are beginning to automatically recall them so that they can complete the long multiplication and division material problems with more ease and efficiency. They enjoy more extensive research and creating presentations to share with their peers and younger classmates.
“I have found that in his development, the child passes through certain phases, each of which has its own particular needs. The characteristics of each are so different that the passages from one phase to the other has been described by certain psychologists as ‘rebirths’.” –Maria Montessori
We are so grateful to be witnesses to this change and growth in your children, and to develop that close relationship that only the multi-aged/ multi-year classrooms can give a student and their teacher/ guide. Each year and phase brings many new wonders and some challenges with our children. We appreciate your partnerships and curiosity as your children move into a new phase, or what Montessori also called plane of development. Know that we are here to guide your children and support you through these transitions and changes. We look forward to discussing these transitions further with you in our upcoming parent education meetings!
– By Lynette Goss