Posted by Tom Karren
How to Design Learning Based Activities in Montessori Schools?
The Montessori Methods of education vividly describe how children learn through experiences of their own and how teachers can help them with it. Basically, these spontaneous discoveries by children through their own exploration are sometimes called variations and you can learn a lot about these by taking up a Montessori teachers training course from an institute.
A variation can be defined as a modification in the use of a material (required to teach a child) which is different from the presentation of a certain topic, object or scenario, but still serves the purpose for which the material was originally designed. There is always a strong connection with a child’s interactions with the materials. This is, however, possible because of the specific designs of the sensorial materials. These materials result from the findings initiated by the presentations of the Montessori teachers.
As a teacher, you will need to show ‘something’ the child can do with the material. Your task is to stimulate the exploration of the child for the development of cognitive, physical and social skills. Additionally, you will need to boost these skills in a learning-oriented environment. This psychological environment will encourage and nurture the spontaneous discoveries and explorations.
Ways to Simulate the Variations in a Montessori School
There are several ways in which you can simulate these variations for the children in a school. These are taught in a Montessori teachers training course. Some of these are mentioned below.
- You have to set the timing of the initial presentation of the classroom material aimed towards the development of the child. Here you will face a challenge because every single child has his or her own interest and preferences. For this reason, a common activity aimed towards stimulus and repetition of activities that boost the interest of children is necessary.
- You can extend exploration through a couple of exercises viz. distance/memory games, and language lessons. With memory games, one thing that is particularly useful here is the environment. In the Montessori school, you will help a child to notice many objects in the environment. You will ask the children to learn the objects and name them accordingly such as objects of varying shapes and sizes, colors, etc.
- It is necessary to prepare the environment to allow connections and discoveries to develop between and among objects. These observations are taught to a teacher in a Montessori teachers training course which is mostly mathematically precise and well-maintained. There are many objects in the environment that can also be matched to the sensorial materials.
- Of these, one of the crucial factors is to embrace creativity and exploration while understanding and appreciating the contents of the material. Ask your students to develop something in a different way and then quietly walk away and notice what the child does with the assigned activity. This is indeed an effective variation.
In a classroom, there must include a culture of variations. You need to start these materials and explore with it so that these attract attention. A culture of variations helps in building the variations that children will absorb. As teachers, you will find their moment to take passive observations into engaging activity!