Many parents and teachers are implementing Montessori materials with their children at home and in the classrooms. However, it is important to implement them the right way to enable children to reap maximum benefits from these materials.
Here are 3 of the most common mistakes parents/teachers make while presenting Montessori materials and how to avoid them:
1. Placing materials in front of the child and clearing up for them.
Montessori’s basic principle is about providing the child the opportunity to become independent and responsible individuals. Therefore it is necessary that the child should be the one to choose the material, take it from the shelf to the table or workplace independently. If you have previously shown them how to use the materials, then let them work with them independently too.
Once they are done with the activity and it is time to clear up, they will be more likely to want to replace the materials that they took, back in its place.
Here are some tips:
Arrange a shelf/space for Montessori materials, explain to the children that they can work with the materials when they want to … but it is important for them to place the materials back after use so that ‘we can find them when we need them’.
When clearing up, just tell the child. “Do you remember where we took this material from?” They will take pleasure to show you that they remember and will place the materials back in its place.
2. Saying too much when presenting an activity.
Avoid saying anything during a presentation i.e when you are showing the child how to work with the activity/material. Understand that it is extremely difficult for the child to listen to you and observe at the same time.
When showing a child how to do an activity, let the child know what the activity is about, name the materials and then don’t say a word till you complete the activity. Just allow the child to observe.
Here is an example of what you can say:
Example: Transferring rice activity from one identical bowl to another.
Start by saying: “Today, I’m going to show you how to transfer rice from one bowl to another using a spoon”.
Then point and name the objects for the activity. For example “This is the tray, these are the bowls, this is rice and this is a spoon”.
Tell the child, “Let me show you how to transfer the rice from one bowl to another and then you may have your turn”.
The child will most likely allow you to show them without interruption.
When you have completed presenting the activity, offer the child “Would you like to have your turn?’
This way, the child also learns to take turns.
3. Interfering or helping the child
The whole idea about working with Montessori materials and activities is to:
- encourage the child to be independent
- help enhance their concentration
- develop their self-esteem
- allow learning through exploration and discovery.
Well…interfering or helping won’t help your child achieve these.
Once you show the child how to use the material, let the child work with the material in peace independently. It is then that you will see the child developing concentration and everything else will follow in time.
Points to note:
- Resist the urge to ‘jump in’ and help.
- Don’t provide prompts unless they ask you.
- Don’t give praise. Children do not expect any praise – they are happy to be left alone to work.
- If they are not working with the material the way you showed them, don’t worry about it. As long as the child is respectfully working, let them be.
- If they throw the materials around, you may then interfere and let them know that ‘We do not throw materials. Let us clear the materials away and do something else’. You may present the same material to them again the next day if you like.
To present Montessori materials effectively, there is a step-by-step procedure that is easy to follow. Would you like to observe our students presenting materials in class?
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