Joyful Work - Montessori Observation Experience

by Jean Gunderson
Learning Math in Primary Classroom

Luckily, I was able to observe a primary class this morning. The sunny classroom helped to illuminate so many happy faces and the productive work of these 3-6 year old children.

An older boy was demonstrating the map of Asia to a younger friend. Together, they were removing the colored pieces and placing them so gently on their work rug! Their motions were deliberate and elegant; they were each using a pincer grip to arrange the pieces around the frame of the map. I could listen and hear them quietly discussing the names of each country, "Korea, Thailand, Japan, Saudi Arabia". The peaceful work held their attention so completely; they seemed oblivious to the other twenty children in the room.

Closer to me at a table, two girls were working separately on two different pieces of work. A five year old was walking back and forth between the table and the lovely wooden leaf cabinet on the shelf. She was choosing shapes of leaves: reniform, spatulate, obovate, and cordate. Then, she would choose actual leaves from a basket of specimens collected from the playground, reflecting the chosen shape. After completing the matching process, she traced the wooden shape on a piece of paper and labelled each, using phonetic spelling. She was so engaged with her project, I do not think she realized another child was across the table from her practicing her own writing.

This four year old had chosen objects from the language basket and was drawing likenesses on small paper and labelling them using beautiful cursive writing. Her finished work was a book she put together with staples, complete with titled cover and end piece. I so adore watching all these children using cursive. Both students intently glided their pencils over their paper, concentrating to create well-formed lines and loops. Using phonetic spelling, these young children were confidently writing complicated words-not only the specific names of leaf shapes but descriptions such as "treasure chest", "bouquet", "ladder", and "jack rabbit".

Once again, I was amazed at what these young children are able to accomplish given the opportunity to choose their work in the classroom. I am so glad these children are able to explore and gain a love of learning that propels them through their day of choosing their activities. The confidence and pride on their beautiful faces gave me a peaceful feeling of joy that resonated with me the entire day!



Aquinas Montessori blog was created in November 2014 as a place to share our ideas, experience and inspiration through articles, tutorials and advice to parents. Be the first to see new posts and have new content delivered by Email, or join Aquinas Monessori School on Facebook.