Montessori Moments has been a little slow lately, I apologize! This month’s topic is Routines & Schedules.
Routine & Montessori. Those are two things that many think don’t go together at all. In fact, Maria Montessori herself probably throughout the same thing. The whole idea of Montessori is to let the children be free to explore and learn what they want, when they want. But young children, especially Lennox’s age, need some type of structure, even if it’s a very loose timed routine. Routine really is everything in their little world, whether they are at home, at school or even traveling. If you throw off their little internal schedule, you can usually tell by the way the act and react. While we are traveling, I try to keep the same routine somewhat. Especially having to do with morning wake up, breakfast, nap, bath/bedtime routines. This seems to keep Lennox in a better mood!
So with a routine and/or daily schedule, a child will know what to expect and when, what is expected of THEM and what is even expected of the other children around them. If they keep with this general theme, Montessorians believe that it gives the child the added security to allow them to be comfortable enough to open up and learn on their own.
I remember when looking at daycare for Lennox, the schedules would go something like
9:10-9:30 Free Play Time
9:30-9:40 Potty Break
9:40-10:00 Circle Time
10:00-10:30 Outdoor Play
10:30-10:40 Potty Break
10:40-11:00 Craft Time
and so on.
Every minute of the day was scheduled. In the Montessori school, a full day goes more like
Drop-off – 9:00 – Works Time
9:00-10:00 Outdoors Play / Explore Time
10:00-10:30 – Snack / Clean Up
10:30-11:30 – Works Time
11:30-12:00 – Reading Time
12:00-12:30 – Set up for Lunch, Eat, Clean Up
12:30-2:45 – Nap / Rest / Quiet Time
2:45 – Pick up – Free Works Time & Outside Play
Although, they are probably doing many of the same daily activities that the first schedule entailed, they are free to move about for longer periods of time. While they are outside, they have the opportunity to do what they want. Whether its care for the gardens, ride bikes, play ball, climb the hills, climb through the rock river, play bubbles, lay in the grass, etc. They are supervised and contained in a big back yard, but they can each go off and do their own little thing. I’ve noticed with this, everyone is much happier, for a much longer period of time. The fact that 12-15 kids can be outside together at one time for over an hour and all be happy 95% of the time, is pretty good in my opinion.
The chunk of the day when they are in their classroom, they are doing their works. I have talked about these before, the task based activities they work on independently, which reflect some type of life skill and have structure and routine within them – such as tieing shoes, poring water from one pitcher to another, work with numbers, letters, cause & effect, etc.
So I think even though they are on a more free-flowing routine/schedule, there is still plenty of structure within their daily work, that they feel secure, comfortable and happy.
Has anyone had any experience with routines in the Montessori environment, thoughts?