Most of us—teachers, parents, and students alike—want to start each school year off as pleasantly and productively as possible. If you are reading this, you are obviously taking extra steps to make the most of the educational opportunities available, which is wonderful both for you and for the children with whom you come into contact. We hope that some of the following ideas will help get you in the spirit as you start the new school year.
Remembering why we’re here
Since Maria Montessori’s philosophy is child-centered and prioritizes an orderly, inspirational atmosphere, your mindset and focus as a facilitator are crucial. Perhaps you could benefit from a little inspiration “from the source”, in the form of the following Maria Montessori information:
You can also read more about Maria Montessori and other famous people with Montessori education connections at The Creative Process: http://www.amonco.org/creative01/montessori_fall1.pdf
Meeting new classmates and working as a group
Dale Gausman, from North American Montessori Center, shares a simple “Getting to Know Each Other” activity, which focuses on listening and speaking skills while helping students relate to one another.
Rita, also from North American Montessori Center, provides instructions for making a “Friendship Tree” with personalized, hand-printed paper leaves for each student. This fun project will also make an attractive classroom decoration.
Find both of these classroom ideas at http://www.amonco.org/creative3/montessori_fall3.pdf
Hands-on gardening projects
Another way to get students working together right from the start, and to celebrate the start of a new class community is to plant a tree. Rae, from The Creative Process, provides lesson ideas and resources for this class project here: http://www.amonco.org/creative/montessori_fall4.pdf
More information and educational ideas are also available from the Arbor Day Foundation:
Continuing with botanical/gardening themes, Rae also encourages you to use autumn to plan for your classroom spring garden. This makes good sense for gardeners young and old. Many autumn garden chores can make spring planting easier, fall is when seed catalogs become available to plan your order, and off-season planning can increase interest when spring arrives. Also, looking at the photos and descriptions of beautiful flowers and delicious vegetables is very cheering as the weather starts to turn cool and gloomy. See Rae’s tips here: http://www.amonco.org/creative01/montessori_fall1.pdf
Why not kick your garden plans into high gear with new resource material to study over the fall and winter? Farm Country General Store has a number of interesting gardening books, like All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew, on sale now at http://www.homeschoolfcgs.com/product_info.php/products_id/929617
For more fall garden planning/chores, check out these interesting sites:
Staying calm and focused
Many children (and adults) find the start of school stressful, with re-adjusting to a more structured environment, spending more time away from family, meeting new classmates, etc. To help, Georgette Baker of Cantemos bilingual music and books suggests simple “Relaxation Exercises for the Classroom”. These techniques are basic enough to use with very young children, but can also benefit all of us – in or out of the classroom or homeschool environment. Why not take a moment to find out more at: http://www.amonco.org/creative01/montessori_fall1.pdf
For more miscellaneous ideas, here’s a round-up of back-to-school ideas for both classroom and homeschool environments: