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Starting the School Year Right: Back-to-School Ideas for the Montessori School and Home Classrooms

on August 10, 2011

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:

http://www.essortment.com/maria-montessori-biography-20482.html

http://thinkexist.com/quotes/maria_montessori

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:

http://www.arborday.org/arborday

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:

http://www.the-landscape-design-site.com/blog/2008/10/fall-gardening-checklist-preparing-the-fall-garden-for-spring

http://accomplishedwoman.blogspot.com/2009/09/gardening-fall-plan-for-spring.html

http://www.hgtv.com/landscaping/plan-your-spring-garden/index.html

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

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For more miscellaneous ideas, here’s a round-up of back-to-school ideas for both classroom and homeschool environments:

http://homeschoolparent.blogspot.com/2011/07/homeschool-organization-inspiration.html

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/8164433/tips_for_incorporating_a_back_to_school.html?cat=2

5

http://www.flylady.net/pages/FlyBacktoSchool4.asp

http://www.lmma.net/montessori-education/beat-those-back-to-school-blues

http://tips.atozteacherstuff.com/back-to-school-tips

http://backtoschool.about.com/od/forteachers/Preparing_for_the_First_Day_of_Class.htm

For all of your year round lesson planning, visit
http://www.amonco.org and
http://www.amonco.org/directory.html


3 responses to “Starting the School Year Right: Back-to-School Ideas for the Montessori School and Home Classrooms

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