A traditional Montessori classroom employs the “Three Hour Work Period”, an uninterrupted stretch of time where the children are free to move about the classroom choosing meaningful work, impelled by their interests and guided by their developing sense of self-discipline. While we honor and embrace that model to the best of our ability, the demands of life and licensing require us to include other elements as well.
Here’s our typical day:
- Arrival: (7:30 -8:15) Children arrive and begin their day by removing outerwear, putting away lunches and backpacks, and offering and responding to greetings. After settling in the children are free to work or play, alone or in small groups, until the entire class has arrived.
- Sitting on the Line: More traditionally known as “Circle Time” or “Morning Meeting”, this is a time for greetings, news, calendar, weather and singing. This is also a time to discuss classroom issues and to introduce new materials or study topics. While the children almost always work independently or in small groups, we do include class-wide topics of study as well. The topics range widely and are generally based on an interest of a student or students. Some examples: dinosaurs, planets, nutrition, orchestral instruments, animal metamorphosis, seasons.
- Work Time: This is perhaps the most exciting time in the Montessori classroom, with children free to work with any of the Montessori materials. This is a time for language, math, science or geography. Or, it is a time to use sensorial, practical life, art or music materials. Children also have access to individual or small group phonics instruction at this time. It is the teacher’s role at this time to circulate among the children, guiding the children who need help, or introducing new materials to those children who show an interest. Once a child has been shown how to use new materials, she is allowed to use them independently and uninterrupted.
- Morning Snack: Children should bring a nourishing snack from home. Please be sure the snack is ready to eat! No cutting, peeling or heating required. Your child will be allowed to eat at any point during the morning, so long as it is not disruptive to the group.
- Story Time: This time may be spent in the traditional way with the teacher reading to the children, but may also be spent in a number of different ways as well! Sometimes children practice silent reading, act out a story in the dress-up area, or create their own stories. Children at Kingdom Montessori at Thaddeus Stevens School are exposed to wonderful poetry and have been known to memorize poems and pen their own!
- Outdoor Play: We believe that children need ample, unstructured time each day to exercise their bodies, voices and spirits outside! Weather permitting, we will provide time each day for the children to take advantage of Loose Play. Loose Play is an adaptation of the theory of play called “Loose Parts”, proposed by architect Simon Nicholson. An array of materials is provided for the children: blocks, shovels, measuring items, shells, ropes, crates and balls. The play is supervised, but unstructured. The children create, experiment, build and dig according to their interest.
- Lunch: Children staying for the full day will enjoy lunch after their morning classmates have departed. Children may bring a healthy lunch from home or take part in the lunch program offered at the school. If you wish to participate in the lunch program, please request details. If you wish to send lunch from home, please be sure it is ready to eat – no cutting, peeling, heating or cooking required.
- Rest Time: Children are encouraged to bring a favorite blanket or pillow from home for rest time. While no child will ever be encouraged or forced to sleep, rest time is a class-wide activity. All students and teachers will lie down quietly for a period of time, allowing students who need to sleep the opportunity to do so.
- Afternoon Snack: Please see Morning Snack.
- Afternoon Exploration: After rest, the children are free to work or play alone or in small groups until dismissal. Weather and time permitting, we may play outside.
- Dismissal: School closes at 3:15. Children will begin preparing for departure at 3:00, working on the important tasks of organizing and packing belongings.