We open the door to greet the students as they arrive. One teacher stands at the door to greet the student and parent, shake hands and help the student find their cubby so that they can take off and put away their shoes and coat. The other teacher sits at circle with classical or world music playing and greets the students one by one with a smile and a handshake and encourages them to find a place in circle and be seated cross-legged.
Once the majority of Montessori students have arrived, we begin with a Good Morning song, a few finger plays, review the calendar, have news time, and the special helper is chosen for the day. The special helper does the weather and counts each classmate in the group (in both French and English). If any group presentations are required that day, they are presented at this circle time, such as when there are new Practical Life or art activities on the shelves.
We often ask our students to close their eyes and think about what work they would like to begin with today and when they have thought of something to raise their hand. The teacher will walk around the circle and gently tap each child on the hand (one by one). It is a really calm way to begin the day and helps each student begin the day focused and ready to find an activity to work on. While the children work independently, the teachers provide individual and group lessons and the teaching assistant reinforces the important rules and routines of the class and helps diffuse any issues as they arise throughout the morning.
Snack is set out for the children when they get hungry. If a chair is available at the snack table, the child will wash their hands first in the washroom and then select some items to eat on their plate. Fresh water is available in a jug to pour themselves. After snack they they put their dishes in the washing bin and, now refreshed, start another activity or resume what they were doing before.
The special helper pushes ‘play’ on our CD player to signal that it is time to clean up. The music is a soft, instrumental CD which is a great reminder to clean up in a calm, peaceful manner. Once the students tidy their work, we all sit down for circle time. We then have a quick circle, reflect on the morning, play some sort of a transition game and they are sent one by one to put on their shoes and coat to go outside for recess before lunch. Once every student is dressed and ready to go outside, the special helper carries the first aid kit and they file off to the playground.It is a joy to watch and the special helper always feels so proud!
After returning from the playground it’s off to the washroom to wash their hands for lunch. Eating lunch is the perfect opportunity to reinforce the importance of grace, courtesy and good manners in the Montessori classroom……it is such a special time of day!
Usually by this time, the students have finished eating, tidied the floor and tables, placed their lunch bags back in their cubbies and have selected a book. Each child is encouraged to sit quietly at circle, reading until everyone is ready.
It’s story time at the circle while the other teacher prepares the afternoon activities. This could be music class or creative movement in the auditorium. We may have a fitness class such as yoga or begin an art project. It might be French class or we are off to the kitchen for cooking and snack! We often have guests that teach us about what they do in the community or we may go on a scavenger hunt in the backyard!
It’s almost the end of the day so it’s time to clean our classroom. We all have different jobs that we are proud to do and once we are finished we once again sit in circle with a book until everyone has settled. The teacher helps us to reflect on our day and reviews some of our new ideas. We then collect anything we need to take home and get ready putting on our coats and shoes. We put our slippers away neatly in our cubbies and line up to wait for our name to be called. See you tomorrow!