A Typical Montessori Day

Highlights a typical Montessori day in the life of a child.  Includes Links, media, books and information.

A Typical Montessori Day

The child works where she/he is comfortable, moves around and talks at will, yet disturbs not the work of others; group work is voluntary and negotiable.  This young boy is working with the decimal system.  Units, tens, hundreds, thousands all represented in concrete form (on the right).  He then uses the abstract form the numbers (on the left) to coincide with the concrete forms.  Here he is learning the concept of place value and the maximum number in a column is 9.  


A typical day in the life of a child in a Montessori environment can mean many different things to different children, schools and even homes.  There are characteristics, however that will always be consistent.  Children will always be working individually, focused, concentrating and developing their own sense of order and organization.  Conversations are spontaneous, involved and meaningful.  Guides (traditionally known as teachers) are observing and only involved when necessary.  Older children are helping to support younger children.  Younger children are becoming confident and self-assured as they ask older children for help and are given opportunities by the prepared environment to make decisions and do things independently.  

Class schedules are grouped into 3-hour-work-cycles.  The "3-hour-work-cycle" is extremely important to uphold and respect as it supports children's growing and developing concentration, coordination, independence and order.  Children's work is respected and allowed for the entire duration of this time.  While working during "the cycle" they may choose to use the rest room as needed, prepare their own snack when they are hungry or sit in the beautifully prepared reading nook when they feel they need to take time to recharge or read their favorite book.  

Children are able to choose where they create their work space in the classroom.  Sometimes this is around others and sometimes this is off in a quieter space in the environment.  Children are working with materials and in subject areas that are of interest to them.  The guide is trained and able to recognize when a child needs redirection or when a child is ready for a new lesson or a new challenge in his/her personalized curriculum or work.  Lessons are looked upon as a very respected and important time for both the child and the guide.  Lessons are often uninterrupted and children know not to infringe on the lesson of another child in the room.  Oftentimes you will see other children silently observing lessons from a distance.  This is not discouraged as learning occurs in a myriad of forms, observation being one such form.

The above photograph is a wonderful representation of a successful working Montessori environment.  Some children are working individually, while others are working together.  Some children are chatting while others are silently focused on the materials and learning didactics.  All have defined their work spaces and others are respectful of this; and the most beautiful aspect of this environment is that every child is learning and working at a pace that is individually theirs.  


Below is a catalog of website links with more information and visualization of Montessori environments as well as videos about The Montessori Method.  They are short and have great insight into Montessori classroom environments.

Montessori for Infants: A Guided Tour of the Nido:  A beautiful, short video of the Montessori toddler environment.

A Peek Inside a Montessori Classroom: Building the Pink Tower:  A beautiful video that clearly represents the  alluring and deliberate creation of materials in the Montessori Primary or 3-6 year-old environment.  

3-Hour Work Cycle in 4 minutes:  (C) Lindsay Palmer Photography: http://www.lindsaypalmer.ca  

Trevor Eissler "Montessori Madness" 

Trevor Eissler  "How Do You Hug a Child Like This?"

Dundas Valley Montessori School is an incredible resource!  There are a number of videos found here and one I have watched over and over is called "The Three-YearCycle."  It discusses many different areas of the classroom and the rationale and philosophy behind the Montessori materials and the child during her/his early development.  Definitely worth the 5 minutes!