This week I did my first official Montessori presentation with WJ. I decided to start with 3 trays for him to choose from so I did 3 presentations, one for each lesson.
The Montessori Presentation
A Montessori presentation is the way a Montessori educator introduces a lesson to a child. The presentation should demonstrate the steps for the child. Then you let the child complete the work on his own with little interruption from the teacher. Lessons are designed in a way that allows a child to self-correct.
The materials for the lessons are typically placed on a tray or in a basket. For our first lessons, I decided to use trays. I found these trays at our local Lakeshore Learning.
Since we’re working at home and WJ has a 17-month old little brother running around, I decided that our kitchen table would be the best location for the trays. I had them all prepared for WJ when he arrived home from his preschool.
I told him that we would have a snack and then we would take a look at our work. He was eager to explore the trays but snack took priority, of course. My younger son was ready for his nap when we got home so I took him up while WJ snacked. Having JA nap made it a little easier for me to present the lessons to WJ! I do plan on creating toddler friendly presentations for JA in the near future so they can do their work at the same time. But I haven’t quite figured out the logistics of this yet.
For the presentations of each lesson, I wasn’t really sure if I should be presenting a lesson and then letting WJ work on it or if I should present all three lessons and then let WJ choose what to do. I went with the latter and this worked out just fine.
The Montessori Lessons
Our three lessons consisted of a water pouring lesson (pitcher to pitcher), a hole punching exercise and a tweezers transfer exercise with pom poms.
Like most kids, WJ loves water so that was the first activity he went for. You are supposed to start with dry pouring activities before moving on to water pouring activities but I’ve had WJ complete many dry pouring activities in the past so we went straight to water pouring.
He did great with water pouring and spilled very little. I was impressed that he immediately used the small washcloth to clean up the small drops of water that fell on the tray. This was a fairly easy lesson for him since I have him pour water out of pitchers all the time. But getting him to clean up after himself was a welcome first for us!
He had a little more difficulty with the hole punching and gave up after just a few punches. But he did learn how to empty out the hole puncher into the little container that I had placed on the tray for the paper punch outs.
The tweezers activity was the least successful. WJ had absolutely no interest in completing this lesson. I’m pretty sure that he just found it too boring since we’ve done other tweezers activities that were more challenging and included more exciting materials (aka “M&Ms”).
The Montessori Clean-Up
Children are supposed to clean-up their materials after completing a Montessori activity. This is going to be our biggest challenge. I have to admit that I have not been very good about having WJ clean up his messes. But when he was done with his materials and didn’t automatically put them away, I encouraged him to clean-up his trays and to return the materials to their proper locations as I had demonstrated during the presentations.
WJ responded with “mom, you can clean it up, ok?” I wasn’t really sure what to do at this point, but I had learned that one trick is to let the child know that they are responsible for cleaning it up and leaving out the lesson for them to clean-up when they’re ready. So I said, “well, you can clean it up when you’re ready, ok?” He told me he’d do it later.
I did leave the tray out for a while but when JA got up from his nap, he located the trays and started “cleaning up” for his brother so I ended up putting everything away!