A Day in the Life of a 3-5 Classroom
Our former principal here at Bennett Park Montessori Center, Pauletta Stines, used to say about our unique approach (when asked about adherence to District mandates), “In our building, this is what that looks like,” acknowledging that there is more than one way to achieve goals in education. With that in mind, each of our sixteen 3-5 classrooms has a different schedule as it seeks to balance the Montessori philosophy with the reality of being part of a public school. What follows is simply what my classroom schedule looks like.
9:00 – 9:30 Children arrive, put things away, and either have breakfast or read quietly on line. This allows for Pre- Kindergarten and Kindergarten children to take part in guided reading using our Reading series readers and Pre-Schoolers an opportunity to enjoy books and to learn concepts of print.
9:30 – 10:00 We gather on line for morning circle time. The children are actively involved in attendance, counting, skip counting, numeration, and phonemic awareness. We also practice speaking and listening to one another as we share stories and feelings. This creates understanding and respect of others. The biggest strength of our school is the deep relationships created between the students and their teachers and with each other, making circle time almost sacred here at Bennett Park Montessori.
10:15- 10:45 – We are so lucky to have such wonderful outdoor space at our school and each day that the weather permits we go outside at this time for recess. The natural setting allows for hands on teaching about science and nature.
10:45 – In many classes snack is made available for all to eat at their convenience during the work cycle. In our classroom we have gotten in the habit of a community snack in which we all sit on line and eat together. Here children learn how to serve and eat together in a way that focuses on grace and courtesy.
Following our snack we have the heart of every Montessori program – the work cycle time. During this time children are free to work on individual work of their own choosing. Advance planning to prepare the environment for learning ensures that there is always new and relevant work to be done. Small group instruction in math and reading can also take place. The star of our reading work is the color coded movable alphabet and sound chart. We often have six children around the two movable alphabets matching initial sounds of objects or creating words for objects. The color coding of the alphabet allows children to learn letter sounds more quickly than the standard Montessori movable alphabet and is unique to the Buffalo area. Lessons are designed to move from the concrete (as in matching objects to letters) to the increasingly more abstract ( matching pictures to letters).
12:50- 1:25 Lunch
Following lunch, Pre-Kindergarteners and Kindergarteners have instruction in reading and are grouped by ability. The focus for this instruction is Journey’s for Kindergarten, and Big Day for Pre – K for the Pre-Kindergarten program.