Planning for the School Year in the Montessori Environment

Planning the School Year in the Montessori Environment. Teacher working with student.
So there are two plans: one is to disseminate knowledge, to follow a syllabus. The other is to look to the life of man and serve it, and in serving it, help humanity.
—Maria Montessori
The 1946 London Lectures, p. 31.

For Montessori teachers, the summer break is not only a time to relax but also a time to reflect on and plan for the upcoming school year. Planning in the Montessori environment is very different than in the conventional school environment.

In the traditional setting, the teacher gives knowledge and students passively sit and absorb it, regardless of love, passion, or interest in the subject. Traditional teachers must have daily plans that drive the direction of their teaching.

In the Montessori environment, the teacher guides students to create their own knowledge through self-discovery. Making prescribed daily plans doesn’t work for the Montessori environment because the teacher follows the interests and progress of each individual child. The teacher’s planning is dependent on the observations they make on a daily basis.

Planning the School Year in the Montessori Environment. Teachers planning together.
Moving away from daily plans and focusing on individualized learning can be difficult for a teacher. However, Dr. Montessori told us that “The teacher, when she begins work in our schools, must have a kind of faith that the child will reveal himself through work. She must free herself from all pre conceived ideas concerning the levels at which the children may be.” (The Absorbent Mind, p. 252.)

Dr. Montessori also said, "The concept of an education centered upon the care of the living being alters all previous ideas. Resting no longer on a curriculum, or a timetable, education must conform to the facts of human life." (The Absorbent Mind, p. 12.) In other words, each child develops according to their own timeline. It is the Montessori teacher’s job to follow the child not to make the child follow us.

When planning for the upcoming school year, NAMC's Montessori Lower Elementary Curriculum,Upper Elementary Curriculum and Mastery Checklists in our Curriculum Support Material are helpful planning resources for your Montessori environment.

The following NAMC blog articles also provide helpful guidance on how to plan for the year in the Montessori environment.
Personalized Instructional Goals Based on Scientific Observation and the Individual Readiness of the Child
The Order of Presentations in the Montessori Environment
Approaches to Presenting the Montessori Culture and Science Curriculum
NAMC Mastery Checklists for the Montessori Elementary Classroom

Michelle Zanavich — NAMC Tutor & Graduate


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