Saturday, July 13, 2013

More Mobile Montessori

There is a lot of interest in my Mobile Montessori post and here are some quick answers to your questions:

--It helps if you can remove any bling bling (toys that are off limits, etc) from the area.
--I arrange works on the floor (some on mats already) in the shape of an ellipse. I intersperse blank mats, too.
 --A couple of times I actually brought light, child-sized chairs to also intersperse but half of the time the children really just ignore the chairs and sit on their moms' laps (so I stopped bringing the chairs). They take their shoes off before sitting down with the group.

--I start with the same 3 introductory songs as I always have at my house. One child was able to come to my house twice, so she kind of "got" what I was doing and she knew how to do a few of the works. I also end with the bye-bye song.
--I purposely brought several materials that are more "toy-y" that "work-y," just as schools often do for the first several weeks while they transition children slowly. That way I have time to show each child new works. By that I mean educational toys that invite manipulation, not loud electronic button toys (Melissa and Doug things or toys sold in Montessori catalogs are great).
--In a few cases I incorporated a group lesson on a work into the end of the introductory period, so everyone knew how to use it.

I didn't bring enough mats, but we still survived.....

--I haven't really done the math on how many works per child. I just take a couple of boxes worth for an hour. This time may be extended as this experiment unfolds.
--So far have done it with 3-5 children, plus the moms and any baby sibs. There are many subtle ways to instill some formality to the group, and that is important.
--A couple of times my 12-year-old daughter has helped teach the Montessori works one-on-one with any children that have bonded with her.

My daughter "Chop" helps during the Summer.

--I maintain the same strict rules about NO GERMS and if I think a younger baby sib with sniffles has been mouthing the materials I carefully wash the materials after the session and before bringing them again.
 --One last point: it's important to set up without the children touching the materials and talking with you as you do it. It may take 5-10 minutes of hard work, but then you can invite the moms and children to "school" and begin.  This is where, beforehand, you can make it clear to the parents that they are only invited to come in when they hear a chime or when you open the door.  It's helpful if one of the moms understands the need for formality and kind of protects your space while you are constructing it.

I hope this helps.  Keep the questions coming!