A Montessori preschool stands apart from others. Child-sized furniture can be found in traditional preschools, but not the child-centric arrangement of everything from the rugs on the floor to the pictures on the walls. Similarly, Montessori activities, known as work stations, are in a class by themselves. Designed to stimulate the muscles, challenge the mind, and encourage self-exploration, the world of Montessori activities is worth discovering.
Activities in the Prepared Environment
Your son’s preschool classroom is an example of the sequential style of Montessori educational tools. Every workstation has its place and children move freely between tasks. Children are taught to clean up behind themselves as they go and given large blocks of time to work on their personally chosen activities. Even the classroom is part of the lessons being learned.
There are many activity toys designed specifically for the Montessori preschool. They are typically made of wood and are designed to teach children in multiple ways. Instead of rote memorization, these activities are meant to be explored and manipulated, guiding each child to the correct solutions.
Examples of traditional Montessori activities include:
- The Pink Tower
- Knobless Cylinders
- Binomial Cubes
Practical Life, Practical Activities
A tour of your son’s Montessori preschool will reveal many household items as well. Practical life experience— learning by performing routine tasks– is another amazing aspect of Montessori. Children learn to pour liquids, cut fruits and vegetables, prepare place settings, and use child-sized tools. In addition to learning specific functions, these practical activities help build self-esteem, tune fine motor functions, and teach critical thinking skills. Honing practical skills also involves interacting with others as he discovers concepts like teamwork and sharing.
Inspired By Montessori
There are also hundreds of activities that are not authentic Montessori but were designed with the principles of Montessori in mind. These activities are typically sensorial tools such as wooden blocks, simple geometric puzzles, themed rugs, and more.
Montessori preschool activities are actionable. Each activity produces a result that helps children learn one or more valuable concepts. Children enjoy them because they are toy-like, but the underlying principles are based on real scientific observation.