Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Our primary class [as in 6-9yrs] schedule

I recently received a comment about my primary class schedule. Its been trial and error for last few months to see what works for the children, this is our first primary year and so everything is new for us.
At the moment my class only has 6 children plus a few younger children who pop in every once in a while. The children are aged 5.5+ to 8 yrs. The children move into the primary class when they reach a certain level in the materials.
Our schedule is as follows.
9.15- 9.30 the children arrive. Each child will have to empty their lunch bags, take of their coats and put on their indoor shoes on before coming to my class as all these have to be done in the nursery class area.
As the children walk in my class, they go straight to work choosing an activity they want to work with. Many will want to read a book or do a creative or practical life activity. I like to start the day with a circle however the children walk in my class at different times, so it's just easier for everyone to go to work and if I can I would give a presentation or two as the children walk in.
Sometime from when the children walk in and before 10.15 I would sit with each child and write up their Daily Plan. Giving them a chance to choose what they want on it, but i also word my speech in away that the children get excited and choose some work that i want them to do. I aim that they each do at least 1 activity from the literacy and mathematics areas each day.
The children are then free to choose their own work as long as they also do some work from on their Daily Plan. I have a few rules, like the children should have completed three things from their daily plan before going for snack or going to the garden. The reason I did this is because some of the children will spend a good hour having snack or two hours in the garden, when the children do that they don't manage to do enough work for us to prove that we are covering the British national curriculum. Although I don't like giving restrictions to the children this rules is benefiting them and they don't seem to mind it.
The garden is attached to the nursery class and they have free access to that.
The work cycle continues to 12.30. During the work cycle I might spontaneously do a circle or read a story or call a group. At 12.30 the children gradually start to have their lunch, our lunch time is a very gradual thing, one child will notice the time and start to get ready for lunch, then another might join. We don't actually end the work cycle! Sometimes they decide to go to the garden at lunch as the nursery children will be indoors and the primary children have the garden to themselves to do big children things!
As each child finished their lunch, they tidy up and get back to work, completing their daily plan if they haven't yet. I usually have science or cultural group activities set up for the afternoon session.
We don't have a set time for literacy or maths and each and every child is working on something else and at a different level. I love that Montessori allows each child to learn at their own pace in their own time without any pressure and without comparisons.
The way i have set up my class is working well and the children are certainly achieving. The children who weren't reading in September are now happy confident readers [except for one boy who might have a problem but we're still giving him time]. Some of the parents have commented about the leap their child has taken in their learning. Many have said 'My child is always trying to read everything', 'my child's always doing addition', 'my child wont stop writing', 'my child showed me where Austria is on the map'. Its nice to know when others can see the benefits of Montessori, not just the academic but all the other benefits to.
I will post more about covering the British National curriculum in another post when I have more time as that's a long topic!!
Picture: My autonomous learners teaching themselves about TEETH.


Annicles said...

I love the way you have done this. Our 7yo's are not ready for this level of independence (having come to us from another school)and it is a little frustrating but the independence is coming!! We write in their journals daily, but usually decide the night before depending on how well they worked on what we gave them that day. We have a very definite idea of what they should be doing literacy and maths wise and it is often different and specific for each child and not necessarily pure Montessori as they need so much repetition and the materials have already been introduced to them, but too early or they've been moved on too quickly but to reintroduce it would be to squash their growing confidence and independence. Then we also have a topic going - this week is my senses, they have a personal project going depending on individual preference and they also get prompts - choose from the topic shelf, PL, literacy, cultural. The hope is that they become more automonous and self directed and we make the environment lead more. But that isn't going to happen for a while.

Love your blog

Xia said...

thanks for sharing this information with us. It is very interesting to me how elementary montessori classrooms are set up, even though I homeschool my children.

Gigi said...

This is a great schedule. I love how you ease into lunch and it is great that the children have access to the garden any time. This is very natural and this is what I love about some Montessori Schools.