The Montessori Lesson includes several key elements. I outline these elements below. As you can see, I always like to start with what is needed in order to prepare the work. Creating a foundation for bringing Montessori into your learning environment is key. In other words, preparing the environment must be done thoughtfully well before learning begins.
Key Elements of the Montessori Lesson
This element tells you the “average” age range into which the child most likely falls.
I prefer to look at prerequisites rather than “age range”. This element gives a better indication of the child's progress and readiness. Children develop at different paces and often children who enter the Early Childhood classroom later (say 5 rather than 3) need time to embrace the Montessori lesson approach. The teacher should use his observations of the child to evaluate the child.
Useful information to help prepare for the day, the month, or even the school year. The teacher also needs to be certain a complete set of materials exist for the child to complete her work.
Points of Interest
I love this part of the lesson. This element lets you know what to acknowledge during the lesson. Points of interest are the parts of the lesson that speaks to the senses. The sound of beans hitting an empty bowl or the sound of water falling out from a pitcher. Point these out to the child to hook her onto the complete lesson.
Presentation of the Work
This element of the lesson outlines step-by-step how to present the lesson to the child in a complete work cycle.
The direct aims of a lesson are often not what you might think. In most cases, at least with Practical Life exercises, direct aims include concentration, independence, order, and coordination. The direct aims can be thought of as the input.
Indirect aims can be thought of as the output. For example, if a child successfully pours water into a bowl without spilling, the indirect aim is just that. The child acquires a skill that will help her in life that day and beyond. Other indirect aims that are not noticeable just yet includes preparing a child for reading and writing. Yes, this preparation starts in Practical Life.
Control of Error
I wrote extensively about Control of Error in previous posts. This element might be my favorite. Control of error allows adults to stand back. We don't need to intervene to help the child because there is a built-in control of error in the material. For example, carrying a tray unevenly will cause the materials to spill onto or off the tray. Control of error provides direct feedback to the child so that he may lead his own learning.
Isolation of Quality
Isolation of quality is also a favorite element of mine. This concept allows a child to focus on and to develop a single skill, thereby avoiding the noise of other qualities of a material. So, a child focuses on pouring and nothing else. Know the purpose of the work and then guide the child based on that quality.
Exercises across the Early Childhood classroom provide ample opportunity to build a child's vocabulary. This element provided in each lesson gives insight into the specific words relevant to the work.
Also a favorite! The child completes work in ten minutes! Where do you go from there? This element gives you ideas on next steps with the work. Don't be too quick to put the work away. Variations abound in the Montessori classroom. Check out these lists of variations and extensions:
- 80 + Easy & Engaging Every Day Montessori Math Extensions
- Montessori Sensorial Variations & Extensions
- 10 Montessori Geography Extensions Work
How to Give a Montessori Lesson
What is the Montessori 3-period Lesson?
Montessori teachers use what is called the three-period lesson in pretty much everything they do in the classroom. In other words, it is a fundamental part of the Montessori lesson presentation for any new concept such as learning vocabulary, countries on a map, and new vocabulary. In fact, I use this approach at home with my children because it is so effective. Once learned and practiced, the three-period lesson becomes second nature.
Here is how to achieve the 3-period-lesson:
- Really easy. Point to the object. Say the name of the object. Repeat by saying, “Can you say X?” Repeat for three objects.
- Place the object you believe the child is most familiar in the middle. Once the objects have been named and reviewed a few times, one last time point to each object and name each one.
- After rearranging the objects, ask: “Can you show me the X?” or “Please show me X.” or “Please place the X in the basket.”
- In this part of the lesson, by handling and moving the objects increases the kinesthetic memory of the object thus deepens the child's recognition of the object or work.
- Place the three objects in a horizontal line in front of the child: “What is this?” Repeat with each object.
- This part of the lesson asks the child to recall – on his own – the object. Move forward only if the child is doing well. Otherwise, stop with the 3rd part of the lesson and repeat part 2 or even part 1.
Click here to learn specific Montessori lessons across the various areas of learning.