The Silence Game is one of the most beautiful practical life activities in a Montessori Early Childhood classroom. Observing squirmy preschoolers find their way to calm their minds and bodies is simply amazing. Learn the silence game for your home or classroom.
At home, my sons are in the habit of Making Silence when they get a little crazy and at bedtime as a way to relax.
My 4-year-old lead the Silence game.
It is breathtaking.
Why is Silence So Important?
Copious research shows the positive benefits of practicing silence and meditation within the context of emotional regulation, anxiety, and depression. I have found that instilling a practice of slowing down with breathing techniques, yoga, or listening to a short meditation for kids is much easier than helping adults along this path. With that said, practicing meditation as a family is even better than guiding a child.
Children seemed to be born with an innate ability to create habits and ingrain concepts. Beginning a practice of meditation early in life is key and Montessori's Silence Game is a perfect example of an activity that works with young kids.
Silence Game Resources
Before I go into the silence game lesson, here are a few reading recommendations. I HIGHLY recommend Montessori Services & Parent Child Press for incorporating peace and silence into your classroom and homes. The book I love for my own learning is Nurturing the Spirits by Aline Wolf.
The book is filled with wisdom and wonderful concrete and tangible ideas for creating a peaceful space in your Montessori environment. For my children, we adore all of Parent-Child Press' Early Readers and are particularly fond of When I Make Silence with simple and inviting illustrations and wording that draws children into the concept.
Concept isolated: How to be quiet, how to be still, how to be calm
Age: 2.5 to 6 years old
Materials: “Silence” card, chime, “Silence” mantra, possibly a flower or peace candle
Child: Normalized class/child
Teacher: Introduction to the silence game, ritual practice, modeling, time
Silence Activity Presentation:
- Invite the children to circle
- Place a frame with the “Making Silence” words in the center of the circle. Consider adding a peace candle and flower on the tray.
- Place the chime in front of you.
- Ask the children, “how silent can you be?” or “how still can you make your bodies?”
- As children join, call attention to noises that we might not be aware of
- Call attention to sounds outside the circle
- Darken the windows and lights if possible
- Recite the words on the frame. At a later point, you can invite a child to recite these words and to lead silence.
- “Now listen, a soft voice is going to call your name.” Consider using this for dismissal to lunch or the recess line or to find work.
Control of Error:
- Noise of Movement
Points of Interest:
- Background noise
- The anticipation of waiting for your name
- Self Control
- Physical Awareness
- Awareness of Body
- Classroom Community
Silence Game Variations:
- Bell with chime
- Quiet corner
- Individual Silence Game using candle and teacher
- Listening to sounds of room, of nature, of the body (listening activities are wonderful and kids love them!)
- Timer in vase
- One finger over lips
- Two fingers in the air until all children had joined
- Point to a child who will be quiet
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Do you practice the Silence Game in your home or classroom? Enjoy!