A Junior Class Parent

As a primary school teacher I was very curious to see how Montessori worked in the senior classes. I visited the 6-9 class and was greeted by an atmosphere of calm concentration. The children were unfazed by my presence and were absorbed in their tasks. The materials I saw for maths were brilliant, I was amazed to see them doing long division. Children need time to work with concrete materials to internalise concepts and the move to abstract thinking often happens too quickly. It was so great to see the children working ‘hands on’ with concrete materials.

I found it difficult to imagine how the children could work on different activities at the same time, surely it would be chaos? When I visited the 9-12 class there were children busily working, individually, in pairs and in groups. Of course the small class size makes this possible but I could see it worked because the children weren’t waiting for the next instruction. They were completing their work, checking it and moving on to another task. They have responsibility for their own learning, a subtle but profound difference.

It’s such a simple thing to note, but it was so refreshing to see the children having the freedom to move around the classroom. We know that children learn best when they work collaboratively and use concrete materials – It was wonderful to see it in action, it’s a model of teaching to aspire to.