The Kindergarten classroom hums with activity on the first day of school. “I’m going to show William a BIG work!” exclaims one boy as he excitedly begins to pull out the golden bead math materials. A simple example of a returning student putting to good use what he learned last year by teaching it to a younger student who is new to the classroom. Another child moves from work to work with focus and purpose, almost as if she had a list in her mind of all the works she wanted to do that morning. A quiet child, still unsure of her new surroundings, hovers near a teacher looking for reassurance and support. A group of returning students gathers together in the art area, rekindling friendships that were formed last year as preschoolers. This scene is a common one in most Montessori schools, where the environment invites movement, exploration, and the joy of socializing with peers.
Montessori schools, I feel, are like a home away from home, where a child is nurtured, loved, and allowed to grow and learn at his or her own unique pace.
"The little child’s first movements were instinctive. Now, he acts consciously and voluntarily, and with this comes an awakening of his spirit…. Conscious will is a power which develops with use and activity. We must aim at cultivating the will…. Its development is a slow process that evolves through a continuous activity in relationship with the environment."