Look what crawled up on my desk, right on top of my current read Ladder of Years by Ann Tyler. It's an egg carton/pipe cleaner spider that Kenz made at Montessori. The other night Brody and I attended the school's open house along with Kenz's parents. Brody immediately became a Montessori kind of kid and got his hands and mind wrapped around as many materials as he possibly could. Kenz showed us The Money Box, where the children complete units on coin and paper money value. She then showed us the Pin Maps, which are very cool. She found the Europe map and showed me Italy. The room was full of parents and children, most of whom were on the floor absorbed in learning games and puzzels. Montessori kids don't have desks. They set up boundaries when they put their materials on low- to-the-floor tables or on their personal rugs. I went to pick up a Pin Map off a table and Kenz stopped me, Nana we don't touch anyone else's things that they are working on. I like this. It gives the children freedom to feel that they can wander and then return to what they were doing without having things missing or disrupted. They are also taught from the get-go to put away what they are not using and to finish one project at a time. On the way home Kenz told me "Nana you have to spend a day visiting to learn more about our school." Sounds like fun to me!
By the way I recommend Ann Tyler's novel Ladder of Years. (Thanks sister Jean) The cover says that it's A New York Times Notable Book. It was written way back in 1995. The main charactor Delia has a whole world inside her head, like most of us. Tyler is very good at spilling details on the page.