As I said in a previous post, there is this huge misconception that Montessori means that the children are free to do whatever they choose and that the class is not structured. This is not the case at all! That would be complete chaos and how would anything get accomplished that way?! It really comes down to those ground rules!
The children are free to choose the work that they do as long as they are following the ground rules and there is structure created by these ground rules.
From my training I received ground rules for the classroom, ground rules for presentations, and even ground rules for teachers. I have mine laminated and posted in my room for myself, my assistant, our children, and any visitors. I think these are wonderful guidelines in creating a peaceful and respectful Montessori classroom. Below are our class ground rules. (I will post the teacher ground rules and ground rules for presentation at a later time).
Montessori Classroom Ground Rules
1.) Walk slowly and speak softly.
2.) Use two hands to carry all materials.
3.) Use a rug for all floor activities:
a.) All materials stay on the rug
b.) Sit next to the rug
c.) Walk around rugs
d.) Roll rug and put away when finished
e.) Carry rug safely (hug to body)
4.) Carry tray with two hands, holding it close to your body.
5.) Push in chair whenever you leave your table (before picking up your materials).
6.) Clean up your own work and your own messes.
7.) You may join a child’s work only when you ask and if the child says “yes.”
8.) Wash your hands:
a.) before snack
b.) before preparing food
c.) after using the bathroom
d.) after blowing/wiping your nose
9.) When you hear the rain stick, put all materials away quietly, come to the line, and sit in silence.
10.) When the lights go out, or you hear the chime, stop everything, freeze your body and listen for the teacher’s instructions.
11.) When you need a teacher, walk over to her, touch her shoulder and wait for her to respond (one finger up means hold on and an open palm up means seek assistance elsewhere).
Ground Rules for Montessori Teachers
We all have rules wherever we go and in a Montessori classroom even the teacher is not immune to these. They do say that actions speak louder than words. If we want the children to be respectful workers then we must also be this way! 🙂
1.) Ground rules presented with each presentation.
a.) order-left to right and top to bottom
b.) state if this activity is done on
3.) either floor or table
c.) state if this activity is for:
1.) one person
2.) more than one person (state specific amount)
d.) show how to return the work in order
e.) handle the work respectfully (the child will notice)
f.) name the activity and the shelf on which it belongs (practical life,
Math, sensorial, language, etc.)
2.) Teacher models all the ground rules:
a.) uses a low voice
b.) walks slowly
c.) uses calm, slow movements
d.) gets down to child’s level to interact
e.) has a pleasant expression
3.) Teachers use positive language mirroring whenever possible