Creating a positive class culture is really important for all learners to feel safe. However how can we do this in the Montessori classroom?
Games are great way to creating a positive classroom. Check out this website for some great games. Sardines is a favourite classroom game of mine!
Songs and music
Singing together as a class is a great fun and can also be a great connecting activity. Sometimes children just burst into song and others or you join in which is a great way to connect with each other! Another great success I had was with folk dancing, as the routines were simple to learn the students enjoyed the music and folk dances were a great way to mix students of different social groups together, Sometimes I said things like 'get into a group with someone who is aged 6, someone who is aged 7, someone who is aged 8, and someone who is aged 9' or 'get into a group with someone who has an older brother'
Having routines for all sorts of things that happen regularly means that everyone knows what the expectations are and how to do them. The consistency also helps in students feel safe as things are predictable. In Montessori we have lots of routines like how to unroll a mat or how to ask for help. Routines are also great for things like how to line up, lunch preparation, pack up times, snack times. Lots of these can be taught as grace and courtesy lessons I even know of one teacher who writes the routines in a class book which new children and the class can refer to.
Pre emptive seating arrangements
Having seating arrangements that encourage a quiet peaceful classroom are really helpful. For example my classroom was not big enough for a 'circle' so instead the students sat in rows. I had the youngest children sit at the front so that they could see me and so they were less likely to be distracted as they were the younger students and more likely to be not normalised. Having tables and mats set up in a way so that large unruly groups are not the norm is also helpful as it means you spend less time on behaviour management! This can be achieved by ensuring that tables only seat 2-3 children and ensuring seating areas are not all in one space without shelves or other furniture breaking up the space.
My class LOVED guided meditation and would often request them. After lunch we would often come in and do 10-15 minutes of them. You can find scripts online simply enter 'guided meditation children' into your search bar
Speaking Love Languages
We all have different ways of giving and receiving love. Including children. As part of your own spiritual preparation you are aware of what ways you like to be acknowledged and to acknowledge others. Our children in our care may not be able to articulate what their love languages are so it is helpful for us to know them as it means we can tailor our interactions to meet their needs as individuals. Check out the Five Love languages page here which goes into lots of depth about love languages!
Being prepared as a Teacher
Being on the top of your game is so important as a teacher and even more so in a Montessori classroom where there are so many moving parts. As teachers we not only need to know the lessons in our manuals we also need to be prepared for children's current emotional and social needs. Knowing about the features of the plane of development you are teaching in is vital as is listening to the things that are said and unsaid in your classroom.