A Child-First Approach to Classroom Design
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A Child-First Approach to Classroom Design

>>Dana: The use of space is a
staple of Montessori philosophy. If you would walk in to a Montessori
school in London or in Bangkok or any city around the world,
it’s going to look very similar.>>Bella: Welcome to our classroom. We have our materials set up nice and
neat and I wanted to give you a tour.>>Dana: Part of our philosophy is
that we design the environment to draw out the child’s natural curiosity.>>Bella: My favorite
part is doing culture. The population is the
most incredible thing. There’s like 1.2 billion
people in India.>>Dollie: When we were designing
this building, we knew that we would like for this to be a Montessori school. We needed large classrooms. And, of course, the big
windows let the light in. Every classroom has access
to the outdoors.>>Student: Seven, eight, nine, ten.>>Phyllis: When the kids arrive
at school they come directly into our classroom, then
they go straight to work.>>Teacher: There you go. That’s the one you need.>>Nathan: I get my day started
off by unpacking my book sack, and when I’m done I get all
my materials and my lesson.>>Phyllis: They choose their
work that they want to begin on and they unroll their rug and they
begin doing different lessons. And when they finish one lesson
they go and choose another lesson.>>Bella: I have done a few lessons.>>Amanda: They are allowed to get
their rug and position it wherever in the classroom that
they want to put it. Students may choose to work together or
they may choose to work individually.>>Phyllis Hyatt: The structure is
very different from traditional.>>Student: Twenty-one, twenty-two..>>Phyllis: The kids work for three and
a half hours, usually uninterrupted. If you have twenty students, you have twenty different
lessons going on at one time.>>Phyllis: We’re going to stack it
so that we can read our numeral.>>Amanda: Research has shown
that it’s very important for kids to be able to move. Children at this age don’t
have a large attention span. So, they don’t learn as
much if they’re sitting in a forty-minute lecture
listening to the teacher talk. In a Montessori room, they’re able
to move as much as they need to move in order to activate their brain.>>Dollie: The Montessori classroom–
you can’t change it up a lot. All of the lessons have to be in very
particular spots, in a particular order.>>Nathan: This is where we
learn all about our state and this helps us learn about time.>>Dan: As the shelves progress, the
lessons get more and more challenging. So, the child is really able to see the
other materials that they’ll be able to learn as well as how
far they’ve come.>>Bella: Case is the snack helper. Mady is the substitute and she
is also the zoologist, and my job is the teacher’s assistant.>>Phyllis: Our “Practical Life” is a
big part of Montessori and that’s where the kids wash the dishes; if the room needs dusting,
they have dusting cloths. We also have animals
that they take care of.>>Amanda: We have gardens outside of
our classroom that they take care of.>>Group: What do you say–>>Amanda: Taking care of yourself
and the environment around you, it’s part of growing the whole child.>>Amanda: In Montessori, it’s
important for children to understand that there’s a very big world out there
and we’re just a small piece of it.

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