A parent asks, “Why can’t the children do Montessori work during before and after school care?”
Great question! Our school, the Montessori School of Pullman, runs Montessori classes from 8:30 until 3:30, but our school is open from 7:30 until 5:30. From 7:30 – 8:30 we run ‘before school care’ and from 3:30 until 5:30 we run ‘after school care.’ During these times, our shelves of Montessori materials are closed to the children. Why is this? Why can’t the children work with golden beads, moveable alphabet, maps, etc., during these times?
Part of the answer is financial and logistical. In our area, remote from Montessori training colleges, we work hard to find Montessori trained teachers. To keep our Montessori shelves open from 7:30 – 5:30, we would need more Montessori teachers than are currently available in our area. And these programs would cost more, if we were paying for Montessori certified teachers, rather than enthusiastic students from our local university.
Our children also work hard with the Montessori materials during school time. Before and after school time, we follow the Montessori philosophy and ground rules, just as you might do at home. We are kind to our friends, we clean up after ourselves, we walk inside, we use inside voices, we take care of our materials . . .and we treat each other with respect. Montessori is more than the materials, and so during the before and after school care, we still ‘do’ Montessori. We also engage with high quality materials that encourage social play and creativity and allow for freedom of choice and independence – lego blocks, board games, art materials, dramatic play materials, building materials. The children really enjoy these activities.