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Would you see this in a montessori classroom?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Would you see a play area in a Montessori classroom for 3 year olds.
Play area with trucks, cars, blocks, play kitchen, dolls, ect.
Stuff that would encourage imaginary play?
post #2 of 13
My youngest attends an AMS-affiliated Montessori school, and our toddler classroom (2 - 3-year-olds) has items that encourage imaginary play. There are clothes for dressing up, blocks, trains with tracks that can be assembled, and a kitchen play area. There are also puzzles and art supplies (play dough, paint, chalk/eraser, scissors, paper, etc). But also more traditional Montessori works (e.g., knobbed cylinders, beads to string, table scrubbing, plants to water, and materials to improve fine motor skills such as twisting, pouring, etc.) There is a snack area where kids can get themselves a plate, serve themselves a snack, pour themselves a drink, and sit while they eat. When they are finished, there are dishpans out where they can practice scrubbing, rinsing and drying their dishes.

I think this is one of the major differences you will find between an AMI vs. AMS program. AMI schools tends to not have any imaginary play materials in their toddler rooms, whereas AMS is more open to including pretend play.
post #3 of 13
Probably not. There are specific Montessori-designed and inspired toys and games and activities. Typically, the Montessori method calls for a 3 hour dedicated work period where the children have freedom to explore the various work options. Any less than that, and the children can't really immerse themselves in exploring the activities. Since preschool, where I am at least, is usually about 3 hours a day, that doesn't leave much time in the classrooms for other play, particularly if there's circle time, recess, or other activities (my dd's has Spanish, dance, music, art, gym).

However, I think that some preschools have extended day options, where there is more free play time and more traditional preschool activities are offered. They shouldn't be offered during the 3 hour work period in a traditional Montessori classroom, though. Kids have the rest of the day to play with that stuff.
post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by WiscMama View Post
My youngest attends an AMS-affiliated Montessori school, and our toddler classroom (2 - 3-year-olds) has items that encourage imaginary play. There are clothes for dressing up, blocks, trains with tracks that can be assembled, and a kitchen play area. There are also puzzles and art supplies (play dough, paint, chalk/eraser, scissors, paper, etc). But also more traditional Montessori works (e.g., knobbed cylinders, beads to string, table scrubbing, plants to water, and materials to improve fine motor skills such as twisting, pouring, etc.) There is a snack area where kids can get themselves a plate, serve themselves a snack, pour themselves a drink, and sit while they eat. When they are finished, there are dishpans out where they can practice scrubbing, rinsing and drying their dishes.

I think this is one of the major differences you will find between an AMI vs. AMS program. AMI schools tends to not have any imaginary play materials in their toddler rooms, whereas AMS is more open to including pretend play.
My daughter's toddler classroom has that, too. The Children's House program, which is ages 3, 4, and kindergarten, doesn't. But I don't know which one we're certified under.
post #5 of 13
My DD's pre-school last year had an extended day room that children went to up to 2 hours a day after the regular 2.5 hour work cycle that had items like that. The regular classroom had a basket in a corner for children that just were not getting into standard Montessori items. I rarely saw children using those items. They did have a few non-Montessori items like building blocks and such that still fall into the philosophy of Montessori IMO.
post #6 of 13
At DS's school, they don't have this in the classrooms, but they do have a small kitchen area in the afterschool room. I rarely see the children over there though. They do often play with trains, cars, and blocks though (in afterschool).
post #7 of 13
My DS had those things in the toddler program (2-3 year olds) but not in the primary room (3-6).
post #8 of 13
My son's school is an AMS school and does NOT have that type of stuff in the Children's House.
post #9 of 13
Not really.

At DS's school, they had a few more conventional toys (like wooden train sets) for the first few weeks of the stepping stones class (a cross between toddler program and primary.) They phased them out gradually.

I have seen baby dolls in many classrooms (I visited several trying to find one that met DS's needs) but they were specifically for giving baths to in the practical life area. In less expensive Montessori schools I have seen things like Mellisa & Doug toys interspersed with official Montessori works, but they tend to be in keeping with the Montessori philosophy.

DS's school has more conventional toys in a separate room they use for morning and after care. They also bring out legos for the full day students to use at lunch time while waiting for the afternoon students to arrive.

Ideally, a Montessori classroom has a child size fully functional kitchen. This isn't a play kitchen, but a real kitchen with running water where the student prepare their snacks. Last year, before DS's school moved to a new building, they didn't have real kitchens, so they set up a water basin and water source in each room and a counter area, etc. It was certainly not a play kitchen though. Unlike a toy,it didn't look much like anyones home kitchen, but it was functional.

One school I visited shared space with a a church's sunday school, so they had some of the sunday school's stuff still in the room.
post #10 of 13
Montessori schools vary widely, so it depends on how authentic the approach to Montessori is. In a school that follows the philosophy more closely, you probably wouldn't find those things. Like a previous poster said, ideally, you would find a real child sized kitchen. An integral part of the philosophy is giving children "real", but child sized, things when possible - letting them work in real kitchens, using real mops and brooms, etc. I even know of a classroom where one of the teachers had a baby, whom she brought to class, and the children in the class took turns holding her, feeding her, holding her hand and walking with her - real practice with a real baby. Some schools will include more toys, though, at the beginning of the year as part of a transitional period because they are more common to most kids.

Initially, Montessori included more toy type things, but found the children were less interested in them and more interested in doing "real" work - much of what practical life is, really. So, she phased them out.
post #11 of 13
My daughter's primary class is studying dinosaurs this month. They have a big basket of different dinosaurs, and there's plenty of imaginary play going on there. They also have large lego-style blocks the kids play with in the late afternoon. I think there's a mix, and it still is in keeping with the overall structure.
post #12 of 13
My kids have attended 2 different Montessori schools (we moved countries), the first was AMI and the current one is AMS. Neither have any of that, they only have Montessori materials.
post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by lach View Post
However, I think that some preschools have extended day options, where there is more free play time and more traditional preschool activities are offered. They shouldn't be offered during the 3 hour work period in a traditional Montessori classroom, though. Kids have the rest of the day to play with that stuff.
This is how it is at my daughter's AMI Montessori school. They do "daycare jobs" in the afternoons for those kids that stay for the full day. The toys are actually kept in a separate room too.
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