need more education about lower el - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-21-2010, 01:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I accept that the place we are is not "true" Montessori, so it's not really that I'm trying to refute what they say anymore, I just want to know more for my own sake, since I don't know much about lower el. yet.

My understanding of Montessori is that it's about absorbing the work - is this right? I know in primary it's very self-guided, driven by critical periods of learning and what interests the child, and the children could become absorbed in their works for an entire work cycle, if they desired. Granted, if they only chose one work to ever work on, a teacher may offer a new lesson or suggest something different for them.

In lower el. where we are they have work plans, and my understanding is that true Montessoris often have work plans also. I would guess this is to help students learn to build independence and manage time, and to achieve a well-rounded education. So does it continue to be about becoming absorbed in the works in lower el, or is there a shift toward learning to do the work, complete it, and move on?

I know where we are, the teacher has the district/school standards to answer to. She sent home a note about work completion and how students are going to have to start staying after school if they do not complete their weekly work plans by the due date. I just didn't know if this was a school thing or a shift in philosophy in lower el.
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Old 09-21-2010, 03:16 AM
 
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It's a school thing.
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Old 09-21-2010, 09:33 AM
 
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I have no good info for you but I'm sorry you're going through all this with your school!

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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Old 09-21-2010, 04:19 PM
 
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STAYING AFTER SCHOOL????? I think I would have taken that as a joke!!!

An incredibly thankful SAH Mommy to 3 fiendishly enchanting girls 11/04,10/05, & 12/06. 
 
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Old 09-21-2010, 07:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, as I suspected, it's a (another) school thing. So how does M typically guide students to complete a work plan and "round out" their education? Are the students typically allowed to work for extended periods and become absorbed?
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Old 09-21-2010, 08:06 PM
 
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and work on being successful. Not all children in my experience just get the working through the workplan. Teacher has to help them become independent. Some get it, some don't care or tie consequences together.

Towards the end of the week when there are a high number of works to be finished, the push was on to complete the work needing materials. Work not needing materials would come home over the weekend. This was the result of poor time management. It worked well for the most part for us because when a teacher is on top of where a student is, tedious work (too easy) is eliminated and the work was more in depth, interesting. With the one child that preferred reading books in the corner to doing her work, we had to reiterate, push the idea that each day she had 3/4 works to complete and then the time was hers to do whatever.

To more accurately answer your question, our experience has been that there are expectations on completing specific work...meeting educational requirements (so much math, language etc). Once these are done the time is given over to passions, art, and other items. Of course there is always the opportunity to become absorbed with the academic requirement things.
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Old 09-23-2010, 03:22 AM
 
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We had work plans in the lower elementary I attended. If you worked hard and focused you could finish all the work for the week by the end of the day Tuesday. With a plan of like that (10 or so works) you could happily become absorbed in something for two or three days. You could also spend a fair amount of time on "other" stuff.

I think we could also negotiate or re-negotiate the plans with the teacher if we wanted. That may have been an earned privilege though. I do know that some kids had very specific plans ("do 10 dynamic addition problems with the large bead frame") and others had less specific ones ("do a grammar work"). The less specific ones obviously allowed more freedom of choice.
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