Mid-way into the school year happens to be the most wonderful time of the year.
Not only because it coincides with a wealth of festivities of cultural celebrations much of December and January, but it also traditionally marks the time of year when the Kindergarten students in our primary environment cement as a cohesive unit.
In transition from one developmental plane to the next, the group dynamics and needs flux on a daily basis. Socially, the older children clump together- often times seemingly working on top of each other, even. They move as a pack and towards the end of the year can resemble a herd of young buffalo eager to venture out into the open plains.
Before venturing out, however, the group fine tunes the skills necessary to manage themselves successfully. For example, take a peek outside my office door as they gather for an impromptu card making activity. With only one glue stick, a handful of crayons, and a finite supply of paper , seven of the Kindergarteners assess the situation and fall into place.
Many have been surprised to find a group of this size and age in such close proximity able to negotiate, resource, and manage an activity without adult direction. You’ll notice on two occasions, a teacher come into proximity to check in and, upon seeing that she was not needed, move on allowing the group to continue initiating its activity.
Each child stays on task concentrating on the product at hand while also engaging with his peers to share a story, ask for help, or contribute ideas. Verbally and non-verbaly,l boundaries are respected allowing for free movement and a fluidity in the activity. All along, one has the feeling that each participates intrinsically, engaged in body, mind, and in joy.
For the Montessori Guide- being able to witness the coming of the social cohesion (our “product” from years of “process”) provides the impetus for our work.
My vision of the future is no longer of people taking exams and proceeding from secondary school to University but of passing from one stage of independence to a higher, by means of their own activity and effort of will. -Dr. Maria Montessori