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Workbox vs. Montessori


mirth
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Does anyone feel that the Workbox system (ala Sue Patrick) is diametrically opposed to the Montessori approach? My kids went to Montessori pre-school and the WB system is phasing in poorly around here. Anyone have a home success (or failure) story to share about WBs from Montessori?

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I have no story to tell, but yes, the workbox system would be opposite to the Montessori method. With workbox you are telling the child what to do and when to do it, whereas Montessori is "follow the child" - the child self-directs their learning and the teacher adapts the learning environment to the interests and abilites of the child. From observation, I have seen that Montessori uses a ton of manipulatives and is experiential based. You could put Montesori style materieals and activities in their workboxes, but I am not familiar enough with the nuts and bolts of the method to know if the teacher makes certain materials/activities available at certain times or if the materials/activites are always available. There are a lot of suppliers out there that provide Montessori style learning tools - give it a google and you'll see a lot of things available.

 

Here are a couple of links that I quickly found on Montessori at home, so you can get an idea of what that would look like, if you want to pursue it:

http://www.montessori.edu/homeschooling.html

http://montessori_teacher.tripod.com/montessorihomeschool.html

 

This one is on Montessori in general:

http://www.montessori.org/

 

If you choose not to implement the Montessori method at home, you might try offering a combination of Montessori based activities and whatever materials you choose to move toward and then slowly (over the course of this first year at home, even), decrease the amount of Montessori activities and replace them with materials of your choosing. BTW, should you see a Montessori style manipulative that you would like for your home, brainstorm on how you could easily make one for yourself out of what you have around the house. I have also occasionally seen some Montessori style items available through the Oriental Trading Company.

 

Oh, don't forget to include your young children in the care of your home and making of meals - these are great opportunities for learning for kids your age. Get some child size brooms (or a swiffer, take out one length of the handle), some dust cloths that can be "their own" and let them help you out. In Montessori, they are used to caring for their classroom, so you can turn that to your advantage!

Edited by TechWife
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my kids never attended montessori but i've read several good books about methods and i feel that they go hand in hand! in my home we have lots of interesting things out all the time but there's no way to have a tray with tiny beads and cups and tweezers sitting on a shelf. but if i put it in my k's workbox and he spends some time on it, as long as he likes, and puts it away. the 'kit' aspect is what i'm thinking of, i use felt rectangles as a tray and he works the activity there and then puts it back in the box. if you're trying to have a free flowing school day, it won't work, but as a way to experience sensory activities, self-contained activities, i find it very simple to execute.

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If you have the space, you could put out the activities in the workboxes in a more Montessori way, and allow the children to decide which box they will work on and for how long they will work. They can then put it back when they are finished. It's probably not the activities per say but rather the scripted schedule that's causing a rough transition. Montessori does follow the child, but through a very carefully prepared environment, with no option to choose anything outside that environment. It's all in the preparation, so to speak.

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