It’s Summer time again, time to bring out our creative caps and engage the children especially if you are running a Montessori summer school.
I have been working on the curriculum for our 2018 Summer School for Addlo Montessori School House, giving that I have had intense family obligations, I am only half way through this process. But complete it I must, as it takes an intentional planning regime to actually achieve the objectives of our Summer School.
For me engaging the children is paramount. It is not a time to just revise what the children learned last term or to prepare them for the next terms work. Academic excellence comes with a love for learning. In the Montessori setting we know that a child who explores his interests, has fun with various activities and is actively engaged in the learning process will gain much more than academics and that is the objective. To get this, there are several things I think we need to do in our Montessori settings.
Here are my top 5 Tips :-
- Think about the total child this summer. Yes the total child not just Mathematics and English Language. Children are human beings, education is life. We are preparing them for life. It is important therefore to ensure that children are given a well rounded content, that takes into consideration 21st Century Skills. These are actually well documented Montessori skills that we now admit children need. They include, independence, critical thinking, the ability to problem solve, and specifically for our national need in Nigeria, I would add ethical values. There are many more besides. But even if you start with these you will be doing great. So how can you help children to gain some of these skills in 4 weeks of Summer School. My solution is to infuse the curriculum with subjects such as
Character Building and Leadership Skills
- Make sure the children are engaged. Engagement is so important as I said previously about learning and excelling. If the children are bored, then the whole summer school is a waste of time and money. If you are running a Montessori Summer school, a real one, then the children should really be doing lots of activities. Use the materials available to help them learn. Please observe the child, find out their interests are, and use these to engage them. Do not flood the environment with lots of materials, less is better. You will find the children being more creative with what is available. You need to introduce extensions and variations to what they know, be creative yourself as the teacher, research and find out how and what you could do to engage the children in your setting. They will learn and grow in 4 weeks through this process.
- Make it Fun. Please remember that these children are on holidays. Let them have fun. Swim, play ball, run around and remember that time just to play should be part of the routine. Please do not make it an academic venture. Who said they cannot learn through play? Make sure there are board games available for those who want to play. Chess is my favourite. Children learn this so easily, they get it, and the wonders it does for their thinking skills are enormous.
- Technology is something we talk about all the time. My son who is fourteen actually gave me 2 weeks of content on this topic. I am so glad I mentioned what I was working on as I sat by his bedside last week. He asked me what I was doing and once he found out I was planning the summer school content for this year, he simply asked ‘Are you going to include technology?’ I said ‘Well I am thinking about a Science Club’ He replied ‘Maybe you should add technology in your science club. It is important that children know how to operate the phones, televisions and laptops properly. They also need to know about safety issues with these different items as well as the internet!’ I was impressed and grateful to him, and I told him so. I recognised that this was gold from the mouth of my 14 year old, the children want to know this and find the information very useful and important. So why not? You never know where this would lead us to.
- Integrate the learning process by getting them to do projects, hold discussions, write stories and essays across the board, that is in all subject areas the children are doing. This will ensure that you are developing language skills and mathematical skills regardless of what subject areas you are dealing with.
If you do these 5 things you would have moved the children in your care this summer forward through you summer school program. Let’s put our Montessori skills to great use during this summer school
For some ideas to help you implement a fantastic Montessori filled Summer School Download this Free Summer School eBook Here.