Apple Montessori Blog
Building Community: An Essential Feature of an Apple Montessori Classroom
The value of building a supportive community has been an essential feature of the Montessori child development and education philosophy since its inception. Dr. Maria Montessori, founder of the Montessori philosophy more than 100 years ago, called her early childhood classrooms ‘Children’s Houses.’ She believed the classroom is a place where children develop a sense of belonging and responsibility for themselves and others. The classroom represents a welcoming, secure environment where children are free to explore and concentrate on activities of their choice while learning to become respectful, purposeful members of their community.
The importance of community
A community is an integral part of society where a group of people come together with shared values and principles to learn, grow and thrive in an orderly manner. At Apple Montessori Schools, we believe that the classroom is the framework for helping children learn the importance of living respectfully and cooperatively with others to achieve common goals. We strive to create a peaceful, productive atmosphere that supports the well-being of each child within a group dynamic.
The fundamentals of building a community include practical life lessons such as demonstrating courtesy and respect for others. Simple gestures and activities include greeting guests who enter the classroom, being responsible for the upkeep of the environment, cleaning workspaces, and putting away class materials or belongings. Other social and communications skills include seeking and accepting help when needed, asking permission, excusing oneself, speaking in a quiet tone, and collaborating with others to resolve conflicts.
Social and emotional development is critical to the Apple Montessori approach. It is fundamental for being a vital part of any community, inside and outside of the classroom.
How our students work together as a community in the classroom:
- Maintaining the neatness and organization of a classroom and workspaces
- Preparing and serving snacks or meals for the class
- Watering plants and feeding pets in the classroom
- Being mindful of housekeeping chores, including sweeping floors and washing tables
- Helping younger students with lessons to exercise leadership abilities
- Being proud of each other and sharing excitement for the accomplishments and announcements of classmates
- Recognizing and celebrating the strengths of each student
- Contributing to group activities and projects
- Encouraging children to ask questions or seek support from other students
- Helping teachers set up and prepare for the next group of students
These activities teach the benefits of harmony, responsibility, contribution, and concern for the well-being of others. These are practical life lessons that have a positive impact on your child’s character, social development, happiness, and success for years to come.
Excerpt from Chapter 23, Cohesion in the Social Unit, page 232,
The Absorbent Mind, Maria Montessori
“It seems clear that a society goes through an embryonic phase which we can follow among little children in the course of their development. It is interesting to see how, little by little, they become aware of forming a community which behaves as such. They come to feel part of a group to which their activity contributes. And not only do they begin to take an interest in this, but they work on it profoundly, as one may say, in their hearts. Once they reached this level, the children no longer act thoughtlessly, but put the group first and try to succeed for its benefit.”
The philosophy of “putting the group first” is a gentle reminder of how important it is to teach our children to be compassionate people, focused on trying to help others in the communities where they live, work, and play.