Montessori Work Cycle
Feb 4, 2011 Tutoring/Home School 1970 Views
This article describes the Montessori Work Cycle as it is deployed in a 18 month old to 4 year old playgroup.
The Montessori Work Cycle sets up parent-child teams to approach all jobs the same way, and to ensure that the child gets into the correct frame of mind to appreciate the job fully.
Step One Choosing the Job
The first step is to let the child take an appropriate job they have chosen from the shelves and bring it to their work area. This work area can be a child-sized table or a mat laid on the floor prior to choosing a job. It is important to hold the job properly and to treat it gently and with care.
Step Two Demonstrating the Job
When both parent and child are seated, the parent, called the 'parent-director' takes her 'turn' and demonstrates the job perfectly to the child. The child gets to see the processes and to see what the job looks like once it is completed. This is important so that the child can try to replicate the job as it was shown.
The child allows the parent-director to demonstrate because the child knows once it is their 'turn' the parent-director will allow the child to 'enjoy' the job fully, without interruption.
Despite the fact that we start children from 18 months old, this 'your-turn-my-turn' process proceeds without a hitch. Typically, we tell parents to start indoctrinating their children from before they get to the playgroup. The 'game' we use to get children to understand this turn taking is played during tooth brushing - the parent says 'it's my turn' and proceeds to brush their child's teeth. Once done, however, the parent-director will say 'now, it's your turn' and allow the child to use the toothbrush until the child is finished. Even with just one or two weeks of this game, the child will be ready to start our work cycle.
Step Three Exploring Job until Fully Satisfied
With our simple un-embellished instructions and expectations, new parents are typically blown away to see their little children comply with our expectations. This is not unexpected - it is simply how the Montessori system works to help the child feel comfortable in the prepared environment.
Step Four Returning Job to Shelves
Once satisfied and when finished exploring the Montessori job, the child returns it to the shelves, again holding the job with two hands. The parent-director only helps if the child is struggling to physically coordinate between moving the chair, table, job, and the walk to the shelf.