One of the obvious benefits of sending your child to a Montessori school is the mixed age group classes. The younger ones are able to look to the older ones to see what to do and how to act and the older ones are able to become leaders and teachers of materials in the classroom. This is something that I am able to see in an academic form every day in my classroom. However it was not until recently that I started to see it with the children’s social skills.
Every day after lunch the children who nap go right to their cot laid out in my classroom and the non-nappers sit in the library and quietly read. On one particularly stressful lunch-to-nap transition I look over and notice that one of my napping students is not on her cot. I immediately in the bathroom to see if she was asked to try to use it before taking a nap and she wasn’t there. It was then that I noticed her sitting next to another student on his cot rubbing his back. I did not say a word about it because it was such an amazing thing to observe. Here I was watching my students help one another without the prompting of a teacher.
The next day I made a comment about it to the non-nappers and they all wanted to help too! They took such pride in being able to help some of their classmates calm their body down and get prepared to rest that it has been happening every day since. As a teacher seeing that not only brought joy to me but also pride that the students in my classroom are being taught to help each other simply because they know it’s the right thing to do.