Having your daycare center be safe and providing the basics like sanitation, food, educational activities and qualified staff are the bare minimum requirements to running a daycare center of any kind. If you’re marketing your daycare center as a Montessori daycare, parents will be expecting a lot of stimulating activities to justify the additional expense. They’ll want more activities beyond what the traditional daycare will provide. In this article, I’ll go over some activities for your Montessori daycare or preschool. Many of the materials for these activities are readily available at your local store. You may even have some around your house. I’ll be breaking down the activities by type.
The 7 best Montessori classroom activities are:
• Circle Time
• Sorting by Size and/or Color
• Cards and Counters
• Sink or Float and Other Science Activities
• Group Lessons
A staple of any daycare or preschool (Montessori or otherwise) is circle time. Typically, this is how most days start. You get the kids in a designated area, typically a carpet of some sort and have them sit in a circle. It may be a good idea to make sure that kids change spots every few days or so, so that they aren’t just sitting next to the same person.
In circle time, you can do a wide array of activities, usually starting off with some sort of physical activity. Nothing strenuous, just something to get things moving and help kids develop balance and coordination. Walking around the circle for example. As the kids get better at it, you may want to make it slightly more challenging by having the kids walk while holding an object.
Circle time is also good for having activities that promote creativity. Have the kids play with small musical instruments, usually rhythm instruments are the best (don’t forget to help the kids to identify them). Have some CD’s for sing-alongs. Storytime is a good idea. If you’re teaching older kids, you can have them read aloud. To really encourage creativity, have the kids try to make up their own stories or tell stories from their lives as long as they’re appropriate. Admittedly, you may have to go over what qualifies as appropriate a few times but developing social skills takes practice and it’s better that kids make those sorts of mistakes in daycare rather than when they’re older.
Sometimes, a good thing to do is “make silence.” Have kids stay silent for a few minutes and then talk about what they heard. A Montessori school is supposed to help kids develop their sensory skills so this can be important.
Be sure to rotate the circle time activities.
How to make a schedule for your school-age daycare children!
Sorting by Size and/or Color
Sorting is one of the most important skills taught by the Montessori method. It helps kids develop visual perception, literacy and other cognitive skills. Many companies design toys and games tailored to Montessori schools and daycares. For younger kids, these games are pretty simple. Things like sorting different-sized blocks or sorting objects by colors. Then you combine them. This helps children learn the basics. Some stores that specialize in Montessori materials sell these activities but you can make some of these projects with stuff you have around your house or from secondhand stores. This can be a more viable option since things explicitly labeled Montessori can carry a higher price.
Once that’s handled, you can start teaching other categories. Companies sell cards with pictures of everyday objects like fruits, vegetables, tools, and so on. You can either do this as part of circle time or have kids sit in groups and do their own sorting activities. Some may like to do these activities during their free time.
Cards and Counters
Cards and counters are a popular method to teach math in Montessori schools and daycares. You start with cards with numbers on them. The cards and counters set also contains small chips. You have the children place the right number of chips on the corresponding card. This helps kids learn quantities. This activity can also be expanded to teach kids about odd and even numbers as well as gets kids ready to learn about multiplication and division.
Cards and counters can also have a sorting component when you add in teaching kids about odd and even numbers. Have the kids sort out which numbers are odd or even.
Sink or Float and Other Science Activities
In this section, I’ll be listing off some class activities you can do. These activities will teach the basics of the scientific method as well as how the world works. This will spark the curiosity of young minds. For starters, there’s the “sink or float” activity.
You take a tub or a Tupperware container of water and a bunch of random objects and have the class guess if they will sink or float. Or you can have the experiment in a separate area for playtime once it’s been introduced. Kids love playing in water and will be fascinated by what the various objects do. This activity may be best for older kids who understand that they aren’t supposed to splash people with the water.
This is another activity best suited for older kids who are passed the putting things in their mouths phase. Here, you get a bunch of objects, some metal, some not, some made of metals that aren’t magnetic and have the kids say what they think might happen before running the experiment. This is is a fun way to introduce scientific concepts to kids.
One of the keys to Montessori schools is to expose kids to as many sensory stimuli as possible. One way to do this is the nature tray. Get a bunch of objects from outside (washed properly) such as rocks, pine cones, nuts, feathers, and so on. You can use these for sorting, learning new words, and learning new sensations to show kids how to identify things without looking at them.
Another major component of Montessori education is group activities. In Montessori schools, unlike cooperation is emphasized over competition.
Kids like to play pretend. You can use this to your advantage. Many Montessori curriculum books have lessons about conflict resolution. You can for example have puppets or stuffed animals act out a scene of conflict at circle time. This can be helpful if you see an area of conflict that keeps repeatedly popping up in your classroom.
What’s in the Box?
This game is good for developing sensory skills. Have boxes with various objects but make sure the kids keep their eyes closed. Have the groups or circle work together to feel around to try and identify what the objects are.
1, Why don’t Montessori schools encourage competition between students?
Competition isn’t viewed as an inherently bad. It is understood to be part of life. But the priority of Montessori preschools and daycares is to help kids develop their own internal motivation skills rather than becoming focused on winning external prizes.
2, What are some other purposes for circle time?
If a class is getting too hyperactive or there’s a repeated source of conflict, circle time can be used as a way to get everyone to calm down and calmly discuss the problem. This should not be presented as a collective punishment but rather as a moment to take a breather.
Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
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Meet Shawn Chun: Entrepreneur and Childcare Business Fan.
I’m a happy individual who happens to be an entrepreneur. I have owned several types of businesses in my life from a coffee shop to an import and export business to an online review business plus a few more and now I create online daycare business resources for those interested in starting new ventures. It’s demanding work but I love it. I do it for those passionate about their business and their goals. That’s why when I meet a childcare business owner, I see myself. I know how hard the struggle is to retain clients, find good employees and keep the business growing all while trying to stay competitive.
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