Give a Montessori Lesson

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One of the most intimidating aspects of Montessori, other than all of those Montessori materials, is figuring out how to present a Montessori lesson. For this challenge in our #30daystoMontessori, I want to just give you basic steps and things to consider when presenting almost any Montessori lesson, rather than give you a specific lesson that might not really work for your child.

Knowing how to give a Montessori lesson properly can demystify implementing Montessori and teaching anything to your child.
Give a Montessori Lesson: Breaking down how to present a Montessori lesson by focusing on what's most important and leaving the confusing details alone. Part of the #30daystoMontessori Series

Reading a typical Montessori lesson outline can be so overwhelming in its precision. The outlines usually dictate how your hands should move, which hands to use, precise wording, and of course, exact materials. Memorizing each outline is just unfeasible if you want to really be active in incorporating Montessori into your daily routine… so how do you do it?

How to Give a Montessori Lesson

If there is a lesson plan or album that you are following, review it focusing on the following points; alternatively, if you are designing your own lesson or introducing something not in the traditional Montessori, make sure you can answer the following:

  • What is the purpose of the lesson?
  • Does this lesson contain specific vocabulary? Or, is it a lesson best presented silently?
  • What are the “points of interest” that I need to focus on presenting?
  • How should I hold the materials in a way that the children can imitate, and will help build fine motor skills?
  • Know when to stop, leaving room for the children to explore and opportunities for future lessons

For example, if we were to consider the Pink Tower introduction:

  • The purpose of the lesson isn’t to teach stacking, but visual and tangible discrimination of size, while also displaying the underlying concept of cubing
  • This lesson is beautifully presented silently, but if necessary could use comparative language — bigger, smaller
  • The points of interest are careful handling of materials, carrying each cube individually to the mat, and then using the smallest cube to “check” your work by “walking” it up the tower. Another point of interest is that when presenting the Pink Tower, you first present it horizontally to show how the smallest cube is the exact difference between each cube, which introduces the concept of “cubing” and self-correction
  • When carrying the cubes, consider how children have smaller hands and need to be careful with the materials, use two hands for larger cubes and then a pincer grip for the smallest
  • After showing the horizontal “stacking,” children will naturally stack vertically. If given freedom, children will also eventually explore variations — spirals, integrating the brown stair, etc. You can present these later if needed, but they shouldn’t all be presented at once

Day 27: Give a Montessori Lesson - This post breaks down what's important and encourages you not to get confused or caught up in the mundane details

So, today, choose a simple material. It can be a Montessori material, or a new art tool, or something for the kitchen. Consider the above questions, and devise your own lesson OR if you have a Montessori material, you can choose to present an activity that your child is ready to explore.

We also have a wide collection of Montessori Practical Life Lessons here.

I’m excited to see what you come up with! Please be sure to share with the hashtag #30daystoMontessori on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter!

give a montessori lesson #30daystoMontessori

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  1. I love how you’ve extracted and simplified the key things to consider when giving a lesson here. This is awesome!

    That said, my brain is exploding a little because I have never heard of anyone presenting the pink tower horizontally. I am sure that’s a thing in some training, because I know you know your stuff. It’s just blowing my mind a little. Goes to show you how attached we Montessorians can be to these very specific lessons! 🙂

    1. I learned it both ways, but I became attached to the horizontal for showing the smallest cube “climbing” up the ascending cubes, but I think you’re right and Dr. Montessori intended originally for it to be stacked (and knocked down…). It is so funny, I know some teachers are really adament that the cubes be held with both hands — even the littlest one , some hold it flat in the palm of the hand, and others do the pincer grip I mentioned.
      I should probably mention that there are different presentation styles — just to confuse everyone 😉

  2. It is so interesting to hear different ways of presenting things, and what I love most is that everyone knows why they do it as they do. Everything has a rationale. I am definitely a two hands per cube person, too! 😉

  3. I love that you start with it lying horizontally. I have always started it vertically, but it occurs to me that naturally, children begin stacking up. I know mine did, anyway, without me ever presenting it that way. I wonder if it would open them up more to thinking outside of natural instincts to teach it horizontally first, or if they’d just get frustrated or ignore me and build it horizontally 🙂 Great article!

  4. Thanks so much for this post. I am new to montessori and am glad I have found your blog! I am excited to use the culture checklists as well this fall when I start home schooling my daughter. I am wondering where is the best place to read some of these detailed lesson plans so I can study and practice? Are there curriculum books you would recommend?

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