Today, I want to share with you a set of more comprehensive Montessori unit study printables.
This set of printables is ideal if you are doing a full-fledged unit study that incorporates all subjects. (And can be used separate or as a complement to our monthly subject planner.)
While I personally don’t believe that every single subject needs to be covered when you decide to have a bit of fun with a theme, I do think that it can be helpful to consider the different subjects when planning, as too often, we miss golden opportunities to engage in learning.
For example, I recently realized how much we needed to mix things up in our peace curriculum. I had an awesome group of kids and we were really coasting on some great cooperative behaviours, especially for preschoolers, and I was failing to engage them in a higher level of emotional and social intelligence.
By adding it to my unit study planner, I am now going to reflect on how I can use the children’s current interests to engage them in a deeper conversation in regards to peace and emotional intelligence.
In page one, I list practical life, self-care, art, music/finger plays, and literature.
Although self-care is a component of practical life, I believe it needs more attention, and let’s be honest, glamour, so incorporating it into a unit study can be a great solution.
Art can be explored as a provocation, as a craft, or you can brainstorm special materials to leave out. Whatever suits your vision and goals.
Music, finger plays, and literature are all components of my circle time, though I also like to make a note if I know we have another book that I want to leave out for the kids or music to play at key points in the day. It is also important to note pre-literature (language) activities.
Gross motor is essential — some children really have a hard time engaging in gross motor play, while others won’t need any encouragement making the most out of outdoor play. For both, it is still vital to consider gross motor challenges and how you can best engage the children throughout the day — not just at outdoor time.
For example, is there a yoga move that could be “inspired” by the unit? Can I encourage the kids to safely move around child-sized furniture to set up a play invitation, or make room for another activity? Are there gross motor skills that need work — like walking on a line, should we do a themed version?
Sensorial could be twists on the Montessori Sensorial Curriculum, or it could be just noting environmental sensory input, or planning some sensory play.
In addition to peace, culture and geography are often overlooked, so I think it is wonderful to look for opportunities to incorporate them into unit studies that might not have an obvious cultural or geography theme.
Environment should take note of what elements or changes should be made to the environment to facilitate the unit study. Do you need to move some furniture? Do you want to put out some art or visual provocations? Does anything need to be removed?
I love using themed snacks and food to introduce and encourage healthy foods at lunchtime — using peas to represent tennis balls during our “/t/ is for tennis” unit had every child eating their peas with gusto.
I wrote “play invitations” because play is an important component for me, but you could easily do a Reggio provocation or work invitation, or ignore this entry altogether. I think as long as there is balance, children will still choose to engage in the more “academic” activities that they are provided, and if a play invitation is well-designed, it can actually incorporate several academic subjects.
I also love using play invitations to allow me to really see where the children’s interests are leading them. For example, how different children interact in a pretend shop can give you a great indication as to whether they are interested in the math component of the cash register, the food component (which is myriad), the social (cultural) component of shop interactions, the practical life components of setting up and working with the food, and so on.
I welcome your feedback — I will be sharing some printables on observing children soon, but please let me know what criteria you would like to see on these printables!