We Speak Montessori

The following post is by Jessica Stellato, Lower Elementary Lead in the Galaxy Room at MASS. In this series, Jessica explores common Montessori classroom terminology.

Shortly after enrolling in a Montessori program, you will hear words like “work.” Someone not familiar with this lexicon may view the word “work” as having a negative connotation, but in the Montessori environment “work” means children learning through purposeful activity. To help parents better understand what’s being described in the classroom, we want to introduce to you a few common terms.

Analysis of Movement
Analysis of Movement is a technique by which Montessori teachers break down tasks into parts and demonstrate each step in isolation. The action becomes so deliberate and engaging that the child understands the sequence of steps. The opportunity for mastery is increased when the child is free to follow each step.

In the Montessori environment, Concentration is defined as deep engagement on a single task. As Maria Montessori stated, “The first six years of life are the most powerful time for developing concentration and attention.”

Control of Error
Montessori materials are designed so a child receives instant feedback as he works, allowing him to recognize, correct, and learn from his mistakes without adult assistance. Putting control of an activity in the child’s hands strengthens his self esteem, self-motivation, and the opportunity for learning learning. 

In this video of a student working with the trinomial cube, Analysis of Movement, Concentration, and Control of Error are all demonstrated. Analysis of Movement is seen as the child picks up each piece purposefully, coordinating her movements to exact the prism’s position. Concentration abounds as she learns to order the pieces and visualizes the prisms becoming one. Control of Error is demonstrated as the child places the prisms in the box – the prisms will only fit in the box if assembled correctly.

The most important part of the work process demonstrated in this video is the sense of satisfaction for a job well done. Montessori students enjoy work that tests their abilities.

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