Skip to main content

Tot School Co-op Looks Like...

After four classes, tot school co-op is starting to find its groove. The kids are so excited to come in and work. I'm seeing more repetition with the work. And lots of gentle careful movements. Nothing has been broken. Kids are happy and engaged. Cute crafts are being made. 

We're also seeing a lot of wiggles during our small circle time. I'm not quite sure how to get them to all be still and quiet even for a couple minutes. The volume is also a little louder than I would like during class. None of the kids seem super bothered, but they are all pretty loud still. And with six toddlers and two babies it can get really loud and distracting if we aren't careful. 

The biggest problem right now is Henry. Little dude is testing me for sure. During a lot of the co-op time, particularly the time in the classroom, Henry is completely uninterested in working. Before or after co-op, I have zero problems. But during co-op, all he wants to do is distract everyone else, roll around on the floor, play with the babies' treasure basket, or run downstairs. It's perfectly infuriating. I'm really at a loss on how to change his behavior. Any ideas?

Overall, we are having an awesome time, and I hope it only gets better from here.



Susan said…
They all look so cute & busy!
Unknown said…
If it was my kid doing that, I would just ignore him. Sounds like he is wanting you to give him attention and maybe ignoring the situation will make him behave like you want.
Lindsay said…
We're only one class in and Ethan was seriously a terror during the class! It was like he never did Tot School before and was encouraging the other kids to throw trays, run up and down the halls, etc. The second everyone left, he sat down and did his Tot Trays for 2 hours. *grumble* I'm still trying to figure it all out and how to get it to work smoothly. I like your idea of work mats.
Mary said…
What a great idea! I would love to find so something similar to this in my area to do with my kids. Maybe I should start something. Thanks for the inspiration!
I would say it's a change in what was once 'his' space, maybe? That's my guess - it's the age old, 'company is here, so I'm going to see what I need to do to maintain some attention in my own space'. I hope that doesn't sound harsh - most all of my children STILL do that - sadly, I have to occasionally remind my oldest to be a gentle participant, not a 'everyone look at me' show off :) It's normal, and could possibly go away once he sees everyone is settling in and co-op doesn't feel quite so new. Although you've had four days and reality says it's been almost a month, really, that's not a full weeks' worth of the group setting, so it's still new. HOWEVER, I think you are doing a GREAT job and love hearing about the co-op :)
Melissa said…
It looks amazing. I'm so glad to see it's going well for you. The noise level will lower with time. Sometimes I find that soft music helps. I have a singing bowl that I sound when the noise level is really crazy, and everyone is supposed to pause and raise a peace sign when they hear it. I ask everyone to use whisper voices for a few months after that ... totally a stolen idea from my old mentor teacher :)

Annabelle was my challenge last year, too. I think it was though for her to get used to seeing me divide my attention among so many other children. I agree with another commenter that it sounds like attention seeking, but I think attention is a totally legitimate need. My approach in those cases is usually to walk over, playfully put a hand on my hip and say, "Wait a second, that's not what we do at school. You must need a really big squeeze. Can I give you a squeeze, and then maybe we can find you an interesting work to do." Letting them know we see them and their need for reassurance can go a long way, I think. If it gives you any comfort, there has been hardly a trace of that behavior during our classes this year ... I think it's just growing pains :)
Melissa said…
Excuse my typos. Phone commenting is a mess. That should say a few minutes, not months, and, well, hopefully you can read past the rest :)
We just started co-op (2 classes in), and that's been great. But I feel we are not settled yet. Could you share how you organized it? How do you share info in between the classes? How often do you meet (we meet once a week for 3 hrs.) Kids look happy and engage on the pictures! We have 5 two year olds and a baby.
Unknown said…
If I may, it sounds like a rebellion to what he may consider an invasion in his personal space. In my classroom I've always had the saying there no such thing as a bad kid just a bored one. (Used to be a K teacher) If you haven't tried already, perhaps giving him task that will make him a "host" to his guest such as passing out or collecting materials with your assistance. Maybe before the other children arrive pump up his importance in being the helper cause he knows where everything is. Hope that helps. Btw, thank you soooo much for your blog. I'm starting Tot school next month with my one year old and, no offense to anyone, yours is the only one I've found to be realistic, simplistic yet appropriate and easy to follow. Thank you again!

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2019

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure!

2019 UPDATE: This post has been updated to include a variety of brands and new product finds! Just a reminder that no one child will be interested in all of this or needs all of this. These toys are just here to spark ideas and give you a feeling for some Montessori-friendly options available! 

So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. 

First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created to…

Working from Home with Kids - A Montessori Schedule

One part of my life that I haven't talked a ton about here on The Kavanaugh Report is how I'm a work-from-home parent. Eight years ago I started to work at home while parenting full time. For the first several years, I worked as a legal writer while maintaining this space on the side. When Gus was born, I moved into working on sharing our Montessori life full time. It has blossomed into a full time career sharing content here, teaching courses, and now the podcast! Through it all, my kids have been home with me. 
This all seems more relevant to so many of us now that Covid-19 has closed schools and forced parents to stay at home and work while caring for children. I'm not going to lie - it's tough. It's hard to balance work and kids, especially when children are used to a completely different routine. But, it's not impossible! And, it can even be enjoyable. 

As I talk about in my podcast Shelf Help, we block our days into 3 hours groups. It helps me remain fle…

Which Open-Ended Toys are "Worth it?"

As a Montessori parent, I try to provide a mix of materials in our home to engage my kids! That work that will spark joy, concentration, and repetition. It's not always an easy task, as Maria Montessori said, "Life is mysterious...only the choice of life can choose the work that the child truly needs. Therefore, the teacher respects this mysterious process and knows to wait with faith." So, there does sometimes feel like there is a bit of trial and error when it comes to choosing materials that your children need. 

For us, the right balance is easier to find when I spend time deeply observing my children. Watching their interests, sitting on my hands if I have to, letting them struggle a little with things, and letting them get bored. And what I have personally found is that here at home, a combination of open ended materials and more structured work have been the right balance. Open ended toys wouldn't necessarily be found in a Montessori classroom, but they are perf…