Skip to main content

Montessori Co-Op FAQs

Montessori tot school co-op is back! I was so happy that the families that were involved in the co-op were interested in returning again this year! I've been getting a lot of questions about co-op and how it is run, so I wanted to answer the most frequently asked questions.


How many kids? 

Right now, we have 7 preschoolers between 3.5 and 4-years-old, and 5 of their siblings -- ranging from a couple months old to almost 2. This is put absolute maximum number of people. 

How do you handle siblings? 

We have a "baby room" where one of the moms watches all of the siblings. Last year, they were all in the room with us, but it has just gotten too crowded and hard to manage the babies and the older kids. 

We do have two toddler-age siblings and they will come and go into the classroom. They may not make it the whole hour, but there is work that they can do in a modified way. I leave it up to their moms to determine where they should be. The other three siblings {including Nora} are all babies and spend the whole time in the baby room. There are activities for them to do -- brought by another mom -- or they can just play. 

Where did you find participants? 

Right now, I've limited participants to my mom friends. I've known these women and kids since they were babies. Right now, enough of my moms group has wanted to participate that I've never searched outside of the group.


Are you always at your house?

Yes, we are always in our Montessori homeschool classroom.

How often do you meet? 

We meet once a week for 2 hours. 

How do the other families contribute? 

The other families rotate bringing either a craft or science project for the children to work on after we are done in the classroom. They also bring snack for all the kids and for the moms. I am also blessed that they are very generous in donating supplies and keeping their eyes out for trays, shelves, and the like. 

Also, each week one of the moms is responsible for watching over all of the younger siblings in the "baby room." They have also brought sensory bins and boards for the babies to use while we are working in the classroom. This way we can all focus on the older sibling in the classroom while the babies have fun.


Do you charge money to participate in the co-op?

No, I don't. 

What does a typical co-op morning look like? 

When people arrive to my house, I will have a toy or two out for the kids. They can wait and play for everyone to arrive. When everyone gets here, we go to the classroom as a group. 

I have each of the children sit in a circle while I explain the theme and present a couple trays. This is 5 minutes at most. After I'm done, I tell the children to get a mat and start work. They work for about an hour.

After the hour is up, we split the children into two groups to wash hands in our bathrooms. Then we meet up at the table. The children take turns passing out plates and napkins. They pour their own water and snack, and clear their own dishes. 

Once the table is clean, we do a craft or science project. When the children finish they can have free play time. During this time, the moms enjoy snack and socialize together. 

About 5 minutes before we gather the kids, sing a song and break the kids into two groups. The groups then work together to clean up toys before heading home.


What do the children work on? 

One hour is spent in the classroom working, one hour is spent doing a craft/science project, eating snack and some free play. The classroom has a variety of work for the children to choose from. Some of the work will stay the same all year, some will change after a month or two, and some changes weekly based on a theme. For more specifics about our theme, check out my tot school posts. 

Do the children actually work? 

Yes! By the end of our first year, I was amazed at how much work and concentration happened in the classroom. We had "normalization," with calm and quiet. We are only a few weeks into the year now, so we are working on getting back to that. I can't actually recall a time where someone completely refused to do anything while in the classroom {with the exception of Henry}. 


How does Henry react? 

To his credit, Henry is doing much better this year. But, when we first started co-op Henry was very reluctant to work when his friends were there. He did not like to share my attention with other children and just wanted to play with his friends. Last year, he often spent the entire class just watching others work. This year, he is watching some, but actually choosing work to do too. 


Have another question? Let me know in the comments, and I'll update the post!

Comments

Carla Martins said…
Uau! I would love that my son could have this kind of activities. Unfortunately, here in Portugal almost everybody who's older than 3 is at school during the day. It's hard to find some kids to play with during the week!

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…

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…

A Montessori Approach to Purging Your Toys

Becoming a Montessori family has been life changing in so many ways, most obviously with the amount and type of materials we use in our home. Once you see why having so many toys is a problem, or when you make the decision to move towards Montessori, it can be completely overwhelming. But, taking a Montessori approach to purging your toys is possible! And, it doesn't exactly mean that you have to throw away everything you have and start over with only expensive wooden toys. It will mean taking a hard look at what you have and whether it really fits with Montessori.


One note, however, Montessori is at its core about following your child's own path and respecting your child as a whole person. So, if your child has a toy, lovey, book, or whatever that your child super loves or is super attached to, but it doesn't fit Montessori ideals, don't take it away. Follow your child, that is more Montessori than whether or not you own some specific consumer product. 
How to Purge You…