Skip to main content

The Power of A Montessori Presentation

The other day I was walking through our playroom and I noticed something unusual, a glass vase filled with dirt and a leaf stuck into it. I knew immediately this was the work of Gus. I made a mental note. A couple days went by and another one of these dirt filled vases showed up on our deck this time with a flower stuck in it. Again, I made a mental note. The third time I found a little vase, it had water and a flower but also the funnel. 

And, I knew it was time for another presentation on flower arranging. Something was lost in translation. As Montessori parents we often rely on the power of modeling for young children and expect that they will pick up how to do something by simply watching. While modeling is super important, we have another tool in our kit - the Montessori presentation. 

What is a Montessori Presentation? 

A presentation is basically the act of giving a lesson to a child. For Montessori work in a classroom there is generally a specific way that materials are presented. Guides learn these presentations in their training and then work to perfect their lesson giving skills. The same material is presented the same way (or virtually the same way) in all Montessori environments across the world. 

Here, I want to focus on presentations at home. Often we aren't talking about strictly Montessori materials or as formal of an atmosphere. Basically, we can be more flexible. But, the basic goals of the presentation stay the same no matter where you are - to show the child how to use the work correctly and to give the language necessary to understand the work. 

How to Give a Montessori Presentation? 

Everyone will have their own style when it comes to how to present a material or process in your home. But there are definitely a few things that you should keep in mind. These include: 
  • Timing - pick a time when your child is calm and interested in working. Avoid times when they are hungry, or tired. Avoid interrupting them from another work to give a presentation
  • Length - know your child, don't plan for long presentations if you know your child can't sit that long. Generally, the younger a child, the shorter it should be. 
  • Speed - go slowly, sometimes more slowly than you think you need. 
  • Language - watch the number of words you're using. The purpose of a presentation is to SHOW not tell a child how to use the material
  • Connection - always remember this is a moment of connection and relationship between you and your child, you can chit-chat, you can joke, you don't need to be a robot saying just the right words for it to work, 
  • Movement - allow for movement of your child during the presentation, stillness doesn't mean learning
  • Child's Level - get on your child's level, look into their eyes and show them.We aren't expecting them to come to us, we are coming to them.

When to Give a Montessori Presentation? 

This is a hard question to answer because the answer really depends on your observations of your child. You can give a presentation anytime you feel like it might benefit your child. But, there are generally two times that I make sure to give another presentation. One, when something is new. I always present new materials, even to babies. While exploration is super important, I always present it to a child. I don't want to leave them hanging not knowing how it could be used. 

Two, I present something when I notice that consistent mistakes are being made that show a lack of understanding about the work. Like, in Gus' case, when it's really clear that a child can't quite remember how to do something, or how something works, I give a quick presentation (even if they have had one before.) This could look like it did for Gus, where the work was just consistently done wrong, or it might look like they are avoiding the work altogether. 

I don't point out mistakes or tell them that I need to show them again because they don't understand. I simply invite them to another presentation. Now, this is very different from a child intentionally choosing to use a material in a way that's different than how it is intended. And, this is why observation is so important. Exploration is totally normal and expected.


In the end for Gus, I gave Gus another presentation on how to flower arrange in our home. This work is only out in the spring and summer months, so it had been a long time since he had done it. I assumed he would remember, and he didn't. A simple presentation later and it all has come back and our home is one again filled with the best little child arranged vases. 


Do you give Montessori presentations to your children?
---

Comments

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2021

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! 2021 UPDATE: Please be patient with links this year, with supply chain issues things are selling out faster and restocking slower. I anticipate some of the specialty toys will not restock once they are gone. Puzzles, in particular, have been difficult to find in stock. 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 toys, bu

Montessori Toddler: Favorite Toys and Activities 18 to 20 months

I've been putting off this post for a little while because I felt a little disappointed that I didn't have more to share. See, Teddy just isn't that into materials, especially those on the shelf. He tends to return to a couple of favorites over and over again and ignore all other attempts at shelf work. But, really that's my own adult feelings getting in the way of Teddy's own interests, and developmental path.  It's also me subconsciously valuing fine motor skills and stillness as more important than gross motor play and movement. I working hard not to do that, and want to normalize that all toddlers are different. All children have different interests and that concentration doesn't have to mean sitting still for long stretches of time.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. With all that said, here are some of Teddy's favorites over the last couple of months. Favorite Montessori Toys 18 to 20 Months I'm listing the toys that have be

Our Family's Montessori Christmas Gift Lists 2021

It's hard to believe another holiday season is upon us again. Every year I enjoy putting together my kids' Christmas gift lists. It's really a good time to observe them, see what they are interested in and what they might be ready for during this coming year. It's one of the few times a year that I purchase new materials for our home so it's always really exciting. IF YOU NEED MORE IDEAS DON'T MISS MY ULTIMATE MONTESSORI TOY LIST OR MY 2021 DEALS PAGE ! When considering these lists, please remember that these were curated based on my own children. Use them for inspiration but they are heavily influenced by what my children are into and interested in. And for my older second plane children, what they have asked for!  Here's a look at our family's Montessori Christmas lists for 2021!  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Theodore (Toddler) Teddy is just over 2-years-old. Being our fourth baby, he is really hard for me to think of unique