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April 05, 2022

Second Plane: What is a Going Out?

Looking back on my Montessori journey there were definitely times where I assumed that the older my kids got, the less we would "Montessori" here at home. But, the opposite has just been true time and time again. Montessori remains just this amazing framework for structuring our house, and our children's experiences well into elementary school. 

Recently, we had our first experience with a "going out." A going out is kind of like a field trip for elementary aged students in Montessori schools. The going out allows children in Montessori elementary environments to take the interests they have from their classroom and apply them to real life experiences. They are able to execute trips into the world learning so many real life skills along the way. But unlike traditional field trips where children are shepherded around on an adult led excursion, children take the reins. While this concept is from a classroom, it can easily be applied to a home enviroment!

Henry, at 11-years-old, just planned and executed his first going out with a friend. The two of them were getting deep into the study of the Clock of Eras together. I don't know how it started but they decided that they would recreate the clock using pizza ingredients. Together they came up with the plan. They decided on everything from where they would go, what they would need, and how much money they would need. The plan was approved and they were able to go get what they needed at a store, then come back to the classroom to finish their pizzas (and enjoy the leftovers at home!) 

Benefits of Going Out

I see many benefits of going out for a child, especially compared to traditional field trips or family outings. A going out allows a child the opportunity to take complete control and practice so many excellent executive functioning skills. It's giving children the opportunity to practice skills we need to use all the time as adults, but in a safe and child-friendly way. I see so many benefits to incorporating going outs into an elementary aged child's life including: 
  • Individualized to your child: outings help to expand an interest that your child has 
  • Time management skills: get to practice setting schedules and sticking to it, coordinating schedules, and marking calendars
  • Budgeting and Money handling: how much will everything cost, where will you get the money, and spending money on their own are all parts of a successful outing 
  • Real Life Research Skills: using internet to research destination, calling people, and making plans can all be really important parts to planning
  • Navigation: opportunities to plan out mapping out destination, either with public transportation or using map/map apps to figure out where to go
  • Confidence and control: it feels so good to complete a task from start to finish, especially when it is something you are deeply interested in
  • Disappointment and Flexibility: Not everything will go according to plan and learning to live with that is important
  • Delayed Gratification: this isn't a process that happens overnight, they have to wait for everything to come together
I'm sure there are other benefits that could be listed here! This is definitely something many second plane children are ready for - even if they aren't in Montessori schools. Over the last couple of years, the pandemic has seriously impacted our ability to practice going out with our older kids. But, now that we are feeling more comfortable with outings, I'm looking forward to more going out with my bigs! 

Has anyone else had older kids plan fun and exciting going outs?!

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Iza said…
My kids aren't in the second plane yet, but living in the States makes me sad for them. How do you navigate laws, safety, and their developmental needs? Growing up in Poland, I went out a lot with friends a lot in the 2nd plane. We went to buy things and would be back home to create. We planted things, made gift boxes, bough presents, among other things. We'd go to stores and markets. We'd walk to parks to gather wild flowers and branches. It wasn't anything our parents planned for us. It was something we planned and did.
Rachel said…
Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful example of ways to incorporate Montessori in the Second Plane. I absolutely love this concept of the Going Out and all the amazing skills/ Benito the child from the point of inception of them thinking of what interests them to the research / planning to the execution. It is sooo rich with amazing learning and build self confidence/ problem solving etc. I think this is a great idea we could incorporate at home and I wish more schools provided this opportunity. I think some schools that are more project-based learning (even if not actually Montessori) come close to this idea as well.