Updated: Dec 13, 2021
This time of year, everyone seems to feel big shifts... the days are shorter and with less light, the weather is drearier (though we lucked out in comparison to what was forecast for rain and what we actually got)... and as a result, everyone seems to feel tired and sluggish. By the end of the week, we had noticed that everyone was actually RUSHING through things... perhaps in an effort to combat the sluggishness, and the result was MESS! We observed untucked chairs, messy works, belongings left behind, complaints of pushing and shoving during transition times, etc. This morning at journal meeting, we revisited "care of the environment", and this afternoon at our weekly Peace meeting, it turned out that several of the children had written some of these issues down in the Peace journal themselves. It seems the children made observations similar to the adults! It was a WONDERFUL thing to watch the children come together and problem solve how to make our community a better place. They took the lead, and with very little help from the adults, came up with their own solutions. For example, someone complained that the library shelves were unorganized. Another student nominated a particular student to do the work, because they are good with books and organization. They voted, decided that he should pick a helper, and began the work. They even came to me later and told me they had closed the library, because "it's a big project and it's going to take some time".
The children also problem solved a way to make transitions less chaotic (the helper will dismiss classmates 5 at a time using popsicle sticks), and they acted out using the peace feather for conflict resolution, which was promptly put into use multiple times during the afternoon work cycle. I love to see the children using the tools we offer to solve their own problems. Ms. Paula told me this afternoon as we were sharing our observations that it's too bad that everyone can't witness how these YOUNG children have learned to govern themselves in such a peaceful way. We were both very moved and impressed as we watched them. Part of the Montessori journey is giving the children the tools and trusting that they will use them. No matter how many times I see it in action, I'm never any less in awe of the magic.