Metamorphoses Unfolding at The New School Montessori
In Montessori classrooms, you will hear a lot about life cycles. In fact, you will hear a lot about cycles in general; water cycles (evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and collection), three-year cycles (the three-year Montessori curriculum), and even the three-hour work cycle in (3-6) environments. As Montessorians, we value and honor the phases everything and everyone passes through. Each phase is significant and important in itself. Infant, child, adolescent, and adult. Spring, summer, fall, and winter. Morning, afternoon, and night.
In our preprimary classrooms, teachers and students observed the metamorphoses of butterflies unfolding: egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly. Students walked up to a mesh container with several chrysalises like wise professors – hands behind their backs, leaning forward, observing, discussing, waiting. One by one, day after day, a chrysalis would open up and a butterfly would emerge. Each time a butterfly emerged, the children clapped in awe and amazement. Teachers and students released the butterflies into the blooming spring gardens of the Preprimary Woods and watched as the butterflies flitted among the flowers and the children at play.
As we watch our students go through TNSM’s 9-year process from 3-year olds to 6th graders, we see a metamorphosis of sorts too. Students learn to tie their shoes, calm themselves down, compromise, read, write, add, subtract, multiply, divide, solve equations, jump rope, play sports, learn languages, navigate friendships, write stories, understand poetry, play an instrument, draw what they see, dance, conduct science experiments, navigate the internet, research their interests, present work in front of peers and adults, forgive, persuade, lose a game without crying, win a game without bragging, discuss politics, debate ethics, compare cultures, graph the path of a hurricane, and so much more.
As our children grow into their independent adult lives, it is impossible to not come to these moments bringing the same excitement, hope, reverie and joy, having witnessed an amazing metamorphosis and a precious stage in students’ development.
Ann Baumgardner, Communications Director