Montessori Plus School


I.  Research

A.  Find a public library with a good children’s book section

  1. Search for books with realistic pictures and stories or information. Do not use Disney or cartoon books.
  2. Estimate what percentage of books in the children’s section meets Dr. Maria Montessori’s view of “fantasy” versus “reality.”
  3. Check out a book that you would like to read to children at your Montessori school.
  4. Evaluate if this is a story book (if it has a plot, such as a problem and then a resolution of the problem), an information book or poetry.
  5. Select a variety of kinds of books for your children to see and hear during the school year.
  6. If it is a book of poetry, teach the children a simple four-line poem.  Every class of children should hear poetry during their school year.

a)  “This is my turn.”  You read the line, then put out both hands to the children and say, “Your turn.”
b)  Proceed through all four lines three times each day for three days.
c)   On the fourth and fifth days, say the poem aloud in its sequence without stopping.

B.  Purchase a book that you prefer.  (This is a good investment for your future.)

  1. Online
  2. At a children’s bookstore

II.  Guidelines for Reading the Book

A.  Read the book aloud several times and become so familiar with the story that you can almost tell it from memory.  Ask a friend to critique you.

B.  Clip together, with a large paper clip, any pages that you do not want to read to the children.

C.  Notice which pages show two pictures at once and remember to cover one picture with a blank piece of paper while you read the opposite page.

D.  Practice reading the book aloud.

  1. Look in the mirror to watch your mouth and expressions
  2. Read the name of the author and tell the children that this means “the person who wrote the book.”
  3. Read the name of the artist and tell the children that this means “the person who drew the pictures.”
  4. Hold the book open to the full extent and turn it from left to right so that all of the children get a chance to see the pictures.
  5. Feel the top edge of each page, from left to right, to the corner, and then carefully turn each page in a dramatic way.

III.  Ways to Vary the Reading of a Book:  Note: Always sit in the middle on the long side of the ellipse, not at the end, so that the children can see you, or bring a small group of children to an inside ellipse for reading books.

A Dramatic voices: Use your voice to imitate the voices of adults and or children in the book.

B.  Discussion:  After you read the book, ask the children, “I wonder what this was about?”  Let them summarize and explain without commenting on their accuracy.

C. Open-ended questions:

  1. Just before the book ends, say “ I wonder what will happen next?” or “I wonder how this book will end?”  This allows the children to think and guess the ending.
  2. After you read the title of the book to the children, say “I wonder what this book is about?”  Let them guess and think about the possibilities.
  3. Just before the book ends, say “How would you like for this book to turn out (end)?”
  4. Ask the children, “What was your favorite part of this book?” or “What was your favorite picture?”  You can ask each child to tell you, if s/he would like to, as their name is called to leave circle.
  5. Only use one of these methods per book and try many different ways to discuss the book.
  6. Sometimes do not discuss the book and see how the children like to just “think” about the book.

D.  Continued story:

  1. Choose a book that is too long to read in one sitting (ten minutes) and stop in a logical place, perhaps half-way through or at a break in the story line.
  2. The next day, hold up the same book and say, “I wonder where we ended yesterday?”   (Don’t say, “Who can tell me…” as this is too competitive.)
  3. Then summarize the first half of the book in one to two sentences, and then read the second half of the book.

E.  Using a puppet or object with the story:  Ask your assistant to show/move a puppet/object as you read the story.  At that time close the book so that the children are not asked to look at two things at once.

IV.  How to Show a Book That a Child Brought to Circle

  1. Ask the children to bring a book that is their favorite, that they got for Christmas, that is about a family, or a pet, etc.
  2. Ask their parents to help them find their “favorite page” in the book and put a bookmark into that place.
  3. As the children arrive with their books, put a sticker with the child’s name on it onto the front of each book as the children come in.
  4. Place all of the books in a basket on a shelf by the door.
  5. At circle time, bring in the basket of books and place them in front of you.

i.   Say to the children, “When I call your name, please come and take your book to your place.”  When they get there, say, “Please stand up and show us your favorite page.” Then say, “Why is it your favorite page?”

ii.   If you have small group of children, you may say, “Please show your favorite page to each child at circle.”  When one child has shown four children, you can call another child’s name to follow behind.  This is so that the children do not have to sit too long at circle.

iii.   When each child is finished, he may put his/her book back into the basket so that you may return the books to the parents on that same day. (Children are often very worried about getting back their own book.)

V.  Story-telling to Children:

  1. Tell the children a story and ask them to “see it in their mind”.  It can be an interesting event that happened to you, or a story that you read or made up
  2. Then ask them “I wonder what the story looks like in your mind?” 

VI  The Value of Reading Books to Children: 

  1.  By using the variety of literature as outlined here, the children in your class will grow to love books, to hear stories, and even to tell their own.
  2.   You can show the children how to draw a series of pictures for a story and to make a book.  They can write the text on each page, or you can help them by “dotting” the words.



Origin: Unknown, Edited by Sharlet McClurkin


Materials:  Two teachers and a child


  1. The demonstrator approaches the teacher and child, who are engaged in conversation or reading a book (not a lesson).
  2. The demonstrator stops at a respectful distance away from the other two people.
  3. The demonstrator waits and watches for a pause in the conversation or work.
  4. The demonstrator says, “Excuse me?”, then speaks his need with the teacher.
  5. Finally, the demonstrator thanks the teacher, and leaves.


Materials: A teacher, acting like a child.  Children on the merry-go-round


  1. Children push the merry-go-round as others sit on it.
  2. The demonstrator (teacher) approaches and says, “Excuse me! Would you please stop so that I can get on?”
  3. The demonstrator says “Thank you” when the merry-go-round stops, and gets on the merry-go-round.
  4. A child then approaches and says and does what the teacher said and did.
  5. The game goes on until all of the children are aboard.


Materials: Two Teachers and 1 child

  1. One teacher is busy, giving a lesson to a child.
  2. The other teacher places his/her hand on the teacher’s shoulder.
  3. The teacher who is giving a lesson places her hand on top of the child’s hand, nods slightly, and make eye contact with the child.
  4. The child returns to his work and waits for the teacher’s help.
  5. If there is an emergency, the child may speak to the teacher right away.

 Variation:  After a child has placed his/her hand on the teacher’s shoulder, the teacher taps the floor to her right, thus indicating that the child may sit there and wait while she finishes her lesson.


 Materials: Two teachers, a ball in a basket (change items at each lesson to a tissue,  mixing colors’ bowl or another item in the classroom), two small chairs


  1. Place two chairs next to each other at circle, with the basket and ball to the right of the first teacher’s chair.
  2. One teacher (demonstrator) invites the assistant teacher to sit next to her left on a small chair.
  3. The demonstrator takes the ball and hands it to her.
  4. The demonstrator looks into the eyes of the assistant and says, “Please hand me the ball.”
  5. The demonstrator receives the ball and looks very surprised and pleased.
  6. The demonstrator says slowly and clearly, “Thank you!”
  7. The demonstrator hands back the ball kindly and carefully to the assistant.
  8. The assistant teacher looks pleased and says “thank you”.  (When you show this game with a child, rather than an assistant, whisper, “Please say thank you.”  The child says, “Thank you.”
  9. The demonstrator gets up from the chair and walks up to each child at circle.
  10. The demonstrator hands each child the ball, looks into the child’s eyes, and waits until the child says, “Thank you.”  If the child does not say it, she whispers “Thank you” for him/her.
  11. The demonstrator puts out her hands to receive the ball back.
  12. When each child hands her back the ball, the demonstrator looks pleased and says “Thank you,” each time.

Variation at Circle:  The demonstrator looks into the eyes of the child on her left and gives the ball to him/her. That child says, “Thank you.”  That child turns to the next child on her left, looks into his/her eyes, and gives him/her the ball.  That child says “thank you.”  If any child does not say “thank you,” the teacher whispers it for the child.

Control of Error:  Not seeing the eyes of the person to whom you give the ball;  Not seeming appreciative when receiving the ball.

 Direct Aim:  Feeling confident in a social situation; gaining independence and cooperation.

Age of Introduction:  All children, ages 2 ½ to 6, at circle.

Extensions:  Presenting other social graces, such as “Excuse me,” etc.

I.  Classroom Environment

     A. Art of three types (portrait, still-life, landscape should be on the classroom walls.

     B. Various styles of art should also be on the wall:  (impressionists, realists, abstracts, etc.)

     C. A few small art cards should be in picture holders and should be placed around the room on the shelves.

 II. Circle Presentation of Large Art Print

     A. A  large art print should be presented bi-monthly to the children at circle, and then hung in an obvious place in the classroom until another print replaces it.

     B.  Art is Like a Puzzle!

Help unlock the meaning of a work of art by asking exploratory questions of the children, such as:

  1. “What do you see?”
  2. “What do you notice in the artwork that makes you think that?”
  3. Other possible questions, but don’t ask all of these:

                   a. What does it make you think about?

                   b.  How do you feel when you look at this art?

                   c. What do you think it meant to the artist who made it?

Below is a list of the Sensorial variations and memory games that MTP of WA is known for.  These are special games that we have created, or that Dr. Billings saw when she took the MIA course in Italy in 1960.

*    Knobbed Cylinders: 2, 3, or 4 cylinders together, with or without blindfold

*    Knobless Cylinders: The fence

*    Broad Stairs: With language and labels

*    Red Rods: With language and labels

*    Color Tablets:

  • Box 2, With labels;
  • 1 set taken to a distant table for memory game

*    Geometric Solids:

  •  Finding the same shape in the room
  • Naming the shape inside the mystery bag

*    Geometric Cabinet: 

  • Naming tray #6 with 3 period lesson
  • Grading tray #2, from small to large  (circles)
  • Memory Game with tray (insets at table, frame on rug)
    • Two;  2) Three, 3) Four, 4) Five; 5) Six
  • Matching inset to cards;
    • Two; 2) Three; 3) Four; 4) Five; 5) Six

*    Matching Fabrics: 

  • With blindfold; with labels
  • White fabrics

*    Baric Tablets:

  •  3sets together
  • With blindfold

*    Thermic Tablets: 

  • Environment Game
  • With labels

*    Olfactory:  With names of scents, with labels

*    Gustatory:  With names, with labels

*    Sound Cylinders:

  • Matching extremes in both boxes
  • Grading one box
  • Grading two boxes

*    Bells: Listening Game

  • Matching voice to bell
  • High and low game
  • Matching 6 brown bells at table with 6 white on the shelf
  • Grading 8 brown bells at at table with 8 white bells on the shelf.
  • Playing a major C song on the bells
  1. Music:
    1. Please use a variety of songs and a variety of melodies.  Don’t use the same familiar melody and just put words to it.
    2. Don’t sing, “Here we go,” or “1, 2, 3” before every song.  Just begin when you can see and hear that the children are ready.
  1. Calendar:
    1. It is good to clap the date to scale, but don’t show the calendar every day.  It gets repetitive to the children.
    2. Don’t ask them what day it is.  You can look at the calendar and ask the children to raise their hands if they can see what number comes next.  If you didn’t put in all of the previous date’s numbers, do that yourself with the children or before circle.
  1. Circle:
    1. Circle should be only 15-20 minutes, and a time to show something that is interesting and 3-D.  Don’t show card material.
    2. Don’t use a write-on board at circle.
    3. Don’t give away the surprise of what you will do or show at circle.  Just say, “I have something interesting (special, etc) to show you.”
    4. Always ask the children to raise their hands when asking a question at circle.
    5. Limit your words at circle.  If you use a new or hard word, define it.
    6. Don’t ask them to critique your song or work.  Just smile and go onto the next part of your circle.
    7. Please get out your own rug.
  1. Classroom Leadership
    1. Do not sit at a table with the children.  The small chairs are for the children unless you are giving a lesson.  Stand a short distance away to observe the children.
    2. Always give a full lesson: get out rug, then the work, show it to a child, and return it yourself.
    3. Do not interrupt children’s work, either by talking to them or getting your work in their hands.
    4. After you show a work, step back and allow the child freedom to choose it, or not.  If they do choose it, still keep back and watch off and on from a distance.
    5. Allow children space to make a mistake or to create a small variation from the work you showed him.  Only correct him if he is causing harm to the work or to himself or others, or if he is not going to be successful with the work.
    6. Do not respond to a child who interrupts you during a lesson.  Make plans with a co-teacher to come to your rescue and to help the child so that you can continue your demonstration in peace.
    7. Always use two hands to carry your work and to push in a chair.
    8. When a child touches your work during a lesson, say, “This is my work.”  If he continues to touch it, say again, “This is your turn to watch.  Please keep your hands in your lap.”  If he continues to bother your lesson, either stop and put away the work (say, “I am sorry. I will put away this work until you are ready to see it.”, or say, “I am sorry that you are not ready for this lesson.  I will finish it but you may find some other work.”  If he gets out the work again, without having seen the full lesson, go to say, “You did not see the full lesson yesterday.  When you are ready to watch it, I will show it to you.  Or you may put away that work for now.”
    9. A child who runs inside needs to have outdoor play time even more than others.  Allow him to be called first to go out, for a few times, and then watch his outside activity to see if you can learn more about him.
    10. If a child is concentrating on a work and continues his work rhythm, he may work as long as he would like, within reason. Depending upon the school’s policy, he may leave out his work with his name card except for Fridays. If he is not concentrating and making progress on his work, the teacher should ask him to put it away and begin another day.
    11.  If a child makes mistakes that ruin his/her success of the work, then make a note and tell him that you will show him that work again tomorrow.
    12. If a child wants to sit and watch a friend do his/her work, say, “You may  watch for a little while, but come choose your own work soon,” or say, “After a short while, come to me and I will show you another work.”

Stepping Stones: 26 white naugahyde (soft plastic) rectangles, 5” x 6”, with lower case red and blue letters painted on them in exact lettering as the sandpaper letters.

At Circle:

  1. Put out about 6 letters in a row from the center of the “ellipse” to the end of the ellipse, leaving a few inches between each one (for visual clarity).
  2. With 2 feet (slippers OK), jump on one and say the phonetic sound.  Jump to the next one and say the sound, etc.
  3. Let each child have a turn.  Use this as a transition activity.

During work time:

  1. Put the Stepping Stones in a nice basket on the language shelf, in the proper sequence, near the sandpaper letters.
  2. Show the children how to carry them to a rug.  They can get 2 rugs if they like.
  3. They may put out up to 5 letters, laying them horizontally on the length of the rug, or 5 more on the second rug.
  4. Then they may jump and say the sounds.  Two children can work together on this.
  1. Circle, “Walking on the Line”: 
  • A teacher must always be present to keep the walking time creative and controlled.  She gives verbal and bodily cues for the children as she and they walk. The children should be spaced out by putting out their hands ahead of them while they walk at the beginning of walking time.  This can be done by following the teacher’s actions.
  • Bodily control and setting a quiet atmosphere is especially important at first circle so that the class can begin quietly and peacefully.  Use the “Walking Music”, not “Marching,” for first circle. Do not use the Marching music unless you are ready to go outside.
  • Make your circle a lovely, peaceful ceremony with a community spirit.
  1. Circle Line:  A diameter of 8’ will give a circumference of 25’.  This usually fits 18-20 children, with one teacher.  The children and teacher must have space for their elbows when they put their hands on their waist and wiggle their elbows.
  1. Musical Cues:  Sing gently and softly, “Please sit down,” and “Please stand up,”  and “Please turn around just one time,” with a short pause between each word.
  1. Circle Manners:
  • Speak slowly and enunciate carefully to the children.
  • Show the children how to walk behind the circle, not “cutting” through it.  This means that you will have to leave room between your line and the shelves for them to walk.
  • Show the children how to raise their hand, not talk out without permission, by asking them a controlled question:   “Please raise your hand if you know…”
  • If you have something disciplinary to say to the children, say it from your own heart, not a child’s or another teacher’s:  “When you all talk at once, I am sad because I cannot hear.”
  1. Songs: Teach them fun songs with actions, but songs that they can also sing.
  1. Getting Work Rug:  Get your own.  It is a demonstration and calms them down when you get your own rug.
  1. Showing a work:  Since you have a “captive audience,” be polite and arrange the work on the tray so that everyone can see it.  You can decide if you should show it upside down to you, or not?
  1. Calling out to a Child Across the Circle No, get up and go to speak to the child.  It is best if there is a second teacher there who can do that for you.
  1. Children’s rules at circle:
  • They must sit up straight with their legs crossed.  Don’t say “criss-cross, applesauce.”  That makes no sense.  Don’t say, “Criss cross your body.” “Please cross your legs” is fine.
  • They may not change places once they are on the line and then sit down.
  • They may not push in to sit by their friend if that space is taken.
  • They may not lie down nor place their legs out front at circle.

9.   Show and Tell: 

  • Book:  Ask the child to stand in his place and open it to his favorite page.  Ask him to say why it is his favorite page.
  • Other items:

->  No toys, please, because the children will want to hold toys during class and this can cause an unhappy child, even if you kindly ask them to put their item into the cubbie.

->  If you have a small circle, each child can stand and show and then tell about his item.  If the item is small and the circle is large, then the teacher can ask the child to pass around the item for the other children to see.

->  The child does not take it along to show as that wastes precious time.

  1. Praising Children:
  • Find some other way to comment on something said or done at circle or during work time besides “Good job!”  “Beautiful!”
  • Notice if children come up to you frequently to ask you to comment on their work.  It may be that you are flattering them or praising them without realizing it.
  • Do not hold up one child as the model and say, “I really like the way that… is sitting at circle.”  We do not compare children in a Montessori school.
  1. Making yourself the Important Person “Show me!”  “That’s a very nice book.”“Can you get a rug for me?”  “Good idea!”
  1. Departure From Circle: Plan a song or game to allow the children to depart individually and quietly.
  1. Solving a Problem rather than Listening to the Child Child reports on another child.  Active listen, “You’re worried about her,” rather than explaining or telling him not to worry and why.
  1. Taking Over a Child’s Work:  If a child begins a work and a teacher judges thatshe is not doing it correctly, she should watch, wait and write notes.  If the work gets out of hand, unsuccessful or could be dangerous to the child or material, then you can intervene.  Do not take over the work, especially without asking permission, and begin to use it.
  1. Children misusing work: If two children are misusing work, go to the second one who did not get it out and request and take him to another work.
  1. “Put that into Your File”:  If a child shows you his work, smile and shake your head. Say, “Mmm”  or “You’re proud of your work.”  Don’t interpret or judge the work. Don’t remind them to put it into their file. That raises its importance and is an unnecessary command.
  1. Don’t Call Across the Room to a Child:  Instead, get up and go over to whisper in the child’s ear.
March 2019
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