This week, we asked Melissa Vidal-MacKay and Suzy Waters, our teachers in the Children’s House Two class, to share some of their favorite stories that illustrate those moments of joyful discovery when an idea really clicks for a student and the “aha!” epiphany brings new life to learning.
Melissa’s Trinomial Cube Story
I recently witnessed a wonderful “aha” moment with a kindergarten student in my class, when he finally understood how the trinomial cube was put back together. The trinomial cube is a complicated work because there are so many pieces and they fall out of the box all over the table and look so much alike. (It’s funny that at Teach Your Parents Night this week most of the parents couldn’t even figure it out!) But after I gave the boy a lesson on the work, he totally got it. He practiced a few times and is now a master. The best part is that he can now give lessons on this work to others in the classroom. This is such an important part of kindergarten and being an older child in the class. I am so proud of him every time I see him doing that work, and I can see how proud he is of himself.
Suzy’s Smock Story
There are so many moments, it’s hard to choose. There are so many days when I look around me and cannot believe how amazing the Montessori method is. When you watch them squeezing, pouring, scooping, tweezing, tonging, spooning…or drawing their first line in the sand, you can see the sense of accomplishment on their faces when they’re mastering these skills. They may seem very simple and basic, but these skills are the foundation for future learning, for reading and writing.
Last week I had a visitor from another Children’s House classroom. He was doing a work with water, so we had him wear a smock. Afterward, he was having a hard time hanging up his smock, so I showed him how to use his pincer grip to pick up the smock and hang it on the hook. We stretched our thumbs and forefingers wide then closed them together like crabs, over and over, and felt what it was like to use those muscles. He said he was like Captain Hook! He was so pleased that he could now hang up his smock, that he proceeded to do every single lesson in the classroom that required him to wear a smock!
[This post originally appeared in Rhythm & News, the Inly School newsletter, on February 27, 2009.]