Curriculum Matters: March 13, 2016

Every year our elementary students spend an evening presenting their favorite Montessori lessons to parents, grandparents and family friends. It is one of our most loved traditions: a night of pleasure and joy, huge accomplishments for our students, and so much fun for every adult fortunate enough to be included.
The process begins by students painstakingly deciding which lesson they would like to present. (As someone who knows these children well but is not their teacher, I am always fascinated to see what they pick and hear the reasoning behind their choice.)
Once the material has been chosen, the students spend 2-3 days preparing and practicing their lessons.  They then invite students from other levels to join them for some lessons.
Extended Day students go to the Junior Level classrooms and get a preview of experiences they will have when they are Junior Level students.
Junior Level students cross over to our Upper Level annex and receive Lessons from their older peers.
Upper level students also visit the Junior Level classrooms and get lessons they had when they were younger, in classrooms they once inhabited.
These brief moments bring students of varying ages together in a shared experience and foster the mentor and apprentice relationships they love so much.
When everyone has practiced enough to have completely internalized their presentation, the big night arrives and the parents come.
People who meet our students are often struck by their ability to converse with adults with confidence. Our students make eye contact, shake hands and speak in front of others with conviction.
For some, this comes easily. For others, every moment of every practice is painful, and the moments leading up to the big night are wrought with anxiety.
For all of our students, though, Demonstration Night and the exercises leading up to it, are key experiences that prepare students to be ready if/when they are called upon to speak in public.