What is Montessori Preschool? Part Eleven

Montessori Learning Materials — Working Outside: Expanding the Boundaries of the Montessori Environment

Montessori kids playing
Within the Montessori tradition, there is little separation between the interior and exterior of the classroom environment. Nature becomes part of the interior environment through the children’s activities such as: daily care of plants, arranging flowers, and taking care of animals in the school. Animals may include either small classroom pets such as fish or reptiles, or the care of the farm animals on the school grounds to which the children bring food. At other times, children go outside to explore and discover new things by looking at plants, animals, and the sky.

Montessori kids playing
In the exterior, the children participate in gardening, collecting leaves, identifying and labeling trees, studying cloud formations, and even finding geometrical figures in the shadows on the ground. The natural environment is converted into an extension of the Montessori classroom and the children delight in making connections between inside and outside. A preschool child was once overhead to remark: “The open door forms a perfect right angle!” Going outside, and all that it involves, allows children the opportunities to reach new levels of independence and responsibility, and to expand what they have learned in the classroom.

Montessori kids playing
Stay tuned for the next installment about Montessori Preschool - "The Montessori Guide."

To see a Montessori preschool in operation, come visit Otoch Paal Community Center in Akumal Pueblo. Otoch Paal welcomes visitors who are interested in seeing how a Montessori center operates. Classes are in session from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday. Visitors are asked to come between 9 and 10:30 a.m. Summer vacation begins July 10th.

How you can help. As a non-profit community-based learning center, Otoch Paal does not generate sufficient funds to pay for all necessary school improvements. Monetary donations and donations in kind are always welcome. Donations can be made directly at the school.

Or more information can be found at: montessoriaroundtheworld.org/otoch.html.

The Rotary Club of Fort Collins, Colorado has now raised funds to replace all of the grass roofs at the school! Thank you to the Foothills Rotary Club, and the Playa del Carmen Rotary Club, for helping this wonderful little school. Are you part of a Rotary Club that wants to get involved? Contact Ron Rockvam of the Foothills Rotary Club at: dvantage@msn.com.

Are you associated with a Montessori school that could donate used learning materials for the preschool/kindergarten classroom? Contact Eleonor Bermudez Ferrer, of Otoch Paal, at: leocancun@hotmail.com or Ellie Zucker, parent, at: elzucker@aol.com.

Directions to Otoch Paal: The school is located near the back of Akumal Pueblo, on the Northern edge of the town. It can be reached by following the Pueblo’s main street (avenida) to the fourth block on the right hand side of the street. After passing the secondary and kindergarten schools (which are on the main street), turn right at the corner where the kindergarten is located and continue to the next corner. Otoch Paal is next to the kindergarten and the entrance is at the far corner, near the town’s edge.


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